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Time passed, and before I knew it, it was Easter. Your father and I had become proficient in Occlumency by that time, but he wasn't fully confident yet. He wanted to test it first, to make sure before he tried to betray Voldemort that he could do it successfully.

In the meantime, the war wasn't pretty. We didn't have any losses from the Order at the time, a few injuries, yes, but nothing too serious. Most of the victims were chosen more on the basis of terrorizing the wizarding community. It was getting bad enough that even the muggles knew that something was up. Your father, however, wasn't a part of that really because Snape kept him in his laboratory to help him even after they were done with the Occlumency lessons for the day.

The relationship your father and I had at the time was a strange one. He had fallen in love with me, but knew that he couldn't say anything until he could hide the memories of that from Voldemort. I had fallen in love with him, but I wasn't willing to admit it to myself or to anyone else until I had some reason to believe that your father had turned against Voldemort. The effect of this was that I pretended to dislike him and he pretended to be indifferent to me. I felt like I had aged five or ten years in a matter of months. Sometimes waiting is the hardest thing you have to do.

After Snape had told me that your father was good enough to betray Voldemort now, the waiting became almost unbearable. In compensation for this, I spent more time with my friends. When I went to visit the Weasleys one night, it was Easter actually, I had no idea about what was going to happen….


…………………

Hermione sat at the Weasley's kitchen table one evening playing cards with Ginny, who was home for Easter break, and Fleur Delacour, who was now engaged to Bill and working at the Ministry in the Portkey office. The twins, Bill, and Ron--who finally seemed to be content with just being her friend again--were playing a somewhat noisier game at the other end of the table. Mrs. Weasley was taking cookies out of the oven, warning everyone not to take any until they had cooled a little.

Mr. Weasley was at work, so he wasn't there at the moment. So was Harry, otherwise he would have been there. Most of the Ministry workers were putting in a lot of overtime these days, even on Easter. Percy wasn't there either, but that was because he was still being a git. Still, everyone present was having a good time at the Burrow.

"Accio cookie," Bill demanded, and Hermione just couldn't help herself. Just a flick of her wand and a whispered spell sent Fleur--who let out a startled squeak--sliding down the bench and right into Bill, almost knocking them both onto the floor. "Wait, wait, that's not what I meant!" Bill protested, and then he noticed the freshly baked sugar cookie sitting in front of him.

Hermione couldn't keep her face straight any longer, and burst out laughing.

"What…HERMIONE!" Bill exclaimed, before he and then everyone else joined her, laughing so hard that they were almost in tears. Even Fleur, whose cheeks now matched her fiancé's hair, couldn't help but join in.

"I wish that I had thought of that first!" George exclaimed once he had managed to get his breath back.

"Enough George," Mrs. Weasley warned, but she was still smiling. "Now would you be a dear and go out to the root cellar and get some potatoes? I'm sure your father will want more than cookies when he comes back from work."

George nodded amiably, and sauntered out the door.

Everyone else returned to their activities, but George didn't come back right away. Frowning, Hermione looked up at Mrs. Weasleys clock, and her mouth went dry. "Mrs. Weasley, do you see what time it is?" All conversation stopped as everyone else turned to look at the clock, and their wands were all held at ready in a heartbeat. Everyone present in the Burrow was now in Mortal Peril.
………

Draco gritted his teeth to avoid saying anything as someone yelled Hermione's name, and her laughter rang out through the darkness. It was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. And her presence here could put her in danger.

Draco was with twenty other Death Eaters outside the Weasleys' house, waiting for his father's signal to begin the attack. He didn't want to be here, he didn't want to kill anybody. In fact, Draco was planning on going to Dumbledore as soon as he knew that he could successfully hide his memories from the dark lord. He just had to find an opportunity to test it; he had to try to hide something punishable, but not punishable by death, and then see if it worked.

His father had come into the laboratory and insisted that Snape allow him to go on the strike mission tonight, seeing that Draco hadn't fulfilled his 'rite of passage' yet. Snape had been surprised--he hadn't known about the strike mission--but allowed him to go without protest. Apparently the dark lord had decided to have it done on the spur of the moment.

"Well, this certainly complicates things. We still need that girl alive, not to mention that you can't get involved in anything that might even injure her," his father said from beside him.

A door to the house opened and shut as a redheaded figure went out towards the shed, and then descended into a root cellar.

"A little luck, anyway," his father said. "Draco, you and Goyle go finish off the straggler in the root cellar. Everyone else, use non-fatal spells only on the occupants of the house. There's a brunette in there that our master wants alive, and he would punish her accidental death much worse than he would punish our inability to kill anyone." Then, his father cast a spell that would keep anyone within a mile from disapparating.

Everyone was trapped now, including himself.
……………..

George rummaged around in the root cellar, and found the bag of potatoes. Out of pure instinct, he put the potatoes down and extinguished the light coming from his wand as he opened the door and looked around. There were black shapes moving towards the house. 'What! Dementors! No wait, these have white faces…Death Eaters!' he thought to himself. Just as he was about to scream a warning, spells started to fly. His family knew, but why hadn't they disapparated by now? Trying it himself, and failing, he knew the answer. The Death Eaters had cast a spell so they couldn't; they were trapped. And he could see that his family was outnumbered two to one, at least.

This was bad, really, really bad. And the only thing he could think of to do was to get behind the anti-disapparation spell's radius of effect and get help before everyone died. George got out of the cellar only to notice that he had even more to worry about. Two Death Eaters were walking his way. Grasping his wand tightly and casting a few defensive spells in his path, George ran into the trees. He had to get help. He heard his mother scream, and if possible, he ran even faster. He had to get help.
………………….

Draco and Goyle came to a place where two paths split from the one they were on. Draco went on the right one, with Goyle taking the left. 'Well,' Draco thought as he ran, 'if I find him first, I'll give him a few quick misses. He should be getting close to the border where he could disapparate. If Goyle finds him first, well, it's just Goyle. Anyone should be able to handle that clumsy oaf.'

Draco kept running for a few minutes without seeing anything, and then he noticed that the path was going the other way now as if it was just circling. Soon enough, he came to find Goyle waving at him, his posture that of obvious triumph. And then he saw the body.

"Malfoy, Malfoy I got him!" Goyle said, practically dancing around. "I missed with one spell and it hit this log, no wait, I meant to down this log, and it hit him and then I got him with an old fashioned Avada Kedavra!"

Draco risked a little light to see who it was; it was one of the twins. He sighed, relieved that it hadn't been Ron. Hermione would have been more than grief-stricken had it been Ron. Not that he didn't regret the death of…he couldn't tell if it was Fred or George in this light…but some deaths hurt more than others did. And then he saw his opportunity. "Well done my friend," Draco said, clapping Goyle on the back, and then extracting his memories of the last few minutes. He then modified the memory to make it look like he had killed, and then placed it in his own mind. Goyle was only left with the memory of running through the trees, and then Draco added one where Goyle had stumbled into Draco, who had gotten to the prey first.

"Quite sorry Goyle," Draco said, "maybe you'll get yours next time." Assuming this worked, now he only had his wife to worry about. After making sure she was all right, he could finally betray Voldemort by offering his services to Dumbledore. He did realize that he would be betraying his father as well, but he had chosen his wife over his father. He couldn't be loyal to them both, and he had come to the realization that he did not want to be like his father any longer. He looked down at the body again for a second. Maybe someday all of this killing would stop.

Before leaving that spot, Draco waved his wand. "Morsemordre," he said, sending the green, glowing image of the Dark Man into the night sky.
……………………

"We have to leave, now!" Hermione screamed at Bill, who was the stand-in leader, now that Mrs. Weasley was out cold.

"But George is still out there!" Fred responded.

"We're not leaving without George!" Ginny insisted.

Although they could not disapparate, Fleur had changed the clock into a Portkey. All they had to do was touch it, and have Fleur activate it, and they could all leave. What made Hermione want to hurry, however, was the little fact that the Death Eaters were now starting to climb through the new gaps in the wall.

Hermione glanced back at the clock, and noticed that George's picture had now gone dark. He had to be dead then. "He's gone! Everyone get around the clock!" she yelled.

Finally, everyone got around the clock--Bill had to levitate his mother over--and Fleur activated the Portkey. Only when the all landed safely in the living room of Grimmauld Place did Hermione stop to consider what they could have thought that she had meant when she had said that George was gone.

Well, they realized it now. Hermione moved Mrs. Weasley to a sofa to check to make sure that she was all right, while the rest of the Weasley clan stared at the darkened picture as if hypnotized, obviously in shock.

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