Chapter 18 : Chapter 18
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A few days had passed since Hermione had agreed to move in with me and every day I woke up expecting it to all be a dream and for her to be gone yet she was always there when I checked. Even though she was now living with me we still had separate rooms although most of the time we ended up falling asleep in the same bed after staying up kissing or talking the whole night.
Mother loved having Hermione around and it soon became evident that she did in fact view Hermione as the daughter she never had. She loved to chat with her, buy her new clothes and teach her how to perfect her hair and make-up. The two of them had grown very close since they met at the hospital and it made me very happy to see how well they got on.
The house elves had taken a shine to Hermione as well although that was after she promised not to free them. Just thinking about it still makes me chuckle. They loved to help her in any way they could so if she so much as shivered they would have surrounded her in an instant; shutting windows, bringing her blankets and mugs of hot chocolate. All of the attention annoyed her at first but she got used to it and continued to thank them for their help.
Now that she had the time, Hermione spent a lot of her time in the library researching what had happened to her that time I knocked her out in the forest. Every time I asked she had found a new bit of information but was still struggling to piece it together. That was until about a week into our holiday.
At one o’clock Mother and I met in the garden where lunch was to be served. When Hermione did not turn up ten minutes after we had arranged to meet I began to worry.
“Draco, dear, she probably lost track of time; you know what Hermione is like when she finds a good book.” I looked at Mother doubtfully and returned to my meal.
Mother is right about Hermione but something just doesn’t seem right. I feel... I feel as if something is pulling me to her... as if she is calling me.
I blinked as the world came back into focus and I realised that Mother had moved next to me and was waving her hand in front of my face, trying to get my attention.
“Draco? Can you hear me?”
“I’m going to look for Hermione.”
I quickly stood up and left Mother to finish her lunch before she could do anything to dissuade me.
When I reached the library, Hermione looked as though she was about to burst with excitement. She looked up at me as I walked in; I looked at her questioningly and she began to talk very quickly.
“Ok, so I was looking through all of the books and I found this.” She removed a book from a shelf and pulled a latch that I hadn’t known existed. She stepped back and the shelves moved to reveal a passageway. Hermione rushed through and I had to walk very quickly to avoid being squished by the shelf as it clicked back in place.
“What is it with you and passageways?”
“I’m just observant.” She giggled. The passage came to an end and we found ourselves in what looked like a study. I looked around taking in every feature of the room.
“What is this place?”
“From what I understand, Voldemort used this room as his study.” Shocked at the mention of he-who-must-not-be-named I span quickly to look at Hermione.
“Have you touched anything? If you’re right the whole room is probably filled with dark and cursed objects. Please tell me you haven’t touched anything.” I strode right up to Hermione and holding her by the shoulders I looked straight into her eyes, stressing the importance of the situation.
“I checked for cursed objects and dark magic when I came in. There isn’t any here. Chances are that your Father and Voldemort were the only people who knew about this room and so there was no threat.”
“If you’re sure we’re safe then I believe you. How do you know so much about this room?”
“There are various plans scattered about the place and all of the books and artefacts in the room gave it away. Anyway the reason I brought you here was to explain what I have found out about what happened.” Walking over to a small bookcase, Hermione picked up a book and opened it to a marked page. “Do you remember Ella mentioning something about a prophecy?”
“She said something about uniting the houses but what has that got to do with your shield?”
“There is more to the prophecy than she let on. According to this, we are supposed to bring about peace to the entire wizarding world. By staying together our magical abilities will increase in time in order to help us keep the peace as new evils rise.”
“So let me get this straight, you had that shield because we’re a couple?”
“Yep, it sounds a bit strange when you put it that way, though doesn’t it?” Hermione laughed “One thing that I don’t understand, however, is why Voldemort would have a book containing prophecies and theories on their meanings.”
“I think he feared some prophecies, I mean, he tried to kill Potter all because of a prophecy. What’s to say that he didn’t find more that he believed would lead to his downfall? Let me have a look at that a second.” Hermione passed the book to me and I scanned the pages. “Look here, it says that the couple would be a pureblood and a muggleborn which if he feared this prophecy is another reason to try to keep purebloods and muggleborns separate.”
“It all makes sense now. By keeping us apart we couldn’t rise up against him. Fortunately for us Harry stopped him when we couldn’t.” I was about to reply when I heard a muffled voice calling us.
“Draco? Hermione? Where are you?”
“That sounds like Mother; we should go back.”
As we left the passageway we could see the edge of Narcissa’s robes as she left the library.
“Cissy?” I called after her and she promptly re-entered the room.
“Where did you two come from? I was just in here.”
“Hermione found a secret room. I’ll explain later. What is it you wanted?” Draco replied.
“Oh, right, this letter just arrived addressed to both of you. It seemed urgent.” I took the letter from Narcissa who left us on our own to read the letter.
Dear Mr Malfoy and Miss Granger,
I apologise for disrupting your holiday but we need your help. Recently attacks on muggles and muggleborns have increased and we fear that the death-eaters are gathering followers just like before. Who is leading them we don’t yet know and this is partially why we need your help. The Minister thought it best that I contact you as my letters are less likely to be intercepted so please reply to me instead of the Minister if you have any queries. We need you both to start your new jobs early in order to stop this new threat. We ask you not to disclose this information to anyone else as this is Ministry business. We have called upon a few others who we believe to be up to this task however they already work at the Ministry and have already been briefed on the situation. If we do not hear from you then you will be expected at the Auror Department Head Quarters at precisely two o’clock this afternoon.
Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
I looked at Draco who looked as stunned as I felt.
Why would they gather followers when Voldemort is not around to lead them? Could they have found a way to...No, Voldemort is gone for good this time. Who could be behind this?
“What time is it?”
“It’s about half one.”
“Good, that’s plenty of time to get ready and come up with a good excuse for leaving your Mother.”
“So we’re going then?”
“Of course we’re going. Is there a problem with that?”
“I wasn’t complaining I was just expecting you to take longer thinking it through.”
“What’s there to think about? The Ministry only ever ask for help when they are desperate therefore they need us so we’re going.”
“Why do you need to get ready? You’re already dressed; what else is there to do?”
“I just need to gather a few things; we don’t know what situations we’re going to be in and it pays to be prepared.” After quickly kissing Draco I rushed off to my room to grab everything I would need. Shoving it all in my bag which had an undetectable extension charm on it, I hurried back to the library where Draco was awaiting my return.
“What took you so long; I thought you only had to get a few things?” I just shrugged in reply. We still had a few minutes before we would leave and so I sat down on the sofa next to Draco. As I sat down I dropped my bag on to the floor beside me which caused the bag to emit a rumbling sort of noise as the objects inside fell over.
“Oh damn, that’ll be the books.”
“Books?! How did you fit books in there? Never mind, I forgot who I was talking to. Why have you got books?”
“I told you it pays to be prepared.”
“Right, ok, if you say so.”
“I do say so. What are we going to tell your Mother? I hate lying to her but we can’t tell her what is going on.”
“I’ve already thought of that. When we leave, one of the house-elves will inform Mother that we are going out and we don’t know when we’ll be back. We won’t be lying or telling her anything she shouldn’t know and she can’t question us because we’ll be gone.”
“Ok we’ll do that. Are you ready to go? We’ll be there a little early but I’d rather be early than risk being late.”
After arriving at the ministry via the floo network, we quickly strode to the Auror department and were greeted by Professor McGonagall.
“Ah, Miss Granger and Mr Malfoy, thank you for coming at such short notice.”
“That’s alright Professor. We’re glad to help.” I replied.
“Why us? I mean, surely you had people who are more qualified to help.”
“Well Mr Malfoy, Miss Granger as you know is more than qualified to help, what with her contribution to the downfall of Voldemort and as I understand it she has trained you enough to help us.”
“Right, I need to get back to Hogwarts. You two are needed in that room over there.” McGonagall pointed to an office before turning back to us again. “Good luck.” With that she left. Draco and I walked over to the office to be greeted with yet another familiar face.
“Kingsley!” I ran the rest of the way to Kingsley and hugged him. I hadn’t seen him since the war as he had been busier than ever, especially after becoming the new Minister of Magic. Draco hung back and watched awkwardly as I embraced Kingsley.
“Hello Hermione. I would say it’s good to see you but the circumstances beg to differ. Malfoy.” The last part he aimed at Draco as a greeting.
“Minister.” We all sat down around the desk with Kingsley sat opposite Draco and I.
“Now let’s get down to business. As you are aware a threat is arising and you among others have been called to help. We don’t know why they are gathering followers or who is leading them. All we know is that they’re dangerous and causing havoc. Mr Malfoy I need you to go on your first mission. If you walk right through that door someone will find you and take you to be briefed and to meet the rest of the team that is going with you.” Draco nodded, stood up and bent down to kiss me on the cheek.
“Stay safe.” I whispered.
“I will.” He whispered back. And then he was gone.
“Now, Hermione,” I looked at Kingsley “You are probably wondering why I have called you here as I am not sending you with him.” I nodded “I need you to train the aurors that are staying behind, the rookies. I am sending all of our best aurors into the field and the others need to be ready if there is a call for back up. I know that only gives you a few hours but do what you can. A little help is better than none at all.” I nodded and stood up to leave before changing my mind and turning back to Kingsley once again.
“Are Harry and Ron going with Draco?” Kingsley smiled.
“I told you I was sending the best.” I smiled back at him and left in search of the training facility.
When I walked in the aurors were already training hard. They were grouped into teams and were duelling each other. One of the teams was clearly better than the other and they were forcing the opposition to hide behind various obstacles scattered about the room. Eventually the simulation was over and I stood on a box so that I could be seen. One by one the trainees turned to look at me; none of them looked pleased to have someone younger than them training them but I stood my ground. Looking around, the expressions varied from confused to amused to downright angry. All of them still had their wands out ready to attack and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit intimidated.
“Right, I know that none of you are too pleased about me training you-”
“Damn straight! This is ridiculous! What can a little girl t-” I knew that if I didn’t regain some control and respect fast then none of these aurors would listen to me so before the trainee who had interrupted me could finish his sentence I had him bound and silenced on the floor without even lifting a finger. Hmm, my magic is already getting stronger; maybe this won’t be so hard after all.
“This little girl has got more experience, more knowledge and more up her sleeve than you could ever hope to have so I suggest you shut up and listen or else it’ll be your fault that you’re not prepared for what’s out there.” Holding my head high, I glared at the aurors until I was certain that they understood. Spending time with Draco definitely has its benefits; before him I never had the confidence to do this sort of thing, let alone command respect from a group of aurors. I released the auror that I had tied up and then continued to talk. “Now, I only have a few hours to train you until you could be called into the field as back up so it is imperative that you do as I tell you when I tell you. Understand?” The aurors nodded. “Good. Let’s begin.”
Hours passed and the trainees were making progress; some of them learned quicker than others but there was still progress nonetheless. However there was still no word from Draco or the rest of the team and I was beginning to get nervous. I kept glancing at the door hoping that he would walk through unharmed. Finally, someone did walk through the door… but it wasn’t Draco.
“Um, Hermione, can we talk to you outside for a minute.”
Oh no! This can’t be good; it’s never good when Harry and Ron want to talk outside. Ok, don’t panic. You’re probably worrying over nothing.
“Sure; just a second.” I turned to look at the room full of faces that had stopped training to watch us. “Keep training! If you haven’t all mastered that spell by the time I get back there will be hell to pay!” I yelled. I glared at them as they began training again and then turned and walked out of the room after Harry and Ron.
“Bloody hell, Hermione!”
“What was that? What happened to the sweet quiet Hermione we used to know?”
“They just need a firm hand, is all. I’m still the same girl you met all those years ago, Ron; I guess I’m just a little more confident. Anyway, what is it you wanted to talk about?” Ron looked at Harry nervously and Harry took over.
“Um, Hermione… it’s about Malfoy.”
“What about him? Where is he?”
“That’s what we wanted to talk to you about. You might want to sit down for this.”
No. No! Oh Merlin, please tell me he’s not saying what I think he’s saying! Please let Draco be ok!
“Stop stalling. Where is he?” I said shakily.
“We’re not sure. He was captured…"
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