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Hermione slumped on her desk a few seconds after she arrived in the Aurors’ headquarters. It had just turned eight o’ clock. She hated the day, hated why Ron just had to bring the whole topic of the removal of all females. Chauvinist pigs! And they were off, gallivanting with the DeathEaters and good old Voldie.

“ Bad day, honey? “ someone asked.

Hermione looked up and saw Susan Bones wearing a dull colored yellow robe. “ Hell yeah. I’m supposed to be having my daily dose of action. “

She laughed. “ You’re not the only one, remember? We’re all assigned to boring desk jobs or minor security- like that moving of the artifacts from the Vaults, we’re needed later on, they plan to move them tonight though; to some place that has higher security. I don’t even know when they plan to lift the ‘no females in missions’ ban. “

“ Merlin, “ Hermione breathed. “ Why did Ron have to do that? Did he suggest this? “

Susan shook her head. “ Heavens, no. Some of the males Aurors might have, though Ron was only concerned about your safety and all. The others took it to extreme lengths. “

“ Ron was too over concerned, “ Hermione said through gritted teeth.

Susan smiled. “ I don’t know, Hermione. I’m thinking he’s also thinking about Harry too, you know…” she stopped, and her eyes widened. “ Oh dear! I’m so sorry, Hermione...I- didn’t mean to! “

Hermione nodded. “ It’s okay. “

Susan apologized again and excused herself. She shook her head as she walked out, she couldn’t believe she mentioned Harry to her. How tactless could she get? She had mentioned Harry! Everyone knew what it was like for Hermione! She recalled how they were like, when Harry was still alive, bittersweet memories of the boy-who-lived and his fiancée. Harry was always proud of Hermione, had always encouraged her to be at her best yet still maintaining her safety. Harry was always a safety freak when it came to Hermione or Ron. She was one of the many eager people who had wanted to see Hermione and Harry make it to the altar, exchange vows and have little Harrys and Hermiones. She recalled the day she heard that Harry had been killed, not in a wizarding battle, but in a muggle accident. It was ironic, that the world Harry and Hermione grew up in would be the one to kill Harry and not the more dangerous wizarding world. Susan sighed and walked behind her desk to concentrate on boring paperwork.

Hermione stared at the pictures on her table, moving pictures of course, of them, of the Golden Trio, of Ron; of Harry…she shook her head twice, willing herself to stop the reveries, the hurting reveries. Why Harry had to die so soon, why Harry had to die a muggle death- she still hated the thought of it.

Ron came in all of a sudden. “ Hermione- “ he breathed. “ I’m sorry…” he said lamely.

Hermione looked at him for awhile; saw the fatigue in his eyes. She opened her mouth. She was acting so immature. “ I’m sorry, too. “

“ We’ve been fighting for something so lame…”

She smiled. “ I know. I was being stubborn again. “

“ This scene sounds familiar, “ he gave a grin.

“ Too familiar. “

“ Damn it, Hermione, “ Ron sighed, brushing his hair with both hands. “ I’m so damn sorry about that- and we just had to fight in front of everyone. “

“ Hey, I think we do that every year? “ she laughed.

“ I’m sorry about the whole removal of the females thing. I never thought the guys would take it that way. They were worried about you too, you know. “

“ I still would have loved to see the look in your face, “ she said.

“ Oh bugger off! “ Ron said with a slight frown. “ You had no idea how terrified I was, really! “

She nodded. “ I think I do. “

Ron gave a smile. “ Well, I’m off. “

“ Where are you guys planning to go? “ she asked. “ Found anything? “

Ron shrugged. “ Just- just intuition and stuff. Remember Daphne Greengrass? “

“ The tall and pretty Slytherin? “ Hermione asked with a little frown.

“ That one, “ Ron said, pointing a finger at her. “ Yes, her. We’ve kept tabs on the good old batch mates of ours, too. “

“ How come I didn’t know? “ she demanded.

“ Oh, Hermione! “ Ron said exasperated.

“ I’ll let it slip by this time, “ she said with a grin.

Ron laughed. “ So, what kind of fun-filled mission will you be assigned to? “

Hermione cocked her head a little. “ My fun-filled mission will be… moving some artifacts to another vault, another vault that uses different magical security. Old things that stink, remnants of the golden teeth of criminals, splintered wands, delightful underwear and what not. “

Ron laughed again. “ You sure have an amazing way of highlighting a very interesting desk job. “

“ I sure do, “ she replied. “ This is denial. “

He approached her and leaned in to kiss her cheek. “ Hermione, be careful. Please. And let’s not fight anymore, okay? I know it can’t be avoided, but I’ll try to be less of an overprotective arse, and try to be not so stubborn anymore? “

She nodded and smiled, feeling overwhelmed by Ron’s care for her. Being an only child, Ron was the perfect brother she never had. Their fights and arguments proved it. And she was really happy.

“ Good, “ Ron sighed. “ Well, I’m off. “

“ Hope you find something there, “ she said.

He nodded and smiled before he left.

Hermione suddenly felt better. She began humming some song as she opened a few folders to begin her desk work.





The night was cold and quiet. A breeze picked up and someone shivered a little. Someone else sniffed.

“ Merlin, this kind of weather gives me the sniffles, “ Nott muttered.

Draco didn’t smile. He was quiet tonight. He had a million things running in his mind. The first thing was Hermione and how he was going to kill Blaise later on. Hermione was gone…what else had he got to lose? The reason for loving life was because Hermione was once alive- but now…she was gone…. The next thing was how to survive this night without scratches. He was suddenly willing to kill himself for this mission, all for the Master. He felt afraid, in secret, that he was becoming like his father- that he was becoming obsessive about pure bloodedness and all that crap.

Daphne gave a laugh. “ Really, Nott. You can be so immature. “

“ Everyone’s immature. They just like to say they’re mature, “ Nott replied.

Blaise looked at them disdainfully. He too was lost in his own thoughts and hated to be interrupted by their little banter. He was wondering if Draco’s plan would work…what had he got to lose? Draco’s plan was good enough, but if it worked, everyone would praise Draco and Nott and not him. Draco would become the next Snape or something, and he hated the idea of Draco becoming the Master’s right hand man…

Draco smiled. Thank Merlin for Theodore Nott. “ Don’t forget your stations, “ he breathed out.

“ I won’t, “ Nott said with a bob. “ I’m good. “

Daphne snickered at him. “ How high and mighty you are. And don’t worry, Draco. I won’t forget either. “

Draco looked at the magnificent-looking old edifice that the Ministry had picked to house the most dangerous and weird artifacts from their conquests against the so called bad guys of the Wizarding world. He wondered if his father’s good old wand was there…his father’s cane had been used by Blaise, afterall, probably stolen from his own manor.

The place the ministry had picked to house the Vaults was a most auspicious one. It was seated at the edge of some cliff, with barbed wire surrounding it and signs that said ‘Private Property’ or ‘Danger’ or ‘Condemned’. It was an old lighthouse, or something that looked like it…a sort of manor with a lighthouse. Draco thought it was actually a nice place, far from the prying eyes of muggles- too bad they found out about this much kept secret. Down below, the cliffs were pummeled with the strength of the waves. He could hear the surf crashing over and over again against the craggy rocks. He actually liked the sound. He never got around near the sea a lot since his manor was near some forest. The sound however, seemed to annoy Blaise.

“ Avada my arse, “ he muttered. “ I hate places like these. The sea’s always so loud and- “

“ I like it, “ Draco interrupted. “ It’s loud and it’s always changing. “ He eyed Blaise and Blaise gave him a grim smile. “ Besides, it’s not everyday that the Ministry chooses to transfer artifacts from those convicted in Azkaban on such a gloomy and cold night. “

Nott laughed out loud and Daphne shushed him up, to which Nott responded with a wink, making Daphne snicker again. Blaise looked more annoyed now.

“ So…when do we move? “ Blaise asked Draco.

Draco smiled. “ You’ll know soon enough. “

“ Really, Draco. You’re always full of surprises, “ Blaise muttered.

“ Blaise, I know you want me dead, but you can’t move without me, right? So follow what I say and stop your arseness, “ Draco said with an all-knowing smile.

Blaise took a deep breath to control his rising displeasure. Damn you, Draco. Damn you to hell.

“ Look, “ Nott said in a quiet tone. He pointed to a boarded up window, near the right side of the large dilapidated lighthouse-manor. There was the tiniest glow of light, undetectable to the unobservant eye.

Draco looked on, and so did the others. He sighed. “ Well, that’s our signal. Let’s move. “





Hermione sighed as she flicked her wand to move the various objects into tiny metal safes, the size of school desks. The vault was large, as large as the Great Hall of Hogwarts, where the metal safes were stacked neatly on top of each other with various codes to ensure their total protection. Susan Bones nudged her.

“ Fun night, isn’t it? “ Susan asked her with a smile.

Hermione grinned. “ Why, of course it is. I can feel the adrenalin rush already. “

There were a few males along with the three other females, which included Hermione and Susan already. In total, there were seven of them. Lee Jordan was there to help. Ron was on his way near Scotland along with the others.

“ Have you done the double sealing spell? “ Hermione asked Susan.

Susan shook her head wildly. “ Oh Merlin, I almost forgot! Bugger! “ She muttered the spell to seal the metal cases in her area. “ You know, this isn’t such a fun job at all. We have to seal each metal case so many times, and there are more than a thousand! “

“ That’s what we’re here for, “ an Auror told her with a wink.

“ Why they had to renovate everything- why they had to move all of this- “ Lee muttered. “ Bugger, this is so…so…something! “

Hermione and the others laughed.

“ Hey watch it! “ Susan snapped as a metal case that swooshed by, almost hit her head.

“ Sorry, “ another Auror said. “ My bad. “

All of a sudden, the entire hall went dark.

“ Damn it! Who turned off the lights? “ Lee snapped. He flicked his wand to turn on the lights, but the chandeliers refused to glow. His heart began to pound. Something was not right. “ On your guard! ” he yelled.

Hermione had known beforehand. She had her wand ready for battle, but her chest hammered appallingly, like it was telling her something she knew she didn’t want to realize. She strained her ears to hear something- hear anything. She could hear someone’s heavy breathing. Lee muttered something and Hermione inched back. No Auror attempted a Lumos spell. The few seconds of silence both thrilled her and frightened her. She had never fought in pitch black before…if there really were intruders…then this would be the first….A bolt of red shot through; whizzing past Hermione’s hair, and she jumped back, falling on her behind. She scrambled up, and in less than a second, chaos ensued.

Susan felt sweat break on her forehead as she groped and hid behind a metal crate to catch her breath. How could she fight in this condition? When Lee gave them orders to fight in darkness?

“ Expelliarmus! “ she screamed.

Something was hit and the figure tumbled towards another stack of metal, causing the metal cases to fall all over.

“ The boxes! “ Hermione shouted. The boxes were what they were after! Damn it! How come she didn’t think of it sooner!!! Voldemort’s box! She had to find it soon! She had to find it now! Hermione wondered how she could find it, and keep the lights off.

Susan gasped. How could she forget! Everything here was valuable in the eyes of Wizard Law! What the hell were they doing in the evidence room? Were these the so called ‘Deatheaters’!

Bursts of light from wands, booming sounds, tumbling boxes, screams, shouts….everything in pandemonium was present, even panic.

“ Damn it! “ Draco muttered as he stood on his guard. The Aurors were at a loss now, having planned nothing, having known nothing of their attack. All of his team present was wearing goggles that could detect everything in full color in the darkness of the room. He saw every Auror present…

“ Kill them! “ Blaise snapped as he saw Daphne on the floor, narrowly avoiding a spell cast by a temporarily blind Auror.

Daphne glared at him and stood up, clenching her jaw in anger. She was here for Draco and Lord Voldemort, not Blaise. Raising her wand, she cast a freezing charm, hitting one of the high stacks of metal cases.

“ You idiot! “ Blaise hissed at her. “ You might hit the box that contains it! “

Hermione’s heart pounded erratically as she hid behind a wooden crate, figuring- planning what to do next. She heard voices in low tones…and she almost felt sure that she had heard those voices before. She felt Susan Bones presence as the bedlam carried on. “ Susan? “ she whispered. Susan whimpered. And Hermione then knew she was hurt and hurt bad. She groped for Susan’s body and then felt her hand. “ Stay here- “ Hermione whispered. “ Don’t move at all. “

“ Find the box that says #063184…” Nott kept repeating in his head. “ 063184….063184…” He flicked his wand over a metal chest and saw the numbers in little engraving that read: 063182. “ Damn it, “ Nott told himself. He shot out a hex as another Auror stumbled around almost blindly near him. “ Take that, you bastard! “

Draco saw a part of some cloak, and he felt sure it was an Auror’s. He inched quietly toward the Auror, his wand raised high. As he poised himself to use the first unforgivable curse, the lights flickered open and he gritted his teeth, still wanting to cast his spell. “ Avada-! “ he paused.


Hermione started, gasping, feeling the air around her grow cold, feeling her lungs freeze up the millisecond she saw blonde hair. Draco? Oh god….Draco? Her wand was shaking in front of her. He was about to kill her. The Avada Kedavra on her- by him! He hated her that much! Her knees began to buckle; her Auror’s resolve was gone, her pain was coming back again, her love was coming back again…or was it?

Draco’s lips quivered a little. Should he feel joy that she was actually alive? Or should he kill her to save her now, instead? Merlin! Hermione was alive! And he felt the need to take her away, take her somewhere safe- take her somewhere and kiss her and embrace her and tell her it was all some bad and rash decision- Hermione was alive! And he knew he still loved her…and his hand shook and he tried to stop it from shaking…

The lights flickered on and off and they both kept seeing each other in full light every few milliseconds. He took off his goggles. Draco’s eyes widened, seeing the stack of boxes behind her. The box was right there, at the middle of the stack, #063184! He gulped and raised his hand once more and this time it stopped shaking. He flicked his wand for it and a nearly indistinguishable thread-like spell was cast, in translucent red, inching quickly for the metal box.

Hermione’s eyes darted from his wand to the box and seeing the fine red line- she quickly countered a spell and the box shot out from the stack and landed quickly into her arms.

Draco’s eyes widened again. “ Give me the box, “ he said in a treacherously low voice. His eyes narrowed a little, his gray eyes flashed with warning.

Hermione’s eyes widened too, unable to believe that this was Draco, giving her orders to give away the box- her mind quickly ran a memory check and she then remembered this was the box that contained Voldemort’s splintered wand.

“ No, “ she uttered, almost unsteadily. This was it. Draco was gone. The man standing before her was a Deatheater, an enemy, not the man she had loved so much- not the man she was willing to die for- not Draco…Draco was dead…

“ I’ll repeat it one last time….” he breathed, “ Give me the box, now, Granger. “

She shook her head weakly, still unable to believe that the man in front of her was Draco; except that he wanted her dead and that he only wanted the box she was clutching fiercely near her chest. “ Draco- “ she began.

He shook his head. “ You want yourself dead, “ he said in a low voice.

“ I loved you, “ she cried.

He paused. I loved you. The past tense sounded uglier than he expected it to sound. It sounded agonizing. He didn’t want it to turn out like this. He thought she’d be far away, in Daphne’s manor, where all the action was supposed to happen! The urge to take it all back grew, but he saw his comrades fighting to the death, saw Nott fall down and stand up again, saw Daphne’s arm bleeding, saw Blaise screaming as he fought, of how he was going to kill them all, and Draco knew that this was his fate, his decision, his responsibility. Hermione was just a faraway beautiful dream. A dream right in front of him, close enough for him to touch, close enough for him to kiss, close enough for him to scream he loved her and that he loved her still, close enough for him to kill.

Those few precious seconds of silence between them reverberated in their ears, and the past came back in a flash, to haunt them both, to hurt them both. Those few precious seconds of silence were spent staring at each other, both torn between duties and something else- that dream they had, that good dream they once shared everyday.

He raised his wand, poised, deciding to end it all, for his sake and Hermione’s and his mother’s.

Hermione’s eyes widened. He was going to kill her!

“ Hermione, “ he began, his voice ringing in her ears, despite the blare around them. “ I love you. “

I love you. The truth always hurt, but nothing hurt more than this. She would have gladly gone through a Crucio just to make him take it back. But…this was the present. The past was dead. Hermione clutched the metal case fiercely. Not without a fight! Never without a fight! A Deatheater was a Deatheater, Draco was one now. He was an enemy. She was an Auror. He loved her…

And then words started flooding into her mind…words that had burned in front of her…the pieces should be seized, but to enter the cathedral shall need the deceit of the innocent blood…Was this it… to enter the cathedral…was this Vault the cathedral? Was she the innocent blood? Were they the innocent blood? What did the eighth mean? There was a horcrux in Voldemort’s old wand?

The future is dark, as the full sun grows cold, spills the blood of the innocent and the tainted. The eighth has been found, the pieces should be seized, but to enter the cathedral shall need the deceit of the innocent blood. Look into peers, as to who is tainted, whose concerns lie not for the safety of the masses, but for the safety of a new arrival. An equal shall be utilized, a fate that cannot be changed. It will either be death or renewal, as the cold sun lingers. The fate cannot be changed...

Hermione held her breath, still unable to believe that Draco was willing to kill her just to get to the remnants of Voldemort’s wand. Was he the tainted one? “ Draco, why? “ she asked in a broken voice.

Draco paused and grabbed her arms suddenly, almost violently. The box dropped on the floor, but he didn’t give a damn. He shoved her into a corner, obscured by the metal crates. He stared into her hazel eyes, his gray ones were burning into hers. He saw the love, the hurt, the desperation….” Hermione- “ he choked. Then he kissed her, crushing her fragile lips with the force of his own. He pulled back quickly. “ I’m sorry- stay away. You have to live. This was my decision. You have to live! Do you hear me! “

Hermione felt tears slide down her eyes. She began to tremble all over. “ I don’t understand- why, Draco? Why? I could have helped- “

“ No, you don’t understand! “ he told her. “ You have to live! Too much is at stake- I’m trying to get out of this- but my decision- I’m- “ he paused and shook his head. “ I want you alive! “

And Hermione’s mind grew blank as she stared at his face, with lines of blood, sweat on his forehead and his eyes that were determined…did she see love? Hate?

He held her face almost strongly. . “ I love you, you hear me? I love you! “ And he pointed his wand to her chest. “ I love you… “

And Hermione saw his face vanishing right in front of her and she succumbed to the darkness that was calling out to her.





A/N time: I hope I made you cry. Hahahaha. so normally, i don't demand for reviews, but right now, i demand them! haha. not being bossy or anything, but i just feel proud of this chapter since i found it a bit challenging to write and all, knowing how varied the reactions will be. Do review? I really get hyped up when people review since it gives me fuel to keep going for the next chapter. I'll see you guys on the reviews, kk? ^_^

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