Hermione could feel her consciousness returning to her, yet she still didn’t open her eyes. She tried to breath but the breath that she took in was raspy and sore. She groaned a little from her sore lungs and opened her eyes slightly. The room was bright and blurry and she couldn’t focus on anything.
“Errgh . . . !” she groaned again as she put her hand to her head. It felt like she had been hit with a mallet, either that or she was severely hung-over!!! Then she heard voices. Some she didn’t recognise – they were mainly hoarse and unfamiliar but out of the blue came a voice that she knew as . . .
“Remus?” she croaked and tried to sit up.
“Hermione! No, lay down!” He rushed over to her side and helped her lay back down although all his movements appeared like a blur to her.
“Remus? What are you doing here? What happened?” she ordered but her head began to spin slightly.
“Wait Hermione . . . just a moment, wait until he gets here, then we’ll explain everything!” said Remus Lupin, one of Hermione’s favourite teachers and closest friends from Hogwarts.
“Wait for who?” she asked. The room began to focus around her and she was able to see the shabby four poster bed that she lay on and the other men that stood around the room. The men began to shuffle and mumble, but no one answered her question. She closed her eyes tight again and continued to rub her head. Suddenly the mumbling stopped and footsteps announced the arrival of another person. Maybe this was the ‘he’ they were waiting for. She felt another presence kneel down beside her.
“Hermione? Are you ok?” his voice, full of concern and care and the one she had secretly been longing to hear again for so long, and now he was here.
“Draco?” she croaked and opened her eyes immediately only to be met with the horrible blinding light again. Her eyes focused on him. Perfect. The same yet different. He smiled at her, his facial features full of his relief. He stood up and dismissed his men.
“But sir . . .” a big burly looking man covered in tattoo’s said.
“I said you can go. Don’t challenge me on this, Tatumn” Draco ordered, sounding important and full of authority. The man left grudgingly. That’s when she noticed his arm - absolutely covered in black tattooing. She grabbed his arm to get a closer look.
“Wha . . . ?” but her sudden movement had caused a rough coughing to begin again. He looked down at her hand clutching his arm and for a moment looked horrified. His expression relaxed and then he removed her hand from his arm, gently placing it on the bed.
“We’ll talk about it all when we’re alone” he smiled and sat down beside her again. Hermione noticed then, the dirty look that Remus gave Draco and she wondered about its meaning. Their attention now turned to her and Draco asked the first question.
“I’m betting you have a lot to ask, so, what do you want to know?”
“What happened and why?” she said croakily yet somehow assertively. Remus answered her question.
“You were attacked by the brothers Rabastan and Rodolphus who are Death Eaters under Voldemort’s control. They have been following you since the start of the year, we don’t know why exactly but we have our suspicions.”
“Why are you here Remus?” she asked next.
“Well, I thought that you would have figured that out by now, but I’m actually the one that has been following you since you got here.”
“You?!?” she then observed his clothing and it made sense. “Oh . . . you’re the chequered man!”
“Oh, am I? I was wondering what you would call me.” He smiled slightly at this lighter side of the story.
“Remus . . . why were you following me? Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked.
“Well, it was all part of Dumbledore’s plan to watch all you kids after you finished at Hogwarts to make sure that everything went ok, but of course Harry, Ron, Draco here and yourself were most closely watched because of your past encounters with Voldemort. Now everyone who was being watched was fine and we noticed no extra activity around all of them except you. We soon noticed that you were being followed by Death Eaters and we still have no idea why. We thought that they would attack sooner than they did!” he finished.
“Why am I being watched so closely? Are you sure Harry and Ron are ok?” she rushed but he held up his hand to halt her words. Draco scowled at the mention of Harry and Ron but she ignored him – she didn’t have time for him at the moment.
“Trust me on this Hermione, we’re all as baffled as you, but we’re sure that Harry and Ron are not being watched – only by us.” Hermione sighed and let out her held breath. “Are you sure that your feeling well enough for this Hermione dear?” She smiled at his concern.
“Yes I’m fine, thankyou Remus.” She turned her head to look at Draco and noticed him looking straight at her yet not saying a word. “Ah, Remus, could you leave me and Draco alone for a while . . . we, ah . . . need to talk.” she said cautiously. Both men’s expressions changed – Remus didn’t look pleased about this.
“Hermione, I don’t think that-” he started but she cut in front of him.
“Please, Remus . . . we need to talk privately.” He gave in unwillingly and made to leave from the room.
“I’ll be in the next room . . . if you need me . . .” he stated before leaving and closing the door behind himself. Now they were left alone with one another and considering that they needed to talk – nothing was said.
“Can you help me up?” she asked as she tried to sit herself up. Draco hesitated.
“I think you should probably stay lying down.” he said but the ice cold glare that she gave him was incentive enough for him to help her. He sat her up and helped her lean against the bedpost then took his place sitting on the bed beside her. Once she was settled and the spinning in her head had stopped she began.
“I’m not weak.” she simply stated. Her voice didn’t show any emotion.
“What?!?” he asked, completely befuddled.
“In the letter you left me after we . . . after that night, you put it down to me being weak. I’m not weak!” she said a little more forcefully.
“I know you’re not weak! Of course you’re not! You’ve proven that by your work at the department – top of your class, again.” he stated.
“How . . . how do you even know that when I haven’t seen you since . . . then?” she asked a little more curiously this time.
“You don’t actually think I’d just abandon you, do you? No, I’m sure you’ve heard of my group – The Hunters, I’m their leader. I’ve been watching you since then, making sure you have a private escort everywhere you go – you probably didn’t even notice them when they are around. And another thing, stop referring to our time together as ‘then’ or ‘that night’ like it was some bloody one nighter that should have never happened because we both don’t feel that!!!” Once he finished they both sat their in silence. Draco thinking about what he had just disclosed and let out and Hermione on the other hand was thinking about the two pieces of huge information that she had just been told – one being much more important than another.
“You . . . you really think that?” she asked tepidly.
“You don’t?” he snapped, his terrible temper firing up.
“I . . . I . . .” she stuttered, unsure of what she should say because after all, if she let out her real feelings on this matter – she would be weak . . . wouldn’t she?
“Hermione . . .” he exhaled deeply before continuing. “I’m not afraid to say that ever since that night, I haven’t stopped thinking about you. Your body and every little thing about you have been running around in my head for the past year and I know that if I don’t do something about it soon, I might go insane.” he finished and she was flabbergasted. How could he harbour all these feelings for so long and live with them when she had tried so dearly to block them out and barely survived? Her lip quivered and she looked him straight in the eyes.
“Draco . . . I . . . I . . .” but still her words would not come out, no matter how much she tried. He’d been trying so hard not to touch her at all since she had arrived but now she looked irresistible. All in the same moment he leaned in against her and kissed her and it was everything she remembered from that one passionate day. He leaned in hungrily and kissed her lips harder as she wrapped her hands around his neck as their lips worked against each others. He pulled away from her and she opened her eyes and let it all run out along with the tears that ran down her cheeks. “Draco, I’m so sorry. That night we spent together, it meant everything to me and I would give anything to have it back again. I . . . I just don’t see how this could work . . .” He rushed up against her so that they were only centimetres apart.
“Don’t worry about that . . . we’ll make it work some how. Hermione, I’m not prepared to leave you again, the last time was hard enough!” She smiled and he wiped her glistening tears away from her cheeks and then moved in again and continued their kissing. Her hands winding around his neck once again and he pulling her close yet careful not touch her chest where her stitches were. They continued faster and more passionately until someone walked through the door on the other side of the room.
“I’m sorry to intrude but I think-” Remus’s sentence halted when he saw what was happening on the other side of the room on the four poster bed. The couple pulled apart and stared in his direction in somewhat horror. They watched as his expression changed to one of complete anger as he stormed to their side of the room, picked Draco up by the back of his collar and ripped him out of Hermione’s arms. Draco looked at the crazy man now in complete horror. “I told you; well before she woke up that she was off limits!!! This relationship can not happen! It will never work!” he roared as many men crowded the open doorway, absolutely unsure of what to do.
“Remus, we can make it work.” Hermione spluttered but she was soon overtaken with coughing. Remus controlled his anger and turned to look at Hermione.
“No, Hermione, you know it could never work. Now come on, we’re leaving.” and he took her arm gently yet firmly and lifted her from her spot and guided her to the door. Draco rushed over to them but Remus raised his wand to him. Draco was close enough to whisper a last few words to Hermione before she was gone.
“I’ll find you. We’ll make this work, I promise.” he whispered and then stepped back to give Remus the room he demanded. His men still stood at the door, not letting them leave. “Let them pass.” Draco ordered and his men stepped back. Remus led Hermione into a dark and dusty room and then, together, they dissaparated.
**Somewhere in Southern England**
“How did she get away?” hissed Voldemort at his two useless followers Rabastan and Rodolphus.
“Master, there was another unaccounted for. We . . .” whimpered Rabastan.
“I don’t want to hear your excuses. I must have the girl dead, we’ve let this go too long and from what I’ve seen, she can change things! If my kind – my power is ever to advance . . .”
“Master, if only you would explain . . .” said Rodolphus.
“I need not explain myself to the likes of you!” spat Voldemort. “She must be killed though, that is for sure. And I will kill her myself!” Voldemort vowed then turned his attention to punishing his servants with the Crucio curse.
Many miles away, at a hidden house on a street called Grimmauld Place, a young man with jet black hair woke up in bed, sweating from the vision of Voldemort plotting to kill his best friend.
Authors Note: I AM OUTRAGED – AT MYSELF!!! HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID??? I have just discovered that there has been THIS chapter missing from the original posted version ever since – ever! That means that everyone who has read this before has missed this chapter! Argh!!!!!! I’m so sorry!!!!
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