Chapter 39 : The Beginning of the End
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finally falling in to place. Granted, some of the young, head-over-heels couples were still fairly astounded at the turns some of their lives had taken. Childhood enemies were the modern Romeo and Juliet, without the death. A baby was being brought in to the world by a long broken up couple brought together for a single, life changing night. And there in the middle was the classic boy-falls-for-best-friend's-sister-who-loves-him-too-but-they-wait-years-before-becoming-a-couple who was happily married and living in Dublin while expecting their first child. If any of them had been told two years prior that this would be the state of their lives - the only couple who would have believed it would be classic couple number 3. Yet, for some odd reason they were all fairly content in their little blip of life.
Draco had officially taken up residence with his fiancé Hermione and thus far everything had been smooth for the both of them. They'd kept the arguing down to only about three a week, a substantial change of
pace for the two of them, and were adjusting fairly well to cohabitation. Granted, there were several adjustments to make and many things they had to grow accustomed to before it felt "normal", but the feeling of normalcy was obviously growing on a daily basis and they were well on their way to a comfortable life together. They had discussed wedding plans, but always wound up disagreeing on something - be it the guest list, the venue, or even centerpieces - and would end up dropping the entire conversation completely, only to pick it back up a few days later and to repeat the strenuous process of talk, fight, slam doors, repeat.
Lavender and Ron had also officially become a live-in couple, especially considering that Lavender was, at this point, a mere three weeks away from her due date and given the way babies make their own choices as to when they are ready to arrive and how grand of an entrance they want - no delivery date is ever certain, even in the magical world. Dr. Styles had informed her the baby was at least two weeks away and he was going to try and keep their daughter in Lavender until the due date at the end of the month. Lavender at this point was back up to her old, whiny tricks, although understandably so at this point in time, because she was literally looking like she was carrying a hippogriff baby and could barely waddle to the kitchen or shift on the lumpy, old sofa. Ron was being a trooper though and catering to her every, never ending, whim and silently always wishing that these next three weeks would hurry up and end so that her mood swings would
stop and she'd be back to the somewhat tolerable girl he dated in sixth year.
Harry and Ginny, on the other hand, had settled in nicely to a quaint cottage in Dublin, and were already adjusted to their new life. They had neighbors who they wouldn't mind coming over for brunch on occasions, but wouldn't try and invade their lives and really couldn't care less about the fact that Harry was "the boy who lived." They were immediately fascinated by having famous neighbors, as would anyone be,
but they never once were creepy or bothersome about it and after over a month, they were accustomed to their presence and it barely phased them to see him walk up the drive every evening. Ginny was settling nicely in to a fit-for-pregnancy lifestyle and had already resigned from the Harpies, with a temp player being put in her place and her having full acceptance back on to the team when her child was either 8
weeks old or she felt she was ready to return (and of course had passed all of her medical evaluations ensuring it was safe for her and baby if she were to play). She was still early enough along in her pregnancy that playing was allowable (her healer had told her it would be safe throughout the first semester, but neither her nor Harry felt comfortable taking the risk of their child - Quidditch would be there when she was ready to return to it.
"Ronaaaaallllllllddddd!" Lavender wailed from where she rested on the couch, halfheartedly watching a Muggle television program.
Ron ran quick-as-a-cheetah-on-speed in to the room, skidding on a rug and nearly diving face first through the window, before regaining his balance and turning to face his girlfriend. "Lavender, are you having
the baby? Is it time? Oh my god, it's time! And early! -"
"She can't be coming yet, but she is, oh god she is. I'm about to be a dad -"
"I can't believe this day is here. Oh gosh - we need to pack, we need to get your things we need...keys! We need keys! Where are my keys. And we need to call Harry and Ginny. And mum. And Bill and Fleur will
want to be there and-"
"RONALD!" she screamed, stopping his frantic train of though, "She isn't coming now."
He gave an exasperated sigh and fell to his knees beside her, his hands roaming over her bloated belly, and he began to speak, "You sure gave Daddy a mighty scare." He sighed and kissed her belly.
"I just wanted you to see who was at door. It rang a moment ago and I figured you could beat me to it." She said with a slight chuckle.
"The door," he repeated. "Right."
He collected himself and left the room to go towards the door.
Assuming the patron would just be one of his many family members, she directed herself back towards the television program. After a moment though she heard Ron's voice call out "Lav? Hun, its for you." Shocked
she shifted her weight in such a way that the moment she looked in the right direction was the moment when a suit clad Roger Davies was meeting her gaze, wearing a satisfied smirk.
"Long time no see, Lavender." He spat her name like it was something awful he had mistakenly ingested.
Ron gave a confused look between the tall stranger and wearing a facial expression he couldn't place and Lavender who he couldn't tell whether or not she was scared or just plain pissed.
"Roger!" She gasped, unable to come up with a better response to his presence in their den. "I didn't know you planned on paying a visit this evening."
"I'm full of surprises," he said nonchalantly. " much like a certain young woman I know."
"What do you want?"
This wasn't part of the plan - at least it wasn't part of her plan. This was a detour and she wasn't sure if she was heading straight for a cliff. Was he going to give away everything? When they were THIS close? He wouldn't dare..he was in just as deep as everyone else. Right? Surely he wouldn't risk his freedom. They were on a straight path to Azkaban if he have away this type of confidential information. The three of them, if not more of the accomplices, were headed straight to Azkaban if a plan wasn't put in place soon. The plan they had counted on for months was surviving my mere strands- close to unraveling completely and ruining months of work, lies, secrets and plans. They has not come this far for Roger to get in itch in the side or for his conscience to kick in now. They were in the homestretch. The blinders were still surrounding everyone it needed to - but a few of them were close to ripping them off. Some of them were already peeking. Draco's blinders had never been securely attached to his pointy blonde head. He had been one of the most important pieces to the complicated puzzle, and had held quite possibly the most important job, and yet he hasn't known it. He didn't know the plan, much less the role he played so well. Because of him, everything was falling in to place. But, he was starting to figure things out. Contrary to popular belief, Drama Malfoy was more than just a snooty rich boy. He was smart. Very smart. And that is something that can make the difference between life and death; failure and success.
"Always assuming I want something," Davies noted shaking his head. "Can't a chap just pay a visit to a childhood pal without an ulterior motive?"
"You always have an ulterior motive and last I checked we weren't buddy buddy in Hogwarts."
"Well, love, it's been five years since a then. A lot can change in that amount of time."
"Just tell me what you want." She growled, not feeling like playing the game.
"I just wanted to come and see what was going on today in this..abode." He sneered as he saw the condition of the mediocre-but-not-top-notch flat.
"Well I had been peacefully watching television on the sofa until you disturbed."
"This won't take long." He assured her as he planted himself roughly on the adjacent armchair that gave a little squeal upon his weight being hoisted quite unflatteringly on to it. "I was wondering, however, If either of you were planning on being in Hogsmeade anytime soon."
"Hogsmeade?" Ron asked with a blatantly dazed expression.
"Yes. It's the area outside Hogwarts where people, particularly students, gather. There's all sorts of shops and treats-"
"I know what it is," he grumbled.
"Bravo. Now I was wondering because myself and a friend of mine were planning to meet up there and then go up to the Ministry together to have a little chat with the Minister. We have some things to discuss, thought you might want to be a part of it because it will truly be a little...revolutionary."
At this point, she was fully aware of just what he was talking about and why he was there. He was still talking about the plan, only in an entirely different way than she had thought it would be brought up. And she wanted imagined it being done this way in front of Ron. But, Davies clearly had a devious mind of his own. He still felt Lavender to be his even though they had been broken up since even before her and Draco's stint together. Besides, calling this plan a little revolutionary was like calling the Battle of Hogwarts a little bit of dysfunction. This plan was monumentally huge - if it was pulled off correctly. If it failed, there would be life altering, mind blowing repercussions they tried not to think about.
"What sort of things are going to be spoken of at this meeting?" She asked, double checking her already certain mind that she was on the same page as his grotesquely devious brain.
"A number of things," he said examining his chipping fingernails. "For example, a think there's a young lady looking in to marriage laws of purebloods and mud...non purebloods. I think there will be a couple men with a...sales pitch of sorts about a new potion they've concocted. There'll be an Azkaban question or two...and even more interesting ones than I can tell you of now."
Ron was starting to feel unsafe feelings towards Roger Davies regarding himself, Lavender and their daughter. He wasn't sure what it was, but there was something about that man that screamed...danger. Stay away. He certainly had a dark edge, one that was noticeably absent during his Hogwart's career. Something seemed to give him the impression that he was bad news. He felt a dark magic omen, of sorts.
"I think it's time you go." Ron said pointedly, getting to his feet and pointing to the door, his jaw squared.
Davies' eyebrows folded together, "Last time I checked, Weasel, it was rude to kick out a guest who's done nothing to you."
"This is my house though, and I say it's time for you to leave."
"I can tell when I'm not wanted," Davies said when Lavender made no move to argue why he should stay. "But, just let me say...you're not going to want to miss this. I can't promise you'll have your life how you want it if you don't."
"Fine. Your funeral."
"Draco?" Hermione called out as she hung up her Muggle telephone with a confused expression her face - an expression she wore rarely.
He appeared in the room within a minute or two, eyebrows raised.
"Love," she asked slowly. "I just called the ministry to ask about some paperwork I was making up and they asked me a question I wasn't quite sure how to answer. Is there a reason you told them we're on vacation in the States?"
He scratched the back of his neck, "Those arses spoiled the surprise. I had hoped to tell you first. Leave it to you to get work down and get a surprise handed over to you." He laughed.
"Surprise? Draco why would be going to the states now? I've already missed several days of work and am still trying to catch up and get everything back to normal and-"
"Mercy Granger, let me speak will ya? As I was getting at, I had an idea. We want to get married, yes?" She nodded.
"Then why wait? There's always going to be work and friends and family and other forces trying to stop us from wedding so...lets do it now. Tonight."
"I must not be following...you want us to go to the states and get married? Tonight?"
"What better time is there? We just go there, get to a chapel in Vegas say a few words to Elvis and bippidi boppidi boo we're married"
"Do people actually do that?"
"I reckon so! What better time is there than now? Besides after what my mother said..."
"I knew it! You just want to do what your bloody mother says because you're scared something is going to happen at the ministry."
He squared his jaw, "I do want us to get married and I would prefer a marriage to be sooner rather than later. But I won't lie because your stubborn arse is gonna have something to say about it. My mother was right. We need to leave, now. Potter's job wasn't a coincidence. I know things that I wish I'd realized sooner but I didn't. And you're my main concern and I'm going to keep your ruddy stubborn self safe and that requires leaving the country."
"What's going on at the ministry?"
"I don't know exactly-"
"So you don't know there's a problem-"
"I know enough to know that it's dark. I know who's involved and I have a general basis around what they're planning and if it all possible we need to be gone."
"Why does it matter is WE are gone though, Malfoy?"
"I don't want to tell you and alarm you. But...Roger Davies, Pansy Parkinson, Goyle and a few others who have kept their identities quite hidden have a plot."
" I know the three of them are connected because I've pieced together that much of the puzzle."
"I don't have time to explain it all in detail but I know non pure bloods are the targets, you In Particular. They've been concocting some potions and I'm not sure what they're doing with them."
"So what are the going to the ministry for?"
"They want to find you because they think you hold some answers they need."
"I think so, yes. But after that..."
"They were going to kill me."
"I believe so. Which is why we need to get out of here. Quickly."
"What does marrying have to do with safety?"
"You're last name won't trace to you anymore."
"We need to plan and figure out a way to stop them though! If what you're saying is true then they are planning on hurting people and -"
"HERMIONE! You are in danger! I tried to make it not seem as big a deal as it is but you've gotten it out of me. You are in real danger. They aren't planning on hurting anyone else - maybe a little harsh punishment but no Azkaban worthy crimes."
"We at least have to tell Ronald..."
"He's part of it by this point. They needed him for a different role and if he didn't join I'm sure they...forced him to. We can and will figure it out in Denver"
"Why Denver ?"
"A have a...friend there."
She raised her eyebrows questioningly.
"Blaise. He left a few months back to go in to hiding. He knows the plan."
"How do you know?"
"Well he doesn't know the whole thing but he knows a location that I need on someone. Someone who I believe could be in a lot of trouble. I was informed of part of the plan a while back when they tried to recruit me...they have me information. I pretended to go along with it for a bit but it got too twisted. But if we don't save this person soon...it may be too late."
"I trust you." Hermione said begrudgingly. "let's go. But there's one thing I must ask...who are we saving?"
He was silent for a minute, "the person who sent the letter."
"You wouldn't believe it. The person you think you've being seeing for months...but it's been an illusion. A mind trick. I'm not sure how they've pulled it off...but I know who the person is. I'd say poly juice potion. But it took the place of a pregnant woman and poly juice won't do that I don't believe. You wouldn't believe me if I told you who tub think you've been seeing...but it wasn't who you thought."
"The impostered person is Lavender Brown. Someone is basically taking over her body and is impersonating her. The Lavender you've seen...isn't the real Lavender. I believe she's trapped somewhere while a plan is carried out. But once that child gets here..it's game over. They either win or lose. Win and lives are spared such as hers and lost such as yours. But if they lose, all lives are lost. We need to stop them from doing either."
"How do you know all this?"
"I can't tell you. Now I need some answers from you though."
"No! Tell me what's going on! How do you know so much!"
He raised his wand to her head, "I didn't want to do this," in a second she had screamed and tried to defend herself but he had knocked her unconscience.
The spell ensure she wouldn't even remember at least the spell and probably not even the whole conversation. He knew he could say anything, so he outed the truth.
"You are so gullible. "I Do" are going to be the last words you're going to ever speak you filthy mudblood. You've given us exactly what we needed. Davies and Pansy may think I only halfway know what's going on but they seem to forget I was pulling the strings the entire time. You're my puppet. And you're stringda re about to be snipped.
A/N And the fun begins. All is about to break lose. Everything you thought you knew about what's happening is about to throw your brain through loops. Prepare for this.
Hope this twist isn't disappointing! ;)
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