Chapter 19 : Hermione's First Raid
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With a jolt, Hermione realized that she recognized him. She had seen his photograph in Brooke’s file. The man was Roger Belfour, Brooke’s boyfriend. The real Brooke had been given permission by the Aurors to tell her boyfriend and family members what was going on, but it appeared that she hadn’t told Roger for some reason. Perhaps Brooke had seen this as an opportunity to end the relationship by disappearing entirely.
For whatever reason, it had now become Hermione’s problem.
Before she could say anything to try to diffuse his anger, Roger turned to Malfoy, who was halfway out of his chair by this time, and without any warning whatsoever, punched the blonde wizard full in the face.
Caught by surprise, Malfoy didn’t have time to defend himself. He fell hard, his right arm hitting the solid wood table on the way down with a vicious crack. A woman at a nearby table shrieked and clutched her date fearfully.
The infuriated young man had time for only one hard kick to Malfoy’s ribs before two of the busboys grabbed him and held him back.
“What is going on here?!” asked the manager of the restaurant, rushing over to help Malfoy up.
“She’s a lying whore!” Roger spat, pointing at Hermione while he struggled against the busboys.
“Get him out of here!” the manager ordered frantically. The two busboys quickly dragged Roger towards the back door. The manager turned his attention to Malfoy, a frightened expression on his face as he realized what this could do to his business. Malfoy’s lip was split and bleeding, his left arm hung at an awkward angle, and his face was deathly white. “Call an ambulance,” the manager said urgently, helping Malfoy to sit down in his chair.
Hermione stared in shock, completely flabbergasted by the whole event. She could heal him, but obviously not in front of all these muggles. She knew that the ambulance was wholly unnecessary and probably frightening to the pureblooded Draco Malfoy.
Though wounded, Malfoy reacted faster than her to refuse muggle medical care. “No, I’m fine,” he gritted out, wiping the blood from his mouth with his sleeve. “It’s just her jealous ex—he won’t leave her alone.”
“Do you want us to call the police, sir?” asked the manager anxiously.
“It’s fine. Can we just get the bill, please?” Malfoy’s voice was hard with irritation; he was clearly in a lot of pain. Blood streaked his teeth as his lip continued to bleed freely.
“Oh, no, it’s on the house, sir. I apologize for the whole thing,” the manager said, beads of sweat on his forehead. He was clearly terrified that they would sue.
“Not a problem,” Hermione cut in, finally finding her voice. “I’m just going to get him home now.” She reached down and grabbed Malfoy’s jacket, covertly recovering his wand as well, which had fallen to the floor in all of the confusion.
Malfoy got to his feet slowly and Hermione pulled his arm over her shoulder, supporting him as they made their way to the exit. Malfoy’s breathing was shallow and pained and Hermione could feel him sweating through his clothes.
The restaurant was dead silent; every eye watched the pair. The manager hovered over them the entire way, making apology after apology. Once they were finally outside on the busy street, Hermione guided Malfoy to the parking lot around the back, which was much less crowded.
“Over here,” she said, pulling him behind a parked car so she could assess the damage.
Malfoy sank to the ground, a soft groan escaping him. It was the only sound of pain that he made. Agony glazed his grey eyes. Proud, untouchable, impeccable Draco Malfoy was nearly fainting right before her, but gloating was the last thing on Hermione’s mind.
The sun had already set; only a slight amount of light filtered down from the streetlights to illuminate the parking lot. The ground, still damp from the earlier rain, dug into Hermione’s bare knees as she knelt in front of Malfoy. “Where are you hurt?” she asked; there was no way that his mouth was the injury causing him this much pain.
“Arm,” he breathed, his eyes fluttering closed. He was still conscious, but only barely. His head lolled back against the shiny black Lexus behind him.
Due to the fact that he was wearing a long-sleeved black dress shirt, Hermione was unable to tell where he’d hurt his arm. She remembered hearing a cracking sound when his arm had hit the table, but she needed to be able to see how bad the break was before she could even hope to magically heal it. “I have to take off your shirt,” Hermione realized out loud.
“Fine,” was the nearly-silent response.
Hermione swiftly unbuttoned Malfoy’s shirt. His lean abdomen rose and fell with his pained breaths. A large bruise was already starting to form on his side where he had been kicked. She gently ran her fingers over the area, feeling for any broken ribs. There were none, so she left the bruise to be healed later. Using the utmost care, Hermione eased Malfoy’s unhurt left arm out of the shirt. “Lean forward a bit,” she directed.
Malfoy slowly leaned forward slightly, his eyes flickering open. Hermione slid his shirt off his back and over to his right side. The only part of it that was still on was his right sleeve.
“This might hurt,” she warned him. As gently as she could, she began easing his hurt arm out of the shirt.
An agonized moan slipped from Malfoy’s mouth. “Stop,” he panted, his eyes locked on hers.
“Malfoy, I’m sorry…if I had scissors or a knife I could cut your shirt off, but I don’t!” she explained, cringing. “Your sleeve is covering the break…” She didn’t want to cause him pain.
He looked so vulnerable for one of the few times she’d ever seen. He was completely at her mercy, yet for some reason, not a thought of revenge crossed her mind. She simply wanted to stop his pain. Her mind raced; she couldn’t leave him here while she found scissors. She couldn’t use her wand to cut the shirt off because she was afraid she might slip and accidentally cut him. She couldn’t summon scissors with her wand because they were in a muggle part of town and if muggles saw a pair of scissors floating through the air, there would be a lot of questions to answer. The only other solution was apparating to a place where she could cut off his shirt, but who knows the pain that would put him through.
“Just apparate,” whispered Malfoy, almost as if he’d read her mind.
“That’s going to—”
“Please.” His voice was full of pain and determination. Hearing him nearly beg made Hermione feel so awkward and out of place that she did not protest. This was way out of her comfort zone; Malfoy depending on her and needing her was an extremely foreign experience.
She slid an arm around Malfoy’s waist and stood up, helping him stand with her. “Hold on,” she warned him, imagining how badly this would probably hurt him. Concentrating on her room at the Leaky Cauldron and holding Malfoy’s unhurt hand tightly, Hermione turned on the spot and pulled the both of them into apparation.
The last sound that she heard—almost synchronized with the crack of disapparation—was a hoarse scream that had to have some from Malfoy. The squeezing and pushing sensation of apparation had to excruciating. Sympathy led her to tighten her grip on Malfoy’s hand reassuringly as the feeling of compression intensified.
With a loud crack, they reappeared in Hermione’s rented room at the Leaky Cauldron. Malfoy’s body weighed heavily against her; he had passed out from the pain of having the intense pressure of apparation put on his broken arm. Hermione managed to get him into a semi-sitting position in the same armchair that Harry had sat in earlier that day.
Before she could begin examining his arm, she felt an uncomfortable tightening sensation in her body as the Polyjuice Potion wore off. “Damn,” she cursed, angry at the interruption. It surprised her how worried she was about Malfoy. It took her only a minute to hurry to her suitcase and grab some of her own clothes.
Once she was herself again and comfortably dressed, she retrieved her potions stock and a pair of scissors from the counter and went back to the unconscious Malfoy.
She gently slid the scissors under the expensive fabric of Malfoy’s shirtsleeve and cut the sleeve in a smooth movement, removing his shirt entirely. When his arm was revealed, Hermione drew in a startled breath. It was one of the worst breaks she had ever seen. It was an open fracture; the bone had broken right through the skin. Blood was pooling around the stark white bone that protruded nearly two inches from his skin.
Hermione hesitated, considering whether she should take him to St. Mungo’s or not. She’d had the mandatory field medicine training that all Aurors were required to complete, plus a few extra courses over the summer, but surely Malfoy would be better off at the hospital. Then again, she couldn’t really take him there herself; it would look extremely bad for them both if Draco Malfoy showed up at St. Mungo’s with an Auror who was supposed to be in another country on vacation.
Malfoy opened his eyes suddenly and looked directly at her. He gritted his teeth in pain but didn’t make a sound. The involuntary shaking of his body was the only thing that gave him away.
“Malfoy,” Hermione said urgently, eager to have him make this decision for her. “Do you want me to take you to St. Mungo’s or try to heal you here?”
“Here,” he muttered, all of his energy focused on bearing the pain. His eyes flicked down to his arm and he visibly blanched. “Bloody hell.”
Hermione nodded and dug through her potions bag to find a small red one. “This will clean the wound,” she informed him, unstoppering the bottle and pouring it carefully around the exposed bone.
Malfoy hissed through his teeth at the burning sensation.
“Gloverus,” said Hermione; sanitized latex gloves appeared on her hands. “I need to set the bones straight or they won’t heal right and you won’t regain full use of your arm.”
“Just do it.”
“Reparo Osteo!” she cried, watching his arm intently.
With a horrific scraping noise, the bones in Malfoy’s arm moved back to their proper place. A strangled cry escaped him and his eyes rolled back into his head from the pain as he passed out again. Hermione quickly held his arm in place with her left hand and aimed her wand at it, saying carefully, “Fusus.” The bones began fusing together, the process going by much more quickly than it would have in the Muggle world. Hermione spoke another spell and the puncture wound that had been caused by the protruding bone shrank and healed, leaving only a faint mark.
“Ferula.” A splint and bandages wrapped around Malfoy’s arm, stabilizing it until the fusing of the bones had completed. It would take about twelve hours.
Exhausted and still worried, Hermione moved to Malfoy’s face. His cheek and left side of his face were slightly swollen, so a quick spell took care of that. She gently parted his lips with her fingers, examining his teeth and the inside of his lips. One of his teeth had been knocked loose by Roger’s blow, and numerous cuts bled on his inner mouth. Hermione fixed his tooth and healed the cuts, trying to push away the guilt she felt.
This really was her fault, she reflected as she flicked her wand to heal the bruise on Malfoy’s side. She should have checked to make sure that Brooke had informed the proper people about her situation. It was her fault that Malfoy had been attacked for no reason by a deranged boyfriend that neither of them knew.
Hermione was distracted from her thoughts by a soft moan from Malfoy as he came back to consciousness. He looked dazed and confused; he would still be in a lot of pain as his arm continued healing slowly.
“Hey, don’t move your arm,” she said quickly, taking the stopper off of a vial of purple potion. “Drink this.”
Malfoy ran his tongue over his teeth experimentally, feeling them all perfectly in place once more. He grasped the potion unsteadily with his left hand and drank it quickly, grimacing at the taste. Almost immediately, relief spread across his face, relaxing his tense features. He smiled slowly. “That’s the best pain potion I’ve ever had,” he slurred, his eyes closing as a peaceful expression took over.
“You’re going to be dizzy and sleepy for awhile,” Hermione said, making sure she spoke slowly and loudly. “You’ll be more comfortable in the bed.”
“I’ve been waiting for you to say that, Granger.” He smirked as he opened his eyes and struggled to his feet.
“Oh, shut up,” she replied, but there was no anger in her tone as she steadied him and helped him make his way across the room and into the bedroom. Malfoy carefully eased himself into the bed while Hermione made sure he didn’t move his arm more than necessary. He was shirtless, but the room was warm and he protested when she tried to pull the covers over him.
“Your arm needs to stay perfectly still for the next 12 hours,” she informed him sternly.
Malfoy’s eyes opened and shut slowly a few times; he tried to stay awake but the potion was too strong. “Thank—” he whispered, but fell asleep in the middle of whatever he was trying to say.
Hermione froze, her eyes widening. “What?” she said out loud, her heart hammering. Had Malfoy actually been about to thank her? Was he being sincere? Or simply delirious? Her heart ached to know what he was going to say, but she knew he would be dead asleep for at least the entire night. She reluctantly shut off the lights and headed out into the main part of her suite to put her potions away.
A brisk tapping on the door interrupted Hermione just as she finished disposing of the empty potion bottles and packing the full ones carefully in their case. Holding her wand loosely at her side, she cautiously approached the door, calling out, “Who is it?”
“It’s Tom, Miss Locke,” was the reply. “A letter was just delivered for you.”
“Er, I’m not dressed,” lied Hermione. “Just slip it under the door, please.” It would be rather awkward to explain if she were to open the door as Hermione Granger when the room was registered to Brooke Locke—especially because Tom knew Hermione quite well.
“Yes, ma’am,” replied Tom, doing as he was told. “Have a good evening.”
Hermione opened the letter swiftly, noticing the hastily-scrawled “Brooke” on the outside. The writing inside was messy, as if it had been written in a huge hurry, but it was still very familiar.
My wife is in labor so I can’t make it tonight.
My friends will still meet you tonight for tea at the time and place we discussed. You’ll have to lead them to our other friend’s house since I can’t. Be careful when you go to our other friend’s house though; you know how they can get a little carried away.
Hermione grinned as she read the name Harry had chosen to use as his alias, but her amusement quickly faded. Nervousness fluttered in her stomach. Ginny was in labor, which meant that Hermione would have to lead the Aurors on a raid of the hideout in order to rescue the prisoners. She had never even been on a raid before, much less led one. “I can do this,” she told herself, glancing at the time and realizing that she had a little under an hour before she had to leave to meet the other Aurors.
Hermione spent her remaining time planning out what she would do and getting ready to leave. She left a note on the nightstand next to the still-sleeping Malfoy to let him know where she’d gone, just in case she wasn’t there when he woke up. The potion she’d given him was strong enough to keep him asleep for the twelve hours needed for his healing to complete, so there would be no danger of him waking up early and coming after her. Taking a few deep breaths to calm her nerves, Hermione apparated to the park near Gordon Circle.
The night was dark and cool. An owl hooted off in the distance, its haunting sound sending mice scurrying fearfully into their holes. The tall trees in the park swayed gently in the breeze. Everything was peaceful and ordinary, nothing out of place. Everything except for the group of seven black-robed Aurors gathered beneath an enormous oak tree, wands out and at the ready as they waited for their leader to arrive.
“Hermione!” one of them greeted her excitedly in a whisper. Gary’s eyes sparkled with excitement.
Hermione strode up to the others, her black robes swirling around her. The shiny silver of her Auror badge was very visible in the darkness, though the rest of her blended in perfectly.
“Say your names aloud softly,” Hermione ordered, joining the group. She couldn’t see their faces and it was too dangerous to light their wands.
“Shacklebolt,” said the deep, familiar voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt. His voice had a calming effect on anyone who heard him, and he was also a very talented Auror; Hermione felt more confident knowing that he was with them.
Hermione had to hold back a squeal of delight that her friend of old was present as well.
The other two Aurors were ones that Hermione knew by sight, but hadn’t spoken to very often in her career as of yet. Harry’s protectiveness was clearly showing; sending Kingsley Shacklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks along on this raid was a gift indeed. The two normally worked high-profile cases—it was highly unusual for them to be assigned to a common raid. Nevertheless, she was extremely grateful.
“Did Harry go over the structure of the building with you?” Hermione asked softly, once introductions had been made. Soft murmurs of assent answered her. “Good.”
“Oh!” Gary exclaimed softly. “Here—we each have 10.”
Hermione took what felt like a handful of bottle caps from Gary’s outstretched hands.
“They’re Portkeys that go straight to St. Mungo’s,” Gary explained as Hermione put them into her pockets.
“What’s the activation word?” Hermione asked, cutting through Gary’s explanation. She knew what these were and who they were for. A special ward of St. Mungo’s was put on alert for these sorts of raids. Healers would be standing by, waiting for the injured people to arrive through Portkey. All Hermione would need to do was hand one of them to one of the injured prisoners, say the activation word, and then the person would be swept away to St. Mungo’s for rescue and treatment.
“Fortune,” replied Tonks. Her hair was dark brown that night, blending in with the darkness.
Hermione gave a few more instructions to the Aurors regarding formation and tasks once they entered the building, and before five minutes had passed, they were ready to raid.
The eight Aurors approached 62 Gordon Circle from four different directions in groups of two, moving silently and stealthily in the darkness.
They all wore the standard uniform for night raiding: comfortable black pants, sturdy tennis shoes, and a black polo t-shirt with the silver Auror insignia embroidered over the heart. On top of the black shirts was a thin, brick-red vest that was imbued with curse-repelling magic. It would completely stop most curses and jinxes once or twice, but against the Unforgivable Curses it would only lessen the blow. Over their clothes, the Aurors all wore the standard black robes with their badges on it. These robes were altered slightly from ones that were usually worn by Aurors. Instead of buttoning up the front, these robes attached at the throat with a clasp so that they could be easily and quickly removed in order to not trip up the Aurors in the event of a chase or physical skirmish.
All eight Aurors met up by the iron door at roughly the same time, quiet but for their light breathing. Hermione unlocked the door with a wave of her wand and pushed it open slowly, entering the room.
The Aurors followed close behind, quickly ascertaining that the small entry room was empty. A dim light shone from the stairwell, which was quite unlike the darkness that Hermione had encountered on her last trip there. Someone could be down there. Without hesitation, Hermione led the way downstairs, her wand held at the ready. The other Aurors followed her lead. Hermione was first, Shacklebolt was last, and everyone else was between them, with Tonks directly behind Hermione.
Hermione descended the steps slowly and softly, her heart hammering wildly in her chest. Through the commotion of the prisoners below, she could hear a voice speaking the same words over and over, sounding rather bored. It took her a few more steps before she recognized the words. “Avada Kedavra,” the male voice said again.
Adrenaline fired through her veins and she took the last five steps at a run, calling out firmly, “Aurors from the Ministry of Magic! Drop your wand!”
The first ten or so occupants of the cages lay still on the floor, clearly dead. They were being systematically exterminated by three men dressed in casual muggle clothes.
Hermione immediately waved her wand in a swift, artful pattern and spoke the incantation for the anti-apparation spell. In the time it took her to do so, one of the men had thrown a handful of black powder into the air, another had sent a flapping bat Patronus out the window, and the third sent a green streak of light directly at Hermione.
Moving quickly, Tonks blocked the killing curse as Hermione finished the anti-apparition spell. The Peruvian Instant-Darkness Powder thrown by one of the men instantly sucked all of the light out of the room.
The entire basement was completely black; the only area still illuminated was the staircase, but Hermione and the other Aurors knew that it made them a perfect target if they remained there.
“Kingsley, clear this up!” Hermione shouted, trusting the more experienced Auror to know a trick for dissolving the powder.
Footsteps in the stairwell behind them made Hermione turn. No less than 6 men were hurrying down the stairs towards them. “Forward!” snapped Hermione, plunging into the darkness. The other Aurors followed her into the darkness, fanning out to present a less obvious target.
The darkness was absolute as it pressed on Hermione. She heard cries of curses, but she herself remained silent, knowing she was just as likely to hit one of her Aurors as her enemies. A clear map of the basement in her head, she crept cautiously to where the cages began, unlocking the first one with her wand. The door slid open, the soft creak masked by a particularly loud killing curse. The danger of the situation pressed in on Hermione, quickening her heartbeat.
Working quickly, Hermione thrust her hand into the cage, fumbling for the hand of its occupant. Thick blood oozed over her hand as another hand found hers and gripped hard.
“Here,” hissed Hermione amongst all of the commotion, slipping one of her bottle caps into the prisoner’s hand. “Fortune!”
A soft whoosh signaled the departure of the prisoner. All of this had taken less than thirty seconds.
“Disperso!” boomed Kingsley’s voice above all of the others.
The darkness in the air seemed to fly out the window, allowing Hermione to see with perfect clarity.
She and the other seven Aurors were trapped between the six men on the stairs and the three men across the room. The walls were pitted and cracked where curses had hit them, but all of the Aurors and the criminals looked to be unharmed.
Silence fell, each group evaluating the other.
Realizing they were outnumbered, Hermione knew they would have to disarm and subdue the criminals before focusing on the rescue of the prisoners. She quickly joined the others, forming a line in the center of the room. Hermione, Tonks, and Gary faced the group of three, while the other five Aurors faced the six men at the bottom of the stairs.
“If you put down your wands now, we can work out some kind of deal,” Hermione said loudly, hoping her voice was calm. She recognized three of the men from the night before. One of them was the one who had let her into the building, and the other two were the brothers that she had seen with August. August Sappington himself, however, was absent.
“Not bloody likely,” growled one of the brothers. “Incarcerous!”
“Protego!” Hermione rapped out, blocking the spell.
The room burst into sound as everyone began attacking. Tonks was hit almost immediately with a curse that sent blood spattering across Hermione’s face.
“I’m hit,” groaned the woman, falling to her knees as she clutched her arm. She struggled to continue firing off spells at the criminals.
Without pausing in her attacks, Hermione yelled, “Leave, Tonks!”
“Sorry, Hermione,” Tonks gasped. “Fortune!” Her bottle cap Portkey quickly whisked her away to St. Mungo’s.
The two brothers were deadly, working together seamlessly as they bore down on Hermione. Their Irish accents lilted through the air as they tried to bring her down. Gary had his hands full battling the other man, a tall, burly blonde with thick muscles in his arms.
Behind Hermione, Kingsley and the other Aurors used all of their expertise against their group of criminals. She wanted to turn around to see how they were doing, but the constant curses flying at her from the brothers made it much too risky.
Hermione soon became aware that the group of six men was advancing on the Aurors, forcing them towards the other group. Kingsley’s broad back pressed up against hers as he retreated slightly. It was all the Aurors could do to defend themselves against the onslaught of attacks. They were barely able to attack, so preoccupied were they with defending. It was nine against seven, which was quite unfavorable odds for the Aurors.
“Spread out!” ordered Hermione, not wanting them to be trapped between two groups of hostiles.
But as they tried to spread out, curses hit the ground on either side, preventing them from extricating themselves. They were being herded like sheep.
“Abort!” Hermione screamed, realizing that they would be unable to win. She refused to risk the lives of her Aurors any further. Their nonlethal spells were too easily blocked, and the criminals were using powerful curses that took all of their efforts to block. Too few attacks were getting through.
Hermione gripped a bottle cap tightly in her hand; as the leader, she would make sure the others had left safely before leaving herself.
She watched in panic as six of them obeyed her order, leaving one behind with her.
“Gary, leave!” she yelled, grabbing his shoulder and forcing a Portkey into his hand.
“Not without saving them!” growled the stubborn lad. He desperately sent a stunning curse at one of the criminals, who dove to the floor to avoid it.
Hermione was blisteringly aware that she and Gary were alone with the nine criminals, only two of which had been taken down. She held onto Gary’s hand tightly. “Fortu—” Before she could finish the word to transport them out of the losing battle, something hit her hard between the shoulder blades.
Pain shot through her and her vest grew warm as it absorbed the brunt of the curse. Nevertheless, the rest of the curse not blocked by the vest was enough to send her reeling into unconsciousness.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Hermione noticed little things as she slowly came back to consciousness. Something was dripping onto her face. She was lying on her side, dull pain in her shoulders and back. Her memory of what had happened came back slowly. Battling...raid...
“Gary!” she gasped, sitting bolt upright. Her head slammed into something above her with a loud clang, but cold fear erased the pain as she realized where she was.
Hermione Granger was in a cage.
Like I said earlier, I'd really love some feedback on this chapter. I hope you liked it and as always, thank you for taking the time to read it!
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