Chapter 43 : 12 Grimmauld Place
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“I told you I’ll be right back. I know it’s been a week. And I just got up and left, but I told you I’ll be back. I was focused on my goal. You know when a Slytherin is determined, they’re determined. We won’t stop… You really think I’d abandon you?” he asked with a slight hurt in his voice.
“No, I was waiting for you every day… I began to have doubts, but I waited for you…”
Draco smiled slightly.
“So, what is it that you have?”
Draco patted the folder. “This is all the intel I have on Death Eaters. The Death Eaters plan to infiltrate America and France. This is basically the plans. Everything. From spying to simply talking about it in letters. This right here will help. There is no way in hell, the Americans and French are going to let this slide.”
Hermione was staring bluntly at the folder the entire time. “We need to bring that to Reeves…”
“Lead the way.”
“But first, we have to visit Ginny.”
With a faint pop, the two apparated right on 12 Grimmauld Place’s doorstep. Draco almost fell back, but Hermione grabbed him by the collar to pull him back on the doorstep. She pulled him so hard, his body moved to press her against the door, their face inches away from each other. She could feel his hot breath on her cheeks and his hand slowly lifting to entangle his fingers with her hair.
“Draco,” she breathed, glancing behind him.
He turned slightly, seeing cloaked figures hanging around, their heads moving every so often to their spot.
“They can’t see us?” he asked.
“No,” she whispered. “This place is unplottable… But they obviously had an idea Ginny and Harry live here as Ginny said the last time. How is it that you found them?”
“Old Death Eater’s files from the second war took note of this place, but when I visited her, no one was here.”
“But when Ginny visited me at the arcade, she said they were eyeing the place… You think they followed you?”
He grunted. “Probably. Fucking bastards. Don’t worry, they’ll get their downfall.”
“If things goes right.”
“Oh, it will,” snarled Draco, staring at the Death Eaters. “So, let’s get moving.”
Hermione nodded, knocking. She heard the muffle of her knocking echoing inside the place as if was furthering down the hallway. Hermione pressed her ear against the wooden door, hearing her knock disappear into the loud creaking of floorboards and heavy footsteps dragging. Hermione bit down on her bottom lip in nervousness as Draco glanced from Hermione to the door, watching her reaction and waiting on anticipation for the door to open. The door creaked open and through the crack of the door, green eyes pierced them as raven hair blended into the darkness.
“Her—Hermione!” gasped Harry, fully opening the door. Hermione flung herself into Harry’s open arms as he embraced her tightly. Hermione was speechless from finally reuniting with her best friend. His embrace was comforting and she missed it so much. He let go of her, holding her at arm’s length. “Her—Hermione! You…you look like you lost a lot of weight since I’ve seen you.” He glanced up at Draco, holding his glare. “This is your fault!” Harry reached for his pocketed wand, but Hermione grasped Harry’s wrist.
With a stern look, she said, “Harry it’s because of Draco I been able to survive all this.”
“Dr—Draco, is it?” he snarled.
“Yes, Potty,” shot Draco. “Because of me.” Draco wrapped his arm around Hermione protectively as she stepped back.
“What so you two are friends now?” Harry snarled.
“HARRY!” called Ginny. “Who is it?” The flaming red hair was sparkling in the darkness of the foyer as she stepped next to her fiancé. “Her—HERMIONE!” exclaimed Ginny. Ginny threw her arms around Hermione and Hermione’s heart felt a flutter. Two of her best friends were in front of her, sweeping her into a comforting embrace. Of course, she loved Draco’s embrace and affection, but friendships embraces were not of just love, but of a mutual support and encouragement that had stuck with her throughout the years. Ginny moved back, holding her at arms’ length, examining her as Harry did. “You’ve lost weight…” Ginny glanced up at Draco, her blue eyes piercing his gray sternly. “Ferret,” she growled.
“Weaselette,” smirked Draco. “And no, I am not the cause of her weight lost.” He nervously glanced at Hermione.
“Well, I wouldn’t think so,” commented Ginny with a cocked eyebrow. “Considering you lost tons of weight as well, Ferret. Almost look like a skeleton. What brings you two here anyway?”
“Aiding the resistance,” said Draco quickly.
“Aiding—aiding the resistance?” scoffed Harry. “Yeah, right more like spying.” He then looked guiltily at Hermione. “Hermione, I don’t question you, but…”
“I teamed up with Draco. Trust me, Harry, as your friend, Draco is no harm. He is really trying to help.”
“Okay, can you just trust me already, Potter?” growled Draco. “I’m tired of standing on the front steps.”
“Harry, for Merlin’s Sake, just let them in!” exclaimed Ginny.
Harry stepped inside and Ginny turned on her heel with a huff, followed by Hermione and Draco. Harry glanced at the Death Eaters before shutting the door. Grimmauld Place was not just as Hermione remember it, it was cleaner and a little more airy. The hallway was bright enough to see the pale wood floor and the green emerald wallpaper. At the end of the hallway, there was a golden light and she stepped into it. The once dingy, gray living room was homier. Its gray, faded couches were replaced with brown leather sofas and a fluffy carpet of cream. The wallpaper still had its mark of Slytherin green, but was lined with gold detailing at the foot of floor and head of the ceiling. There was a dark center table with candles of cream, standing at different sizes.
“Who did this?” asked Hermione curiously.
“Andromeda,” whispered Ginny, her voice slightly sad.
“Where is she?”
“I sent her and Teddy away after the Death Eaters showed up…,” answered Harry. “I sent them to Ron’s…”
Hermione nodded thoughtfully.
Harry stepped in front of Hermione’s line of view with sober eyes. “I’m sorry about Ron.”
Ginny shrugged with a small smile behind Harry. “I bet she’s okay. You lost one, you can gain another.” Ginny winked at Draco who smirked, but considering she was behind Harry, he didn’t see. “Right, Hermione?”
Hermione nodded in agreement with a small smile and eyes twinkling.
“So…” Harry took a seat as well as the rest, Hermione and Draco to the left of Ginny and Harry. “What do you got?”
Draco set the beige folder on the center table, opening it up and spreading out its contents. “The problem with the resistance is we—” at which Harry scoffed at ‘we’— “have little help. They rounded up most muggle-borns and many of the purebloods and halfbloods are minding their own business. We need outside help, but no one is willing to help. This will make them. These are documents basically stating plans to infiltrate America and France.”
Harry who was staring at the documents looked up at Draco. “This needs to go right away to Reeves and Ron…”
“Yes,” agreed Draco. “How do we do that? I believe I can set up portkeys to America and France for us. It’ll be illegal, but we have no choice.”
Harry nodded in agreement, pushing over a candle and a set of keys to Draco. “I’m sure you know how to do it?” asked Harry challengingly.
“Yes, I do,” grumbled Draco.
“Well,” piped up Ginny, “I’m hungry. So, I’ll let you two figure things out.” Ginny got to her feet, stretching then pecked Harry on the forehead. Ginny gave Hermione a fleeting look and automatically Hermione took the hint, following Ginny’s suit, feeling the hormonal challenge of testosterone was not the place she wanted to be at the moment.
The kitchen was dusted away and remodeled. There were dark, older cabinets, but the walls were now titles marble gray and an island was included with graying wood and a plain marble countertop. Hermione leaned on the island, sighing. “I wanted to hear what they were going to say.”
“Didn’t Malfoy already go over it with you?” asked Ginny who’s back was to Hermione and she was focused on the stove.
“Yes… I suppose I can take the time to ask you this. Don’t tell Harry just yet…”
“Promise me, I won’t,” said Ginny without any interrupt to her tune. “I know he’ll freak out and we have more important things to worry about.”
Hermione nodded thoughtfully in agreement.
“So…how is everything else? You both looked like you lost a lot of weight… Is everything okay?” Ginny completely stopped what she was doing, turning to Hermione attentively.
Hermione bit down on her lower lip and nodded faintly.
“That didn’t look like a confident answer…”
“Ginny… I was pregnant…”
Ginny mouth dropped and her eyes widen with shock. “P-p-preg-pregnant?” she exclaimed.
Hermione nervously glanced at the kitchen entrance. “Shhhh! Yes.”
“Oh my Merlin! Congrats!”
“Ginny, was pregnant,” whispered Hermione sadly.
“Was?.. Oh, no! Hermione!” groaned Ginny, rushing over to her friend and wrapping her arms slowly around Hermione. “I’m so sorry.”
Hermione once again, embraced the comfort of the hug, holding Ginny tightly as well. Ginny stepped back examining Ginny. “It’s okay,” muttered Hermione.
“Does he know?”
“Yes… About everything… He’s so upset. It was his father’s fault… He cursed me, Ginny and after that, I had a miscarriage… Draco is furious…”
“Fuck, I am too,” spat Ginny. “Lucius Malfoy is going to regret the day he was born.”
There was a fiery determination in her eyes and it seemed Ginny wasn’t the same. They continued to speak, but Ginny would sometimes dazed off then slam things whether it was a pot or a pan or sometimes bring the knife down hard. Ginny avoided speaking about the subject, sensitive to Hermione, but nonetheless she was furious. They chatted about life at Grimmauld Place and life in France for the Weasleys until dinner was ready. Steam rose from the roasted chicken and mash potatoes. The smell of vegetable medley wafted the air as both gentlemen sat and sniffed the food gratefully.
“So,” Ginny started after everyone been served, “what conclusion have you two come to? I’m surprised I didn’t hear hexes and jinxes being shouted left and right.”
“That’s because Malfoy is okay,” said Harry stiffly.
“Yes,” agreed Draco stiffly. “Harry is not as bad as I thought…”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “I think you both have complexes.”
“More Potter than me,” smirked Draco.
Harry pointed his fork at Draco. “Malfoy, you are the one with all the bloody issues. Whining like a little baby.”
“I told you why I thought your idea was a terrible bloody fucking idea! As her best friend, you are an insensitive prat.”
“Oh, and you are so thoughtful?” shot Harry. “She looks terrible because of you!”
“I told you it wasn’t because of me. I have been keeping her safe! Like I am trying to avoid her getting hurt by going to France! Which is why you’re going to France and her and me are going to America!”
“So, it’s been decided,” Ginny interjected happily. “Me and Harry go to France. And you and Hermione go to America.”
“Hermione should see Ron,” Harry exclaimed.
“Although I am okay with the way things played out between me and Ron,” Hermione said firmly, “I rather not see him right now…”
“Tomorrow morning, we leave then…” mumbled Harry, defeated without another word on the subject.
Draco and Harry both ate in silence with passing glares to each other as Ginny ate happily, ignoring the two. Hermione nervously glanced between the two gentlemen. Once done, Harry stood to his feet. “Done for the night. I’ll show you two your rooms…”
“Okay, I’ll clean up,” Ginny said and immediately continued when Hermione was about to protest, “It’s fine. With a wave of a wand, it’ll take like thirty seconds.”
Harry moved past Ginny with a passing touch at her waist and led the way up the stairs quietly as Draco was repulsed by almost everything in the dingy hallway. The first door to the right, Harry opened. “You’re in here Malfoy.”
“Well, how about Her—”
“I won’t be too far,” she cut him off. “Since Harry’s here, you don’t have to fret, Draco.” She gave him a look.
He narrowed his eyes at her, but nodded. Harry grunted and moved down the hallway with Hermione mouthing, “Night,” at Draco. Three doors down to the left, Harry opened another door.
“For you,” he said to her.
She nodded. “Thanks.”
“Listen, Hermione, I understand why you don’t want to see Ron, but you’ll have to face him. He’s dying to see you. When I suggested you go to France, I was thinking for Ron as well. I think you both need to see each other…”
“Yes, Harry,” Hermione whispered. “I agree, but I feel like now isn’t the time. I’m already stressed out. And you know things won’t go as smoothly as you like to think.”
“I want you two to make up. I know what he did was wrong, but I still think you two belong together…”
Hermione didn’t answer.
“Good night, Harry…”
It was far from a good night though. Tossing and turning, the bed felt empty and the air thick with loneliness. Her heart ached from him and she could not stand that pain any longer. She needed him. Hermione wrapped herself in a fluffy scarlet robe, the moonlight shining on her brightly. The door creaked open and she tip toed down the hallway. At the Draco’s door, her eyes adjusted to the darkness as she knocked lightly. The light knock echoed faintly in the hallway. She looked nervously down the hallway to Harry’s door. Draco’s door creaked open with his gray eyes squinting at her. Upon seeing her, he faintly smiled, stepping out of the way to let her in.
“Can’t sleep?” he grumbled, his voice husky.
“Not a wink…” He moved past her, climbing into bed and she followed him. He pulled the covers over them both and wrapped on arm around her as she laid her head on his bare chest. “You don’t want Potter to know?”
“Not yet,” she whispered. “He’ll freak out. We don’t need him getting distractions…”
He grunted, “What we do is none of his business.”
“He’s my best friend…”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“Sticking up for me. You knew I didn’t want to go to France.”
“It was also selfish. I’m not ready for you to see him yet either.”
“But you know, I only love you,” Hermione said firmly.
“And I love you only,” Draco replied.
“What’s going to happen after this all ends?”
“What do you mean?” he asked, puzzled.
“Well, I hope we’ll still be married… Maybe move into the penthouse if no one has taken it or maybe at the little cottage—”
“I want to live by the sea,” Hermione whispered.
“Maybe… We can have portkeys set up and work in London still. It’ll be annoying, but I’m okay with that.”
“So, it is decided. We will live by the sea…” he said, staring up at the ceiling.
Both slowly dozed off in silence, only thinking of their family living at the edge of paradise.
A soft knock came between the London birds chirping their good morning. Hermione’s eyes fluttered open to the golden morning light slipping through the curtains. She groaned lightly, shifting and glanced at the door.
“Hermione,” whispered Ginny through the door. “It’s me.”
“HMMMM? Come in,” she mumbled.
Ginny stepped in as Hermione stared at her with morning narrowed eyes. “I suggest you two untangle yourselves before Harry wakes up.”
“Shit!” she hissed, scrambling out of bed, speed walking past Ginny. She could faintly hear Draco grumbling lowly, “Merlin, no morning sex? What does a man need to go to get shagged?”
Hermione smiled, but rolled her eyes as Ginny was giggled at Draco’s vulgarity. She quickly, almost as fast as lighting, sped to get ready and pack. Today was the day, they leave for America. Finally, when she was fully ready, she met Harry and Draco at the foot of the stairs who were glaring at each other. Ginny came down last.
“Okay. How will this work?” asked Ginny.
“Potter, here knows what to do exactly,” answered Draco. “We worked out a few things early this morning. We go our separate ways, but we’ll keep in contact. But right after the war is over, I need to go home. That is the first place, I’ll be going. I want to make sure my mother is safe…”
Ginny nodded. “Okay. I understand.”
“Why do you agree with him?” Harry huffed.
“Because it’s his home, Harry. And his mother. What do you expect of him?” Ginny reasoned. “We’ll keep in contact though.”
“Yes,” nodded Hermione. “Be safe.”
“Remember, Potter, do not stop until you reached your destination. Do not stop,” ordered Draco.
“I don’t need to take orders from you,” snapped Harry, grabbing Ginny’s hand. “See you soon, Hermione.”
“See you soon, Harry.”
The couple had left walked forward to the table and both touched the set of keys, disappearing from sight. Draco’s eyes immediately focused on Hermione now. They always looked sad lately. He grabbed her hand and forced a smile. “America, here we come.”
A/N: Quick update? See. Like I promised =) I hope you guys are enjoying this.
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