Chapter 6 : Taken Away
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Also, this story is mine, as are any new characters that I introduce. Please do not steal them.
The next day, Hermione sat in her apartment, a pile of papers spread out on her coffee table. Each piece of paper had a different picture on it, and they were all moving. The people in the photos all held the same scowl, depressing and angry. Hermione rubbed her temples as she looked over a particularly long piece of parchment, which was filled with information about a man whose name came up numerous times while she was in training.
“Rayne Mellow,” she read, “Last spotted in muggle London. 21 years old, graduated from Drumstrang Academy. Known friend of Victor Krum. No Dark Mark. On the run for assault, murder, and torture of local muggles.” Hermione sighed as she sat down the information and rubbed her temples. Before she had left the hospital, Harry had handed her an entire portfolio of possible suspects, and she had spent the entire night going over criminals ranging from shoplifters to murderers. Harry hadn’t narrowed down any suspects; he just pulled together every criminal record he could find in his office to give her something to do.
As she sighed and picked up another shorter piece of parchment, her doorbell rang. She stood up and groaned, looking at the clock. It was seven in the morning, there was no one who would be calling at this time. She roughly jerked the door open, “What?” Her voice was dripped with annoyance. There in front of her stood Ron, his red hair was messed up and his face was angry, “What the hell Hermione?”
Hermione was taken aback, which kept her speechless for a moment. She had to steady herself before she answered, “Good morning to you too, what’s wrong Ron?”
If it was possible, Ron’s face grew darker, “Malfoy?” The name was not a statement, but meant as a question, and obviously not rhetorical.
Hermione’s brow furrowed, “What about him?”
“Don’t act stupid.”
Anger flushed in Hermione’s face, and she backed up, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I want you to leave.” He did the exact opposite and walked past her, standing in her kitchen. His arms were crossed over his chest and he stared at her. “Ron, you are overreacting.”
Ron shook his head, “Don’t you dare tell me I’m overreacting. While my sister was in the hospital, almost dead, you went and shacked up with my enemy.”
Hermione gave an exasperated sigh, “I didn’t shack up with anyone.”
“You’re lying to me.”
“No I’m not.” Hermione had enough, she motioned towards the door, “Ron, please leave.”
Ron shook his head, “I want to know what’s going on. I don’t appro-“
Hermione let out a long breath, trying to keep herself calm. One of them had to be an adult, and it certainly wasn’t going to be Ron. Finally, she shook her head, “Ron, you lost all say in who I’m with when you walked out my door.”
Ron looked like a balloon that lost its air. It was as though he had lost his fight. He dropped his arms, giving up. As she motioned towards the door, Ron turned on the place and was gone. A wave of guilt flooded Hermione. He may be a git that left her, but he was still her best friend.
“Why, hello there.”
Hermione went cold as she turned around. A figure in a black cloak stood outside of her door. His face was covered by the most grotesque mask she had ever seen. Her hand automatically went to her hip for her wand, which wasn’t there. Panic spread through her as she searched her pockets for her wand. Without it, she couldn’t do much against this guy. He was tall, almost a foot over her head, but with that cloak, Hermione couldn’t tell anything else. Her wand arm felt strangely cold, as though it were missing something.
Frantic to find her wand, Hermione looked behind her, realizing her wand was lying next to the papers scattered over the tabletop. Slowly, she turned back to her intruder and held up her hands, “What do you want?”
The figure just laughed, examining her doorway, “I’d like you to invite me in, if that’s too much to ask?”
Hermione blinked, stepping back. His wand followed her, but he didn’t move, “And if I don’t?”
The wand twitched and her eyes flickered back to his mask, “I’ll have no choice but to force my way in.” He inched forward, stepping through the doorway. Hermione didn’t try and stop him; she’d rather him be in her house than hurt an innocent. As he advanced on her, she tried to back up towards her wand. It was only three feet away now, as long as she could keep him preoccupied. As he stood there, his eyes left hers and scanned the room. She seized these moments to inch towards her wand. If she could just get her hands on it she would be able to apparate away. Of course that wasn’t what she would actually do, but it’d be what Harry wanted her to do. As she moved another inch, the man noticed what she was doing, and flicked his wand at her. Hermione felt her feet stop moving as she lost all feeling in her arms and legs. He hadn’t uttered a single word, but yet she felt like she was silly putty. She waited for her body to collapse, but was surprised when she stayed upright. Looking up at her assailant, she felt tears prickle at the back of her eyes, “Why are you doing this?”
The man shook his head, making his way around to the table and picking up her wand. She watched him observe it awkwardly then snap it in half with one hand. “It’s Quite a delicate wood, almost like you, Hermione. You look just as fragile.” Hermione’s heart sped up as she watched her destroyed wand fall onto the floor. It was hopeless now, she had never had much luck in the defending herself with fists department, “What are you going to do?”
The man clicked his tongue, wagging a finger at her, “Now if I told you, where would all the fun be.” Hermione shivered, holding back the bile that was forming in her throat. She wanted to make a run for it, but she was unable to make her limbs do what she wanted. They stayed stiffly in place, refusing to allow her rule over them. “What did you do to me?”
“You ask so many questions,” the masked figure said, coming over and running a finger along her cheek, “What a beautiful face, you must get it from your mother.”
Hermione’s blood went cold, how would he know her mother. That is, unless he had met her before. As far as Hermione knew, the Weasley’s were the only wizards her parents knew. She stared at the man and he began to laugh.
“Her screams were quite entertaining, actually,” he twirled his wand and Hermione felt herself get pulled into a fully body bind. The strange thing was, she still had the ability over her mouth. “You bast-“
“Ah, ah ah, we can’t have that sort of language. Don’t worry, I made sure to take good care of your mother before we disposed of her.”
The chill that had settled in Hermione suddenly became colder, “Disposed of her?”
“Do you really want me to answer that?”
Hermione knew the answer to that, it was no. She couldn’t bear the thought of something happening to her parents. Instead, she tried a safer question, “What are you doing here?”
Draco was pacing the kitchen as Harry sat at his table. Hermione’s wand lay between them as they stared at each other. Neither could say anything, they were too worried. Hermione had disappeared and no one knew what happened. Ron had been the last person to talk to her, but the last he knew, she had been standing in her apartment. They had fought, but that was no reason for Hermione to disappear. Besides, Draco thought, if she were upset, she would come here.
Eltanin was in the living room playing with Jean, but that was beginning to bore him. He had been asking for “Ms. Hermione” and no one had the guts to tell him she was missing. Elt was only four years old; this was not something he needed to hear. So Harry had explained to the little boy that Hermione was sick and wouldn’t be coming over. It had satisfied him for the moment, but Draco knew his son all too well. It wouldn’t be long before he started to throw a fit in order to get his way.
Abruptly, Potter stood up and walked to the door. Draco’s hand reached out and rested on his shoulder, “Where are you going?”
“To find her,” he answered. Draco shook his head and his grasp tightened, “You’ve got your best Aurors on it, you should go home.”
Potter shook his head and rubbed the back of his neck. His eyes closed as he did so, “I can’t. Ginny would be furious.”
Draco sighed, a nagging feeling entering the pit of his stomach. He felt as though something was going to go wrong, very wrong. His eyes tightened as he took in the man standing before him. He had changed since Hogwarts. In Hogwarts, he had been arrogant, stubborn, and thought he was better than Draco. The man standing in front of him, though, was none of those things. The war had changed him in many ways. He was no longer arrogant, but humble. Though he was still stubborn, there was a maturity about Potter that not many men his age hold. For the first time, though, he looked truly old. “It’s going to be alright, Hermione is a smart witch,” Draco tried to comfort him, also attempting to convince himself.
After he said this, Draco looked over at his son, a small smile reaching his lips. He knew it didn’t reach his eyes though. Eltanin would be safe with Harry and Ginny. He had the feeling that deatheaters were behind Hermione’s disappearance; it would take a former deatheater to find them. They weren’t after Hermione, they were after him. He had to help her; Draco couldn’t bear if she were hurt because of him.
Then his son looked up at him, the perfect face of innocence. How could he even be considering leaving his son to find a girl who he used to hate? She was an insufferable know-it-all, who still got on his nerves. Of course, she was a beautiful know-it-all, who had kissed him and melted his heart. Eltanin loved her. He would be devastated if he found out she was never coming back. The little boy would never forgive him.
“Malfoy, are you there?”
Draco blinked as Potter’s hand passed in front of his face. He looked a bit concerned, but Draco was finally making up his mind. Elt would be safer with Harry, especially if Jean went with them. Draco could join the Auror’s in finding Hermione, hopefully giving them an edge. All deatheaters feared Potter, being the one to take down The Dark Lord.
Draco sighed, “No, I’m not. I have an idea, but you have to promise me that you will go home.”
Potter shook his head, “I can’t do that. I need to be out there, helping to look for her. She’s my best friend, I can’t lose her.”
Draco nodded, “I know what you mean. Look, I think I can help. I know how these type of men think; I used to be one of them.” Draco’s anger rose as Potter’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “What is it now?”
The raven-haired man crossed his arms, “I’m not going to trust you. Look, I understand that you’ve changed, and I respect that, but I’m not putting Hermione’s life in your hands. She’s too important to me.”
Draco’s brow creased in confusion, “What does that have to do with me? Why don’t you trust me?”
Potter raised his hand to stop him from arguing, “You used to be one of them. I’m not sending a former deatheater to track these men. I’m still not completely sure about you.”
Draco took a deep breath, keeping himself calm. From the corner of his eye, he noticed that Jean had stood up, her wand in her hand. He couldn’t see Elt, but he hoped his son wasn’t watching this. “I have done everything I could to clear my family’s name. I gave up the name and location of every deatheater that went into hiding. I gave up my father to you, choosing the greater good over him. Just because he got off doesn’t mean I didn’t make a sacrifice. He hates me because of it.”
He looked over to find Eltanin, but Jean shook her head, pointing towards the hallway, “And I’m leaving my son in your hands to protect. If I were going to betray you, I would not let my son go with you.”
Potter looked taken aback, losing all his composure. “Are you sure about that Malfoy?”
Draco nodded, “If I lost Hermione, I could never face my son again. He’ll be safest with you, especially if Jean accompanies you.” Jean nodded, coming to stand beside Draco. Since Potter had started the protection plan, Draco and Jean had bonded considerably. She had become a friend, and he knew she would stand next to him. Jean touched Potter’s shoulder, a smile on her face, “It’s a great idea.”
Potter shook his head, “I still don’t know. I don’t want to sit around and wait for the news.”
Draco nodded, looking over to Jean, “Then Potter will come with me. Ginny is getting stronger, and she’s always been frightening with her Bat-Bogey Hex,” Potter’s lips quirked up, causing Draco to grin also, “I’m sure you and Ginny would do perfectly fine. There are already extra precautions in place anyway.”
This time, Potter nodded, “That’s a great idea. I’m sure with the both of us trying to find her, it shouldn’t be too difficult.”
Pain shot through Hermione’s head as she opened her eyes. Her entire body ached as she looked around. The room was dark and it was impossible to see anything. It was as though someone had placed a blindfold over her eyes, but she didn’t feel any cloth. Her heart pounded as she willed her eyes to adjust, but the darkness didn’t fade at all.
“Help me,” she said, quietly at first. It wasn’t really a cry for help, she just wanted to know if anyone else was in the room. No one answered her plea, but she did not relax at all. She tried to move her arms, but they were tied behind her back. She used her fingers to feel what she was sitting on. It felt like she was on a steel chair. Her wrists were held together by bands of metal that prohibited her from adjusting. She moved her legs, but her ankles were tied in a similar fashion.
“Is anyone out there?” she asked, a bit louder than before.
“Yes dear, there is.” Hermione shivered as the voice penetrated her body. The voice was the same voice she had heard underneath the mask in her apartment. It was rough and low. The timbre of his voice was light though, as though he were faking his voice.
“Who are you?”
“Hermione?” A small voice answered her question with a question of their own. All of the breath was knocked out of Hermione as she recognized the voice, “Mother?”
“What’s going on?”
Her voice was cut off by a muffled sound. Then, Hermione felt her heart split as her mother screamed in pain. “Leave her alone! She didn’t do anything to you!”
Then, just as suddenly, the screaming ceased. Hermione thought the silence would be better, but it wasn’t. She felt herself panicking, worrying whether her mother was still alive. Then, relief flooded her as she heard the rattling breath of her mother crying. “It’s going to be alright,” she tried to comfort her.
“I could do that again, if you like,” Hermione struggled in her seat, trying to get free, “but I need something from you.”
Hermione stopped struggling, her breath coming in short spurts, “What?”
“I need the boy.”
Hermione’s blood felt like ice as she thought of Eltanin, “No.”
Screams ripped at her ears, and Hermione starting crying, “Please.” Sobs wrecked her body as she struggled once again to get free.
“Bring me the boy.”
Hermione shook her head, though she knew he couldn’t see her. It was completely dark in the room. “I can’t. He’s only a bo-“
Once again, her mother’s screams filled the room. This time, the screaming didn’t stop. Hermione sobbed at her mother’s cries for help. “I can’t. I’m sorry mum, I can’t.”
The screaming began to recede, turning into whimpers. Hermione took her chance to explain, “He’s only four, I can’t let this man kill him.” Her voice broke on the last word and she was once again sobbing.
Her mother’s voice filled her ears though, “It’s alright honey. Please don’t cry. I understand darli-“ but she was cut off once again.
Hermione couldn’t take her mother’s torture, “Take me. Do it to me. Please just leave her alone.”
Pain coursed through her body as she felt the effects of the curse. Her mother’s scream were replaced by her own. A hard chuckle came from right next to her as she writhed in pain, restricted by the cuffs. “I bet you regret asking for torture now.”
At these words, Hermione clamped her mouth shut. She would not give this man the satisfaction of causing her pain. Instead, she closed her eyes and focused on something else, someone else. It should have surprised her that the blond-haired man was who popped into her head. His smiling face was all she could see as she endured the curse. She allowed her mind to wander, trying to find a happy place. The pain still distracted her, but by thinking of Draco, she was able to keep herself in check.
Tears streamed down her face as she saw his face in her mind’s eye, then Eltanin popped into view. There they stood, side-by-side, looking at Hermione like she was their world. She found herself imagining life with them, happy and content. How she would spend her days with Elt, teaching him anything and everything she knew. Then the nights with Draco, laying and talking for hours.
Then, the pain increased in volume, breaking through her solid wall. Screams left her body as she felt the chair being lifted from the ground. A low growl was coming from beside her. “I knew you were acting.”
Suddenly though, the pain stopped, “I suppose I don’t need your mother anymore.”
Hermione gasped, “Just let her go, please.”
“Will you bring me the boy?” The voice sounded hopeful.
Hermione paused, the image she had conjured returning to her mind. “I can’t, I’m sorry.”
The voice tisked, then it exclaimed, “Avada Kedavra.”
Her mother’s scream was only brief, and then a small thump on the floor confirmed Hermione’s worst fear.
“Look Malfoy, I know you want to get going, but give me a moment.”
Draco was standing in Potter’s office, quickly pacing back and forth. “I just want to find her. Every minute we stall is another moment that she could be dead.”
Potter stopped going through files and looked up at him, a look of fury on his face, “Don’t you think I know that! She could already be dead and it’s killing me. We need a place to start.”
“Thank God you guys haven’t left.” Weasley came running into the office, his face flushed. “Hermione’s parents are missing. That’s where I’ve been all day. I went north to try and speak with her parents and I was met with Muggle police. It took me all morning to straighten it out.”
Potter came around the desk, holding a loose file in his hands, “When did they go missing?”
“The police said they weren’t sure, but I was able to get inside and do a sweep of the house. Those badges you arranged were quite helpful.”
Potter nodded, “It’s important for the muggle police to recognize our authority.”
Draco hadn’t been listening; he had been going through the files that Potter handed him. The first file actually surprised him, “Daphne?” he asked, oblivious to the men’s conversations.
Potter turned and nodded, “You’d be surprised by the extent of her criminal record. None of it is magical though.”
Draco looked through the file, reading through her various crimes. Mostly misdemeanors, he was surprised by the extent of her teenage rebellion. His father had tried to gather any information from her, but he had missed this. Assault, theft, public nudity, even two attempted unpressed murder charges were only a few. Draco was still confused, but Weasley answered his question, “It’s almost always someone you don’t expect, so we’ve been keeping our options open.”
With a shake of his head, Draco handed the files back and sighed, “What else have you found out?”
The red-head shook his head, “Her parents are missing, and there was definitely a magical struggle. I found scorch marks on the wall, resembling those of The Killing Curse.”
Potter nodded, “We’ve got to find her quick.”
Weasley’s face went red as he walked out the door with Draco and Potter, “We have to find her Harry. If I don’t-“ he broke off, rubbing his eyes with his hands, “I said some stuff to her I wish I hadn’t.”
Draco stopped in his tracks, “What did you say?”
Potter sighed, “Malfoy, we don’t have time for that right now.”
Draco shook his head, “No it’s important. What did you say to her?”
Weasley’s face flushed even darker, and Draco’s brow furrowed, “What?”
“I told her I didn’t approve of, well you two.”
Draco shook his head, “What do you mean the two of us?”
Anger flashed through the red-haired man’s eyes, “That fact that she’s sleeping around with an arse.”
Potter stopped him from going on, because Draco had advanced on Weasley, “What the hell did you do?”
“Malfoy, he said he regrets it. Right now we need to be focused on finding Hermione. How could this be helping at all?”
Draco nodded, taking a calming breath, “It doesn’t. I thought maybe it would, but it doesn't.”
Dropping the subject, Draco tried to think of a solid place to start. His mind was muddled with the thoughts of what Hermione must be going through. She had to have been upset before she was taken, and now her situation hasn’t improved any. His worry increased as he went over a game-plan. “I have a feeling that Deatheaters are behind this. It could possibly be someone who wants to rise to power like The Dark Lord.”
Potter nodded his approval, “But where do we start?”
Malfoy checked his watch and stopped the two men, “The Malfoy Manor, that’s the best place. We have a record of all the hideouts that were used during the Second War. I was able to use some of the information to pass to Dumbledore before he died.”
Potter narrowed his eyes, “What do you mean, pass to him before he died? You were planning on killing him.”
Draco realized his mistake, and backtracked, “That doesn’t matter. Look, I know where to find a record of every hiding place. I’m sure that’s where whoever it is will be.”
Weasley nodded, “Let’s go.”
Draco raised his eyebrow, “I think you’ve done enough.”
“I’m coming. Just because Hermione and I aren’t on good terms doesn’t mean I’m going to let anything happen to her. We may not be together anymore, but she’s still my best friend. We’ve been through a lot and I’m not going to let you stop me.”
Potter sighed, putting himself between the two men, “Let’s go, now.”
The Malfoy manor was silent as Draco opened the door. It wasn’t strange to him though, his family had always been cold, so silence was welcoming to him. As they walked farther into the house though, the hairs on Draco’s arm stands on end. He looked around the entryway, trying to figure out what was different. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but something was definitely wrong. Reaching into his back pocket, Draco pulled out his wand. Potter looked at him and echoed his actions, motioning for Ron to do the same.
Leading the way up the stairs, Draco headed straight towards his father’s office. The filing cabinets in that office held all the information Lucius Malfoy kept safe for The Dark Lord. The uneasy feeling that had filled Draco when he walked into the house continued to eat at the back of his mind. Something was wrong, but he just couldn’t put his finger on it, “We’ve got to hurry.”
Potter fell into step with Draco as they walked along the vast hallways, “Why are you on edge? Are you and your parents on bad terms?”
Draco shook his head, “Something doesn’t feel right.”
Potter nodded, “I feel the same way. I figured it was just because I was walking into your house, but I must have been wrong.”
They continued walking until they reached a set of double doors. They were a deep green color and embroidered with snakes. Draco reached out and turned the snake-head door handle, pushing both doors at the same time. Potter was examining the door when he shook his head again, “You Malfoy’s are very proud.”
“Damn right,” Draco joked, a smile creeping up to his face. “We know quality.”
The filing cabinets were all in a row behind the large mahogany desk. The walls were lined with rows of bookshelves, all filled with various magical and muggle books. Draco walked forward and opened the second cabinet on the left. Weasley began looking through the books on the walls, “Hermione would love this.”
Potter nodded, standing next to him. Addressing Draco, Potter pulled down an old copy of War and Peace, “I never figured your father would have anything related to muggles.”
Draco nodded, bring the small folder over to the two, “It was the only place he tolerated muggles. It was his own little way of saying he cared.”
Potter took the files from Draco, leafing through them slowly, “Wow, the order never knew about any of these places.”
“My father was good at his job.”
Weasley had pulled down a particularly small book entitled Easy chores for your first house-elf.
Draco stared at the cover for a few moments, trying to figure out why this book was significant. He had been trying to figure out what was wrong the moment he had felt uneasy, but it wasn’t until this moment that he actually knew what was wrong. “House-elves,” he said simply, walking out of the library.
He could sense Weasley and Potter following him, but he ignored them. Looking around, he went straight to the kitchen to find Winna, the head elf. She would know why the house-elves were not doing their jobs like they were supposed to. Lucius would always make the house-elves work slowly, wanting guests to see how vast his collection was. It wasn’t right for the house-elves to be hiding, something was wrong.
As he walked into the dining room, Draco turned to Potter and Weasley, “Something is wrong.”
Weasley nodded, “I knew that.”
Potter pointed his wand in the direction of the kitchen, “I’ll go in here, you go that way. Ron, poke around in here.”
All three nodded and went their separate ways. Draco turned a corner and went down a long hallway, heading into the first sitting room. Before he turned the corner, Draco glanced into the library first, before turning to examine small room.
There was no need to examine the room though, because what was wrong was obvious. His mother and father were lying across the floor, their eyes open in blatant surprise. The surprise they held was lifeless. It was only a ghost of their emotions.
“Mom, Father?” Draco walked slowly into the room, opening and closing his eyes. Part of him was hoping he was only seeing the scene before him, but another voice told him this was true. Without thinking, he called out to Winna. She appeared with a small pop and bowed deeply, “Master Malfoy, how may I assist you?”
Draco turned on her, sinking to his knee and pulling her close to his face, “What happened,” he hissed, his words barely above a whisper. Winna hesitated, looking around the room for help, “I can’t tell you Master Draco.”
Draco stood up, bringing the house-elf with him, “What do you mean you can’t tell me?” His voice rose with his anger, alerting Potter and Weasley. He could hear their footsteps growing closer, “Malfoy?”
He ignored them though, focusing on Winna, who was crying loudly, “I is not supposed to tell. Mistress Narcissa made me promise, sir. She made me promise.”
Draco’s hands loosened and he lowered the scared little creature to the floor. His mother had known something would happen, and she didn’t tell anyone. Potter walked around the corner with Weasel on his tale, but stopped whenever he saw what Draco saw. Draco dropped to his knees next to his parents, lifting his mother’s hand and holding it. It was cold, as if she had been lying there for hours, maybe days. “Winna when did this happen?”
Winna perked up, happy to be pleasing Draco, “Master Draco, I is able to tell that. Mean men came yesterday. Mistress was able to warn Winna, who was told to hide the house-elves. That is all I can tell you.”
Potter bent down next to Draco, placing a hand on his shoulder, “I’m sorry, mate.”
Draco hung his head, tears springing to his eyes. It was only a moment though, because Draco knew Malfoy’s didn’t cry. That’s what his father always reminded him of. He looked down into his father’s eyes, forever frozen in surprise, and thought about Hermione. His heart almost stopped beating at the thought of finding her like this, stripped of a life that wasn’t done living. “We’ve got to find Hermione,” he said, standing up abruptly. Potter took his time standing up, looking down upon Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Draco didn’t feel like talking, but Potter insisted, “I know I never liked them, but no one deserves this.”
Weasley nodded, now standing next to his best mate, “It’s cruel.”
Draco turned and walked out of the room, “Well let’s make sure Hermione doesn’t suffer the same fate.” They weren’t following him, so Draco was forced to look into the room again. Just as before, his bones rattled at the sight of his father and mother. There death was his fault, and he had to fix it. “We should go. We’ve got what we were looking for.”
Potter was writing on a small piece of parchment with a quill, then used his wand to make it disappear. He looked up expectantly at Draco, “I’ve informed Kingsley of this and he will come and fetch them. He’ll take good care of them and keep this quiet.”
So I know you guys are proud of me, because I got another chapter out and it didn’t take me forever. I hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to review.
Always Remember to Love,
Until We Meet Again,
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