Chapter 8 : Girls Day Disaster
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Draco yawned as he listened to Granger and Weaselette prattle on about irrelevant things. He had somehow got dragged along on a "girl's day" shopping tripping. He was still unclear on how it happened. One minute he was sitting comfortably on the couch, blissfully tuning the girls out as Granger recounted her "date", and the next he was being dragged out the door.
"I really think you two will be fine on your own," He said, thinking he could get out of it. "Maybe Potter can go with you. Granger and I could really use some time apart anyway."
"Nice try, Malfoy, but Harry is working. And what about all that nonsense of taking your job seriously, and having to protect me all the time. You know you can't let us go alone," She reminded him, with an evil grin. He glared at her. He was astounded by how much she was enjoying this. Sometimes he really thought she should have been placed in Slytherin.
"If you two would finish bickering or whatever it is you're doing, can we please go? It's not exactly comfortable just standing around when you're eight and a half months pregnant," Ginny interrupted.
"Weasley, if you're that uncomfortable just standing, maybe you shouldn't even go. " Draco tried one last time to get out of going.
"No, I'll be fine once I get moving. Let's just go." She stated, stepping into the fireplace. Granger smirked at him one last time and then she too disappeared in the green flames. He considered just staying home, but knew it would put Granger in jeopardy, as well his job. Mostly my job…who cares about Granger? Not me, that's for sure. Right? Before he could think about it too hard, he followed the women to Diagon Alley.
And that was how Draco came to be sitting in a small tea shop as the girls chattered away. He was sincerely hoping Ginny would get tired out quickly, so they could leave. He was even thinking about trying to make her do more stuff so she would get tired faster.
"Malfoy!" Granger half shouted.
"What? I'm sitting right next to you, no need to shout my ear off, witch!" he exclaimed.
"Obviously there was. We called your name three times. We're ready to go."
"Oh! Well, it's been fun," he stated sarcastically, "but if you're ready, then alright."
"No, we mean to the next store. Hermione wants to stop at Flourish & Blotts."
"No surprise there," He rolled his eyes "just try not to take forever. I'd like to get out of there before I turn 80."
"Shut it Malfoy! I would stop with the comments if I were you. After all, if you're good then maybe we'll go to Quality Quidditch Supplies."
"Oh goody," he muttered sullenly.
Although it was evident by the gleam in her eyes that she could have stayed there for hours, Hermione only stayed in the bookstore for a few minutes. After that they headed to the Quidditch shop so the day wouldn't be a complete disaster for Malfoy. Although she had to admit, she was having fun torturing him. She was even acting especially girly just to irk him. On the way there they saw Evan walking into the apothecary. Hermione quickly ducked behind Malfoy in case Evan glanced their way. Luckily he didn't and they continued on their way to the Quidditch shop, where Malfoy marveled at the newest broom model, The Lightning Bolt. It was the newest model in the Firebolt line.
"Why don't you just buy it?" Ginny asked. "We all know you can afford it."
"I like it, but my Nimbus is still in good shape, and I still like it better than any new one. I don't need a new flashy model, when the one I have is perfect" He looked at The Lightning Bolt one last time, then went on to the next store, which just so happened to be a robe shop. At first it wasn't so bad seeing as he needed some new robes anyway, but after half an hour he was more than ready to go. He didn't understand what else they could be looking at. It was just a robe shop, for Merlin's sake. Granger barely even wore robes, she preferred muggle clothes. Obviously, it was a female thing. Glancing out the window, he thought he saw Blaise walk by.
"I just saw Blaise. I'll be back in five minutes. Try not to get yourself killed while I'm gone." He told Granger.
"Malfoy's been pretty bearable today," Ginny mused as she looked through a rack of maternity robes. "He's actually been somewhat nice, carrying my bags and all that." All day, he had refused to let Ginny carry anything.
"I've found that if I leave him to his own devices he isn't so bad. He's been quite obsessed with muggle television lately. He had never heard of it before. It's kind of like when I introduced it to Ron, except Malfoy actually likes good shows. Last night we watched Doctor Who, Malfoy's reactions to it were hilarious. He says it's ridiculous, yet he keeps wanting to watch it. It was actually kind of fun" she said, smiling.
"Aww, you two are friends."
"I wouldn't say that. We've just learned how to deal with each other and decided to make the most of our situation. He's living at my flat, I can't just act like he's not there, or argue all the time."
"There's nothing wrong with being friends with him, Mione."
"I know. Try telling Ron that." She said, sad for the loss of one of her best friends. She'd been trying to avoid thinking of him, but she did miss him, and the more she got along with Malfoy, the more she missed him. Even after they broke up, they were still very close, and it hurt her to think that he didn't trust her. After all these years, it was clear that he still didn't know her.
"Yes, well, we all know Ron can be a git. He'll come around eventually. And if he doesn't, then it's his loss. I'm his sister, but even I can see he's wrong in this case." Ginny reassured.
"Yes, I- what was that?" Hermione asked, turning to the window. It was silent for a moment, and then there were screams, and people running in every direction. Diagon Alley was being attacked. Death Eaters were swarming the streets. Their black cloaks and masks immediately caused panic. Their numbers were alarming.
"We have to get out of here," Hermione exclaimed, pulling out her wand.
"There's no fireplace in here." Ginny said. "And I can't apparate."
"Anti-apparation wards are probably in place anyway. Are you sure there's no fireplace? Maybe in the backroom?
"Yes, I was in here a couple months ago, and asked if I could use their floo. They said they didn't have a fireplace."
"Alright, we'll have to try to wait it out. I'll put some wards up to try to keep them out, we can sit behind the counter so they won't see us." She conjured a cushion for Ginny to sit on, and got to work on the protective wards. She just hoped it would be enough. She was trying to stay calm for Ginny, she knew that high stress could cause labor, especially so late into the pregnancy, but she also knew the reality of their situation. They needed to get out of there. She thought about sending a patronus to Harry, but didn't want to risk giving up their position. Looking out the window she saw pure chaos. People were screaming and running to safety. Curses were flying every which way. She desperately wanted to fight, but knew that she couldn't leave Ginny.
Ginny sat on the cushion Hermione conjured for her, and watched in horror as innocent witches and wizards were being terrorized. Curses were flying back and forth as some fought back to give others the chance to escape. She wished she could fight with them, but knew she had to keep her baby safe, and if that meant sitting on the floor of a robe shop for hours then she would. She was just glad she didn't bring Teddy with her today like she originally planned. He'd already been through enough.
Draco ran towards the robe shop, but didn't make it far before a Death Eater appeared in front of him. He quickly stunned the man, and binded his hands and feet so he could be picked up by the Aurors once they arrived. He didn't make it much further before several more Death Eaters appeared. He was surrounded, and what was worse, they recognized him. Death Eaters hated him even more than the people on the light side did. It was five to one. This might be tricky.
Hermione and Ginny continued to watch the atrocities through the window. It had been an hour since the attacks first began. The street was starting to empty. Most people had gotten away, while many were wounded. Hermione wondered where the Aurors were. She also wondered where Malfoy was. He couldn't have gotten far before the attacks started. She hoped he wasn't hurt.
"The Aurors should be here soon," she assured Ginny. "We're going to be fine."
Just as she said that, the Death Eaters noticed the untouched robe shop. At first, it seemed as if they just wanted to vandalise it, but once they realized how heavily warded it was, they were determined to get inside.
"They found us. We're going to have to fight," Ginny said determinedly.
"You stay here as long as you can. I can handle them."
"Hermione, there are six of them. I'm not letting you fight them alone. We'll take them by surprise. We can probably stun two of them as soon as they walk in the door."
"Alright, but as soon as you get the chance I want you to run to the Leaky Cauldron as fast as you can and use the floo, don't worry about me. I'll be right behind you."
"Okay," the red headed witch agreed.
"Promise me." Hermione said, knowing the fierceness of Ginny's loyalty.
The girls readied themselves and a few seconds later the Death Eaters broke through the wards. They waited until the men were inside, and then quickly stood, firing stunners as they did. They each hit their target. Ginny was even able to stun two men before they reacted. After that, an intense battle ensued.
"STUPEFY!" Hermione shouted. The death eater deflected it.
"CRUCIO!" he shouted.
"Protego" Hermione shielded herself. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that Ginny was still holding her own.
"Incendio!" She said, aiming at his robes. He wasn't quick enough to shield it, and his robes went up in flame. Being so distracted by the fire, Hermione was able to stun him.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Ginny screamed. Hermione looked over to her, and stunned the man Ginny had been fighting. The other Death Eater took his chance.
Hermione saw it as if in slow motion, she knew she wasn't going to be fast enough. The green light was coming toward her…and then she felt it. The shield charm. The charm was so strong that the curse deflected off of it and hit the Death Eater square in the chest.
"I only asked you to go five minutes without getting killed, and this is what I walk in on?"
"Now is not the time for your smart ass comments Malfoy," Ginny screamed at him. "Stinging hex, early labor. The baby is coming," she said breathing heavily.
Hermione and Draco looked at each other for a moment, and then Hermione jumped into action "Ginny, we have to get you to St. Mungo's. We need to get to the Leaky Cauldron."
They ran as quickly as they could, with Ginny in the front, Hermione right behind her, and Draco bringing up the rear, taking out as many Death Eaters as he could. Hermione shot jinxes and curses as quickly as she could at any approaching Death Eaters. The Leaky Cauldron was just down the street from the robe shop. They made it there quickly, all things considered. Lucky for them, it was empty. Ginny headed straight for the fireplace.
"Go on, we'll be right behind you," Hermione assured her. Ginny grabbed some floo powder, threw it in, and disappeared in the green flames. After she left, Hermione turned to Draco,
"Don't you think it's strange that this place is empty?"
"Yes, but honestly, I don't care. Let's get out of—"He was interrupted by a flash of orange light, and Hermione's immediate screams. She was clawing at her skin as if she was trying to tear it off. He had never seen anything like it before. Scanning the room, he saw the Death Eater hidden in the corner. He sent a stunner, but the Death Eater dodged it.
A bolt of orange light headed toward him, he deflected it, and sent a rapid fire succession of jinxes in reply. The Death Eater threw up a shield charm, but Draco kept hitting it with jinx after jinx, most of them harmless, until the shield came down. Then he threw the nastiest curse he could think of.
"SECTUMSEMPRA!" He shouted. Judging by the agony filled moans, he knew he hit his mark. He lifted the curse after a moment, and then paralyzed the man with a "petrificus totalus" so he would be stuck feeling that agonizing pain until someone found him.
He quickly swept Hermione into his arms, shouted "'S!", and swirled through the many grates until he arrived at the hospital. Granger had passed out from the pain. Her skin was hot to the touch, and he was genuinely worried for her. He'd never seen her react so badly to a curse before, even when his Aunt Bellatrix tortured her in their parlor. He rushed her to the front desk, ignoring all the protests of those in line. The receptionist quickly sent them to the fourth floor, and a Healer immediately got to work.
"What happened sir?"
"She was hit with some sort of curse. I don't know what it was, but it was orange, and afterward she was screaming in pain and clawing at her skin."
"Alright, we will do our best, but I'm afraid you cannot come any further." She said as they wheeled Hermione into a room.
Draco paced back and forth as he anxiously awaited news of Granger's condition. He wondered if the Aurors had ever arrived to Diagon Alley. He wondered how many casualties there were. He wondered why the Death Eaters attacked. He wondered if Granger was going to be alright. He wondered what that curse could have been. He wondered how Ginny was doing. He wondered if Potter knew that his wife was in labor yet. He wondered what was taking so long. Once again, he wondered if she was okay. He couldn't get that scream out of his head.
He turned around to see the Healer. He couldn't tell by her expression if she came bearing good news or bad, so he steeled himself for the worst.
"Miss Granger was hit by the Blood Boiling curse. Basically it causes the blood to heat up until it comes to a boil, burning from the inside out. Luckily, you brought her here so quickly we were able to reverse the effects of the curse. She will need to stay overnight for observation, but she will make a full recovery. She is awake now, if you would like to see her."
"Thank you," he said. He was relieved. He told himself it was only because of his job, but a small part of himself admitted it was because he was starting to care for her. She was growing on him.
He walked through the door to her room, and saw her lying in the bed. She was extremely pale and weak looking. Her eyes were closed, and for a minute, he thought she was asleep, but then she spoke,
"Thank you…Draco" she said, weakly. It clearly took a lot just to speak.
"You're welcome." He awkwardly replied.
"How—" she cleared her throat, "How is Ginny?"
"I haven't heard yet. I've been waiting to see how you were first."
"Could you check on her please?"
"Yes. I'll be right back. And Granger? This time really try not to get yourself killed while I'm gone." He said jokingly, as he walked out of the room.
He eventually found Ginny's room. He knocked twice.
"Come in," her voice sounded from the other side of the door. He walked in and saw that Mrs. Weasley was in there as well.
"Hello there, Draco. Ginny tells me you were a great help today."
"Oh, I didn't do much," he brushed it off "how are you doing? Is the baby okay?"
"Yes, he'll be fine. Harry should be here soon, he's finishing up in Diagon Alley. The worst is over now. Where's Hermione?"
"She's…well, right after you went through the floo, she was cursed. She's alright, but the Healer wants her to stay the night, and she's too weak at the moment to come visit."
"How did that happen? I thought she was right behind me?"
"She was, but the Death Eater was hiding in the corner. The curse came out of nowhere. Don't worry though, he suffered a similar fate." He said, darkly.
"I'm just glad Hermione is alright. The poor dear," Mrs. Weasley said. "Maybe I should go check on her. Ginny will you be alright for a few minutes?"
"Yes, Mum. Tell Hermione that I'm fine, and will keep her updated."
Draco walked back to Granger's room with Mrs. Weasley. It was a silent walk, but not uncomfortable. It's like she could tell that he needed some quiet after the long day he'd had.
Hermione visibly lit up when Mrs. Weasley entered. She endured all of Mrs. Weasley's fussing with a smile on her face. It was like having her own mum take care of her. Sometimes it was nice to be fussed over. Mrs. Weasley stayed for a few minutes longer and talked to Hermione about Ginny. She assured her that she would be updated as soon as the baby was born. However, she couldn't stay too long though, before she had to get back to Ginny. Harry stopped by later to check on her too. He told them that Diagon Alley was a mess. Building were burnt down, people were wounded and scared. 14 innocent people had been killed. 21 Death Eaters were killed. He told them how the Aurors had been called to several different places as decoys before they even heard about the Diagon Alley attacks. That was why it took so long to get there. This was an extremely well planned attack.
"Why weren't you with Ginny and Hermione, anyway?" Harry asked.
"I thought I saw Blaise, so I went out to greet him, but once I got out there he wasn't in sight. So I went down the street to see if he was in one of the shops, and then the attacks started. I tried to get back, but kept being attacked, you know how much the Death Eaters like me. Now I'm not even sure it was Blaise, it might've just been someone who looked like him."
"I see. Well, we can discuss it more later, when we're all better up for it. I better get back to Ginny now."
Draco and Hermione sat in a comfortable silence, with Hermione falling in and out of sleep. Two hours passed before a nurse came by to tell them that Ginny had delivered a healthy baby boy. Hermione talked her into letting her go visit as long as she stayed in the wheelchair. Draco and Hermione entered the room to see Ginny cradling a sleeping baby.
"Hermione, Malfoy, meet James Sirius Potter," Ginny proudly introduced him.
"Oh Gin, he's beautiful," Hermione said earnestly.
"Do you want to hold him?"
Hermione nodded and reached out for him. Ginny went to hand him over, but realized she couldn't quite reach. She was still too sore to move all that much.
"We can't reach," they laughed.
"I guess I'll just look at him for now, and hold him later." Hermione said with laughter still in her voice, but disappointment in her eyes.
"If only Harry was here, he would help, but he popped home real quick to get me some clothes."
"Merlin," Draco said, rolling his eyes, "give me the kid. I'll give him to Granger."
Ginny hesitated for a second, but then said "Just be careful. Make sure to hold his head."
"I know how to hold an infant," He snapped. He gently picked James up out of Ginny's arms and placed him in Hermione's.
Hermione looked down at the newest addition to the family. He looked so much like Harry. He already had a head full of jet black hair. He had Ginny's nose. She wondered what color his eyes were. "Hi James, I'm your Aunt Hermione. I'm so glad to finally meet you. " At that moment, he opened his eyes, and Hermione saw that he had Harrys emerald green eyes.
After a few more minutes of cooing, Hermione handed James back to Malfoy. He looked down at James and begrudgingly admitted that he was quite cute, not that he would ever say that out loud.
"Wow Malfoy, this is a strange sight to see." Harry laughed, walking into the room with a bag in one hand, and Teddy clutching the other one. "I didn't think you actually knew what a baby was."
He handed James back to Ginny. "Of course I do!" he snapped, once more. He was getting tired, and he was sick of them thinking just because he was a Slytherin he had no soul, or whatever it was they thought.
"Come on Malfoy, let's go." She could tell he was getting annoyed, and didn't want to ruin this moment, "Congratulations once again, he's beautiful."
"Thanks Mione," the two new parents chorused.
Draco wheeled Hermione back to her room. She got herself situated in the bed, as he attempted to get comfortable on the very hard chair.
"You don't have to stay, you know? I think I'll be safe here."
"Oh no, it's clear you'll get yourself killed if I'm not around."
"You're never going to let me live this down are you?"
"The curse part, sure. That wasn't either of our faults, but the part where you were almost avada kedavra'd and I had to save your ass? Never, Little Miss I Can Take Care of Myself." He said, smirking.
"One day you'll need me to save your ass and then we'll be even."
"That may or may not be true, but until that day comes, I'm not letting you out of my sight."
"Okay," she said laughing slightly, "Goodnight Malfoy."
Hermione whimpered in her sleep. She was having a nightmare of the attack on Diagon Alley. She was lying on the ground in The Leaky Cauldron, screaming in agony as her blood literally boiled inside her veins. A Death Eater stood above her, laughing maniacally as she burned from the inside out. She looked over and saw Ginny and Draco on the ground beside her, both were dead. She couldn't tear her eyes away from them. She screamed again, but not from the physical pain.
"Granger, wake up, it's just a nightmare," Draco shook her awake.
Hermione woke up with a gasp. She was breathing heavily and her eyes teared up, as memories flooded her mind. Memories of yesterday, as well as the war. She remembered seeing Fred's lifeless body, as his family sobbed around him. She remembered Remus and Tonks lying side by side, never to see their son again. She remembered Hagrid carrying what appeared to be Harry's lifeless body out of the Forbidden Forest, and feeling as if she'd lost her own brother. The fear she felt over losing someone she loved rushed back to her. She felt as if she was camped out in one of those many forests all over again, dreading who's name she would hear on the wireless. It had been so long since she'd felt this way that she'd forgotten how to deal with it, so she let it consume her. It was always hardest at night when she was alone. Alone in the dark, with only her thoughts, her grief, and the fear to keep her company. Only, then she realized, she wasn't alone.
"It was just a nightmare, you're okay," Draco said, touching her shoulder. She seemed to snap out of her reverie at the contact, but she still wasn't her usual self.
"I felt the burning. It hurt beyond belief. You and Ginny were dead, and I felt the grief all over again. And the fear..." A single tear rolled down her cheek.
"It's alright, you're safe. Nothing happened to Weasley and I. There's nothing to fear," Draco assured.
"I can't lose anyone else…I won't. Not again." She said frantically.
"This won't be like last time. We're going to find those responsible and make them pay." He, too, was determined not to lose anyone else. "It will all be okay, but for now you need your rest. The nurse brought you a dreamless sleep potion earlier, but you were already asleep. Would you like it now?"
She nodded. Immediately after drinking it she visibly relaxed. Her eyes cleared, and he knew she was out of that state the nightmare had put her in. "Get some sleep, and in the morning you'll be able to go home," he said patting her shoulder. He had never seen this vulnerable side of Granger before. She was usually so strong and stubborn. On one hand it was disconcerting to see such a strong person so broken, but on the other, it was somewhat comforting to know that even the strongest of them all had weak moments. He turned to go back to his chair on the other side of the room.
"Don't go," she mumbled, grabbing his hand. She looked so vulnerable and scared that even he couldn't refuse. He summoned the chair closer to the bed, and got as comfortable as possible. For the rest of the night she slept peacefully. She never let go of his hand.
Draco couldn't sleep after that. At first it was because he wanted to make sure she was alright, but after a while he could tell the dreamless sleep potion had done what it was supposed to. She looked peaceful, but he couldn't get that haunted look in her eyes out of his head. He knew she'd gone through a lot during the war, they all had, but this was the closest he ever came to seeing just how much it affected her. He'd lost people during the war too, of course, but most of them had been deeply evil, sadistic people, and he knew the world was better off without them. Snape was the only person he truly grieved for. It came to no surprise to him to learn of Snape's true allegiance, subconsciously, he always knew Snape wasn't truly evil. He missed his father only because he was his father, but he knew Lucius belonged in Azkaban, and a large part of him was glad he would never get out. However, he was thankful that his Mother was cleared of all charges. In large part due to Potter's testimony that she saved his life. She was a large part of why he became an Auror. It was tough, especially with the public's opinion of his family, but after being forced to commit evil acts to save his family, he wanted to do some good for the world. If his Mother could risk her life for him, then the least he could do is show he was thankful, by following her footsteps. The attack today brought back these awful memories. He was actually glad to not be alone tonight. He lightly squeezed Granger's hand, and then drifted off to sleep.
And that was how Harry found them in the morning. While he was surprised at first, he wasn't too concerned. He knew that sometimes you just needed human contact. He turned to leave, but he must have made some noise, because he noticed that Hermione woke up.
"Harry?" she asked groggily.
"Hey. I was just seeing how you were doing. Go back to sleep." He said quietly.
"No, that's okay. I'm awake now." She said. Malfoy woke at the sound of her voice. That was when they noticed they were holding hands. They quickly jumped apart from each other, with a flush to their cheeks. Harry wasn't sure who looked more embarrassed.
"How are you feeling today?" Harry asked.
"I feel fine. I just want to go home, I have so much to do," she replied.
"Maybe you should take it easy today"
"Really, I'm fine. I need to get my article written."
"Well, alright if you're sure," Harry said, "I was thinking I could stop by later to discuss what happened yesterday. And before you say anything, don't worry about Ginny, it was her idea. She wants these people caught just as bad as we do."
"Okay, come by at lunch. I should be leaving here soon."
"I'll see you then," he said to her, nodding at Malfoy.
An hour later Hermione was comfortably settled in at home. She sat on the couch working on her article about the attack. She was too tired to sit at the desk. She was hoping to get it done quickly, but was still pretty weak. She didn't want to admit it, but that curse took a lot out of her. Also, she was still embarrassed about last night. It was rare for her to break down like that, but to do it in front of Malfoy? That was mortifying. They had barely said two words to each other since waking up this morning. He went to his room immediately after they got home, claiming he had some work to do. She couldn't get any work done, while thinking about it. Sighing, she realized if she wanted to be productive, she would have to talk to him. She summoned her Gryffindor courage and knocked on his door. After a moment, the door was pulled open. He looked at her expectantly.
"I-I wanted to talk to you. Would you like to join me for a cup of tea?"
He looked extremely uncomfortable, but tersely nodded. He followed her to the kitchen, where she proceeded to start making the tea. He could tell just by looking at her that she was still weak from the after effects of the curse.
"Sit down, Granger. I'll make it," he said, busying himself with the tea, delaying the dreaded conversation for a few more moments. Unfortunately he couldn't delay it any longer. They sat at the table sipping tea, looking anywhere but each other. Finally, Hermione broke the awkward silence,
"I- er- I wanted to apologize for last night. I'm sorry for losing control like that," she said embarrassedly. "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable."
"It's alright. You had a stressful day." He said confidently, even though he felt anything but that.
"Thank you for…er…comforting me."
"I'm not as soulless as you lot seem to think I am. Just because I'm not a bleeding heart Gryffindor doesn't mean I'll sit idly by and let someone suffer." He was getting so sick of these people treating him like an evil creature. He knew he wasn't the warmest of people, but he thought he had proven himself to not be as cold as people thought. Apparently not.
"I don't think you're soulless. You've already proven that. It's just that you didn't have to help me, yet you did, and I want to say thank you. For last night, as well as for saving my life."
"You're welcome. But just because I saved your life doesn't mean I have to be nice to you now," he said, lightening the mood.
"Of course not. This doesn't change anything," she said smiling. But even as she said it, they both knew it had. She had let him in during one of her weakest moments, and he stood by her. That meant something, even if they weren't sure what that something was quite yet. They finished their tea in companionable silence and then she went back to work, and he went back to his room. They stayed that way until Harry arrived.
"Hi Harry. How are Ginny and James doing?" Hermione asked brightly.
"They are both doing great! They will be coming home tomorrow morning. Teddy is ecstatic to have a baby in the house. He's already trying to help take care of James."
"I'm glad to hear that you're all so happy," Hermione said, genuinely happy for her friend.
"I just wish that's what I was here to talk about," he said solemnly.
"As do I."
"Well, shall we get down to business? Where's Malfoy?"
"He's in his room, I'll go get him."
"I didn't realize he had his own room."
"We converted the office into a bedroom for him, seeing as this situation seems to be more long term than we originally hoped." Hermione replied as she walked down the short hallway and knocked on his door. "Harry's here," He opened the door and together they joined Harry in the living room. They all got situated, and then got to business.
"I've already heard several accounts of what happened yesterday, but I would like to know your version of events, if that's okay." Harry asked.
"Well as you know, Ginny and I decided to go shopping, so obviously Malfoy came along. We were there for about an hour and a half before it happened. We were in the robe shop. Malfoy left for a few minutes because he saw Blaise, then all the sudden we started hearing screams." Hermione continued to explain her version of events, and then Draco told his.
"I thought I saw Blaise walk by the robe shop, but when I went outside to greet him, he was nowhere in sight. I thought maybe he had gone into one of the shops, so I walked down the street a ways. I figured it must have just been someone who looked like him. I turned around to go back to Madam Malkins when Death Eaters apparated all over the street. I kept trying to go back, but the Death Eaters recognized me, and you know how they feel about me. I fought them off and ran back to the robe shop as fast as I could. I got there just as one of the Death Eaters fired the killing curse at Granger, I threw a shield charm around her, and the curse rebounded and hit him instead. You know the rest."
"Was there anything unusual before the attack?"
"No, not that I can thi-Wait! We saw Evan there!" Hermione interrupted herself. She couldn't believe she had almost forgotten that.
"When was that?" Harry asked.
"About 30 minutes before the attack began. I can't believe I almost forgot. Also, when we went out the other night he spoke heatedly about how much he hated Emma, and he knew that she was writing the Death Eater articles."
"Maybe we should put some surveillance on him," Draco suggested.
"Yes, that's a good idea. And you two can keep an eye on him while at The Daily Prophet."
"Have you heard anything about the Lestranges?" Hermione asked.
"We've had a couple reports of sightings, but haven't had any concrete evidence to lead to them. The sightings we've had, haven't been reported by what you would call credible sources, so unfortunately we don't have much to go on."
"I'm not sure they're behind this," Draco interjected. "They were always more the underling type. Neither of them were ever one to give orders, and honestly, I'm not sure if they're intelligent enough to lead this large of a group of Death Eaters without getting caught. Whoever the leader is, is extremely organized."
"That may be true, but revenge can be a strong motivation," Hermione countered "if they're seeking revenge for Bellatrix then who knows what they're capable of. Plus, they were always blood elitists, and with the deaths leading up to the attack yesterday, it makes sense that they might be behind it all."
"Don't get me wrong, I definitely think they're worth looking into, but I don't think we should rule anyone out in favor of them," Draco replied.
"I agree," said Hermione, "We don't have enough facts right now to rule anyone out."
"Alright, thanks for your help. I'll let you know if I find anything out," Harry said, "but for now I should get back to Ginny. I'll tell her you said hi, Hermione. Also, we'd like to have you to dinner in a few days, we have something we want to ask you."
"Sure, Harry. Give James and Teddy a kiss for me."
"I will. Bye, Malfoy."
Harry turned on the spot, and with a pop he was gone. Hermione got back to work on her article, when a thought struck her.
"Do you think it odd that the attack happened as soon as we were separated? You don't think they know, do you?"
"To be honest, I wondered that too. But, no, I don't think they know. If they did, they would have found you faster, and done much worse to you. I think it was a coincidence. However, I do think they may be suspicious. After all, of all the reporters at the Daily Prophet, who better to write the Death Eater stories? You would be the logical choice. Perhaps we should start thinking of ways to throw them off your trail."
"Maybe it's time I quit my job." She had been thinking about this for a while, but was hoping it wouldn't come to that. However, after yesterday, she knew it was the only thing she could do.
Draco looked at her in surprise. He had never known Hermione Granger to run away from a fight.
"I only mean to the public. I would quit writing my political column for a while, and only write this one. I can work from home. The only thing I worry about is not being able to keep an eye on Evan." She said, biting her lip.
"Actually, that's a pretty good idea. They would never suspect you of writing the articles if you weren't even employed at The Daily Prophet. We can send out fake tips to gossip magazines to make sure word gets out that you left. As for Evan, don't worry about that, the Aurors will place sufficient surveillance on him."
"So it's settled then. I'll tell Lila tomorrow. I don't think she'll be too happy though. It's not going to be fun to be in the gossip magazines. Who knows what kind of rumours they'll come up with." She sighed.
"The more rumours, the better," He said, but even he couldn't have expected the things people would come up with.
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