Chapter 15 : Blood
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Draco sat and listened to Hermione’s steady breathing as he watched the beginnings of the sun rise. The clouds were coated in a golden lining and pink streaks of light began to fill the sky. He didn’t know exactly what time it was or how long he had been sat up in the astronomy tower with Hermione in his arms. Draco, unlike Hermione hadn’t been able to fall asleep and instead stayed awake thinking through everything that had happened and if any other news would strike the fragile girl in his arms in the near future. He sighed, as much as he would rather sit in the peaceful silence he knew he had classes today and so gently he removed his arms from around Hermione and began to stand up. He was hoping that she too would awake when he moved but alas, she didn’t. Instead he bent his knees and slowly scooped her up into his arms to carry her back to the common room. Manoeuvring the door hadn’t been easy with no free hands but he soon managed and reached the hallways. Usually Draco felt safe in the school corridors but there was something eerie about this morning. Cold air hung around him and he pulled Hermione closer to him. It was strangely silent in the stone hallways, he knew it was early but usually the portraits would be conversing by now. Then he realised. There were no portraits. The frames did indeed hang on the walls as they always did but each one he passed was empty. No knights, no famous witches and wizards, no scenery, nothing. He turned the corner and again no portraits. Down the next hallway, no portraits. Up the stairs, along another hallway around a corner and still, silence and no portraits. He began to quicken his pace as he reached the last hallway before the common room door. He stopped suddenly. The final hallway was indeed silent too but every member of every portrait in the school was squashed together around the common room door.
“Excuse me?” Draco asked politely as he reached the only empty portrait in the hallway, the founder’s one. “Excuse me?” he asked again, louder this time.
“Shhh! We can’t hear!” a knight said waving his hand, it was only until the man in shining armour turned around in the portrait that he took a gasp of air. “Mr Malfoy,” he said with a look of grief. At the sound of his name every member of the portraits turned their head and looked at him in silence. “Rowena, Rowena! They are here!” the knight called. Within seconds the graceful Ravenclaw appeared from the trees, her facial expression not giving away anything that was going on.
“Come in Mr Malfoy, “She said softly and the portrait door opened and every other portrait member peered in, trying to catch a glimpse of what was going on. Draco stepped inside and was overwhelmed with questions of whether Hermione was okay.
“Well I’m brilliant now that you’ve all woken me up,” she mumbled from Draco’s arms and he smirked at her as he put her down on the only armchair left.
“Budge up,” he smiled and Hermione moved over so that they were both squashed onto the chair. They looked around the room to see many eyes watching them. All the seventh years were on one sofa along with Luna and Ginny. The Weasley clan sat on another sofa along with the other parents of the seventh years. Seated at what appeared to be the head of the semi circle was The Head Mistress, all the previous head teacher portraits, all of the professors, the Minister and all the head of departments at the Ministry as well as the founders Portrait, Draco’s elemental teacher and an elderly women that none of the students had seen before.
“Hermione dear, how are you feeling?” Mrs Weasley asked from her seat.
"I just found out that my dead mother was adopted by the world’s darkest wizard for who knows what reason, so how do you think I feel Mrs Weasley?" Hermione snapped.
"Hey, calm down," Draco said soothingly as he put his arm around her in comfort, "She is just trying to be kind," Hermione sighed.
"I know, I'm sorry Molly," she smiled up at the red headed mother.
"Now that you are all here we can begin the Order Meeting," Miss McGonagall began.
"I'm sorry headmistress for a moment I thought you said an ORDER meeting," Harry looked confused
"That is correct Mr Potter, now,"
"But there are people...certain people in this room that are not part of the order," Ron looked at the Slytherins in particular.
"Well Mr Weasley that is not..."
"I'm sorry what in Merlins name is this Order?" Blaise asked.
"If you would ALL stop interrupting maybe I could explain?" Miss McGonagall paused to see if anyone else would interrupt but nobody dared to attempt it. "Now then, for those of you who do not know The Order of the Phoenix is a secret society founded by Albus Dumbledore to oppose Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. In recent time the Order has been undertaking missions that could relate to other dark wizards and keeping society safe. It is after much consideration that we have decided that everyone in this room is to become a member of the Order, unless of course they do not wish too,"
"I would be honoured," Anthony spoke up
And so everyone in the common room was enrolled as an official member of The Order of the Phoenix. The next thing on everyone's mind was why this decision had been made and why the meeting had been called.
"The Minister, Albus, Snape and myself have made the decision to send you 12 students on a mission," Miss McGonagall began and noticed Ginny about to speak up but she cut her off, "Yes Miss Weasley, yourself and Miss Lovegood are included in that group. Your mission will be undertaken at Castle Black in a remote area of Scotland." As the head mistress pause Draco noticed Salazar Slytherin slowly walk quickly but smoothly back into the trees on his portrait but Draco pushed the strange action aside and began to listen to the Minister give them a debrief of the location.
"Castle Black has been uninhabited for hundreds of years. It once belonged to a muggle man that married into a Wizarding family but they died with no heirs so the Castle was given to the Ministry. It isn't in perfect condition so you will need to adapt only a few certain rooms to meet your needs. You may wonder why you are being sent to an abandoned castle and well, the castle is where many unclaimed possessions go when a wizard or witch dies and contains some of the largest archives on the Wizarding world as well as the muggle world. It is your job to sort through them," The Minister said with authority, he had the sort of voice that silenced a room and made everybody listen.
"It's all very well that there are so many valuable artefacts and information in the Castle sir, don't get me wrong I look forward to the history but what is exactly the reason for all of this?" Hermione asked from her seat next to Draco. The headmistress and Kinglsey shared a look and were silent for a moment.
"Will somebody tell the girl the reason before we all fall asleep," Snape said from his portrait.
"Hermione dear, this isn't something that is going to be easy for you to except," Dumbledore began and she could see in his eyes that there was no happiness involved in what he was going to tell her. "If you remember, a month or so ago you came across a small leather notebook. I cannot remember exactly what the conclusion was but,"
"I have the book here," the elderly woman that nobody knew spoke up and recited word for word from the book, "I have finalised my method, and therefore my plan. I have created a scientific method of transferring my own blood and magic through a muggle so that their child will have my magical abilities and my blood so in terms of blood I will be their grandfather. The child will never know this. I plan to adopt a muggle child and use the method on them they will not develop any magical abilities but when they have a child of their own, that child will be thought of as a muggleborn. But on the contrary, they will be related to me by blood. Nobody will know who I am, nobody will know the muggle child and nobody will know the magical grandchild, “she finished and closed the notebook delicately.
"Yes, I-I remember," Hermione swallowed, her throat drying.
"Now to begin with we thought it was a coincidence that Tom Riddle had adopted your mother for a short period of time, the same time period in the notebook but after the depth of this nights research we have come to the conclusion that the notebook did Indeed belong to Voldemort and your mother was the muggle he injected the blood into," the old man told her sadly.
"But that would mean...I mean I can't be....I'm Voldemort’s granddaughter by blood," she whispered in horror. There were no gasps of shock or surprise, the adults were silent, most likely having already been told and the other students sat wide eyed unable to put words together.
"No. There’s a mistake, there has to be a mistake," Draco said quietly from her side.
"This is where Mrs Brander comes into it all. She is head of the Muggle and Wizarding adoption archives. She contains records of every single muggle and Wizarding orphanage, child and adoption," Miss McGonagall told them and the elderly lady rose from her seat. She was a tall stick like women with an afro of grey hair and glasses hanging on a chain around her neck.
"The headmistress contacted me urgently last night when Draco told her about the letter and asked me to search the archives. I found your mothers adoption certificate in the files and came to the school with her folder. The writing on the certificate matches that of the writing in the notebook. I'm sorry Miss Granger but the information all slots together." the elderly lady said in a soft and quiet voice.
"I know this is difficult for you Hermione but you are key to this mission. We need you and the others to stay at Castle Black and search everything there for something, anything that might explain why Voldemort did this to your mother and why he needed a blood related granddaughter," Kinglsey told her. Hermione couldn't speak and instead she nodded and held back the tears. Next to her she felt Draco hold her hand soothingly, knowing that she was far from calm at this moment in time.
"Mr Malfoy, this also includes you. As you know from the Malfoy Prophecy there is some form of link between you and Hermione which means that we are also looking for any information on the Malfoy family should you come across it," The minister said looking towards him.
"Yes sir," Draco nodded.
"We understand that this is not easy, the Castle will not be easy to live in, we have however installed a floo network so that the other Order members and Aurors can check on you each day. We do not have house elves spare so the food that we supply will need to be prepared and cooked by yourselves. You will need to renovate the hall using magic for you to live in but aside from that the next 2 months should be easy." the head mistress finished.
"TWO MONTHS!" all of the students shouted together, great Hermione thought, she had missed her education last year and it seemed the same thing would happen this year.
"We know this interrupts with your school work but as you are working under the Ministry as well as the Order and future careers you aim for will be helped by a reference from myself," the Minister boomed. They all fell silent knowing that a reference from the Minister of Magic was better than good grades seeing as he was the most influential man in the Wizarding world.
"We know this is all very sudden but we need to start as soon as possible so could you all go and pack your trunks please," the headmistress told them in a softer voice.
Hermione looked around her room, checking that she had everything in her trunk. She had packed everything that she could possibly fit meaning she had shrunk an awful lot of items. Letting out a heavy sigh she closed her trunk and looked out of the window. Would it really only be two months? Or would it be much longer until she saw the Hogwarts grounds again. She couldn’t help but get the feeling that there was something they hadn’t been told, another reason that they were being sent to a Ministry guarded building, if you could even call the derelict castle a building.
“Hermione?” she heard someone say quietly from the doorway.
“Come in,” she called and turned around as Harry walked in.
“How are you doing?”
“Honestly, I have no idea what to think or how to feel right now Harry,” she turned back towards the window.
“It’s all going to be okay,” he said and put his arm around her like he used to when she was upset.
“How do you know that?” she whispered.
“I don’t, but you used to always say it to me so I figured it would work in this situation,” he smiled and she couldn’t help but smile back at his efforts to cheer her up. “Come on, we better head over to Miss McGonagall’s office, Kingsley said we were going to the Ministry first by portkey then floo to the Castle.”
Hermione didn’t say much as the group of them walked through the hallways the Headmistresses office. Draco explain the Malfoy Prophecy to them all while Hermione watched the younger Hogwarts students stop and stare at them walking past with their Hogwarts trunks. She knew that they would all find out at some point where it was they were going and what it was they were doing. No matter how hard the Order members tried, you couldn’t keep a secret in Hogwarts from long. She would miss this place, the gossiping portraits, the feasts in the great hall, sitting in the common room in the evenings and attending her classes. She wondered what Castle Black would look like, since it had been mentioned she had the feeling that she had heard of the place before but she wasn’t entirely sure where. Her thoughts were stopped as they climbed the stairs to the Headmistresses office and were greeted by Kingsley.
“We’re stopping at the Ministry first to meet the Aurors and then we will head to the Castle. Are you all ready?” The young Order members nodded and grabbed hold of the old teapot in the centre of the desk. Draco felt the usual twist of his stomach as they were jerked away from the school and into the Ministry entrance foyer. The students and the Minister looked around them, everywhere they turned there was madness, all the staff had their wands out, the Aurors in their black uniforms were running single file down different corridors and the healers had a station set up by the fountain. None of the wizards and witches seemed to notice the Ministers arrival until his voice filled the foyer.
“ATTENTION,” the room fell silent. “WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!” he yelled. Two Aurors stepped forward,
“The alarms were raised sir, somebody has broken into the Prophecy room,” the men said standing straight looking ahead. In the distance there was the sound of an explosion and screams.
“EVERYONE TO YOUR EMERGANCY STATIONS, AUROR GROUP ONE AND TWO WITH ME!” The Minister shouted. “I can’t stay with you, nor can I spare any Aurors, you must head to the end fireplace and head for Castle Black, am I understood?” He spoke to the group of students and they nodded before running towards the fireplace at the end.
“CASTLE BLACK,” each of them shouted as they dove into the green flames.
Finally! my exams are over so I can write more for you all! So this is one of the big revelations I have been leading up to in this story, what do you all think?? even more twists to come in the future story! So the young Order members are off to Castle Black, sound famliar? Can any of you remember where it's been mentioned in the story before ;) ? I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, currently writing the next one which will develop the image of the Castle, its surroundings and some new information!
Thank you for reading!
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