Hermione was laying across her bed with her arms and feet still bound when Ron finished scribbling a note. She was worried but determined to find away out of her captivity. She glanced across the room trying to figure out the best way for her to get to her bedroom door when Ron spoke.
“Time to go sweetheart,” he told her after stepping towards her owl to attach a note. Feeling desperate, Hermione used the time he was distracted to roll off the bed and wriggle towards the door. She knew it was a long shot, but decided she had to try. Ron finished opening the window and set Hermione’s owl off into the afternoon air before sitting down on the floor, grabbing her feet and sliding her towards him, stopping her movement towards the door. Hermione froze and held her breath.
“I wish you’d stop trying to do things your way,” Ron murmured as he ran a hand up and down her leg. Hermione flinched and tried to pull away, but Ron’s hold on her was strong. He stood to his feet and pulled her against him, moving a hand through her hair and across her cheek. “Look at me,” he demanded. Hermione slowly turned her head and looked into his eyes. She searched them quickly, hoping for a glimpse of the Ron she knew. Thinking quickly, she took him off guard when she pressed her lips to his unexpectedly. She kissed him slowly and it wasn’t long before she felt him respond. His arms wrapped around her waist and he groaned softly against her mouth. “Hermione?” Ron whispered, pulling back to look into her eyes. The change in his eyes was subtle, but Hermione could tell her plan was working. She relaxed against his chest and kissed him again, this time more insistently. Ron responded, but only for a moment before brining his head to his hands and staggering backwards away from her. Hermione took her opportunity and hopped towards the open bedroom door, down the hallway, into the living room. She looked around for something she could use to break her bindings before starting for the kitchen. She heard footsteps coming down the hall behind her but she didn’t stop moving.
“That was cute,” Ron said icily, walking down the hallway. Hermione continued to hop towards the kitchen hoping to reach the silverware drawer. “Trying to get me confused. You think you can pull you Ron out of me? I keep telling you we’re the same,” Ron told her, waving his wand so that the bindings pulled tighter and Hermione fell to the floor in pain.
“No, you’re in there Ron, I just saw you. Help me,” Hermione cried softly, trying to restrict her movement so the bindings would bite into her skin any tighter than they already were.
“The part of me that loves you isn’t strong enough. He doesn’t love you enough to be able to change things,” Ron said maliciously. He reached her and pulled her roughly off the ground.
“You’ll pay for that stunt,” he said softly into her ear before being thrown away harshly away from her.
“What the hell are you doing?” Ron asked, anger dripping from his voice.
“You think the only way to do magic is with a wand?” Hermione chastised before moving her arm to nudge the silverware drawer open.
“This won’t hold,” Ron growled, pushing against the invisible shield. “Wandless shields aren’t as good and when I get through you will regret this!”
Hermione ignored him as she hopped up onto the counter and leaned towards the open kitchen drawer. She knew her bindings were magic and that she probably wouldn’t be able to get them off, but she knew that she’d need a weapon if she was going to make it out of her apartment on her own terms. Hermione was growing tired as she continued to shield herself while simultaneously attempting to remove a knife from the drawer with her hands behind her back. Her fingers grazed across one of the blades, but she wasn’t angled enough to pull one out. Sighing in defeat, Hermione hopped off of the counter and tried to use her teeth to get one of the knifes out. Feeling weaker by the second, Hermione noticed Ron’s growling had stopped from outside of her shield. Her breath caught in her throat as she felt her hair yanked back and felt Ron’s hand moving across her stomach.
“Don’t. Touch. Me,” Hermione warned angrily, shoving away from him.
“This tough girl act is something new. I have to say, this side of you is very sexy,” Ron murmured, pulling her back against him.
“I said don’t touch me!” Hermione exclaimed, attempting to put up her shield again.
“Stop trying to fight me. You’re just going to tire yourself out.”
“The only way you’re going to get me to stop fighting is if you knock me out or kill me,” Hermione countered.
“That can be arranged. But it’s more fun this way, don’t you think?” Ron smirked and dragged her towards the front door, Hermione protesting and wriggling around all the way. Hermione’s hands, arms and legs hurt from where the bindings were holding tightly and biting into her skin. She tried to ignore the pain as she continued to fight, hoping to stall for time. She guessed that if Ron got her out of her apartment, there would be no way for anyone to find her. It was likely that wherever he was taking her, she wouldn’t be able to apparate, especially if she was still bound by magic.
Ron took out his wand and pointed it at a small vase sitting on a table in Hermione’s living room near the front door. He murmured a spell and Hermione could tell he was changing it into a portkey.
“Here we go. Get a good look around, because you probably won’t be coming back,” Ron told her. Hermione opened her mouth to scream when Ron pulled her in front of him with his free hand. “Stupefy,” he said with a laugh. As Hermione collapsed in his arms, Ron touched the small vase, and the two vanished.
It was late afternoon when Harry and Ginny walked into St. Mungos where they found George, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley sitting in the waiting room.
“Harry! Ginny! We’re so glad you’re here,” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed, standing up from her seat.
“Hi Mum,” Ginny said as she enveloped her mother in a hug. “Anything new?”
“No change yet. He’s been asleep most of the day and no one has been in to tell us that he’s awake yet.”
“Well maybe it’s good that he’s resting.”
“Harry, someone has been here looking for you. A Mr. Gordon. He went to have some lunch but said he would be back later to check on the situation,” Mr. Weasley told them.
“Thank you Mr. Weasley. Is Hermione still with Ron?” Harry asked. He watched as Mrs. Weasley’s face fell and exchanged a nervous glance with Ginny.
“You mean she’s not with you?” Mrs. Weasley asked, sounding surprised.
“Why would she be with us? Healer Grant said it would be ok if she stayed the night with Ron. He wanted to work with Hermione this morning on some theories about Ron’s case.”
“Well, she’s not here,” Mr. Weasley paused, “hasn’t been all morning, according to the Healers. We just assumed maybe it was too much for her and she left with you two,” Mr. Weasley explained. Harry’s face paled.
“She didn’t leave with us,” Ginny said softly. “She could be at her flat?”
“I’m sending a team of aurors there right now to check,” Harry said, pulling out his wand and muttering quickly to his patronous. “I’m going to see what’s going on with Ron. I’ll be right back,” Harry said to Ginny, placing a hand on her cheek.
“I want to come.”
“Not until we know what we’re dealing with.”
“I’m coming,” Ginny said firmly.
“Looks like the gang is all here!” Healer Grant said cheerfully, entering the waiting room. He immediately noticed the tense feeling in the room as all eyes shifted towards him.
“Healer Grant, have you heard anything from Hermione?” Ginny asked urgently.
“I haven’t. Mrs. Weasley told us this morning that she most likely left with you and Mr. Potter last night.”
“So she hasn’t called in sick or anything?” Ginny pressed.
“Healer Granger does not take sick days. She hardly ever leaves the hospital and when she does it’s usually forced,” Healer Grant said, his voice faltering. “I take it no one else has heard from her then?” he pressed, glancing towards Harry.
“No. But I’ve sent aurors to her flat. I’ll know soon if she’s there or not,” Harry said.
“Ok. In the meantime, Mr. Weasley is awake. He’s asking for the two of you and for Hermione,” Healer Grant said, motioning to Harry and Ginny. “What would you like to do?”
“I think you two should go see him,” Mr. Weasley suggested. “We don’t want to alarm him after all he’s been through.”
“Dad’s right. We need him to feel like everything is normal,” Ginny agreed.
“All right. You two can go on back. I’m going to stop by the front desk and see if there have been any messages from Healer Granger.” He left the room quickly and Harry turned to face the Weasley’s.
“We’re going to have to try and stall for some time. We could probably say Hermione is on rounds or something and that she will stop in when she can.”
“That’s probably a good idea. We can come in and visit to buy more time and then Healer Grant can come up with some need for an examination or something,” Mrs. Weasley said.
“We should be back in a bit then,” Harry said. He turned and left with Ginny for Ron’s hospital room. George started to pace behind his parents.
“Where do you think she’d go Arthur?”
“I don’t know. It’s not like her to leave like this. Especially after what happened the last time when she left for Australia and didn’t tell the boys first.”
“Let’s not jump to any conclusions,” George said. “If she’s not at her flat, then we have something to worry about. Maybe she was just tired or she and Ron could’ve had a row.”
“A row big enough for her to leave? She knows what kind of a state he’s in. There’s no way she would’ve gotten him riled up,” countered Mr. Weasley.
“Maybe she just wanted to be alone? Maybe Ron couldn’t remember something and that upset her.”
“Perhaps, but it doesn’t seem-“ Mrs. Weasley stopped talking when she saw Healer Grant return to the waiting room with a very confused expression on his face.
“The front desk says Mr. Weasley checked himself out. The clerk there today seemed confused as I to why I was asking. Said he had paperwork saying he’d been discharged and everything.”
“That’s impossible,” said Mr. Weasley.
“I agree. I myself have checked on Ron today.”
“We’ve seen him too. He’s lying in his bed!” Mrs. Weasley exclaimed. Mr. Weasley thought for a few moments before coming up with an alternative explanation.
“Or someone else is lying in his bed,” Mr. Weasley unhappily suggested. Healer Grant exchanged a knowing look with Mr. Weasley before leading the way to Ron’s room. Mrs. Weasley and George followed the two men quickly down numerous hallways until they reached the room Ron was supposed to be in and tried to push the door open. Mrs. Weasley drew in a breath while Healer Grant began to pound on the door when the shades on the window to the room few up. Through the glass window, they could see Ron holding tight to Ginny who was restrained by bindings and an unconscious Harry. Ginny’s eyes went wide with fear, and she opened her mouth as if to scream but instead began mouthing frantically towards her mother.
“Bombarda!” Mr. Weasley shouted, pointing his wand towards the door. Smoke erupted as the door flew out of the way. Ron smirked and nodded towards the glass window. He pulled Ginny and Harry closer to him with one arm and touched a pillow from the bed. Before Mr. Weasley and Healer Grant could get through the rubble, Ron had vanished taking Harry and Ginny with him.
“Had to be a portkey,” George murmured.
Healer Grant immediately brandished his wand and moved it around in the air producing red envelopes that sped off down the hallway.
“I’m putting the entire hospital on lockdown again since clearly lifting the lock down on everything but this wing was premature. No one in and no one out until we figure out what’s going on here,” Healer Grant said moving towards the door. “Madeline!” he shouted, summoning a junior healer.
“I need every person that had access to this room in this hallway right now. I need to know everyone who was supposed to check on him and I want to make sure they are all here and accounted for. Has anyone on staff been acting strangely today?” Madeline’s eyes went wide as she thought.
“Now that you mention it sir…one of the other junior healers has seemed a bit confused today. We all thought she was a little tipsy and just had a long night,” Madeline replied softly. “But now that I think about it, she was more confused than giggly.”
“I want to see her. Right now. And you also need to find someone to replace Hannah at the front desk and bring her here. She was acting a little out of it but I didn’t have time to investigate.”
“Yes, Healer Grant,” Madeline replied before hurrying off.
“Mr. Weasley could you go to the waiting room and find Mr. Gordon? Bring him up to speed then get him here.”
“Of course,” Mr. Weasley replied as he head off.
“What’s happened to them? What will we do?” Mrs. Weasley asked, her voice beginning to quiver.
“It’s going to be ok Mum. We’re going to find them,” George tried to reassure her.
“Ginny. She was trying to tell me something. It looked like ‘Malfoy’, but what could he have to do with this?” Mrs. Weasley asked, confused.
Madeline returned with two confused women walking behind her. Healer Grant ushered them all into Ron’s room and sat the two girls on the bed. Mrs. Weasley and George sat in chairs across the room. Mr. Gordon entered the room with Mr. Weasley while Healer Grant was examining the two women. After a few moments he turned to face the others.
“They’ve both been confunded. A pretty powerful one too, seeing as it’s still holding.”
“Aurors have just notified me that Hermione Granger is not at her flat. It seems that she was there this morning. They could tell someone had used the sink and there was blood on the dresser.” Mrs. Weasley sucked in a breath and began to cry at this news. George put his arm around her and looked up at his father.
“What are we going to do about this? How could Ron have been in two places at once?” Mr. Weasley questioned.
“I’ve got aurors on the case. Harry is trained and his performance so far has been incredible. He goes off on his own a lot and hardly ever follows the rules but I’d trust him first on any case. I don’t know where he is or what is happening but I can tell you, assuming he’s not dead, that he is equipped to help us figure this out.”
“Assuming he’s not dead? What if he is? What if they all are?” Mrs. Weasley wailed, sobbing into George’s arm.
“Let’s not jump to conclusions. I don’t think whoever is behind this has killed them yet; otherwise he could have killed them in front of you all when he was leaving with them. It looks like Ron or someone masquerading as him left this morning with Hermione. I think someone else, who could easily have been using polyjuice potion, has been here posing as Ron and deliberately asked to see Harry and Ginny first. That second Ron wanted you all to see him take them.”
“But Ginny! She was mouthing something about Malfoy.”
“The Malfoy family has been clear for years –“
“I know that but she kept saying it over and over I saw her! Can’t you bring them in? See what they know?”
“Mrs. Weasley I understand that your family has had some bad relations with the Malfoy’s, but I hardly see that as a reason to accuse them –“
“I didn’t say accuse! I just want to know what happened. My daughter was trying to reach out to me and she must think this has something to do with them. Now if you don’t call the Malfoy’s in immediately I’ll go talk to them myself,” Mrs. Weasley strongly asserted. Mr. Gordon looked taken aback.
“All right. I’ll call Draco. He’s the easiest to deal with of the lot of them,” Mr. Gordon consented. “Healer Grant, can you have these two girls put in a room until the charm wears off? We also need to start questioning everyone else who had access to this room. I need to contact Draco Malfoy. I’ll be back,” Mr. Gordon said. After he left Madeline spoke up from the corner.
“Healer Granger…she’s missing too?” Madeline asked.
“Yes. But we’re going to find her and get to the bottom of this,” Healer Grant replied.
“I just c-c-can’t believe this. She’s so talented. H-h-how could this happen to her?” Madeline said, her voice breaking.
“Madeline, don’t cry. You see hard cases every day. I need you to stay with me, ok? I have to get these two to another room, but I’ll be right back,” Healer Grant told her.
“She will be all right with us,” Mrs. Weasley told him. Healer Grant nodded and left with the other women. “George, let Madeline have your chair,” Mrs. Weasley insisted. George stood up but Madeline refused to move, tears falling down her face. “Sweetheart, sit down. It will be ok.” Madeline sat at Mrs. Weasley’s request.
“I don’t know how I chose this profession sometimes. I’m not squeamish or anything. I just think Healer Granger is incredible. She knows m-m-more than some Healers t-t-twice her age. B-b-bad things shouldn’t happen to people like her.”
“Those three can get through anything,” George said as he started pacing around the room. “But we’ll get whoever is doing this.”
“Let me get this straight,” Draco said, pausing as looked towards Astoria, “You want me to use my Mum as bait to find out where my father is?” he scoffed in disbelief. He and Astoria were sitting in the library speaking in hushed tones, as they didn’t want to wake Mrs. Malfoy. Astoria rolled her eyes before replying.
“Don’t look at me like that, this is the best way and you know it.”
“I do not. I don’t want my Mum involved at all. That’s the whole point of having her here – I don’t want her to get hurt.”
“You know your father would never let anything happen to her. And it’s not like she has to come along necessarily. We just need to figure out where he is so we can clear everything up. Maybe he has nothing to do with this whole Ron Weasley mess.”
“They found him in Goyle’s father’s cell in Azkaban. They’re going to come down on my father unless they find someone else to blame. I just need to find a way to make sure he’s not involved before the Ministry gets to him,” Draco sighed, running a hand through his pale blonde hair.
“Don’t worry,” Astoria said softly, moving a hand over Draco’s and lacing their fingers together. “We can figure this out together,” she murmured, moving closer to Draco on the couch.
“What are you doing?” Draco asked, breathless.
“What you want. What we want,” she replied, pressing her lips to his neck.
“No. Where is this coming from?”
“What do you mean? I’ve wanted this for a while,” Astoria paused, and her face changed before she continued, attaching her lips to Draco’s again.
“No,” Draco said, pushing away from her. “You told me not to take advantage of you and that we should take our time. Why have you changed?” He heard voices from down the hallway and started for the door. “What is that noise?” he asked with a puzzled look on his face.
“Nothing. No one is here,” Astoria replied quickly. She walked over to the door and tried to pull Draco into her arms again. His eyes darkened and he pushed past her and hurried down the staircase where he found his mother at the front door standing next to his father. He sucked in a breath and turned to find Astoria behind him.
“I thought I told you to keep him upstairs until we were ready,” Lucius said.
“I tried. He didn’t react to me like you thought he would.”
“I thought you talked to him about Astoria,” Lucius said, turning to face his wife as Draco watched in disbelief.
“I did but he’s so focused on other things I don’t think he gave it a second thought.”
“It must be wearing off. You haven’t practiced as her for long enough. Are you in control?” Lucius continued, looking towards Astoria.
“Of course,” Astoria replied. “Though I would suggest you let me out of her head and just restrain her. She’s only a liability at this point, and I can feel her fighting me. She’s not as weak as the Weasley boy.”
“Excuse me? What the hell is going on here?” Draco interjected. “Who are you?” he asked Astoria.
“She’s no one you need to be concerned about. We need to get down to the dungeons,” Lucius replied, taking a few steps forward.
“Mum? What’s going on? How did he get here?”
“Don’t worry about anything Draco. We will soon be the most powerful family in the wizarding world. I think you’ll be rather pleased.”
“Bollocks! Stop avoiding my question!” Draco yelled. He turned towards Astoria with an angry look of realization on his face.
“You brought him here. You’ve been helping Mum contact him. How could you do that? I trusted you! I made you secret-keeper to keep Mum safe in case someone questioned me! Nobody could have known about this place unless you told them!”
“Look, now really isn’t the time to –“
“Draco, I knew you were lying when you told me you were secret-keeper. I asked her to take me to Lucius. You can’t keep our family apart,” Narcissa replied.
“Bullshit. Mum, this is crazy. You three better tell me what’s going on right now.”
“It would be easier if we showed you,” Lucius said.
“You’re not showing me anything. We discussed this after the war. We said we would never let what happened to us happen again. You want to sit in Azkaban for the rest of your life? Mum, you know what he cost us. You can’t just let him back in like everything is bloody brilliant,” Draco scoffed, his hands balling into fists at his side.
“Just let him show you what he’s done. Then you can decide if you want to be a part of it or not,” Narcissa insisted.
“Where is Astoria? What does this person mean ‘she’s stronger than the Weasley boy’?”
“Draco, I need to show you. Come to the dungeons with me,” Lucius said, starting out of the room. Draco glared at his mother before reluctantly following, his wand tight in his hand.
“How do you even know there are dungeons here? How often have you been here?”
“I’m always here. I knew about this place when you arrived and I have visited your mother often. You are the one who is never here, so I’m not surprised you didn’t know,” Lucius replied coolly. Draco followed his father down a flight of stairs and down a few narrow hallways before entering a small room.
“Rodolphus,” Lucius nodded to the man sitting at the table.
“Uncle. You’re supposed to be dead,” Draco said.
“It’s better that the world believe that. I went underground after the war. Those of us who survived had to, you understand,” Rodolphus told him. “I wish I could say the same for Bella.”
“This has to stop. I’ve worked hard to better the Malfoy name and I will not let you two destroy it again.”
“Just hear what we have to say first, Draco.”
“Maybe you should show him.”
“Show me what?” Draco asked. Lucius pushed open a door at the back of the room that led to a smaller room. There was a chair sitting next to a table, which held what looked like a complicated potion. “What is this?”
“Look through here,” Lucius said, pointing towards the wall. Draco turned his head to find Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Harry all sitting chained to chairs, unconscious.
“Father, what the hell have you bloody done? You have been behind Ron Weasley’s disappearance? Do you know how hard I’ve worked to convince the Ministry that you weren’t a part of this?”
“Relax, Draco. Let me explain,” Lucius said calmly.
“Please try. This had better be good,” Draco said. He crossed his arms and turned to listen to his father.
A/N: Please review :)