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A Family Divided

There was a whooshing sound followed by a flash of bright light. Hermione opened her eyes only to shield them against the green glow illuminating the night sky. Draco grabbed her arm and wrapped it tightly about his waist. She stared into the open expanse of sky now lit by the hideous symbol floating free in the air. It was the same symbol she had seen at the Quidditch World Cup and hanging twice over Hogwarts. It was the symbol of all Death Eaters, the Dark Mark.

“Recognise that, Draco?!”

Hermione felt Draco stiffen, his hand squeezing her arm. Her heart pounded as she searched the direction from which the voice came. There was no mistaking Lucius Malfoy’s arrogant drawl. Hermione remembered it from so many years before. Draco spotted his father and the broom down to an open hillside.

In the light of the waning moon stood Lucius, his long white-blond hair shining brightly. His robe was black with a high neck, making his pale skin contrast even more sharply against his clothes than usual. Next to him, crumpled on the ground, head hanging low was a man, beaten and bloodied. His clothes were dirty and torn, hanging from his body. His hair was filthy and matted. He did not try to move; did not try to speak.

“Harry!” Hermione’s scream sliced through the air.

Lucius ran his hand through Harry’s dark hair, tangling his fingers in it before pulling Harry’s head back. Lucius shoved his wand at Harry’s throat. Not once did Harry flinch or murmur a sound.

“It seems Potter is unable to comprehend where he is or who you are. He’s been this way for some time now,” Lucius said calmly. “I’ve quite enjoyed his silence, actually.”

Draco brought himself and Hermione closer to the hill where Lucius stood with Harry at his feet. They dared not pull their wands on Lucius, fearing his retaliation on Harry.

“Father, please….”

“Father?” Lucius sneered. “I wouldn’t have a child who associated with filthy, vile Mudbloods.” His next words were carefully accentuated. “I…have…no…son!”

Hermione felt Draco suck in a deep breath and let it out as if he’d been punched. He straightened his back, bringing his chin up.

“That mark means that someone should be dead,” Draco yelled, pointing into the sky. “Yet that hasn’t happened tonight, Lucius!”

Draco spat his father’s name out with utter contempt in his voice. Hermione had heard him do this several times in the past, but it had been Harry’s name on his lips then.

Lucius narrowed his eyes. “'Yet' is the operative word in that sentence.”

“Harry!” Hermione called out to him, tears making tracks on her soot stained cheeks. The incredible pain in her shoulder was making her near hysterical. “Harry, I’m going to get you back. I promise!”

“Is that so?” Lucius laughed, sinister and evil. “I seriously doubt that.”

Hermione ignored him. “Harry, we’ve been looking. We won’t give up. Don’t you give up, Harry. We need you. Ginny needs you!”

At the sound of Ginny’s name, Harry moved. A groan escaped his lips as he tried to raise his hand, dark with dirt.

Hermione, encouraged by his movement, yelled “Yes, Harry. Fight him! Ginny wants you to fight!”

“Enough of this deplorable dribble!” Lucius exploded, pushing Harry’s head forward. “You were lucky the first time, Draco. You won’t be so the next time!”

Lucius grabbed what looked like an old deflated football, took hold of Harry’s shoulder, and was gone. Draco spurred the broom forward to the space where the two men had been. The only things that remained were two footprints and Harry’s outline in the grass. Hermione sobbed, placing her forehead against Draco’s back. Draco sighed heavily. Neither noticed their fingers entwined.

“We’ll get your arm fixed and then head back to London. We’ll figure our next move from there,” Draco said, beginning to turn the broom westward. Hermione had never heard him sound so forlorn or defeated.

Something on the ground glinted in the moonlight, catching Hermione’s attention. “Wa…wait. Put…put us do…down there,” she said trying to point to the spot Harry had lain.

Draco cast a curious glance over his shoulder. He set them down and with his help, Hermione bent down to retrieve a thick gold ring, similar to a man’s wedding ring.

Lumos,” Draco said, casting the spell and putting enough light on the ring to see it properly. “Is it Potter’s?”

“I…I think so,” Hermione murmured as she turned the ring about in her hand. “It’s engraved on the inside... it reads: JP & LE 29-07-78 GH.” Hermione gasped. “It must be Harry’s father’s ring. JP is James Potter, his father and LE is Lily Evans, his mother. The date is probably their wedding date, but GH?”

“Do you think Potter was wearing it and it fell off – or did he drop it on purpose?”

Hermione shook her head. “I don’t know. What is GH?” Hermione, still dizzy with pain, swayed on her feet.

Without thinking, Draco placed a hand upon her back, steadying her. “Your initials backwards?”

“Don’t be daft.” Hermione closed her eyes. “If it were my wedding ring I’d want to be reminded of who…when…and…and…WHERE!” She opened her eyes wide. “It’s a long shot, but if Harry dropped this on purpose, then maybe they went to where everything started, back to the beginning.”

Draco looked as if she might have lost her mind. “But where?”

Hermione closed her fist tightly around the ring. “Godric’s Hollow.”

*****

Afraid of what Disapparation could do to Hermione’s shoulder, Draco flew them east out of Hungary and into Austria at lightning speed with the sun just beginning to rise behind them. He often checked the sky around them for anyone following. Hermione began to fall in and out of consciousness with the pain from her dislocated shoulder. Draco had to stop and place her in front of him on the broom for fear of her falling off. He rode with her head upon his shoulder, her body slumped against his. He felt every breath that she took, every flinch of pain. Draco held her securely, keeping her safe in his arms.

Instead of bypassing Vienna as on the trip to Budapest, Draco headed straight for the capital city. He feared he would have to take Hermione to a Muggle hospital, having no idea where to locate a wizarding facility.

Fortunately, and with some surprise, he discovered a woman and child on a flying carpet heading west. After seeing the condition Hermione was in, the woman very readily, but in very broken English, gave Draco directions to a wizarding hospital in the first district in a park called Volksgarten.

Draco placed the broom down in a pretty, wooded area of the park. Placing an arm around Hermione’s waist and pulling her right arm over his shoulder, he led her to stand in front of a replica of a Grecian temple with a door that appeared to be sealed to visitors. He spoke to a statue of Asklepios, the Greek god of medicine and healing, quickly stating their names and purpose. The statue nodded slightly and one of the enormous black doors opened, allowing them to walk into a large reception with a near empty waiting room. Two male Healers approached Draco and Hermione with a stretcher floating between them.

“She’ll be more comfortable on this than walking,” one of the men said to Draco, who could only nod.

Hermione moaned in pain, seemingly unaware of where they were as she was placed upon the stretcher; her rucksack was given to Draco.

“She’ll be okay, won’t she?” Draco asked as he followed them down a hall.

The other man spoke this time. “Yes. Her injury is very painful, though. You should have had it attended to immediately.”

“That wasn’t possible at the time,” Draco murmured distractedly. “She was so brave; didn’t hesitate a moment. She’s a better flier than I think she realises.”

They turned down several corridors, Draco mapping the hospital out in his memory. They stopped before a pair of double doors.

“You can wait there,” said the first Healer, pointing to a group of chairs across the hall.

Draco shook his head. “I don’t think so. I have to be with her.”

Both men smiled indulgently, taking Draco’s concern as that of a lover.

“You can’t come into a ward like that,” said Healer number two, looking Draco up and down. “You wouldn’t want her to see you like that anyway. There is a men’s room around the corner. When you come back you can see her.”

Draco looked down at his soot stained clothes. He still wore the white dress shirt and black trousers from the ball the evening before. His waistcoat , tie and robes had been discarded in the fire. The shirt was now covered in black spots and streaks.

Reluctantly, Draco nodded. He watched them take Hermione, lying prone upon the stretcher, through the double doors.

*****

Hermione thought that Draco really should have more comfortable beds in his tent. This one was too hard.

She opened her eyes, but instead of finding the soft fabric top of the tent, she was looking at white ceiling tiles. There was a smell of bandages about her, mixed with cleaning fluid. The sheets were stiff with starch. Blinking her eyes several times to focus them, she realised there was a white curtain surrounding the space. The lights were bright all around.

Hearing a soft sound, slightly like that of a snore, Hermione looked next to her. Draco was slouched down in a chair, asleep with his head propped up on his hand. His white blond hair had fallen into his eyes and there was a hint of stubble upon his chin. His features were quite soft in sleep in contrast to the scowl he normally wore when around her.

“Draco?” she whispered.

He immediately woke, stretching his arms and legs. “How do you feel? Arm better?”

Pity, she thought. The scowl had returned.

Suddenly, everything came flooding back to Hermione: the ball, the dragon, Lucius and Harry. She sat up in the bed.

“My arm is fine. Where are we?”

Draco poured her a cup of water from a carafe sitting on a small table next to the bed. Hermione graciously took the cup, downing it quickly.

“We’re at hospital in Vienna,” Draco said, refilling the cup when Hermione held it back out to him.

“Thank you.” Hermione took a smaller sip this time, her head snapping up when she finished. “A Muggle hospital?”

“No.” Draco sat back down. “It’s a wizarding hospital. Not as big as St. Mungo’s but still quite sufficient.”

There were a few seconds of uncomfortable silence. Draco glanced at the curtains as Hermione found interest in her fingernails. She finally looked up at him.

“Are you okay?”

Draco brought his eyes back to her. “Sure. I’m fine.”

“Your father said some horrible things, Draco.”

“Yeah, well. Nothing to be done about it now, is there?” Draco chuckled sarcastically to himself. “I guess this gives me something in common with Potter.”

Hermione’s brow furrowed in confusion. “I don’t understand. What?”

Draco looked down at his hands, folded across his chest. “We’re both orphans now.”

“But what about your mother?”

“I watched her die in the final battle.”

Hermione felt her stomach clench tight. The only family he had ever really known was gone. Her heart suddenly and unexpectedly went out to this man who had saved her life not once, but twice.

“I’m sorry, Draco.”

Draco looked into her eyes. “I don’t want your pity.”

“I’m not giving it. That was a condolence.”

Swallowing hard, Draco nodded only once. Hermione found herself wanting to hug him, to console him for the loss of his mother and now his father.

Hermione felt the need to ask another question. “Back in the tent, you said you kissed Katalin in payment for saving my life. What did you mean?”

Draco shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “She told me that Lucius had been there and that he and Ernö had planned the dragon attack. She asked for payment in advance.”

Hermione felt horrible yet she had one more question.

“Do you love her?”

Draco’s expression of revulsion was painfully apparent. “What? No! She’s a manipulative, selfish, spoiled, little bitch. Reminds me too much of Pansy Parkinson.”

This man who had caused her such misery and had yet saved her life was becoming more and more the mystery to her. Something inside her lifted though as she thought about his words. She suddenly felt ready to take on Lucius and anything he could throw at them.

Shaking herself mentally, Hermione swung her slender legs out of the bed before she realised she was wearing only a hospital gown. Her eyes grew large and round as she felt a cool breeze across her back. Draco gazed at her face quizzically.

“You okay?”

“Um…yes. Where are my clothes?” she asked, pulling the gown down to try and cover more of her knees

Pulling his eyes away from the bare skin of her thighs, Draco motioned to a bedside table and opened a drawer. There, folded and cleaned were her jeans, t-shirt and jumper from the night before. Glancing back, his eyes lingered on her smooth legs a little longer than he had anticipated. His cheeks became flushed with colour.

Hermione cleared her throat and Draco’s gaze flew up to her face. “If you’ll step out and draw the curtain, I’ll get dressed.”

“Oh…um…sure. I’ll find the Healer so we can leave.”

The unease that Hermione felt did not leave her when Draco pulled the curtains. What was happening? The disgust she should have been feeling, had been feeling after the ball was gone. She was grateful to Draco for saving her life again, but how was she supposed to say that to him? How was she supposed to tell him that she hurt for him? How was she supposed to explain her feelings to herself, much less Draco? What was she feeling?

Had he been checking out her legs?

Hermione tested her shoulder, rolling it about and wondering what spell or potion had been used to mend her shoulder and alleviate the pain. She quickly dressed, feeling a little unsteady on her feet, but overall physically well. She heard footsteps beyond the curtain and hurriedly finished tying her bootlaces.

“Okay, Hermione?” Draco paused just on the other side of the curtain.

Taking a deep, calming breath, Hermione pulled the material back in one jerk. “Yes. Let’s go.”

“Wait, we need to have another look your shoulder; make sure it’s fully healed,” said the ancient, bald and paunchy man in white robes standing next to Draco. He held a clipboard with a Quick Quill.

“I’m fine and I don’t think there’s any need. I’m very sorry, but we must go.” Hermione grabbed her rucksack, then Draco’s arm and began pulling him toward the ward doors. “Thank you!”

“Hermione, what are you doing?” Draco asked, pulling back against her grip.

Hermione ignored his question. “How long was I asleep?” She rounded a corner.

“Nearly six hours.” Draco ran to catch her up.

“Too long.” Hermione mumbled, stopping in an empty hallway. “We need to get to The Burrow. Ginny will know how to get to Godric’s Hollow. She and Harry have flown out there several times.”

“What’s The Burrow?”

Hermione watched Draco’s face carefully. “It’s the Weasley’s home.”

The colour drained from Draco’s already pale features. “Hermione, you can’t…I can’t go,” he stuttered. “You don’t expect…it…it’s suicide.”

She found his hand, squeezing it gently. “You’ll be with me. It’ll be okay. Remember your oath.”

Draco nodded hesitantly. Deep down inside, Hermione hoped that she was right.


A/N: Thank you so much to everyone who’s been reviewing. I’m so thrilled! Over 2500 hits and 70+ reviews! I never imagined my first fic would do that well. I couldn’t have done any of it without the help of my beta reader, VacantSkies. You’ve done more than just correct my punctuation and sentence structure. Thanks so much!!!!!

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