To my dearest readers!
I am so very proud! It has been a few months since I have updated but just the other day I got a review on this story! Still! I am very happy to know that people are still intrested in it. I have to thank everyone who has read and/or reviewed the story. It thanks to all of you that I know have 8...that's right 8 new chapters, to be validated. Of course only one can go up at a time so here is 1 of eight. I do hope you enjoy it as much as the others, it was by far the hardest to write.

Her fist knocked upon the wooden door. Her body shook. She felt as if he knees would give out. She thought of her letters. She’d told them she would be hiding until the war was over. She told them to forget she ever existed. She told them not to worry that she’d be fine, but to not look for her. She told them to pretend she was dead. What if they were angry with her? What if they wouldn’t speak to her?

Two long weeks had past since she’d written them. She’d hid, and ran. She’d hardly slept, and hardly ate. She only ran into Voldemort that once but once was enough. Fourteen long days of walking on egg shells looking behind you and resting only when it was completely safe. Now she stood in front of the Burrow door, scared far more than she had been when facing Voldemort. Sure Voldemort could kill you, but friends, they could make you wish Voldemort had killed you.

The door opened but surprisingly it was not Mrs. Weasley’s plump figure that greeted her. Instead, a Harry, much taller, skinner and worse for wear stared back at her. His hair was messy, not brushed in days and it didn’t look like it had been washed in a while either. She couldn’t believe it but it actually looked like he needed to shave. His close were not in a horrid state but you could see small holes in places as if from a cigarette. Harry grinned at her but blocked the door way. Hermione almost lost her nerve in surprise.

“What animal can Rita Skeeter transform into?” he asked carefully. His hand gripping his wand tightly just in case. Of course! The Questions, just to make sure she was her. You had to do that with the war. She’d almost forgotten.

“A Beetle. Can I come in?” her voice shook and she felt close to tears. She was tired and probably looked far worse that Harry. She knew her body wouldn’t hold her up anymore. Her form was still shaking.

“Yes…” He stepped aside to let her in. “Ron! It’s Hermione!” he screamed at the top of his lungs as soon as the door was closed. His smile widened. “We were worried about you. What caused the sudden run?” He was concerned about her but something was missing. Hermione looked around and noticed the burrow was quiet.

“It’s a bit of a long story, I’ll tell you as soon as-“ She heard pounding on the ceiling, and then Ron appeared at the bottom of the stairs. He didn’t look his best either. Hermione had to hold back a laugh at two tugs of hair that looked like devil horns. He didn’t look skinner like Harry did. It worried her. She wanted to make sure her friends were still okay.

“Hermione!” They were hugging. She was glad to see him. She’d missed him even if it’d been less than a month or had it been more. She had lost track of all time. The mental image of Draco haunted her mind and seemed to want to control it. She was the one to step back first. She saw the look in his eyes but she couldn’t hug him and think of Draco. It was too hard.

“Ron…” she couldn’t hide the sadness in her voice. His confusion was clear. Everything was so screwed up. “Can… can we talk somewhere else? Anywhere we can’t be over heard?” Hermione asked looking away from Ron. She didn’t want to look at him, not with the marriage hanging over her.

“Yeah,” Harry said quickly leading them up to his room. “What’s wrong Hermione? You’re acting like you’ve done something.” She looked down and climbed the worn steps. Ron carried on behind her. Once they reached the top of the stairs Hermione was surprised to see all the other doors closed. Something was very odd.

“I’ll explain everything soon…” It was all she could stomach to say.

It wasn’t until they were sitting in Harry and Ron’s room with charms cast so no one could overhear that Hermione answered any of the millions of questions that they were asking.

She sat there shaking her head but finally she opened up. They were her friends. They would understand. She told them about her parents had come early. She explained how they told her she was a pureblood. This however slowed her progress.

“A pureblood!” Ron was surprised but happy. “Who are your parents? Maybe you’re related to me?” He was happy but then his face changed only for a split second. Hermione barely caught it.

“I don’t know, Ron. I know my mother’s name was Virginia. That’s all I know.” Hermione sighed. She played with the hem of her shirt as she pressed on with what happened. She told them about her father’s letter and the sword, dagger and locket. Instead of asking to see the artifacts from her father, they simply urged her to tell them more. She was slightly disappointed because she knew that they were important things. She told them about running into Draco in an old muggle park. She quickly fudged an escape.

“The git! What do you think he wanted with you?” Ron asked sitting on the edge of his bed. Hermione looked down. She let out a pathetic gasp. She wiped away strains of cold wet tears that were forming in her eyes. “Hermione?” Ron asked surprised, with a scared look on his face. He sat beside her and wrapped an arm around her. “What is it?”

“I….I’ve ….my…my real mother…she …I’m arranged to be….be married,” she barely gasped it out. Her brain wanted to shut down. She wanted her problems to disappear. She didn’t want to tell Ron she couldn’t be with him.

“What?” Harry asked watching Hermione. He stood up and began to pace across the room “It can’t be that bad….if it’s Neville, or Ron it shouldn’t be that bad…” Hermione shook her head. It was indeed far worse. She had to wipe her eyes again so she could see.

“Hermione, tell us who… maybe we can help stop it.” Hermione took a deep breath and looked up at Ron. She pleaded with her eyes not to tell but Ron gave her an encouraging smile. Harry sat on the other side of her and placed a hand on her back. They wanted to know and she knew they had to know. She just didn’t want it to be true.

“M….M-malfoy…” It burst from her mouth before she could stop it. Then she burst into a whole new wave of tears. Crystals in odd forms rushing from her eyes only to break against her skin. She leaned into Ron’s chest and cried. She lost track of what they all said. Time passed by faster than she could ever have known. At one point Harry had to leave and it was just her and Ron, but she didn’t notice that either. She should have. She had wanted a time with Ron alone for so long and now that she had it. She didn’t want it.

Hours later, Hermione blinked open her eyes and looked around. Her head lay in Ron’s lap. Harry slept at her feet. Ron, himself, was starring at a picture at the wall quite unaware that Hermione was awake. The horizon was a deep blue and above the house the sun shown bright and gold.

“I swear. I’ll keep my promise, Hermione…I’ll keep it.” Ron whispered softly. Hermione repositioned herself carefully so she could see him but he didn’t notice. His eyes looked watery and he was frowning. He was so lost in thought that he didn’t notice her moving. She made a show of stretching and yawning.

“How you feeling?” Ron asked his expression changing instantaneously to a smile. Hermione sat up and smiled. She looked at Harry who was cutely sleeping. He almost looked like a baby, an innocent and naive baby.

“A lot better, it helped to get everything out,” her voice was soft and almost sounded like she was scared. Part of her was scared, scared of almost everything, but mostly scared of the future, and what it would all mean. Since when was she like this. She had never been scared before. Strange how one lie you could completely change her.

Harry stirred and they waited for him to wake up. When Harry looked over at Hermione, she wanted to scream out the whole talk with Voldemort, wanted to cry all over again. Some how Harry caught something in her look, and nodded softly toward her so Ron wouldn’t notice.

“We need a game plan,” Harry started, “a way to get you out of it. I went to a few wizarding libraries; there is only one way out of it. The parents agree that it’s a bad idea, or both the children agree against it.” Ron seemed ecstatic.

“Well no problem then,” He said with a smile, “Draco hates you, and you hate him, easy.” Harry and Hermione both shook their heads at the same time.

“Ron, he’s always known…” Hermione looked away unable to look at him. Less than a month ago she’d been girlishly fantasizing over when Ron would make his move, but now, she wanted to hide from him. “He was acting…Ron, I don’t think Draco hates me.”

She cringed at her own words. She hated them, and so did everyone in the room with her. What could they do? What was there to do? For a moment Ron looked furious with her but then he looked away. Ron wouldn’t even look at her. She hated the idea, hated the facts, and hated Draco Malfoy.

Ron stood so fast it was scary. He turned to Harry, not looking at Hermione. His face was slightly blank. It was as if it was Hermione’s fault that she had to marry Draco.

“I’m going for a walk. I’ll see you later.” The words were directed at no one. Ron’s steps were quick and less than five seconds later the slam of the front door was hard to miss. Together, Hermione and Harry sat there in silence, staring at each other. Finally Harry stood and paced to the other side of the room.

“You know…there is another option.” He gave a little insane laugh and paced back towards the downcast Hermione. She stared down at the carpet for a good long time. She didn’t want to consider it. Truth was she was beginning to believe she had no choice.

“I know…I know there is,” her voice was shallow. She closed her eyes again and fought back the tears. “Maybe he won’t be that bad…and at least I won’t have to fear the Dark Lord.”

“Hermione!” Harry turned around and stared at her, surprised and upset. He sighed and sat on the bed across from her. “The Hermione I knew would have never considered marrying a Malfoy. What’s changed?” Hermione gave a small choking cough to push back the tears. She opened her eyes and looked at Harry.

“I don’t know Harry. I’m…” She shut her eyes quick and caught a droplet in her eyelashes. “My mother, my real mother wanted it. Maybe it is a good idea.” She brushed away the drop of water only to have it land on her knee and creep to the very edge.

“God Hermione!” Harry stood again. “You never knew the woman, and suddenly she’s the wisest woman in the world!” He began to quickly pace. Hermione brought her knees to her chest without disturbing the droplet of water resting on her knee.

“She died just after I was born…my father never mentioned her in his letter… she died before your parents Harry,” Hermione choked on her words and the water droplet crept closer to the edge. “It was her dieing wish!”

“Malfoy! It’s Malfoy! Hermione have some sense!” Harry screamed turning toward her. Hermione laughed, it was the only way to keep from crying.

“Don’t you think I know that Harry. I’m not saying it’s a good idea. I’m saying… Harry, what other option do I really have?”

The room fell silent. Eerie but real, the tear slipped further on the smooth skin of Hermione’s knee. With the absences of noise came a new reality. Both Hermione and Harry realized it at the same time. Harry let out his anger in one last huff. Then he slipped onto the bed. The big bad woof had been caught in the fireplace of the third pig but not with out one last great puff. The teardrop, it slipped down Hermione’s knee and down her leg then disappeared on her foot. The first drop of the flood to come.

“We can’t tell Ron.” Harry was so defeated it almost made Hermione cry.

“We’ll have to tell him…one day, but for now it’s better if he doesn’t know.” Hermione looked over at the clock and sighed.

“When do you see him again?” The question was haunting and evil. It doomed so many things.

“Tonight…he… he told me about a date…I was to go on.” Hermione sighed. “I’m going to make the best of it.”

Silence filled the room as two pairs of eyes drifted toward a clock. 3:30, a time more dooming then the question that escaped Harry’s lips.

“Do you have feelings for Ron?” The question would haunt her for the rest of her life, however long it would last.

It's me again! I do hope you liked it! I am glad to announce I have a meet the authors page. So now you can all stalk me. j/k. But I give a challenege. If you can find all the foreshadowing in this chapter, I will dedicate a chapter to the first one  to do so. I know it's not that cool. But I wanna see who can find them... *goes to count* See you next chapter and thanks for reading! All reviews are loved!

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