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Chapter 1 : Murdered Masses
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“Oh it is terrible Augusta. We all thought he was the last person on Earth to commit such a heinous crime but perhaps the whispers were true. Perhaps, he did have dark magic within him.” The old woman said as she put down her newspaper.
Splashed across the front page of the Daily Prophet was the most scandalous headline since the return of the Dark Lord. Here, flashing for everyone’s eyes to see was possibly one of the most tragic murders to have happened to a family. The headlines read:
THE BOY WHO LIVED KILLS WIFE AND CHILDREN!
The entire Prophet was dedicated to the murder and investigation of Harry Potter. The Golden Boy, the one that saved everyone, was now a murderer. Some were in great denial, most were in terrible shock, and those who loathed the boy sneered at everyone else who saw nothing but a saint within Harry. It was the news of the century. Found in his house, Ginvera Potter and their two sons were slaughtered at the crime scene. They were tortured first and then killed. It was possibly one of the most horrendous murders investigators had seen. Harry was found crouched and crying next to his wife. He was fully charged to a cell for life in Azkaban. Many suggested the Dementor’s Kiss but it was on the hard pressed trial that Hermione Granger brought up that allowed Harry to live.
Two years later…
“You’re free to go Ms. Granger.” Amelia her secretary said closing the office door behind her.
It had been a long day for Hermione. She was tired from all the busy paperwork that needed to be filled. She packed up her things and took her purse. Today was a very special day. She checked herself in the mirror before heading out. She wore a dark brown pencil skirt with a beige silk blouse on top. She was wearing one of the finest shoes and a stranger could easily tell she was wealthy. Hermione did make a comfortable living however she did not like to entitle herself as wealthy. Her hair was longer than she normally kept it and it fell a little bit below her shoulder. She quickly grabbed her blazer and purse and walked out toward the Minister’s office. She walked with extreme authority and status. Hermione had a stone face on. She did not want to speak with anyone today. It was about one person only and she knew that no one understood as well as she did.
“Oh uh Ms. Granger do you have an appointment with the Minister?” A slender blonde woman asked as Hermione walked right past her and towards the Minister’s office.
“It will only take a minute.” Hermione said quickly as she opened the door and stepped inside.
“Ah Ms. Granger how lovely to see you.” Minister Swan greeted from his desk.
“Have you gotten my request for a carriage to…” Hermione started getting straight to the point.
“…to Azkaban? Yes I have. Your carriage is awaiting you outside the Visitor’s Entrance.” Swan said.
“Thank you.” Hermione said emotionlessly and turned on her heel to leave.
“Ms. Granger excuse me for my curiosity but I still don’t understand why you continue to visit him. It is a true test of friendship but a lovely young woman such as yourself shouldn’t be wrapped up in a place like Azkaban. It’s not good for your health.” Swan said sincerely looking at Hermione. She took in his words and thought about them.
“Then let him go.” Hermione said simply and walked out of the room. The Minister simply looked down in regret.
Hermione walked outside to find her carriage awaiting her just like the Minister said. She stepped inside to find a Ministry official inside. Surprised, Hermione sat inside opposite of the man.
“Who are you?” She asked sternly.
“My name is Max Foster and I’ll be accompanying you on your journey to Azkaban.” The handsome young man smiled looking at Hermione. His green eyes were twinkling as he smiled. They reminded Hermione so much of Harry’s.
“I won’t need assistance. I’ve gone to Azkaban plenty of times.” Hermione replied.
“Yes but the Minister had instated new protocol. Anyone wishing to visit Azkaban must be accompanied by someone appointed by the Minister. Oh I will be needing you to fill out this as well.” Max said handing Hermione a form. She looked at bewildered.
“What is all this? I’ve never had to do this before.” Hermione said a bit annoyed.
“I’m sorry Ms. Granger its just procedure. It’s nothing personal, just a few general questions about your visit to Azkaban.” Max replied. Hermione still felt skeptical.
“And what if I refuse to fill this form?” Hermione challenged.
“Then I’m afraid we won’t be able to leave.” Max said plainly. Hermione groaned in annoyance and took the form out of Max’s hand. She quickly filled out the, in her eyes, completely unnecessary form, signed it and handed it back to Max.
“Thank you for your compliance Ms. Granger. We can leave now.” Max said rather cheerfully and tapped the front of the carriage three times. Hermione felt the familiar rustling of wheels beneath her and the feeling of the carriage lifting off from the ground.
It was a long journey, about two hours to Azkaban. She hadn’t spoken a single word to Max the entire time. She saw no need to. Hermione didn’t need to make more friends. She knew how everyone in the Wizarding world saw her. They all thought she was going crazy. They all accused her of going mental because she was the only one who was loyal to Harry. She knew he couldn’t possibly commit such a crime. She knew he couldn’t have hurt Ginny. But no one seemed to see that. All they saw was what they wanted to. No one bothered to investigate. She felt the carriage temperature shift sharply. They were getting close.
Hermione looked out of the window to see the frost covering its every surface. The dementors were close by. The carriage was swaying from side to side like a plane through turbulence. The winds around Azkaban were always rough but Hermione was used to them. There was not the slightest flicker of fear in her eyes. As the carriage descended lower to the ground Hermione for the first time looked at Max. He was starring straight at her, expressionless. Hermione found his gaze to be piercing and made her feel uncomfortable. As she felt the wheels hit the ground and the carriage come to a stop she immediately opened the door and stepped outside. She saw Max come out with her.
“You don’t need to come with me inside. I’m fine from here.” Hermione said.
“But I have to accompany you back.” Max said politely.
“Then you can wait outside.” Hermione replied coldly as she entered the facility.
Hermione could still smell the salt water of the sea around her. The hard crashing of the waves on the rocks could kill someone instantly. Its location was perfect for its function. Azkaban was not for the faint hearted that was for sure. The mere presence of it could send chills down your spine and it had nothing to do with the dementors floating around. It was archaic and ancient. There was a deep sense of powerful magic within these walls. One could almost feel the history and secrets buried within this massive facility. But beyond just the building, the prisoners inside was what young wizards would tell about in their scary stories. The wizards who went mad and killed their families or someone else’s families. The one’s who went mental and could no longer maintain their magic. All of them could be found within Azkaban. You could hear their eerie laughter echoing throughout the walls. It was a madhouse and it was frightening beyond belief.
“Hello Ms. Granger.” A tall wizard greeted. Almost all the main staff knew Hermione. She was one of the only people who were allowed frequent visits.
“Hi. I’m here to see…” Hermione began.
“Yes I know. Marcus here will accompany you there.” The wizard directed. Hermione was aware of the procedure. She left her wand in the front along with her purse and sweater. She walked with Marcus to the West Wing. She tried not to look at the faces of the mad wizards she passed. They all stared at her curiously but she kept her focus forward. The halls were dim. There was barely any light. They relied on the small torches mounted in the cells and the tiny barred windows on the walls. It was an eerie silence that only this kind of institute would have. The only sounds were the clicks of her heels and the jingling of keys in Marcus’ hand. However, every now and then Hermione could hear the mumblings of the prisoners. It sent the hairs on her back straight up.
They continued walking until they came upon a door. On the top it read in bold red letters: MAXIMUM SECURITY VAULT. ONLY AUTHORIZED PERSONALE ARE PERMITTED ENTERENCE.
Every time Hermione read this she felt her heart sink. The West Wing’s maximum security vault was for the supposedly most dangerous criminals. It was reserved for those who would never see the outside world. They were the cruelest and most senile of humans. To think of her beloved Harry being put into this type of institute well… it killed her inside. Marcus took one of the oddly shaped keys that were in his hands and unlocked the vault muttering a weird incantation. Once inside the vault the cells became larger and more spaced out. They kept walking until they reached vault 7W.
“Well here you are Ms. Granger. I’ll be right outside if you need anything.” Marcus said. Hermione nodded her head. He took another one of the keys and opened the door. It creaked loudly as Hermione looked at Marcus one final time before stepping inside and hearing the door shut behind her.
She walked in slowly to see a small figure crouched in the corner of this hideous cell. Her heart melted instantly.
“Harry?” Hermione said softly. The figure looked up. It was dark inside with nothing more than a small torch of light in both corners to brighten it up, but she could still make out his dazzling emerald eyes.
“Hermione?” Harry’s weak voice called out.
“Oh Harry!” Hermione bellowed as she dropped to her knees and embraced him in a warm hug. He felt so small in her arms.
“You didn’t have to come.” Harry said smiling. She wiped the hair out of his eyes. His face was dirty and his look was that of exhaustion.
“Of course I did. I have to see you. How are you? How are they treating you? Are you well fed? Oh I had some pastries for you but they took my purse. I’ll tell Marcus to bring some back for you. Oh Harry!” Hermione wailed again and engulfed him in another tight embrace.
“Ha Hermione I’m fine. They’re treating me alright. I mean, as well as they would treat anyone who ends up in here.” Harry tried to smile.
“It’s not right Harry. I know you didn’t do it. I just know.” Hermione said. She wanted to stop herself from crying because she knew she always did when she came to see him.
“What proof do you have that I didn’t? I mean… I don’t even know what to say. I remember the killing Hermione. I remember seeing Ginny lying dead at my feet. I can see James and Albus. Their tiny bodies just… lifeless on the ground. And I don’t know how I did it. I don’t know how I could have done that to her or them. I just…” Harry stopped. His words were consumed by the grief and pain that was eating away at his heart. Hermione felt his hot wet tears fall through her silk blouse and moisten her skin on the other end but she did not let go of Harry.
“I know you didn’t do it Harry and I will get you out of here a free man with a clear conscience.” Hermione said determinedly.
“How Hermione? I fear this is one situation that even you with all your brilliance can’t solve. Why would I kill Ginny? What has possessed me to do it? I can’t sleep at night Hermione. I think about it every day. It feels worse than having Voldemort in my mind.” Harry confessed feeling defeated. Hermione felt her heart ache. She wanted to help Harry so desperately but she couldn’t think of how to do. How could she prove his innocence?
“Look Harry I promised you two years ago and I’m promising you now… I will get you out of here and everyone will know you’re innocent.” Hermione said taking his face and looking him right in the eye.
“Thank you Hermione. For sticking with me when everyone thought I was lying. For coming back every month to visit me when you really shouldn’t be surrounding yourself around these kinds of people.” Harry said smiling now taking Hermione’s hand.
“I told you first year that you were my best friend and that hasn’t changed. Nothing will ever change that.” Hermione said boldly. She knew how much it meant to Harry to know he still had a friend in the world who cared about him.
“Have you spoken to Ron?” Harry asked.
“Not today. I was planning on making a trip to his house although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it before it gets too late.” Hermione said.
“Oh I see.” Harry replied.
“Has he come visit you lately?” Hermione asked.
“No not lately. I don’t blame him though. It is difficult to come out and visit all the time.” Harry shrugged.
“That’s no excuse! He works at the joke shop! George could easily cover him for the afternoon!” Hermione replied a bit agitated at Ron’s lack of responsibility and priorities.
“Hermione it really doesn’t bother me. I mean, it is wonderful when you do come but I don’t want you to…” Harry was cut off by the door suddenly opening.
“I’m sorry Ms. Granger but you must leave now.” Marcus said rather urgently.
“What? I’m allotted at least half an hour with Harry! It’s barely been ten minutes!” Hermione said getting to her feet, Harry behind her.
“I’m sorry Ms. Granger but all visitors are requested to leave immediately. All the cells and vaults need to be locked. Apparently there’s a violent ghoul running around Azkaban.” Marcus said. “You can say goodbye but please hurry!”
“I’m so sorry about this! I will come back for even longer next week! I’m going to talk to Ragmus and have it all sorted out! I love you Harry!” Hermione said quickly as she hugged him tightly.
“I love you too Hermione. Now go!” Harry urged as Hermione was taken by the hand by Marcus and led out. Marcus sealed the door shut. As soon as they left the safeness and consolidated area of the high security vaults, she instant heard the loud shrills and laughter of the prisoners. Clearly they were enjoying the chaos that this ghoul was causing. She reached the main quarters where Max was chatting away with an Auror.
“Ah Ms. Granger I’m sorry your trip had to end shortly.” Max said.
“Where’s Ragmus? I want to speak to him.” Hermione demanded ignoring Max’s statement.
“I’m sorry I can’t do that Ms. Granger.” The man who returned her wand and purse said.
“Rubbish! Tell Ragmus to get his arse down here and have a word with me or else I will hex all of you and find him myself!” Hermione yelled.
“Ms. Granger please keep your temper at bay. You have no reason to be shouting. And as it so happens Mr. Ragmus is currently not in Azkaban. He left the country for some business that needed taking care of.” The man replied sharply.
“He left? What business?” Hermione asked.
“I cannot say Ms. Granger he has not told any of us. But I must ask you to leave now. As you can see our facility is quite chaotic at the moment and we need all of our staff searching for this ghoul. She has been known to be quite temperamental and violent. It is to your best concern that you leave now.” The man stated.
“I will leave when I see fit. Now if Mr. Ragmus is gone, surely he has appointed someone to watch over all of you.” Hermione said.
“Yes there is someone who is currently replacing him.” The man said, although he looked as though he wished he didn’t.
“Well then we’re getting somewhere. I would like you to call him and tell him I want to speak with him.” Hermione demanded.
“I don’t know if I can do that…” The man replied. Hermione’s patience was running out with these people.
“Fine since you are incapable of calling him, give me his name and I shall do it myself.” Hermione said boldly.
“Ms. Granger he is very busy at the moment. I will notify him that you wish to speak to him next time upon your return. Now if you will please see to the exit on your own will. If not, we will have you escorted out.” The man said firmly. Hermione, outraged, went to open her mouth when she was interrupted.
“There will be no need for that Belby, I’m already here. Hello Granger.” A deep and familiar voice echoed from behind Hermione. She turned around to see a trademark smirk upon his face and those unmistakable icy blue eyes of Draco Malfoy.
Author's Note: Hello lovelies! I present to you another Draco/Hermione story! Except this one has a little twist of more mature and darker scenarios than the troublesome worries of Hogwarts teenagers. I hope you all enjoyed!
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