Chapter 14 : It was time
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Draco waited outside the door sticking his ear on it trying to listen what was happening at the other side of the door but failed. His father had probably placed silencing charms on the door so he could hear nothing. Anxiety washed over him and he started pacing up and down the hall trying to calm himself down. His feeling of suffocation was growing stronger and stronger as minutes passed.
What should he do? He knew he wouldn't kill her because that was not part of the plan but he could not stand the thought that he was tormenting and torturing her in any way. Twenty minutes later he heard some kind of creaking sound from the other side of the door and he realized that his father removed the spells. The door opened a minute later and Lucius came out with the same cold and heartless expression he had when he came in half hour earlier.
“Put her back where she was and chain her again. Who told you to remove the chains in the first palce?” he asked.
“None. I did it, she is exhausted, she has no wand she is no danger at all.” Draco said.
“You do what I say or you will end up chained too.” he said. “Do you hear me?”
“I said, do you fucking hear me?” shouted Lucius.
“Yes father.” Draco said and lowered his head.
Lucius looked at him for a few seconds, raised his head and walked away leaving Draco shaken and afraid. When Draco was sure he was gone, he raised his head and ran to the room. Hermione was lying on the floor hardly stirring. He paused and looked at her in shock of her condition and picked her up as warm silent tears fell from his eyes. He looked at her small fragile body. How could he do this to her. How could he be so heartless.
He came to think about himself and how he tortured her not very long ago. But he wasn't himself, it was his father casting the Imperius curse on him. He blamed himself too for letting that happen but his thoughts of regret left his mind when he realized that now was the time to act.
“What did he do to you love.” he cried and placed her on the blanket. He ripped a tiny bit of his shirt and wiped the blood of her face. She was obviously beaten and tortured.
He did not chain her. He didn't have the courage to do it. An hour later he was still sitting next to her caressing her cheeks waiting for her to open her eyes. And open them she did.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“No. I'm not. I'm hurt.”
“I know.” he said and took her in his arms. “Tell me what you need. Anything...”
“To go home. To see my friends. To live normally.”
“Soon love, soon.”
“Soon...” she whispered.
“What did he do to you?”
“I don't really remember. I blocked everything I guess. All I remember is he kicked me at some point.”
“I'll fucking kill him.”
“Can you let me sleep? I feel very tired.” she said with almost whisper, her eyes closing without her will.
“Sleep baby, sleep.” he said and wiped the tears off his face as he placed her back on the blanket.
He took his thick warm coat and covered her with it. He kissed he softly on the lips and got up. He gave her one last look and understood. It was time. Time to face his father and his destiny. Time to free Hermione from this hell and take her back to her world. Time to take her home.
The sun painted a beautiful picture outside the Leaky Cauldron, but none's feelings got any better at the view of it. On the contrary, everything seemed darker now. The news about Parmenions death hit them out of nowhere and the confusion was drawn in all their faces. The rest of them, Ginny, Luna and Neville, where waiting for Parmenion to go to them.
Little did they know he wasn't going to see them again. But the most frightening of all was that they might be in great danger, something they didn't know either. Hylian, Harry and Ron decided to go looking for them. They apparated together to Zonko's. That's where they were supposed to meet. They found them sitting and frustrated. Ginny raised her head to see Harry running towards her.
“What happened?” she said in shock, “Why aren't you at the forrest?”
“Parmenion is dead.” said Harry trying to catch his breath.
“What?” Luna said.
“Oh my God, and I was thinking of lecturing him when he came.” Neville said.
“Death Eaters. They found out we were going to search for Hermione and Parmenion was the first they found obviously.” Ron said.
“So what are we going to do now? I'm sorry about Parmenion but we have to hurry.” Neville said.
“Yes we do. Hylian do you have something in mind?” Harry said.
“We I suggest the girls go back to Hogwarts and the rest of us can take it from now on. Sorry girls but we cannot all go, we are too many and it's safer for us boys to go.”
“NO!” both Ginny and Luna said, “Its not fair, we have to help, we need to help.”
“No Ginny sorry, you both have to stay. We will probably go straight to the Manor and we can't risk being too many. We need to be quiet, fast and of course ready to fight.” said Harry.
Ginny and Luna looked at each other and nodded. If there was something they could do for now was making the plan easier for them with going back to Hogwarts. Ginny kissed Harry and hugged him tightly. Luna kept he face down and for the first time in her life no expression was written on her face, not even sadness.
Suddenly she she felt a hand on her chin. That hand raised her face and then she saw Neville looking at her in the eye. Their faces inches from each other. Neville put his forehead on Luna's and placed on hand in her hair and the other on her tiny waist.
“I-I...I love you.” he said to Luna.
Luna dropped her wand which she was holding in her hand and threw herself on Neville closing the gap between them, kissing him fiercely on the lips.
“I love you too Neville. And even If you didn't say it today, I was about to say it just now. I love you.”
Neville smiled and gave her the most honest, tight and warm embrace he could give and with one last kiss he let her go and joined the others. He looked at Ron who's expression was frightening.
“I wish we didn't have to do this. I wish Hermione was here so I could hug her and kiss her and love her... I wish all of that was just a bad dream, a nightmare that I could wake up from. God Hermione...Where are you...” he cried.
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