Chapter 13 : The return
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Hermione was in utter shock…surely this could not be happening.
"Ginny…we ended things." Hermione managed to choke out.
"I know you didn't confide in me about your relationship...but from what I gathered from Harry…it sounds like he made you happy….surely you could work things out?" Ginny said hoping to console her.
"You don't understand Ginny." Hermione began to sob.
Hermione regained control of herself and quickly relayed Malfoy's dark secret as if she were ripping off a bandaid.
"What?" Ginny responded angrily. "That bastard!"
Hermione could see the anger blazing in Ginny's eyes and she suddenly wished she hadn't told her.
"You weren't in the right state of mind Hermione…you are still grieving...he could have fooled anyone." Ginny said haphazardly her voice still etched with anger.
"He did it to protect his family." Hermione said slowly surprising herself.
"He didn't go through with it Ginny, he's out there risking his life now just to help us bring them down." The words came out of Hermione's mouth before she could even think about it. Was she really defending Malfoy?
"Hermione, you're not thinking clearly. I know this has all been a huge shock to you." Ginny said brushing aside what Hermione had said.
"No Ginny. He has changed…and I love him." Hermione said becoming more sure of herself by the moment.
Ginny looked at her dumbfounded and then Hermione could see the outrage return to her eyes.
"He shouldn't have kept it from me, but I now understand why he did it. The truth is that he is a different person Ginny, we love each other and I trust him." Hermione finished realizing that she wanted nothing more than to be with Draco and tell him how she felt.
"How could you?" Ginny's eyes turned into angry slits.
"You have every right to be upset Ginny, but please…I'm just asking you to trust me." Hermione pleaded with her furious sister- in law.
"How can I trust someone who is fucking the rat who killed my brother." Ginny responded viciously.
Ginny's words cut Hermione like a knife as she watched her storm away. Hermione started to sob again but forced herself to cut it short. She knew she had to find Draco.
Just then Hermione heard Harry arrive and picked herself up from the bathroom floor to meet him.
"It's happening again." Hermione heard Harry say to Ginny as she entered the room where they stood.
"Harry…" Ginny said worriedly.
"What is it Harry?" Hermione asked Harry suddenly feeling a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach though she wasn't sure why.
Harry paused before speaking.
"They are congregating again in the mountains. They have muggle…and wizard hostages." Harry finished as if her were afraid to go on.
The sick feeling in Hermione's stomach grew stronger.
"Who…who have they captured Harry?" Hermione demanded an answer fearing the worst.
"Muggles from a nearby village…a new professor from Hogwarts…and Malfoy." Harry said carefully checking Hermione's reaction.
Hermione's heart sank with dread and she felt like she was going to be sick again.
"I was let in on Malfoy's mission. He was captured while he was undercover. I'm sorry Hermione…" Harry said sympathetically.
"I had to let you know before I left…just in case." Harry said turing his attention toward Ginny whose eyes were now brimming with tears.
"You come back home to me." Ginny said fiercely tears threatening to fall as she embraced Harry.
Hermione felt for them and knew she wasn't the only one who had a loved one's life at risk.
Harry released Ginny and embraced Hermione.
"I'll do everything I can to bring him back Hermione." Harry said and Hermione knew he meant it.
"Is it the same place as last time?" Hermione asked carefully checking her shaky voice.
Harry nodded solemnly.
Harry left as quickly as he came and Hermione was left alone with Ginny.
"I'm sorry for what I said Hermione…"Ginny said and Hermione knew she meant it.
"You don't need to apologize to me Ginny." Hermione said embracing Hermione.
"They are both going to come back home to us." Hermione told Ginny and she knew she would do whatever it took to make it true.
She wasn't going to stand by and do nothing while her loved one's lives were in danger. She wasn't going to let them be taken away from her like Ron. She was going to fight this time.
Hermione had left Hugo safely with Ginny and made up an excuse that she was going to go home and rest quietly.
She now found herself in the mountains in bitingly cold air. She had come as close as she dared to the site where she knew the congregation had last taken place hoping to surprise the enemy by catching them on their unawares. She heard voices echoing from a cave she could make out in the distance. Hermione suddenly heard Harry's voice accompanied by many voices yelling. She took a deep breath and apparated into the cave.
Hermione found herself surrounded by men some wearing wizarding robes, some bound by rope. There was a shocked silence when she made her sudden appearance followed by the screaming of her name.
"Hermione!" both Harry and Draco shouted.
Hermione had her wand out ready to attack but before she could mutter a single incantation she was grabbed from behind and felt a crushing weight all around her as she was transported far away from the cave.
Hermione had almost collapsed to the ground before someone caught her, saving her from the fall. She looked up to find herself in Draco's arms and had never felt happier to see his face.
"Draco!" Hermione cried melting into his strong embrace.
"Hermione, what were you thinking?" Draco muttered in her ear keeping her in a protective embrace.
"I had to come for you…I couldn't stand by and do nothing. I won't lose you." Hermione looked up into his tired eyes.
"I love you Draco." Hermione holding him even tighter.
"Hermione, I can't let you risk you're life for me again like that. If anything ever happened to you…." Draco's words trailed of but she could see the pain in his eyes.
"I love you so much Hermione….If you'll have me I'll never let you go." Draco said impassioned in her eyes.
"I forgive you Draco. I'll always forgive you." Hermione said and she knew she would always mean it.
"I hope to never make you have to forgive me again Hermione. I don't want to hurt you anymore, I hate myself for it." Draco said sounding angry with himself.
Their lips met in a passionate kiss that radiated their love for one another. When their lips parted Hermione looked to him seriously.
"Voldemort's son…he came back?" Hermione asked wanted to know the details of the dark congregation that had just taken place.
"Yes." Draco said his eyes turing hard.
"But he's failed again…he didn't make the sacrifices….you escaped." Hermione said wanting Draco to confirm her newfound relief.
"I wasn't one of the sacrifices Hermione." "I fooled them into believing I had rejoined their cause…I've been working with them closely over the last month." Draco said.
"We will have to wait for the other aurors to return before we find out what transpired." Draco sat down wearily in a chair directly in front of Hermione keeping his arms wrapped around her waist.
Hermione suddenly remembered Harry and felt sick with worry.
"...and if he's succeeded?" Hermione said quietly looking down at Draco.
They both shared a look of dread. She couldn't bear to contemplate what would happen if the dark lord were to return.
Draco rested his head wearily against Hermione's stomach and made her suddenly remember the important
news she needed to share with.
"Draco I need to tell you something…." Hermione started nervously.
Draco looked up at her expectantly when a several popping noises sounded me yelling and groans.
Harry and several other aurors suddenly appeared in the middle of the room. One auror in particular was holding a a hunched over man who was bleeding tremendously. Hermione's breath caught in her throat.
"Harry!" Hermione screamed running towards his crumpled form.
Hermione knelt to the growing holding Harry in her arms. There was a large gash on the side of his abdomen that continued to bleed profusely. He had been badly splinched.
"Harry! Can you hear me?" Hermione yelled desperately. She quickly performed a healing spell which stopped the bleeding but he had already lost o large amount of blood.
Harry suddenly groaned and his eyes began to flicker. Hermione exhaled in relief. He's alive, she thought.
"What happened?" Draco asked the others seriously.
"We tried to save some of them…but we weren't fast enough…we barely got out alive." a burly auror named Simon answered him.
"There were all killed?" Draco asked his tone turned hard.
"Yes…all of them." Simon hung his head.
Draco and Hermione quickly shared a look.
"We must inform the minister right away." Simon said beckoning the others aurors.
"We have to get Harry to a hospital." Hermione said quickly.
Draco nodded and instantly apparated them to Saint Mungos.
Ginny arrived soon after, desperate to be by Harry's side.
"I left Hugo at the Burrow…I thought it would be best for now." Ginny said quickly to Hermione.
"Yes of course, thank you." Hermione replied thankful that her son did not have to be in the middle of all the chaos just yet.
About an hour went by and Ginny finally emerged from Harry's room.
"He's going to be ok." Ginny told them suddenly bursting into tears.
Hermione rushed to embrace her.
"I'm so relieved!" Hermione said joining Ginny in her tears.
When they released Ginny slowly nodded to Draco who had been respectfully standing aside.
"I'm really so sorry about how I treated you Hermione." Ginny said somberly. "I'm just thrilled that you're happy, and if you trust him I would be a fool to not do the same."
"Thank you Ginny." Hermione said gratefully to Ginny but hoping she would stop there and not reveal anything she had yet to tell Draco.
"I want to congratulate both of you, the rest of the family is sure to be thrilled once you break the news." Ginny said looking toward Draco beaming.
Draco stepped forward opening his mouth as if to thank Ginny but then looked at Hermione confused. It was obvious Ginny wasn't just talking about there new relationship.
Hermione stomach jumped up in her throat. Ginny seemed to know she had said something off and looked down embarrassed.
"I haven't quite had the moment to discuss things with Draco." Hermione said quietly to Ginny.
"I'm just going to shut my mouth now." Ginny said decidedly, going back into Harry's room in order to give them some privacy.
Draco was looking at Hermione for an explanation, and she knew it would have to be now.
"Draco…I'm sorry I was going to tell you as soon as I saw you….I found out earlier today..." Hermione stopped nervously suddenly realizing she had no idea how he would react.
"What is it Hermione…?" Draco asked gently.
"I'm….I'm pregnant." Hermione said the words but she still didn't quite believe them herself.
"Hermione…" Draco's expression was unreadable but he quickly took her into his arms kissing her all over.
When he released her he was beaming.
"I love you Hermione." Draco said making her feel silly that she ever doubted his reaction.
At that moment Hermione didn't think she could possibly be any happier.
After Harry was released the family joined together at the Burrow including Draco and his daughter Evie.
The adults sat together waiting to hear Harry's account of what had happened while the children listened in secretly from the next room.
"They killed all of the hostages…all seven of them. Then something happened…their leader, his son…went into sort of convulsions, and everything shook…it was if the world was going to crumble. After a moment everything stopped and his son hovered above all of us….but it wasn't him…not really." Harry stopped, it seemed he needed to find the strength to go on. "It was Voldemort. It was as though he had possessed his son's body, it was like they had become one."
There was a collective shudder in the room and a sound escaped Molly's lips as she clutched her husbands arm.
Hermione had just began to pick up the pieces from her shattered life….shattered by the one evil it seemed would never be vanquished. They had lost so much…and Hermione didn't know whether any of them truly had the strength to fight again. She was afraid for her children, that she hoped would never have to grow up in the world that she grew up in. Now she was going to give birth to another and there was no worse feeling than being uncertain for the child's safety.
Hermione and Draco held onto each other and knew whatever the future held they had no choice but to endure it and pray that they would all come out alive.
This is the end of my first story…but it's really just the beginning. I plan to write a collection of stories that intersect and with one another and tell the story overall. I hope my writing improves with each story I tell and I hope you all like the next even better than the last. Thank you to those of you who read my story and for all the great reviews! Also, don't be upset that I'm ending my story here because like I said…it's really not the end! Thank you! :)
**I just started my story called "Tom". It will connect with this story, I think you guys will love it! Check it out! :)
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