The stairs creaked hours later as Hermione crept down the stairs onto the main floor of the Burrow. A wonderful aroma was wafting through the cozy home and had awoken Hermione, who’s stomach was cruelly empty. She could hear people in the kitchen shuffling around, silverware and plates clanking, and chairs being moved.
Inside the kitchen Mrs Weasley was instructing her husband, Ginny, Harry, and Ron with several different tasks to hurry along dinner. Hermione stood in the doorway unnoticed and watched as the four people moved quickly to finish cooking the supper.
A bright smile crossed Mr Weasley’s face as he noticed Hermione standing there quietly, “Oh, good Hermione, you’re awake. We were worried we’d have to wake you from your sleep when we leave.”
“When we leave?” She asked straightening slightly and furrowing her brow in confusion.
“Yes, dear, when we return to Grimmauld Place. It isn’t safe for us to stay in the Burrow now that You-Know-Who will surely have noticed you and Draco are missing. He’ll be out to find you in no time and we’re assuming that this will be one of the first few places he would look.” Mrs Weasley explained as she placed a large pot of mashed potatoes in the a box on the floor.
Suddenly panic struck through Hermione as she thought of where else the Death Eaters might be sent to look for her. “My parents ” She exclaimed, “What if they go after my parents? They’re only muggles they won’t be able to fend for themselves. They need to get out of our house.”
“Already done.” The elderly woman smiled sweetly, “They should already be at Grimmauld Place waiting for dinner like many other Order members.”
Relief washed over the young girl as the large box that everyone had been placing their food in was sealed magically by Mrs Weasley’s wand.
Dinner was absolutely fantastic, as would be expected from any meal that Mrs Weasley cooked for anybody. Seated between her parents Hermione listened as they told her about how their business was growing and they wished to set up a clinic elsewhere in London to attract more customers. Across from her Draco was eating in silence with his head bowed although he did occasionally look up at her.
Unlike the other three people involved in the plan that Moody would soon bring up with the Order, he was aware of what lay ahead of them possibly the following morning. The dangerous task would involve a lot of extra strength and Draco was being sure to stuff himself with a proper serving of each food group.
Hermione, too, seemed nervous to him although he was fairly sure that had more to do with the fact that Dylan and Sofia weren’t with her. He wanted to reach out and hold her hand or simply touch her shoulder but he knew that she wouldn’t want him to. The bloody Gryffindor wouldn’t allow him to touch her. As she looked up their eyes caught each other’s and they held the gaze for several moments before Hermione turned away from him.
After dinner Moody led everyone into a large room off the side of the kitchen that had not been previously cleaned in the years before. A long table stretched from almost one side to another and other people who had not stopped for dinner were already there. Hermione quickly seated herself eager to have the meeting start and learn of the information the Order had to offer her.
As if to only prolong her anxiety the first half hour or so of the meeting was spent listening to a few members give reports on any information they had. It was dreadfully boring but Hermione sat on the edge of her seat, wordlessly begging for Moody or Lupin or someone to hurry the meeting along. Finally after what seemed like years they made it to the topic of her choice.
“Hogwarts must be infiltrated by a certain few people who know the castle it’s best since their memories are most clear at the moment.” Lupin continued for Moody, “These four would be Hermione, Draco, Ron, and Ginny because they have been attending the school for the past six or seven years. They’ll know their way around the easiest.”
“Won’t everyone in the castle notice who they are and attack them?” Bill Weasley asked, his brow furrowed in concentration.
Lupin smiled weakly, “While Draco was at Hogwarts one of his tasks was to collect a hair sample from three men and two woman. Thanks to Professor Snape we had enough Polyjuice Potion already brewed for them to transform and they’ll be ready to leave by tomorrow evening.”
“Tomorrow?” Mrs Weasley nearly shrieked hysterically in surprise, causing silence to fall on the table. “They’re not ready to leave tomorrow. These children need rest and good food before they can leave and we should give it to them.”
A slow murmur of agreement rose from other members of the Order as they thought over what she had said. Hermione was torn between logic and her feelings. She wanted to leave the following morning since it would mean that she would be allowed to see her babies sooner than later. How long did Mrs Weasley want them to wait?
Moody exchanged glances with Lupin who gave him a smile, shrug, and a nod of agreement with Mrs Weasley. “Molly, how long are you proposing we wait?” Lupin turned to the redheaded woman.
“A week, at the very least.”
A low growl came from Moody, “We can not wait forever to send them, Molly, and I’m sure Ms Granger and Mr Malfoy want those two kids returned to them safely and as soon as possible.”
A deep blush appeared on Molly’s face, “I...I know how they surely feel at this moment but I still think that waiting a week will do them better than going tomorrow.”
Lupin spoke next, “All in favor of postponing the plan for a week raise your hand.” To Hermione and Draco’s dismay a little over half of the room raised their hands including Ron, who quickly put his down at a scathing look from Hermione.
Scowling Moody nodded and adjourned the meeting as he accepted that the plan would have to wait a week. Standing up many members congregated around the room conversing quietly with each other or otherwise leaving the room to retrieve their coats to return home to their loved ones.
One of the few people who didn’t leave their seats was Hermione who was staring down at the table trying to hold her emotions in as she realized how difficult the next week would be. The whole time she would have to deal with the fact that the two children who were so much like her own were so far from her. That in the middle of the night she wouldn’t have to rush to make Sofia a bottle or rock her back to sleep. For a one more whole week she wouldn’t have to worry about Dylan crawling into bed with her and Draco after a nightmare.
A gentle hand fell on her shoulder and she started, looking up to see Draco as he took a seat next to her, “Don’t worry, Hermione. I promise that the children will be okay.”
“Shut up, Malfoy.” She snarled coldly, “I’m tired of being told that they will be okay. I know they’ll be okay, I’m not stupid. There are other more important things that I have on my mind about them. To think I thought you might have been the one person to understand that.” She laughed hollowly.
Draco scowled at her, “You don’t have to be so rude, Granger. I was coming over to comfort you since we do happen to be in the same boat.”
“If we are in the same boat, as you say, why can’t you understand what I’m upset about then?” She snapped angrily, standing up and placing her fists on her hip, “You’re the only other person who would miss the small things that the kids would do.”
“I do I miss Dylan moving into bed with us at night because he was scared and I do miss taking him out to Quidditch with me. I miss having Sofia coo at me while I held her on the couch at two in the morning.” His anger was peaking as he stood up next to her, “Quit acting like you’re the only one who thinks of those sentimental things around here.”
With that as his last words he stormed out of the room and upstairs to his bedroom, careful to not wake Mrs Black. Rooted to the spot, Hermione fumed silently before following him but turning into the bedroom she shared with Ginny instead of going to his to make up with him. She didn’t even want to think about him at that moment.
Raindrops were falling in a rhythmic pattern on the window as Hermione gazed out onto the empty, muggle street in the apartment she had spent her Christmas. A blanket was thrown over
her legs as she curled up on the window sill with a book on her lap. She couldn’t concentrate, however, as the knowledge of what was to occur in barely seven days weighed on her mind.
What if they were unsuccessful? What if something went wrong and they were unable to ever see Dylan and Sofia again? Or worse, what if they were murdered while on their mission to simply, get them out of the way.
She shuddered as the thoughts of different blunders they could come across plagued her mind and made her blood run cold. She was so engrossed in her own thoughts that she did not hear anybody coming into the room and could not feel the stare they were using the try and force her to look around.
Draco stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame and staring at the girl so close to him physically but so far away in terms of their relationship at that moment. It had been proven to her that he was on her side but he didn’t think that she was going to trust him any time soon. Frustration was filling him nearly to the brim but he managed to hold it all in and control himself from lashing out at her verbally.
There was so much he wanted to yell at her. He wanted to scream at the top of his lungs about how he was trying to be fair to her and let everything work itself out but that he was angry she fighting it. He yearned to cause a riot over how angry he was that no matter what he did he suspected that she would never trust him. Mostly though he wanted to hold her still and listen to how he fancied her. Maybe even more than fancied.
‘Ha Like she’d ever stand still long enough to listen to something like that let alone believe it.’ He thought bitterly to himself as he remained where he was.
In his mind he debated over the two possible things he could do at that moment. One, he could walk over and sit next to her and make her listen then whether she wanted to or not. Or two, he could simply back out of the room and return to his own bedroom downstairs.
Despite his insane urge to talk to the Gryffindor in his mind was leaning towards the latter of his choices. The self control that seemed to have taken a lifetime to get a full grip on was conquering the more healthy side of him that said to let out all his anger.
He would have to deal with it later he supposed as he turned and left Hermione to her thoughts.
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