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Chapter 6: An Unexpected Visitor


The next morning Hermione awoke very early to find Draco sleeping soundly beside her. She very slowly and carefully slid her way out of bed and made her way silently to the bathroom door, pulling her dressing gown over her pajamas as she went (because she had stored her wand in the pocket of it the night before). Just as she was about to enter the bathroom, she heard Draco wake up slightly.

“Where are you going, Mia?” He asked sleepily, barely awake.

“Just to the bathroom, honey. Go back to sleep, I’ll be right back.” She told him and watched as he flopped back on the bed and began snoring softly.

She closed the bathroom door as silently as possible and quickly tore off her dressing gown, taking her wand from the pocket. Thanking the gods that she was advanced in transfiguration, she quickly transfigured her pajamas into a cute looking rose-colored tunic and khakis. She straightened her hair magically and pulled it into a loose ponytail and crept from the opposite door (the bathroom had two doors--one to the bedroom and one to the spare room next to theirs, which she was planning on using as the nursery).

Tiptoeing ever so quietly down the stairs, she slid her feet into her shoes by the front door and grabbed her jacket since it was usually pretty crisp this early in the morning. Pausing for a moment, her hand on the front doorknob, she listened intently to make sure that Draco wasn’t following her. Feeling confident that he was still asleep soundly in their room, she slowly made her way outside to the apparation point. When she reached the point, she turned to face the house and silently whispered “I’m sorry” before Apparating to Diagon Alley.

Hermione knew that Lupin wasn’t expecting her until the afternoon but if she waited that long to get out of the house with Draco watching her practically like a hawk, she’d never make it to the meeting. Walking slowly through the practically abandoned street, she made her way towards the Leaky Cauldron. She stopped at the small Owl Post Office and sent a quick note to Remus letting him know that she would be heading to Grimmauld Place probably around noon, in case he wanted to meet earlier. After that, she made her way through the Leaky Cauldron and into the streets of muggle London in search of something good to eat for breakfast.

She spied a quaint little café on the corner of one of the streets and decided that it looked good enough to check out. Thankful that she had kept a muggle bank account with a decent amount of funds in it, she walked into the café. It was almost completely empty, save for the elderly couple in the corner drinking coffee. She ordered her own café latte and a bagel with cream cheese and sat herself down with a newspaper in another secluded corner of the café.

As she sipped her latte and flipped nonchalantly through the muggle newspaper, her thoughts started drifting to Draco and how he would act to find her gone when he awoke. She knew he would be mad but hopefully by the time she got home he’d have calmed down and understood. Trying not to dwell on her thoughts, she engrossed herself in her newspaper and next thing she knew it was going on nine o’clock.

Paying her check and nodding a polite thank you to the young woman who owned the shop, she made her way back into the now bustling street. She thought for a moment about what to do and then decided that since she still had three hours till she said she would be at Grimmauld Place but since her mind was already swimming with questions about what sort of information they had obtained so she decided to go to the one place she’s always felt at home---the Library. Walking back to the Leaky Cauldron, she Flooed to the Magical Library and started her research, feeling right at home.

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Draco woke up to an empty bed and immediately jumped up to begin looking through the house for Hermione. He searched every room, even the bathrooms and the gardens outside and there was no trace of her. Going back inside, his anger flaring and concern weaning, he ran up to his room and quickly threw on some clothes. Heaving his feet into a pair of expensive trainers, he dashed to the study and Flooed immediately to 12 Grimmauld Place, figuring that she had gone there after all. Arriving in the living room of the now deserted house, he ran from room to room hollering her name but found it was completely empty. Yelling out in anguish, he turned and focused his anger on a nearby wall punching it as hard as he could. Crying out again, only in pain this time, he swore loudly and headed outside to apparate…to where, though, he wasn’t sure yet but he would find her.

Stepping out into the cool autumn air, he walked to the near-by park and sat down on a bench to concentrate. It was close to noon already.

How could I have slept in so late? He asked himself angrily. If I hadn’t slept in, she wouldn’t have been able to leave.

As he sat there thinking intensely, he felt a tingling sensation---the same one he usually felt whenever Hermione was nearby. Standing up abruptly, he looked around. He looked throughout the park as far as he could see but didn’t see her anywhere. Looking back through the trees , he could clearly see the empty space where 12 Grimmauld Place was hidden and in that exact moment, the house appeared which meant that someone was obviously there. And just as he realized that, he watched his betrothed walk briskly into his view, up the front walk and in the front door looking happy and excited. He set off across the park, not rushing anymore as he was trying to compose himself as much as possible to help keep a possible fight from erupting. Little did he know that there would be an even bigger surprise waiting inside the house.

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Hermione brushed into the house completely unaware that Draco was watching her from the park across the street. She had a smile on her face from the relaxing morning she had just spent in the Magical Library. She hadn’t really found anything that could really be useful to the whole situation that she was in with Voldemort but it had still been great to be back among the books again.

With a smile on her face, she walked into the living room and immediately saw Remus sitting in an arm chair and stopped in her tracks, a loud gasp escaping from her lips. It wasn’t Remus that caused her to gasp, but it was the company that was in the room with him. Her shocked expression was quickly replaced by one of huge happiness at the site of her friend, whom she hadn’t seen since the summer before seventh year. The two men in the room looked up towards the doorway and smiled brightly when they saw Hermione. The man Remus was speaking with stood up and smiled wider when he saw Hermione’s shocked expression change to happiness.

“Viktor!” She cried, rushing into the room and practically jumping into his open arms.

The two had had a small fling that never really amounted to much when she was in fourth year and he was visiting Hogwarts from his school Durmstrang and competed in the Triwizard Tournament. The two had almost immediately started into a wonderful friendship that continued after he left and graduated school, going on to become one of the best professional Seekers the Quidditch world had ever seen.

He was still as tall and well-built as he was the last time she’d seen him when she had finally taken him up on the offer to spend sometime with him in Bulgaria over the summer before seventh year. His clean buzzed hair had remained, as well as his well defined chiseled features that Hermione remembered well and loved. They had grown very close during the past few years and were very good friends. He had taught her all sorts of things, like how to fly (though she was still nervous about doing it on her own) and she had taught him better English.

“ ‘Mione, hello. It’s wonderful to see you again. How have you been doing?” Viktor asked her, hugging her tightly. He still harbored feelings for her that had began over 3 years ago but knew that they were only to be friends so he was content to stay that way.

“I’ve been good, well as good as could be expected since the incident last year. But enough catch up for now….what are you doing here!?” She rambled off, breaking the embrace and pulling back slightly, her hands in his.

“Yes, Remus told me what happened with Harry. It’s a great loss, he was a wonderfully talented wizard--not to mention an excellent flier. Actually he’s part of the reason I’m in Britain. Remus contacted me last year and I’ve been working the Bulgarian front for the Order for him, trying to recruit new members and keep my ears open and whatnot. Sorry I did not tell you Hermione but it needed to be kept a secret, you know.” He told her, smiling his handsome smile that she had almost fallen for back in school.

The two friends caught up on old times and memories for awhile and chitchatted with Remus about Order business. They were all so deep in conversation that they didn’t hear another person enter the house and come to a stop outside the room. Draco had walked into the house and stopped abruptly at the site he saw in the living room.

Back in school he practically idolized Viktor Krum, being a seeker himself. When he met him personally at Hogwarts during the Tournament and watched as he escorted Hermione to the Yule Ball, he was almost jealous. He had known that Hermione had had a short lived romance with the Bulgarian and that they had remained friends since.

However, when he walked into the house and saw his fiancé sitting on the couch next to the professional Quidditch player, almost so close that she could’ve been sitting on his lap, he just about lost it. It took every ounce of will power he had to keep his temper from overcoming him and rushing the man. Instead he simply cleared his throat to get their attention.

“Ahem.” Draco said, gaining the attention of the room’s occupants and watched as the smile on Hermione’s face faded almost instantly. He saw her jump back away from Viktor as quickly as possible.

“Draco, um, what are you doing here?” Hermione asked him, a look of fear, confusion, and embarrassment appearing blatantly on her face.

“I think that I should be asking you the same question, Granger.” He replied, casting a glare of jealous hatred towards Viktor, who sat next to Hermione with a look of confusion in his eyes. He turned his attention back towards Hermione and glared at her. She knew by the stress of her last name that he was angry.

“Sorry to interrupt Lupin, but I need to speak with my fiancé for a moment please.” He said, clenching his jaw and emphasizing the word fiancé. Remus looked back and forth between the two and simply nodded.

Hermione muttered an apology to Viktor and Remus and quickly strode from the room, following Draco into a spare room down the hall. She walked past him into the room and stood in the middle of the room, her arms crossed. Draco waited for her to come in and slammed the door behind them, keeping his back towards her for fear that he would lose control if he faced her. Hermione opened her mouth to speak but was beat to it before she could say a word.

“So that was the ‘information’ then was it? Is that why you snuck out of the house this morning while I was asleep after I thought we had agreed that you weren’t going to come?” Draco said, his head lowered, his eyes closed and his jaw clenched, trying desperately to keep his emotions in check.

“No Draco I swear I had no idea that Viktor was going to be here. I didn’t even know that he was associated with the Order till a few moments ago! And besides we didnt agree that I wasn't going to come--YOU decided it and I said I was coming anyway!!” Hermione said in defense. Draco twirled around to face her, his icy blue eyes filled with jealous rage.

“Oh and that’s why you were just oh so cozy with the git? Damn Granger, any closer and you might as well have been in his bloody lap!” He said, his voice raising in anger.

“Draco don’t start! Viktor and I are JUST FRIENDS and you bloody well know that! If I wanted to be with him I never would’ve been with you and I sure as bloody hell wouldn’t have said yes when you proposed!!” Hermione yelled back at him, angry now that not only did he follow her but now he was practically accusing her of cheating.

They stood there for a few minutes, neither speaking but staring at each other with tension so thick you could cut it with a knife. Both were absolutely fuming. Finally Hermione spoke, trying her best to keep her voice as calm as possible, even though she was terrified inside that what she had to say would be the end of it.

“Draco, I love you. But if you are going to blow up every time I try to do anything and try to keep me on a tight leash like a little puppy then…..” She took a deep breath and looked away.

“Then what Hermione?” Draco asked, his voice much calmer then before, almost shy. Hermione took another deep breath, feeling a hot tear slide down the side of her face.

“Then maybe we really shouldn’t be together.” She finally finished, her heart breaking and more tears breaking from her eyes as she looked at the floor, unable and unwilling to look at him.

Draco just stared at her. He could not believe that she had just said something about breaking up.

After everything they had been through, after all the battles they had fought just to be together, how could she even THINK about breaking it off?!?! Draco thought to herself, dumbfounded and speechless.

His anger was completely gone and it was now replaced with grief and confusion and sadness. He found himself sliding down the wall behind him and sitting on the floor his head hanging in his hands in utter disbelief.

“So what are you saying Mia? Do you want to end it right here, right now? After everything we’ve gone through to get here?” Draco asked, not looking up from his hands.

Before Hermione could answer, there was a knock on the door and Viktor peaked his head in slowly.

“ ‘Mione, is everything alright? I heard screaming from downstairs.” He asked timidly, looking at Hermione with concern and glancing at Draco with contempt. Hermione sniffed and wiped her eyes, putting on her best fake smile.

“Yes, Viktor, everything is alright.” She said as calmly as she could.

Viktor looked at her for a moment, knowing that she wasn’t being honest, but shook his head anyway.

“Well I just wanted to let you know that the others are here now and they are going to be starting the meeting.” He ducked back out of the door, glancing with malice at the blonde on the floor by the wall once more.

Hermione breathed in deeply, trying without success for a moment to compose herself. She leaned back against the desk that resided on the side of the room and lowered her head allowing a couple more stray tears to fall down her cheeks before wiping them away fiercely and smoothing out her shirt.

“We’ll talk about this later, Draco. Right now I have an important meeting to attend and I would like it if you accompanied me downstairs.” She said quietly, standing up and once more trying to compose her disposition so she would not draw attention to herself during the meeting.

Draco didn’t answer so she simply walked slowly and quietly from the room, leaving Draco to his thoughts. After the door closed behind her, Draco broke down and cried silently for a couple minutes. He didn’t like to cry, that was an emotion he was still unfamiliar with but what Hermione just said to him nearly tore his heart in two. Finally, a long five moments later, he lifted himself from the ground, regained his composure and walked downstairs to join the meeting.

Walking into the dining room where the meeting was starting, he noticed that only a select few of the members were around the table---Remus Lupin (of course), Ron Weasley (another of course since it was dealing with Hermione), Nymphadora Tonks, Mad-Eye Moody, Viktor Krum, Hermione and another girl about Hermione’s age that Draco didn’t recognize. He slinked into the room and dropped himself silently into an empty seat beside the new girl, looking across the table at Hermione who was seated in between Ron and Viktor Krum and saw her cast him a look of sadness and longing for a moment before returning her attention to Remus who was bringing the meeting to order.

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