Against Harry’s wishes, the three of them split up. The secret sound had been made by the other Aurors to let them know that they had made it inside. And even if that sound hadn’t been heard, the various shouts of people upstairs, hard thumps, and things breaking told them that fighting had begun. Harry was pressed to run upstairs and join the fight while Hermione and Draco were left alone. Their specific goals were clear: get to Ron and find Thorn. Hermione felt a bit selfish and quite the insignificant piece of this battle since her and Draco’s task was so narrow and focused. While everyone else would be fighting only Merlin knew how many people, they only had two tasks; one of which would be executed within minutes.
Hermione and Draco quickened their steps down the end of the hall, making sure to keep their backs to the walls. Draco peered around the stone wall to see what they’d be up against. He swore and leaned his head against the wall angrily clenching his jaw.
“What? How bad is it?” Hermione moved passed Draco and she too let off a round of swears. “Six? Are they kidding? Ron’s a good fighter, but there’s no way he’d need six guards. You don’t even need six.”
“I think you just insulted me, Granger.” Draco huffed as he licked his lips once. “Attack swift and hard, yeah?”
Hermione sighed and nodded. Her first thought was to make the fight as fair as possible and that’s what she did. She brought her wand in direction of the weak ceiling and caused some of it to break apart. Several pieces of stone fell and hit two of the guards on the head. They were out cold and this got the attention of the four remaining guards who had been idly standing around as though they were safe from the tumult several feet above them.
Draco, never being one to fight from a distance, charged in and swung his wand in different directions which resulted in the guard closest him to reach out to his left leg in pain, it bending in the opposite direction than a person’s knee is supposed to go. Another wave of his wand and the man’s arms were also being bent in directions that were unnatural. Hermione was sure that Draco would’ve done more if another guard hadn’t started attacking him.
Hermione was mortified to see Draco clipped in the hip by a spell, but she had no time to react to it. She was dealing with a two-on-one situation and diverting her attention as much as it was. She was hit between the shoulder blades by some unknown spell and heard an awful crack of it as she fell forward into the wall. Despite the pain she was in, Hermione spun herself around and directed a spell at one of the guards’ feet so that he could fall forward before turning her wand on the other. Her spell got him in the face and a second later he was complaining of not being able to see. Hermione rushed forward and kicked him in the back of the knees. As he went down, he grabbed a hold of her left arm. It was in pain; emanating from her left shoulder. She pushed him off of her and kept in her groan as the man she first attacked began to go after her again.
Hermione dodged his spell and covered her head from the debris of the stone wall she had gone behind. She jumped out from behind it and faced another attack, quickly crouching down to the ground and deflected his next spell which narrowly missed Draco who was fighting with only one opponent on the other side of the corridor. Still on the ground and too close to him for her liking, Hermione made use of her feet and kicked the guard in the shin of his left leg. He yelled in pain and absentmindedly dropped his wand. Hermione took it up instantly and, with both of them in hand, shouted, “Stupefy!”
The guard was on his back and knocked out within seconds, just in enough time to see Draco falling to the ground, hitting his head, but not letting that stop him. One last spell got his opponent good and he dropped to the ground. Draco took a hard swallow and looked down the corridor in order to catch Hermione’s eye. They both stood at the same time and made over to each other, careful not to step on the unconscious bodies in the way.
“You’re limping.” Hermione noted. Draco looked down at his right leg and then put his hand to the left side of his lip. He removed his hand to see a bit of blood smeared on his fingers and chuckled as he wiped it off on his pants.
“I’m bleeding and you’re worried about my leg.” Draco shook his head and placed a hand on Hermione’s shoulder which made her wince. “You’re worse. Your shoulder’s dislocated. Stand still.”
Hermione did as he said and grit her teeth hard as Draco expertly popped it back into place. She massaged it as she went to the cell door the guards had been standing in front of. “Ron?” She called. Ron eagerly called back and Hermione blasted the door to bits. She stepped over the pieces of door and jumped into Ron’s arms, asking loads of questions and making sure that he wasn’t as injured as she was horribly thinking.
“’Mione, we don’t have time for you to be poking me everywhere.” Ron said with a small grin. “Come on, we’ve got a fight to win.”
Ron led the way out of the cell and stopped immediately. Hermione stared at him oddly and then realized why he had been suddenly paralyzed. He had spotted Draco, and his face had tensed up completely as well as his fists.
“No!” Hermione shouted as Ron snatched the spare wand in her hand, stomped over, and grabbed Draco by the shirt and thrust him up against the wall. The wand was securely in his hand and was pointed directly between Draco’s eyes.
“Ron, don’t! He’s helping us!”
“Helping? Are you insane?”
“Are you?” Hermione countered. She was standing next to him now, desperately trying to use all the strength she had to lower Ron’s arm. "We’re greatly outnumbered and we need all the help that we can get. We haven’t the time to be picky. Please, Ron.”
“Don’t worry, Weasley.” Draco said haughtily. Obviously he wasn’t fazed by the fact that he had a wand stuck in his face; choosing to stare right past it and at Ron. “I’ll be back behind Azkaban walls before you know it.”
Ron’s grip on the wand grew tighter. He stared Draco down, swore heavily and then, having no other choice, let him go. “Watch him.” He directed at Hermione and gave Draco one last harsh look before ignoring him completely. “What’s the next move?”
“Speed Owls…loads of them. You need to get a message to every Ministry worker. They’ll be on their way soon and it’s best they know that they know what they’ll be walking into and be prepared.”
“Sounds good to me,” Ron nodded and then stared after Hermione curiously as she began to take off down the corridor in the opposite direction with Draco at her heels. “Wait, wait! Where are you going?”
Hermione stopped and looked back. Draco halted as well, but rolled his eyes in annoyance as he began tugging at her wrist. “Thorn… We’re going after Thorn.”
“She’s not alone, Weasley.” Draco said irritably. “She’s with me. Let’s go, Granger. We’re wasting time.”
“We’ll be fine.” Hermione said to Ron and then, without waiting for his response, she took off with Draco down the rest of the corridor and made a left. They ran hard and fast, their eyes to scoping out their surroundings as they did so in case someone jumped out from a corner.
“Thorn’s probably in the Minister’s office.” Draco breathed. They had stopped for a moment to make sure no one was guarding the stairs. He cursed at realizing how many flights they’d have to climb, but taking the elevator would be sure to alert someone and it would be downright stupid not to think so. “You can curse me in the arse if he’s not there and out there actually fighting.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and also took a mental note of what he said. But even so, she agreed. Thorn wasn’t the type of man to be out on the front lines. Just like in Hawaii, his henchmen did everything. All he ever did was dictate and this would be just the same.
“Granger, look out!”
Hermione felt herself being pushed to the side, and she found herself groaning in pain at having her previously dislocated shoulder shoved onto the wall. Draco sent a spell at someone she couldn’t see, but as he ordered, she stayed close to the wall and then watched as a man came tumbling down the stairs. She didn’t stop to marvel at it and she and Draco began to hurry up to the Minister’s floor faster than ever. Another man came towards them on their way up, and Hermione ducked low to avoid his spell and shot one towards his knees. He buckled forward and fell down the stairs just as the person before him. On the floor below the Minister’s an entourage of people could be heard coming down the stairs, and tackling them on the stairwell wouldn’t have been the wisest thing in the world.
“Let’s go!” Hermione ordered as she reached for Draco’s hand. She slid a finger between two large stones on the wall and a door appeared. She pulled him with her through the door and hastily closed it behind them so it could seal itself back up. “Lumos,”
Light illuminated where they were and Draco was surprised to find that they were on a stairwell. He looked behind him to find that the stairs continued a long way down and then scoffed. “You’ve got to be bloody kidding me, Granger. We could’ve used these secret stairs all this time?!”
“Oh, don’t lecture me, Malfoy. I only have clearance to open it on this floor.”
Draco rolled his eyes as he muttered angrily about clearance and followed Hermione up the stairs. It wasn’t long before they were on the Minister’s floor and Hermione used a spell to cause the stone wall in front of her to become a one-way mirror. She was awed at what she saw, and so was Draco once he stood on the same stair with her.
“There’s no one here.” Draco declared, and Hermione, with caution, revealed the door that would lead them out onto the floor. She lead the way first, Draco closing the door behind him once he was standing beside her. Though neither one expressed it out loud, both were expecting an ambush. Once they had stepped out onto the floor there should’ve been a barrage of fighters surrounding them and then they would have to fight for their lives. But nothing like that happened. The floor was just quiet, and dreadfully so.
Hermione and Draco stared at each other in amazement and, following through with what they had intended on doing in the first place, made their way to the Minister’s office. The door was slightly ajar, and though no matter how sketchy this seemed and how easy things were being made for them, they opened it, finding the office just like the hallway: empty.
“He’s not here.” Hermione declared as they stepped through the door. “He really isn’t here.”
Draco sighed. He placed a hand on the back of his neck and swore. “So, do you want to curse me in the arse now, or later?”
Hermione wasn’t sure if his question was rhetorical or not, but either way she wouldn’t have had time to answer it. All of a sudden the floor beneath them disappeared and they were falling. It was a complete free-fall, and all Hermione could think of was that whenever she landed, if there was nothing extremely soft and bouncy to break their fall, she and Draco would be dead. As an answer to her prayer there was indeed something like she had described at the end of what seemed to be a ten-story drop. They landed on a trampoline like substance, gently bounced, and fell off to the side, landing and rolling on the hard ground. What they had landed on vanished into thin air, and in the corner of the room they had fallen into was the man that they had been seeking.
“You two are some ballsy, bloody cheaters.” Thorn spoke, clearly agitated and annoyed with the pair of them. Hermione and Draco couldn’t help but share smiles with each other at the accomplishment achieved of fully pissing Thorn off. “When I said there was to be one winner, I meant it.”
Draco chuckled as he stood and helped Hermione to do the same. “Well, I hate to tell you this, but Granger and I don’t really like to play by the rules.”
“You’re not lying on that one. But I hate to tell you this, but I get what I want.” Thorn turned to Hermione and huffed. “I know your M.O. Miss Granger. If you can save someone, you will. And you, Mr. Malfoy, well, you don’t really give a damn about anyone but yourself, now do you? So what can I leverage you with, then?”
“Leverage for what, exactly?”
Thorn grinned. “To make you fight.”
Draco stared at Thorn in disbelief and anger while Hermione shook her head. She loosely crossed her arms about her chest with her wand firmly placed in her hand. “You can’t make us fight.” She said firmly. “Even if you do have more of those dreadful little bracelets,”
“Oh really..?” Thorn smiled some more and cracked his knuckles with a look of utter enjoyment all over his face. “It’s funny you should mention those.” He pulled out one from his pocket and gently twirled it with his fingers as Hermione and Draco’s faces drained of color. “Like I said, Mr. Malfoy here doesn’t care about anyone but himself. So I think that’s a good incentive to fight, don’t you?”
Before Draco could even think about disarming Thorn, the literal ticking time bomb had left Thorn’s hand and clamped onto Draco’s wrist. He began pulling and pushing on it to get it off, but they all knew that that bracelet wasn’t going anywhere. Hermione looked away from him and turned to Thorn who was now presenting her with the bit of leverage that supposed to be making her fight. When she saw it, she took a hard swallow.
It was Atkins’ family; his wife, two sons, and a daughter all bound and gagged and staring at Hermione and Draco with pleading eyes.
With a flick of his wand, Thorn caused bars to rise from the ground and create a barricade in order to block Hermione and Draco in. Thorn was giddy with excitement, and turned his wand on Atkins’ family. “Ten minutes… That’s all you have. In ten minutes, Mr. Malfoy, you’ll be dead. In ten minutes, so will Atkins’ precious family –unless, of course, one of you wins… Have at it then.”
There was no playing around this time and their time was short. Draco would die soon unless that bracelet got off of him. More than likely the key to his release would have to be summoned by Thorn and getting him to do so would prove a difficult task. Hermione and Draco stared at each other. Body language spoke where words failed them and what they realized, and had known from all along, was that neither wanted to kill the other. Both had the ability to do it, but could they live with the guilt afterwards? It would be stupid to deny a faint fondness for the other no matter how much anger and sarcasm brewed between them. Relationships between people worked in many different ways and theirs, anyone could attest to, was one of a kind.
They’d have to play this right and there was no room for mistakes.
Hermione apologized for this in her mind. She sent a hard spell at Draco that caused him to stumble back onto the bars that Thorn had conjured, his shoulder getting into one of the spaces. She sent another spell of the same magnitude and it got him the back. His body twisted in an awful way that gave his shoulder a nasty pull.
Fight back, damn it! Hermione thought bitterly. She would end up killing him if he didn’t retaliate and defend what she would throw next. Luckily Draco came to his senses and attacked just as swiftly as she did. He hadn’t forgotten that her shoulder, though fixed, had been injured. His spell clipped her there, and Hermione couldn’t control her cries as pain shot from her shoulder, up and down her arm, and across her shoulder blade. Distracted, she didn’t see Draco’s next spell and soon felt her wand drop, arms having been twisted around her back and her body press against the wall. Hermione took a moment to mentally scoff that he used magic to do something he couldn’t do himself, and soon felt his breath near her ear.
“Struggling will only make it hurt.” Draco whispered. He had taken up where the spell had left off and was holding her arms behind her back tightly, making sure she couldn’t move from the wall. This time Hermione scoffed out loud.
“You’re not really supposed to hurt me.” She whispered back. She attempted to step on his foot but missed horribly. In one swift motion Draco turned her around so that they were faced to face.
Hermione’s suddenly found her wrists in stone handcuffs attached to the wall behind her. Though her body was rather free and she could twist and turn as much as she wanted, she was going nowhere. She looked up from her fussing to find Draco standing directly in front of her, eyes stern and penetrating. Hermione took a deep swallow, and followed Draco’s wand as he raised it up and pointed it at her chest, pressing it. It was hard enough of a press that Hermione was sure that there would be an indentation on her chest when, or if, he removed his wand.
“Fantastic!” Thorn was clapping in the background. Hermione clenched her teeth in anger and Draco snarled, though that facial expression Thorn couldn’t see. “Alright then, finish her off.”
Draco’s fingers were holding onto his wand tightly. Hermione was nervous. What if he had changed his mind? What if he was about to break their silent promises not to kill each other? She wouldn’t have been surprised if he did. She had only hoped that somewhere along the line he had grown to like her, like she had done with him, and that murder was a sentiment of the past…
“No,” Draco voiced. He gently eased up on the pressure he was putting on the wand that was jabbed into Hermione’s chest and continued. “Not until you get this bracelet off of me and let them go as well.”
Thorn took a side-look to Atkins family who immediately gained a sense of hope and then huffed. “Like hell I will. Kill her, and then you’ll get what you want.”
“It’s not going to work like that, Thorn.” Draco’s face hardened as he twisted his body slightly to face him, but still kept his wand pointed at Hermione. “I’ve got about four minutes of life left. I could very well stand here and die. I don’t give a damn. But of course you wouldn’t want that. Aurors aren’t meant to win this little game, are they?”
“Never have, never will…” Thorn sneered, and then smirked as he kicked in a small laugh. He pulled out a small key from a pocket and twirled it between his fingers. “But don’t think I don’t know you, Mr. Malfoy. The moment I do as you say, you’ll flee. Not that I care all that much. You’ve left Miss Granger in quite the position. Easy for me to kill her after you’ve-”
“She’ll be dead before you can even look in this direction.” Draco snapped. Hermione’s heart jumped twice at that, his tone sounding more serious than she had ever heard. He twisted his body back around towards her, his face as stern as his voice. “I’d rather kill her myself than to let you have any satisfaction in it. Key, now.”
Hermione kept in a smile at his sweet, yet threatening, gesture and Thorn acceded to Draco’s proposal. The key was magically placed in Draco’s free hand, and while Thorn’s attention was to Atkins’ family whom he let go, Draco was crafty. The stone handcuffs around Hermione’s wrists were loosened so that her hands could slip through. Once Draco was free of his deathtrap, he began to smile. And Thorn, now that his two pieces of leverage were gone, was growing impatient.
“Go on.” He ordered. “Kill her!”
“I’m sorry,” Draco grinned. He turned to Thorn and shrugged. “What spell was that again?”
“You son of a-!”
The bars that Thorn had produced to cage them were blown apart. The look on his face was priceless, and it was even more entertaining to see Draco go after him and Thorn take off. Hermione didn’t want to miss out on this, and slipped her hands through her restraints, scooped up her wand and followed them.
They had been on the floor of the holding cells, and Hermione knew that they had to get Thorn quickly. There was a Floo Network fireplace at end of the hall and around the corner. If he had gotten to it, Thorn would be gone for good and there’d be no way to find him.
Stop him, stop him! Hermione was shouting in her mind. Draco was far ahead of her and on Thorn’s tail. Just when she thought it’d be all over, Draco took a misstep. Thorn was swifter than expected, and though he was more concentrated on getting the hell out of there rather than defending, it didn’t stop him from producing a rope from his wand and getting it around Draco’s neck. With a hard yank, he was choked and down on the ground. He would’ve been killed had Hermione not been quick as well.
A disarming spell loosed Thorn from his wand, and before he could grab Draco’s, he was doubled over and dropping to his knees from a Stunning Spell. Hermione grew close enough to kick him in the back. He fell forward onto the floor, his hands and face scraping against loose debris. With a few more flicks of her wand Thorn was off of the ground and instead, in the same predicament Draco had put her in only moments before.
“Think stone handcuffs are funny, do you?” Hermione sneered at him. “Innoculus…” Thorn’s head dangled as he became unconscious. Those “handcuffs” weren’t just secluded to Thorn’s hands, but his ankles, around his throat, and also around the waist. She wanted to make sure that he was going absolutely nowhere. Draco, who had gotten himself up from the floor, smiled at her handiwork.
“I’m going to enjoy this.” Draco said with a chuckle in his voice. He raised his wand to Thorn, and jabbed it into his throat. “Avada-”
“No!” Hermione shouted. She quickly put a hand on his arm to stop him from finishing the curse and Draco stared at her with more than just confusion.
“What do you mean no?”
“Malfoy, you may be a murderer, but I’m not. We’re not killing him.”
Draco scowled as he stared from Hermione to Thorn and back to her again. Instead of lowering his wand, he tightened it, seemingly to be still determined to do away with the man. “And those convicts you killed in the rainforest don’t count anymore, do they?”
“…That was different.” Hermione said after a small pause. “They were actively trying to kill me-”
“And Thorn wasn’t?”
“But not anymore…” She insisted. “He’s unconscious for bloody sake.”
Draco didn’t want to do it, but he knew she wouldn’t let him kill the bastard no matter how hard he reasoned. He let out a groan of frustration and then lowered his wand as he watched her search Thorn for any more of those precious bracelets.
“No matter,” Draco gently nodded and felt a wicked smile come across his lips. “He’ll die in Azkaban. I’ll see to that.”
“No you won’t.”
“Don’t tell me what I won’t do. There aren’t any rules in Azkaban and I’ll be sure to kill him there.”
“I already told you that you won’t. And you won’t because you’re not going back to Azkaban.”
“What? Granger, I highly doubt that this little good deed will take away my twelve-year sentence.”
“Well, of course not.” Hermione chuckled. “But obviously you don’t get it.” She was smiling now and had turned her back towards him, now facing the wall. “Because you’re going to go... You’re going to leave by Floo, collect those millions of galleons I’m sure you have stashed away somewhere, and disappear. All because you managed to escape while I wasn’t looking,”
Draco was in disbelief. He kept waiting for her to turn around, say that she was only joking and arrest him then and there, but she wasn’t moving. “Granger,”
“Go, Malfoy.” She said sternly. “Before someone sees or, more importantly, before I change my mind.”
Hermione took a deep breath and sighed. Silence filled the air and she kept herself firmly rooted in where she stood. The last thing that she wanted to do was turn around too soon before Draco had gone and then where would she be? She wanted it to be easy when someone asked where he had gone. She wanted to be able to honestly answer and say, “I didn’t see him.”
Just as Hermione was about to take a peak to see if he had really gone, she stopped herself. She felt Draco place his hands on either side of her waist. A second later his lips was pressed against her cheek and then she felt his breath near to her ear. “Thank you,” He whispered, and then he left abruptly, taking off down the corridor and to the Floos.
Hermione turned around in time to see the green light of Floo Flames disappear. By the time they were gone, so was she. Out of paranoia she made sure that Thorn couldn’t get out of his restraints for a third time before leaving the cell floor. When she stepped up to the lobby, Hermione was in utter disbelief that she was actually standing in the Ministry. It looked like an absolute war zone with debris everywhere, statues destroyed, dead and unconscious bodies everywhere. She scanned the ground to make sure that none of the faces that she saw were anyone she knew.
She was thanking Merlin that Harry and Ron weren’t of those lying on the ground. Instead, Hermione saw them up ahead apprehending some of Thorn’s remaining henchmen.
“Harry, Ron,” She called. They turned to her, all smiles and cuts and bruises covering their faces.
“Merlin, are you alright?” Ron asked, taking in the sight of his dear friend. Hermione hadn’t looked down at herself to see what condition she was in, though she was sure that she looked more than awful.
“I’m fine. Don’t worry about it. Come on, we need to get Thorn to Azkaban.”
“Where is he?”
“Downstairs with all the holding cells... We should get to him quickly in case by some chance he manages to escape.”
“And we’ll take Malfoy along with us at the same time.” Harry said with a nod. “He’s downstairs with Thorn too, I take it?”
Hermione took a deep swallow she hoped her friends didn’t see. She then slowly began shaking her head. “No… He escaped.”
Harry’s face fell with disappointment and Ron’s even more so who immediately began to blame her for his escape. “You’ve got to be kidding! Hermione, how could you let him get away?!”
“What do you mean, how could I? He-”
“Malfoy was right in your grasp!”
“Well, excuse me for not being able to apprehend two criminals at the same time, Ron!” Hermione snapped at him. She led the way down to the holding cells and brought them to where Thorn was tightly secured. Ron was standing behind her, angrily grumbling about Draco running free.
She sighed and absentmindedly stared in the direction of the Floo. “I know what you’re thinking, but he’s probably long gone by now.”
“She’s right.” Harry said with a frown, but then wiped it from his face and replaced it with a small smile. “But he’ll be back though. And in Azkaban before we know it,”
Ron rolled his eyes, knowing that the conversation about their escaped convict was dropped and was never going to be brought up again. As he attended to Thorn, motioning to other Aurors to help him out, Harry turned to Hermione.
“Come on. Let’s get you to St. Mungo’s.”
“No? Hermione, you need to go to the hospital. You’ve been through hell-”
“I know what I’ve been through, Harry.” Hermione said as sincerely as possible. She looked down at herself and then grimaced before looking back up at him. “I look like a mess and all I want, all I need, is a shower. A really, really long shower…”
Eight months later…
The Ministry had been more than gracious when Hermione returned back to work. Soon after getting their hands on Thorn they found out how he had managed to get criminals out of Azkaban. It involved a few rogue Dementors, who were since decommissioned, and a bit of dark magic. None of the convicts would remember being shoved into a Dementor, its body essentially becoming a Vanishing Cabinet, causing whoever falls therein to transport where they were to go. Brilliant magic, awful for having been used, and all Azkaban and Ministry personnel were interrogated fully until someone (turned out to be three individuals) who had been responsible for the magic was found.
Since Atkins was dead Harry and been offered his job for the Head of the Auror Department of which he took without a second thought. As for Hermione in particular, she had been given a raise after seeing how well she had been able to handle herself during the whole escapade with Thorn. And with that raise, she did what everyone, especially Harry and Ron, were telling her to do: take an extended vacation.
Eight months, four different countries, and Hermione was loving it. She had to cut her stay in Australia short by a month though when she got an unexpected letter by an owl that she had never seen before. It had dropped a letter onto her bed as she was going to sleep and flew back out before she could’ve gotten a good look at it. As for the letter itself, Hermione had spent a great deal of time looking over it before even opening and reading it.
She had been amazed really, mostly at the expensive parchment, the ink that by no means was less than ten galleons, and the way her name had been written in delicate cursive, handwriting that she had seen many times before. Inside the letter itself, nothing much was written. It had only three words, a key, which she recognized as a portkey, and the letter signed at the bottom “Your Friend, Darius.”
Hermione hadn’t wasted any time. Early the next morning she had packed away all of her things and checked out of the hotel, but made special arrangements that if anyone had asked for her, that a Speed Owl would be sent to her immediately, not disclosing to a single soul that she had left. A few minutes later she had hidden herself away in a corner, the portkey in hand, and was whisked away to somewhere unknown.
That “unknown” turned out to be a hot climate, and Hermione was opening her eyes to see that in front of her was a large condo, built above the sand. The sand..? She looked down at her feet and then turned behind her to see the sea roaring quietly behind her. She smiled, and then turned to a voice that called to her from the condo’s veranda.
“You made it.” He grinned, and Hermione nodded, watching him disappear from the veranda and then some seconds later appear at the front door, hands at the rim of his pockets and leaning on the door frame. He looked the same to her, which was utterly surprising since he was supposed to be in hiding. But as she picked up her luggage and made her way to him, the inside of the condo became visible, and so did a mirror, of which his reflection could be seen and she then knew what he had done.
Smart man… Hermione thought whimsically of his Illusion Charm. To her he still had the same golden hair, same eyes, cheeks, and smile. But to anyone else, that hair was brown, eyes a soft green, and smile different in a way that was hard to place.
“’You should visit.’” She said, repeating the three words that had been in the letter. “How did you know those three little words would make me want to?”
“Because you’re a curious woman,” Draco smiled. “And I know you’d want to know how I was doing. Come on, I’ll show you your room.”
Draco led the way inside and Hermione followed him, closing the door behind her. As he linked arms with her and she listened intently as he showed her around, Hermione began to contemplate the consequences of her actions that weighed on her conscious every so often. Draco had done her a favor in easing that weight by including the portkey instead of his address in the letter. Aside from the fact that it would’ve been an incredibly stupid thing to do, it would be easy for Hermione to say that she didn’t know where he lived should anyone find out.
Though, Hermione hoped that this little secret would never come out into the open. If it had, she would be condemned for the rest of her life.
author's note: first off apologies for the EXTREMELY LONG WAIT!!! i know i've said before but i must say it again "i'm a college girl" lol. not to mention im doing work in the summer too, so...woops! BUT a really long chap and the end of a story in one go :)
i really hope that you guys liked the chap as well as the story on the whole. i truly enjoyed writing it. as i've mentioned a few times, there will be a sequel to this story! i couldnt very well leave it like that with draco free and hermione utterly guilty for letting an Azkaban escapee go. definitely not lol. it's already six chapters in, and shall be up sometime next week. it's called Condemned with Reason and i hope to see you guys there :)
thanks for reading and reviewing!!
-WP ^_^ here's the link to the sequel! -> http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com/viewstory.php?psid=301411
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