Draco spat blood onto the clean floor, grimacing at the taste. He’d taken a nasty punch to the face while fending off all six of the idiots that Lorelei and August had sent after him. Once he had left the safety of his apartment, he was susceptible to Lorelei’s locating spells. He could have handled three or four, but six was simply a case of being outnumbered. No amount of skill would have helped him there.
In the end, he’d simply surrendered as their fight had taken them closer and closer to where Hermione slept, invisible and oblivious to the battle going on around her. He had tracked her, had known somehow that Hermione would flee to the cemetery where that idiot Weasley was buried—it was in her nature.
Once he’d seen her lying against Weasley’s grave, sleeping like the dead—pardon the pun—he’d wanted to take her away from the dismal place immediately. He despised graveyards, always had. Draco had spent a few uncharacteristic minutes watching her sleep. She looked so peaceful and untroubled, even though she was sleeping in a cemetery.
Those minutes turned out to be a mistake, as Draco heard not-so-stealthy footsteps approaching him. He used the few seconds that he had to hide Hermione from sight and block any sound from reaching her ears; if she saw him fighting, she would try to help him. It wasn’t worth putting her in danger when he was getting what he wanted anyway: to be taken back to the Lorelei’s hideout.
This wasn’t so bad, anyway. His wand had been taken from him and other than the painful burn on his arm and blow to the face that he had received from the battle, he was perfectly fine. He was even being kept in one of the small rooms where customers were brought to learn their curses instead of some prison cage. He reclined lazily on one of the comfortable chairs that occupied the room.
The door opened with a bang but Draco remained relaxed, his eyes half shut as he rested in the chair. Though he looked off-guard and at ease, it was only an illusion.
“Draco, Draco, Draco,” murmured Lorelei as she stepped lightly into the room. She wore tight-fitting dress robes in shimmering green paired with black heels. She held her wand warily, ready for anything. Draco could see the outline of a knife against her thigh as well. He was unarmed, but that didn’t stop her from being prepared for anything. Draco could say one thing about her: she had learned.
Draco didn’t reply, though a smirk touched his lips. Even in the face of death, he showed no fear. He had supreme confidence in his ability to get himself out of this situation, though as of yet he had no concrete plan.
“What is so funny?” Lorelei snapped, seeming frustrated with his lack of fear. “Nothing will please me more than to watch you die—that is, after we take care of your precious Auror.”
Draco’s smirk froze in place.
“Did you honestly think that you could betray us without us realizing that the auction girl you hired was an undercover Auror?” Lorelei mocked him, her eyes bright with victory. She circled his chair slowly, wanting to see every last effect that her words were having on him. “What a surprise it was to discover that not only are you working with her, but the two of you are...involved.”
With a slight wave of her wand, a pink heart made of smoke appeared in the air in front of Draco. The heart ripped jaggedly in two and fluttered sadly to the ground, where it disappeared into smoky flames. “When she arrives tonight for the auction, she’ll be walking straight into our trap. Tell me, Draco,” she said, whispering into his ear as she stood behind him. “How will it feel to watch her burn before your eyes?”
Draco’s control snapped. Without taking the time to turn around, his arms shot behind him and gripped Lorelei by the throat. He felt her neck beneath his hands and squeezed hard. Flames seared his leg as Lorelei aimed a frantic spell at him, forcing him to let go.
“Incarcerous!” Lorelei gasped, rubbing her neck as ropes shot forth from the end of her wand.
Draco toppled to the ground as the ropes bound his arms behind his back and his ankles together. He struggled mightily against his restraints, his muscles flexing against the rough cords that only tightened the more he struggled. Finally he gave up, chest heaving with exertion, and glared daggers up at Lorelei.
Finally having recovered from her brush with strangulation, Lorelei sat in Draco’s vacated chair. She reached down and dragged her red-painted nails lightly over the red burn she’d just inflicted upon his leg. Draco hissed in pain but made no other sound.
“Looks painful,” she observed detachedly, relaxing back in the chair. “Of course, that’s nothing compared to what’s going to happen to Miss Hermione Granger.”
At hearing Hermione’s name, Draco paled even further. This proved without a doubt that Lorelei wasn’t bluffing. He knew exactly who Hermione was. “How did you know?” he spat. They had been so careful!
“How didn’t we know?!” Lorelei laughed. She twirled her wand between her fingers. “The unreported alarm at the London hideout, then you were followed to La Lanterna, and not to mention the Legilimens we used on the girl once she was captured. Once you betrayed us, a simple tracking charm revealed that she traveled straight to your apartment in London—the one that you and I spent that weekend in April at?”
It was all his fault, Draco realized. He had been careless, and now Hermione was the one who would suffer for it. To top it off, he had gotten himself captured and was unable to warn or help her. “What are you going to do to her?” he asked, working hard to keep the guilt from his voice.
“You’ll just have to wait and see. Can’t ruin the surprise, now can I?”
“You won't get away with it,” Draco said coolly, opting for a casual demeanor as he fixed his gaze on the ceiling.
“I think you'll find that you're very much mistaken,” Lorelei said, chuckling a bit at Draco’s naiveté. “Ah, how the pain of watching her die will be a nice preamble to your own—”
“Tell me about the boy,” Draco interrupted, unable to stand Lorelei’s gloating about Hermione’s death for another second. He was pleased when Lorelei’s jaw dropped.
“What boy?” she asked, a little unsteadily.
“Did you honestly think I wouldn’t figure it out?” Draco said disparagingly, echoing her words from earlier. “I know you have a little boy named Max locked up in this godforsaken place. I also know that you’re somehow having him create disgusting curses for you.”
Lorelei recovered slightly, appearing pleased that he had not yet figured out the entire story. “Jealous that he’s not yours, are you?” she said cockily.
“Thank Merlin he’s not mine,” Draco retorted nastily. “The mixing of my genes with your dirty ones would be a sad occurrence indeed.”
“That child is more than you’ll ever be!” Lorelei growled, her foot lashing out to connect with Draco’s side. “He is the future king of this world. I can harness his uncontrolled child’s magic and make it work however I want!”
“You can’t control child’s magic,” Draco snarled, ignoring her kick. “It’s dangerous; that’s why parents normally bind their children’s powers until they turn eight! You’re a fool to use it; it could kill you both if you aren’t careful. Although I’d say good riddance.”
“A fool?” Lorelei repeated disbelievingly. “Let’s see...of the two of us, who is currently tied up and about to be destroyed along with his girlfriend by these powers that you say are so dangerous? You. And I’m the fool? Hardly, Draco.”
Before Draco could reply with a nasty retort, Lorelei glanced at the clock. “Best get you cleaned up, eh? It wouldn’t do to have you looking all woebegone for our guests tonight,” Lorelei giggled, ignoring Draco’s snarled protests.
Just as the second hand of the clock moved to signal 5:50 p.m., the Portkey in Hermione’s hand glowed blue and jerked her with it as it took her to her destination. Hermione’s feet hit the ground hard on concrete; she winced at the impact.
It took her only a second to look down and realize that she was standing on a red X that had been scrawled on the hard floor. She whipped her head up and realized that she was surrounded by a group of men, all with their wands aimed directly at her chest. “Expelliarmus!” they yelled. The force of their combined curses ripped her wand from her hand and sent her flying backwards to slam hard into the wall with a sickening crack. Hermione nearly blacked out from the force of the impact. Her knees weak, she leaned against the wall for balance.
"What’s going on?” she asked in confusion. She knew that her Polyjuice potion was perfect; maybe she could talk her way out of this if she didn’t break character.
“Nice try,” Lorelei said, pushing past the men with a triumphant smirk on her face. August followed, a vial of potion in his hand. Hermione flinched as he approached, but was still too stunned from hitting the wall to put up much of a fight. August grabbed her chin in one strong hand and forced the potion down her throat with another.
The potion was spicy and salty, burning her throat on the way down. As the warmth settled in her stomach, it spread through her body from head to toe. The familiar stretching sensation made her realize that she was being forcibly changed back into her own body. She was found out!
“Let’s go,” Lorelei said harshly, gesturing to two of the men. “We have little time before the auction.”
Hermione was grabbed and forced to walk with the group as they left the room. She struggled against her captors, but without a wand she was helpless.
“In here,” Lorelei directed. Hermione was shoved roughly into an empty room with nothing in it but nondescript grey carpet on the floor. “Get everything ready!” she snapped at the others, who left immediately.
August entered the room behind Lorelei and slammed the door.
Hermione backed against the wall, holding back her fear. She didn’t have any idea how to escape this.
Lorelei approached her almost predatorily. “Crucio!” she hissed.
Pain surged through Hermione’s body, igniting every inch of her nerves. Her mouth opened in a wordless scream as she hit the ground hard, her twitching limbs unable to support her.
It felt like ages until the curse was lifted by a laughing Lorelei. “Tell me, are any of your Aurors coming to protect you? Harry Potter, perhaps?”
Tears poured from Hermione’s eyes uncontrollably. “No!” she cried, curling up into a ball in a futile attempt to protect herself.
The pain came back, attacking her body and leaving her senseless and screaming. “No! No, I swear they aren’t coming!”
Lorelei stopped the curse after another long minute, turning questioningly to August.
“She’s telling the truth,” he answered in that harsh voice of his.
Lorelei nodded. “Revelio,” she said, waving her wand at the blank wall opposite the sobbing Hermione.
Previously hidden by a charm, Draco was now revealed to be sitting casually in a chair against the wall, looking quite relaxed. His face was blank, though if one gazed at him for a few moments, his lips appeared to twitch every once in a while.
“Draco?” Hermione whispered questioningly, sitting up weakly.
“Imperius Curse,” Lorelei said lightly, walking over to Draco and stroking the side of his cheek mockingly. For a split second, Draco broke free of the curse and managed to get into a half-standing position before August’s face tightened in concentration and he was pulled into the curse once more. “He’s going to watch you die, and be completely helpless while doing so. Now, let the auction begin!”
Finally getting back into the swing of things, so enjoy the latest update and I'll be quicker with the next. Love you guys! :)