After quite a long break, welcome back to The Other Reality, chapter 22! Thank you all- those who read The Hostage Situation and reviewed it! If you haven't, do read and review! ;) And for those of you who haven't already seen the TOR extracts- check those out too (for the new readers who skip through A/N's :P )
Anyway, hope you enjoy reading this one as much as I enjoyed writing it! See you at the bottom xx
Her eyes fluttered open and the first thing she felt was pain. She grabbed her stomach as she realized where the pain was coming from. It felt like the baby was kicking, except much much harder than usual. It was like she was fighting- thrashing about. She began panicking.
She looked around her and realized she wasn't in her room. The walls were a light green and she was lying on top of a single bed with white covers. She was in St. Mungo's.
A searing pain through her stomach brought her attention back to her baby. "Draco!" She yelled, "Draco, please!"
Almost immideately the door burst open and Draco ran in and went to her.
"What happened?" He asked, his hand on her shoulder, his eyes filled with worry and concern.
She clutched her stomach as tears clouded her vision.
"She's thrashing about- fighting- it hurts so much", She sobbed.
"Healer!" He called, looking over his shoulder. He pulled her towards him and held her in his arms as their usual healer entered with a young black-haired boy with square framed glasses following after her.
"Move aside", The greying lady said kindly to Draco.
"No!" Hermione cried, holding on to Draco.
"You have to let go for a few minutes," Draco said, "So they can see what's happening."
She let go of Draco but he kept a hold on her hand. She squeezed it tight as the healer moved her wand along her stomach.
A couple of words appeared in a fog above the wand and the healer scanned them and cleared it up.
"This is really odd. We've never come across such a situation before." Healer Riley said, shaking her head. "We need a few more minutes to process these results. We'll get back to you as soon as we can." She gestured for the young boy to follow her out and they left the room.
"When did I come here?" Hermione asked, her face contorting in discomfort as another wave of pain engulfed her stomach.
"The healers arrived at night soon after you fell asleep and we brought you here through floo." Draco explained. "The others are outside."
"What time is it?" She asked, grabbing a fistful of the bedcovers as her voice choked up and tears gathered in her eyes once again.
"It's four in the morning..." Draco said. "Give me a second." He stood up, hurried out of the room and returned after a few seconds, a bottle in his hand. He handed it to her. "Have this. It'll make you feel better." Without complaining, she downed the contents of the little bottle and visibly relaxed.
"Draco- is this-" She said, her head beginning to fog up. "Is this- sleeping drought?"
Draco nodded and that was the last thing she saw before her eyes fluttered close and she fell asleep, the powerful potion kicking into action instantly. He stared at her face, peaceful and painless, for a long moment before leaving the room. He entered the waiting room and everybody there looked up expectantly.
He shook his head. "Healer Riley says its complicated. She was in pain so I gave her a sleeping draught." He said, collapsing into the nearest seat, his head in his hands. Ginny sat beside him and Harry beside her, Aaron in his lap, trying but failing to keep awake. Pansy and Hayley were sitting across them and Blaise and Ron were pacing. Narcissa sat beside Hayley, their hands joint. Molly and Fleur were taking care of the children at the Burrow and though they had volunteered to take Aaron, the little boy had refused to leave his parents.
Ginny placed a hand on Draco's shoulder and he released a shaky breath.
"I don't know what I'll do if something happens to either of them. I can't-" He shook his head and Ginny squeezed his shoulder comfortingly.
"They'll be fine, son." Narcissa said. They all were worried beyond belief. They had been there for the past three hours, just waiting for results.
"You all should go home and get some rest," Draco said, trying to keep himself together. "You've been here for hours now. Ill contact you when we get results."
"Let's give it another half hour, Draco." Pansy said, leaning her head against her sister's shoulder.
"Why aren't they able to get results?!" Ron exclaimed, still pacing.
"Sit down, love." Hayley said gently, looking at her fiancÚ. "Like Draco said, it's complicated. They'll get it though. You know they will."
"It's been three hours!" Blaise said, shaking his head. He took a seat beside Harry and looked down at Aaron, who was asleep. "They have to be alright."
"They will." Ginny said, not removing her hand from Draco's shoulder. Just then, Healer Riley entered the waiting room, a parchment in her hand and looking like she wanted to cry.
"We got results."
Draco immediately got to his feet, as did the others.
"What's going on Healer Riley?" He asked.
"Perhaps Hermione would like to know as well?" Healer Riley asked.
"She would." Ginny nodded and they headed to the room where they proceeded in waking Hermione up. It took a bit of time, considering the strength of the potion but as soon as she heard that they had results, she sat up.
"So are we ready?" Healer Riley asked as they all stood around Hermione, except for Draco who sat beside her, his hand in her's, holding tightly. They nodded.
"The potion Mrs.Malfoy was given was a body freezing potion." She said and their eyes widened.
"What does it do? Just that? I mean- it freezes the body? Lowers temperature or what?" Blaise asked.
"It lowers the temperature inside the body, freezing everything inside, making it difficult for her to breathe or do anything in fact. But there's something worse."
Hermione held Draco's hand tighter as the Healer continued- "It was not only that. It had a few drops of anti-fertility potion mixed with it". Gasps echoes throughout the room and tears rose to Hermione's eyes.
"Where does that leave us?" Draco breathed, too scared to know the answer.
"The freezing potion first took over your wife's body and then the anti-fertility potion kicked in. Usually, the latter of the potions are used to avoid pregnancies but we have never had a situation where it's been consumed after being six months through the pregnancy itself... the results are very uncertain." The healer said. "We couldn't figure out what the potions were because they were mixed up and giving us odd results."
"What's going to happen?" Hermione choked out.
"We can't be sure... like I said, it's uncertain ", Healer Riley said," A baby usually won't last three hours through a portion like this- especially only a six month old one but seeing as it has lasted over approximately six, it's a fighter. But a potion like this mixed with a body freezing one- it's results can be disastrous. Though there ARE chances that the baby survives, they are, I'll be honest, very very little. Your body isn't functioning to the greatest capacity Hermione, I don't know how much you will be able to help the baby either. It's almost on its own."
Hermione allowed the tears to flow down her cheeks."How will I know if... she stops breathing?" She asked. By this point, Pansy had her face buried in Blaise's chest, tears streaming down her cheeks and Hayley and Ginny were desperately fighting back tears. Even the men looked close to tears.
"Well, the movement you're feeling right now should continue through the day- it's going to hurt a lot, to be honest. Once it stops, you can only wait after that. If it survives- it'll start kicking normally again soon and if no movement is felt for over a week then...then you know what's happened", Healer Riley said. She bit her lower lip, she hated giving news like this to mothers. She, herself, had faced something similar where her little baby didn't survive- it urged her to join the maternity department in St.Mungo's in the end. She hoped to Merlin that the Malfoys' baby survive.
"Thank you", Hermione said, squeezing her eyes shut.
"I'll-I'll leave you both here now and when you're ready, you may leave. Thank you and all the best", Healer Riley said, leaving the room.
"Hermione-" Draco started but she cut him off.
"Can we please just go home?" Hermione asked between sobs. He nodded and looked up at the others. Ron was the first to step forward. He kissed Hermione on the cheek and Harry did the same. Hayley and Ginny hugged her tightly, as did Pansy. Blaise pulled her into a tight hug and telling Draco that they'd come the second he needed them, they left.
Draco helped Hermione stand and they made their way to the fireplace, flooing home. Without saying a word, she sat down in one of the armchairs, her legs curled up beneath her. Draco sat down on the sofa adjacent to her after placing Aaron back in bed.
She was sniffing and her head was in her hands, her shoulders shaking slightly.
"It was Ritch." He said. She looked up.
"Mcenzee did this. It's potions. Her speciality."
"You're jumping to conclusions..."
"Tell me who else would do such a thing?!" Draco exclaimed, leaning back on the sofa. Hermione shrugged weakly.
"I don't know but... why would anybody do such a thing." Hermione said, her head back in her hands. "Im so tired, Draco..."
"I know you are. You're so strong." Draco said, moving forward and kneeling down in front of her. "You're going to be fine. So is she. We're all going to be just fine."
* * *
Draco glanced down at his mobile as he picked it off the coffee table. Hermione was reading a book beside him, trying to distract herself from the immense pain in her stomach.
He answered the phone. "Julietta?" He asked, his eyebrows coming together.
"Sir, will you be coming into office today?" The department secretary asked.
"No, we had a family emergency this morning."
"Oh! Is everything alright now?"
"It's actually far from alright. But what is it? Do you need something?"
"Do you remember how you asked me to let you know if Ritch Mcenzee came to work? Well, just five minutes ago she asked Linda, the new receptionist, whether you were in today. She was apparently already under the impression that you wouldnt be and when Linda confirmed that, she walked right in. I would've called earlier but Linda just informed me. It's a bit odd considering she hasn't been to work for the past almost three months." Julietta said.
"She's still there then?" Draco asked.
"Yes, Sir. She is."
"Could you keep her in? Make sure she doesn't leave?" He asked, standing up and moving towards the coat rack.
"I can, Sir. Would you like me to tell her anything?"
"No, make sure she doesn't know Im coming either." Draco said.
"I'll do that. Goodbye." Draco hung up and pocketed the phone. He pulled on his thick overcoat and looked at Hermione, who had put her book down and was staring at him.
"Whats going on?"
"Uh- Ritch is in the office." Draco said.
"You aren't going after her, are you?!" She exclaimed. "You don't know anything for sure-"
"She hurt my family, Hermione. Im not letting her get away with it this time." Draco shook his head. He stepped into the fireplace. "Will you be okay? Should I call Ginny?"
"No, Ill be fine. But will you?"
"You know I will."
"Dont do anything rash, Malfoy." She said.
"I make no promises. Call me if you need anything. Anything at all. Ill be back soon." He disappeared within green flames.
When he saw her, she was trying to side-step Julietta, who was blocking her way, a nervous expression on her face.
"I have the right to fire you, lady! Get out of my way!" Ritch snarled.
"Actually, you don't." Draco said, stepping towards them. Julietta spun around and relief washed over her face. He nodded at her in thanks before turned to Ritch. He advanced towards her and when he reached her, he moved with such speed that before she could react, he had her pinned to the wall, his fingers around her throat. She began coughing.
"You gave her the potion didn't you? You swapped the healing potion with the freezing one? And the anti-fertility one?" He spat. Her eyes widened and then narrowed.
"You have no proof!" She said, her thin fingers trying to pry off his larger ones from her throat.
"I warned you once, Mcenzee- not to come near my family! Not to come near my wife and her baby! If anything happens to either of them, I will not hesitate to kill you." He snarled, his fingers tightening around her throat.
She began coughing, her eyes watering and her lips blue as she gasped for air. "Let go!"
"Sir, let go of her." Julietta's voice rang out, panicked. He remembered Hermione's warning of not doing anything rash and with one final squeeze, he released her. Her knees gave out and she collapsed, taking in all the air she could.
"You're mad!" She said, looking up at him.
"You tried to kill my family." He said, staring down at her. He heard Julietta gasp. "I may not have proof right now but when I do, and mark my words- I will- I will make sure you end up in Azakaban for the rest of your life. And you better be praying that nothing happens to my wife or baby girl or I will hunt you down and I will force several body freezing potions down your throat. I will then proceed in ripping your arms off and making you eat them and once Im done, I will kill you in the mot painful way possible. So keep praying, Mcenzee."
Ritch tried to cover up the scared expression that crossed her face but it didn't leave no matter how much she tried. "I did nothing."
"Neither did I." He flexed his fingers and looked at her throat. He flicked his wand at made the marks disappear.
"Julietta saw what you did. You tried to kill me and then you threatened to do so. She saw!" Ritch said, her voice still scratchy.
Julietta stepped forward and held her hand out to Ritch. The woman on the floor went to take her hand but in the last second, Julietta removed her hand and ran it through her own hair. "Saw what?" Ritch's eyes widened and Draco smirked.
"Good day to you, Mcenzee. Remember what I said and don't try and hide. I will find you." With that, he turned and left her on the floor, Julietta following after him.
"Anything I can do, Sir?" Julietta asked as she followed him back to the floo network.
"You've done enough, thank you, Julie. Its much appreciated."
"Is it true, though? What you were saying? That she tried to hurt your family?"
"That's putting it lightly. She tried to kill them. And she might just have- no, I won't think that way. Anyway, Julie, Ive left my wife alone at home- I shall be going back to her now. Thank you for your help."
"Anything for you and Mrs. Malfoy." Julietta smiled. "If you need anything else, you need to only call or drop by the office. You can also contact Linda and she'll get me."
"I am aware, thank you." With a nod, he left the office and returned home. He arrived in his living room just in time to see a glass of water slip out of Hermione's fingers and crash to the floor as she doubled over in pain at the kitchen doorway. He sprinted forward, ignoring the shards of glass on the floor and wrapped his arm around her waist, holding her upright.
"What were you thinking?!" Draco asked, helping her sidestep the glass and leading her to the sofa.
"I was thirsty." Hermione said, sitting down, Draco beside her.
"And you couldn't summon a bottle of water?" Draco asked. "Brightest witch of the year."
"I- I can't think alright? The pain is unbearable!" Hermione said, tears filling her eyes. He wrapped his arms around her almost instantly and she leaned into his embrace. "It hurts so much." Her fingers closed around his arm and she held so tight that it began hurting. But he knew his pain was nothing compared to her's.
* * *
(30th December, Saturday.)
It had been a day and a half since the hospital visit and a day since the baby had stopped moving about. Hermione had spent a considerable amount of time with tears rolling down her cheeks and the rest of her time reading quietly in her room. Draco wasn't any better. Aaron was either usually with them or with James at Ginny and Harry's house.
Draco blinked a few times and rubbed his eyes before turning to the phone on his right on the bed side table. Hermione was asleep beside him on the other side of the bed, her arms wrapped around her stomach. His fingers closed around the cell-phone and he looked at the flashing screen. He almost growled when he saw the time- 01:40- and the caller ID- Harry.
He answered the call with a sleepy "Hello?"
"Draco, it's me, Harry!" Something in the voice of the man at the other end of the line made Draco sit up. Something was wrong.
"What's going on?"
"It's Ritch Mcenzee. We got evidence on her. We haven't found her yet but we have solid evidence."
Draco was immediately awake. He sat up straighter as Hermione's eyes fluttered open sleepily and she looked up at him, squinting slightly because of the bedside light.
"Wha's goin' on?" She asked, propping herself up on her elbow.
"They have evidence on Ritch." Draco said. She sat up slowly, pulling the thick covers around her shoulders.
"You were saying, Harry?" He spoke into the phone.
"Well I was at home a while ago when I got a call from the Ministry- apparently somebody called in and said that they had evidence against Ritch Mcenzee."
"Who is this? And what evidence?" Draco asked. He felt Hermione's fingers close around his free hand.
"Im on my way to my office right now to check on it. I called as soon as I arrived here. I'll tell you what I know until then. So somebody called in and said that they knew there was a case on Mcenzee and that she had approached him about the matter with you and Hermione and he said that he doesn't know where she is right now but he can help us find her. He said that he has solid evidence that she was the one who had slipped Hermione the potion and he was willing to stand as witness in the court when we find her and bring her in. Repeat it to Hermione, Im sure she wants to know."
Harry knew his best friend too well, it seemed. She currently had a questioning look in her eyes which were pleading Draco to tell her what was happening. He repeated the what Harry had said to Hermione while Harry headed to his office.
"How come you know all this but don't know who told them?" Draco asked Harry.
"The person only spoke to the highest Ministry Official he could find and said that his name was not to be mentioned to anybody but the people directly involved with the case. No body else. And my department can't argue if something like that is asked but there are specific exceptions. But this wasn't an exception so we agreed. Im there. Give me a second to take a look."
There was a pause while Harry took a sheet out of the envelope on his desk. "Draco..."
"You got it?"
"Yes..." Again, something about his voice made Draco weary.
"And? What's wrong? Why do you sound like that?"
"Because... Uh... The person is... Draco, I don't know how this happened but-"
"Who is it, Potter?" Draco snapped, almost afraid to know the answer.
AND DONE. That took a while to write but I found it very very important for it to be PERFECT so I hope it was? Ive gone back to slowing things down a tad bit so I hope thats okay for you all? There are still about only 4 or 5 chapters left, not sure which. Just as a hint, the next chapter is called "Lucius."
What did you think of that little twist in the end? And the potions that were used? And Julie?! I really liked writing her part :P
Anyway, please please please review! Im really hoping to touch 500 by the end of this story so please help me make that happen! Do review- that box down there is hungry for your reviews ;)