Chapter 31 : xxxi.
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Like to tell you all I want is now
“Three weeks, and he wants us to host a ball,” Hermione snorted, rifling through their RSVPs and checking off names on the guest list. “Honestly, he’s insane.” She continued to rant, Ginny and Anna occasionally adding bits and pieces here and there.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” Chelsea said quietly, suddenly, not looking up. The three women stopped and stared at her, leaving Chelsea to grasp for an explanation quite hurriedly, “No, really, I mean just think about it. We get to all dress up and dance around with attractive men.”
“Is Pansy coming?” Anna cut her off, waving a hand dismissively at the younger girl.
“Oh, I didn’t tell you about this conversation?” Hermione laughed humorlessly when they shook their heads. “I asked him if Pansy could help us set everything up, and he said that he wanted the best friends of the one Hermione Granger to be helping and only them. When I told him that that would normally include Pansy, he scoffed and told me, quite passionately, that she was in Slytherin, darling, and she hated our precious Golden Trio during our school days. I almost killed him.”
“Was Draco nearby to restrain you?” Ginny laughed.
“Your husband, actually. He won’t let me alone with Aeos after the last time he tried to insult someone I knew.”
“What happened?” Chelsea gasped, and Hermione rolled her eyes.
“She almost hexed him, and then Ron saw her and started throwing a fit.”
“I had my wand between his eyes when Ronald noticed. It was quite the event.”
“I’m sure it was terrifying for him.” The four gathered stiffened at the voice, unfamiliar and hostile. Hermione slowly lifted her eyes, and a surging, uncontrollable panic arose in her. Antonin Dolohov stood there, right there in her kitchen, with Scorpius limp in his arms. Her instincts told her to lunge at him, but the witch in her held her still, knowing that might be the death of her son. “Can you imagine—” he began, reaching up a finger to push away unruly blonde locks from Scorpius’ forehead, “—looking on as someone threatened someone so significant to you? Right in front of you, and you could do nothing. Imagine how that must feel.”
“What do you want?” Hermione snapped, hand slowly moving toward her pocket.
“For now, I need you to hold still,” he said, and she was suddenly immobile. “There. Much better. Weasley and Potter, I see. Weasley girl, what’s your name? Your maiden name?”
“Flynn,” Anna responded, swallowing as Dolohov approached her.
“Flynn. Hm. I recognize that name. I think I killed your parents.” Anna’s whole body shook, and Hermione could see her fists clenching from here. “At least Weasley and Potter aren’t tainting the bloodline,” he continued, throwing Hermione a quick smile, “And you, blondie, who are you?”
“Chelsea Lestrange,” Chelsea managed to gasp out.
“Lestrange? So, you’re the bastard child? Your mother was Druella Rosier, just a few years after Cygnus died and few before she did. Oh, if only Draco had known you.” Dolohov stopped in front of Chelsea, lifting one hand to trace her mouth. “Goodness, you’re pretty. Would you like to hold your son?”
A tear slipped down Hermione’s cheek as she watched Dolohov unbind Chelsea and hold out Scorpius. Chelsea’s gaze flickered to Hermione, her arms held down by her sides by her own will, and Hermione just blinked, eyes closing to the world. Chelsea took Scorpius, and Dolohov smiled.
“Good, good. I’m sure you’ve always wanted to be a Malfoy,” Dolohov whispered, leaning closer to her and fixing a loose strand of blonde hair, “You can be. I can give you that. Draco would be so pleased to have such a pretty wife for his own. You just have to do one thing for me, to seal the deal.” Chelsea met his gaze, her eyes threatening to break with tears. “Kill the bastard son of Hermione Granger.”
Chelsea gasped, and her grip tightened on Scorpius, trying to shield him. “You understand, I’m sure,” Dolohov said, straightening, “Bellatrix tried to do the very same to you many times. If Rodolphus hadn’t sent you off to Beauxbatons,” he trailed off, smiling devilishly, “Who knows what would have happened to so pretty a woman. I daresay, Draco will cherish you, especially after his Mudblood is gone.”
“No!” Chelsea exclaimed, leaning away from him, “Please don’t hurt Hermione.”
“Oh? What’s this? Loyalty with the impure? You’ve brainwashed my subjects,” Dolohov accused, moving his wand to Hermione’s direction, “How dare you. Oh no, you won’t speak,” he added as she opened her mouth, silencing her with a flick of his wrist. “Regardless,” he paused to sigh and turn back to Chelsea, “I think you’ll do just fine without her influence. Come now, love, we have places to be.” He forced Chelsea to her feet, and they all realized his intentions far too late as he gripped her elbow, and the three disappeared with a crack.
Hermione screamed, the noise falling on deaf ears, and she struggled with all her might and will, but to those beyond her body, it looked as though she remained still. She knew her friends fought, but she also knew they could not escape the grasp of Dolohov’s magic. Tears fell unchecked down Hermione’s face, and her body convulsed with the sobs. This couldn’t be happening, not to her baby.
Narcissa found them like this, dropping by to pay her grandson and daughter-in-law a visit. She gasped at Ginny’s explanation and quickly unbound them all. And when she turned to say something, Hermione was gone, skirting out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
“Are you coming or staying?” Ginny asked of Anna, already going after Hermione.
“I think you should stay,” Narcissa said softly, touching her shoulder, “I’m going to need help rounding up all the children and keeping them safe.” Her words trailed off as Ginny reappeared, clutching a torn piece of parchment in her hands. She flashed them the note, her body shaking.
Not a word.
And Ginny sat back down at the island and pulled the guest list toward her. She started to flick through the RSVPs while Anna and Narcissa stared at her. She remembered the note, remembered it from the summer her brother, her love, and her best friend had disappeared, remembered finding it on her pillow the night they left, remembered knowing exactly what it meant: that she knew everything, but she had to pretend she knew nothing. She couldn’t speak about what they’d just witnessed because they weren’t alone, and she felt the familiar fear of her life at Hogwarts trickling back through her. Albus and James were safe; she just had to believe that.
Draco looked down at his watch, frowning. Where were they? He sighed and crossed his arms, hiding his watch so he wouldn’t keep staring at it; it was already half past, and Harry and Ron were never this late. Finally, though, another fifteen minutes clicked by, and he headed off back to the elevator, punching in Harry’s floor. When he arrived at his door, he waited five minutes and a few knocks before stepping in. The room looked as though Harry had just walked out a minute ago. Fresh ink still dripped from a quill left unattended over a piece of parchment. He’d been halfway through a sentence, Draco noted as he put the quill away and capped the well. His jacket was still hung up on the hanger, and a book was open on the floor. He lifted it, closing it and fixing the now-bent pages. As he looked down, he noticed a drawer was slightly open, and he went to close it when his curiosity got the better of him, and he opened it instead, brow furrowing.
Files sat there, files of Death Eaters, and they looked as though they’d been recently rifled through. Draco lifted them, skimming through, and there was one glaring file missing. Dolohov. Draco’s heart thumped in his chest as he looked up from the files, frantic. He quickly shoved them back in the drawer and slammed it shut before racing out of the room and down the hall. Ron’s office wasn’t far; they could still be here.
He didn’t bother knocking; his shaky fingers already told him he’d find Ron’s office in the same sudden disarray. A paper was just fluttering to the floor as he entered, and he jumped forward, catching it. Hermione’s scrawl stared back at him, and he read even as the edges burned, devouring the parchment so no one else would ever see it.
I’m sorry. Get the kids, and go home. They can’t leave. Seal the house. Don’t tell anyone. I love you.
And that was it. Despite his mind reeling, Draco apparated to the Burrow where Mrs. Weasley was watching the children for the day. “Molly!” he called as he entered the house. Something was wrong. Hermione hadn’t asked him to get Scorpius. “Molly!”
“Draco, dear, what brings you here so early?” the bustling Mrs. Weasley commented, coming down the stairs with a laundry basket under her arm.
“Molly, where are the kids?”
“They should be upstairs. I just put them down about an hour ago for their nap. Is everything okay?” she called up as Draco ran past her. He pushed open the door, and his heart nearly stopped. Albus was holding onto the edge of his crib, looking over at the door curiously while Rose fidgeted, mouth open in a silent scream. Draco released the charm, and her wails erupted into the wrecked room. Dying fire scorched the walls, and Scorpius’ crib had been turned over.
Draco jumped forward, scooping up Albus in one arm and Rose in the other. Molly was just coming back up the stairs when he came out from the room, James holding her hand. “We have to leave. Now,” he hissed. Molly looked at him a moment before nodding and going past him. Draco settled the two children in their seats before hurrying into the kitchen and gathering their things. When he returned, Molly had a bag slung over her shoulder and the seats in each of her hands; James stood in front of her.
“Go to my manor. I’ll tell Arthur and my father. Take care of them.” Molly kissed him on the cheek before stepping back and apparating. Draco followed her a moment later, reappearing at Hermione’s parents’ house. He staggered back a step at the flames that engulfed it, but he shook his head and ran forward. They were standing across the street, and Draco could already hear sirens approaching.
“Draco!” Jean exclaimed, obviously shocked at his sudden appearance.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered before taking their wrists and closing his eyes. When he opened them again, the couple was screaming, and they were standing just beyond his gates. He could already see the front door to his house opening, and his father glanced down the way at them, taking note of his son before jogging down to meet them.
“What’s going on?” he asked, nodding to Jean and George.
“Take them back to my house, okay? I have to go back to the Ministry and find Arthur. Dolohov.” Lucius’ eyes went wide, and he understood, stepping through the gates.
“What is going on?” Jean shrieked, stumbling away from the two Malfoys.
“Hermione will explain everything,” he lied, hot tears biting at his eyes. “Just go with my father, please, and she’ll explain.” Reluctantly, they allowed Lucius to take hold of their arms, and Draco watched them disapparate before doing so himself.
He ran through a list of names in his head, trying to decide if there was anyone else they needed to protect, but he came up short. Dolohov wouldn’t go after his friends; he only meant to harm Hermione. Arthur didn’t ask twice as Draco entered his office and closed the door. He simply stood, put on his jacket, and they were gone with a crack. He had never before been able to sympathize with Ginny until this moment.
Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling. Lyrics from Set Down Your Glass belong to Snow Patrol.
Dun dun duh!
ALSO. ANOTHER PREVIEW. You’re not going to believe the absurdity that I participate in. Fred/Hermione. Yea, whatever. Here’s a summary and preview:
It started rather harmlessly. It happened rather adorably. It ended rather destructively. And then it began again, anew and unbroken and beautiful.
Fred frowned, straightening and pushing himself out of the bushes, folding the Map as he went. He stuffed it in his pocket after clearing it, tucked the Restricted book under his arm, and tapped Hermione on the shoulder. She jumped, sighing when she turned and recognized him.
So? I know, I’m weird. Leave your thoughts, and don’t worry! There will be a February Stars preview with the next chapter, :) I’m thinking I’ll post them at the same time, so get ready!
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