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Hermione thought a lot over the weekend about her strange encounter with Malfoy; she couldn't help but feel there was more that he had to say. She found it odd to begin with that Malfoy had told her about his relationship problems with Astoria. What was even stranger was that since he had discovered the news of his father, Draco seemed more concerned with finding Lucius than his fiancée. At first, Hermione thought that it was because he was convinced that his father was somehow involved with the Knights of Walpurgis but they had no evidence that suggested so.

Hermione also thought of her relationship with Ron, and how she would have felt if it was him that had been kidnapped. Even though they were no longer together the idea gave her a sickly nervous feeling of worry in her stomach. Each time he had been involved in a particularly dangerous assignment at the Auror office she had worried from the moment he left until the second she saw him again. Draco didn't appear to have any of those feelings at all regarding Astoria's disappearance, and for an unfathomable reason, it annoyed Hermione.

She hoped that a distraction from her thoughts would come along and when Harry appeared in her fireplace on Sunday morning asking for a favour, she was relieved.
Unfortunately, his favour would do nothing to stop her from thinking about Malfoy, as she soon found out.

"I planned to go to Malfoy's flat today to get a start on the boxes of Lucius' stuff from the Manor but completely forgot I'd promised Ginny we would go and choose flowers for the wedding this morning, she'll kill me if she finds out I forgot. Is there any chance you can go to Malfoy's for me?"

"Oh, Harry. I don't know…"

"Please, Hermione. Apart from the interview with Stan next week, this is the only other lead we've got and now that we know Lucius is on the run, I'm worrying that the more days that go by the further away he could be."

His expression was sincere and desperate, and Hermione couldn't say no to it. "Fine, I'll go to Malfoy's."

Harry breathed a sigh of relief. "You're a lifesaver Hermione, I owe you one."

"Yes, you do," she replied with a smile.

"I'd better get going, Ginny's in the shower and I want to get back before she notices I'm gone and realises I forgot." His expression was apologetic and he kept glancing behind him as though expecting an angry Ginny to appear there.

As soon as he was gone from the fireplace, Hermione stepped in after him, wanting to get her time with Malfoy over with sooner rather than later. She reluctantly shouted his address and sighed as she stepped out at the other end. A quick glance around the living room told her that he wasn't there.

"Malfoy?" she shouted but no reply came.

"Draco?" she tried again but still heard no answer.

She walked to the door that stood on the left side of the room and pushed it open, revealing a small kitchen. Draco wasn't there but a box stood on the table, similar to the ones she had searched through two days previously.

Wondering if it contained more of Lucius' things that Malfoy had brought from the Manor, Hermione took a seat at the kitchen table and removed the lid. She decided to get a head start whilst waiting for Draco to arrive home; keen to lessen the time she had to spend with him.

The box was full of old copies of the Daily Prophet, Witch Weekly and other magical magazines that Hermione did not recognise the titles of. Of all the publications in the box, the Daily Prophet was the only one which Hermione had ever read, or had the desire to read. The rest appeared to be along similar lines as Witch Weekly; idle gossip magazines which held little or no real fact or news.

Hermione assumed the box belonged to Narcissa and picked up the lid to replace it. Just as she was about to do so, a headline on the front of one of the magazines caught her eye and she set the lid down and pulled it out.

The magazine was called Magical Musings. It had a picture of a pretty witch in pink robes on the front, holding a baby wrapped in a bundle of blue blankets. A glance at the largest headline told Hermione she was a famous singer who had just had a baby with an international Quidditch player. This story, however, was not the one that had caught her attention. Down the left side of the page there was a picture of a solemn looking Draco Malfoy bearing the headline 'My Devastation at Kidnapped Fiancée.'

Intrigued, Hermione opened the magazine to the contents page and quickly scanned down the list until she found the page number of the article. It turned out to be an interview that took up two full pages. There was a larger version of the picture from the front cover at the top of the page and the title of the article in bold writing next to it. Hermione began to read the article, not sure of what to expect.

Draco Malfoy, twenty-three year old former Death-Eater has spent the last four years since the Second Wizarding World War attempting to rid himself of his dark past. As a young boy, still at Hogwarts, Draco was unwillingly thrown into the dark world surrounding Lord Voldemort. His father Lucius Malfoy (currently serving a sentence in Azkaban), forced his wife, Narcissa, and his son to become supporters, going as far as letting his son being branded with the infamous Dark Mark.

After the defeat of Lord Voldemort and his father's imprisonment, Draco and his mother have worked to regain the respect of the wizarding world; Narcissa publicly disowning her husband and Draco accepting a job alongside Wizarding hero Harry Potter as an Auror (Dark Wizard catcher).

Draco recently announced his engagement to Astoria Greengrass and finally things were going well for him, that is until she was kidnapped. Draco has agreed to an interview with Magical Musings' reporter Talia Hergle, to speak of his ordeal.

TH-Tell us from the beginning Draco, when did you first realise Astoria had gone missing?

DM- It was just over two weeks ago, on a Tuesday.

TH-How long did it take you to notice she was missing?
DM- Not long, I knew as soon as I got home that something wasn't right.

TH-How so?
DM- Well, the house was completely wrecked for starters.

TH-We know it must be difficult, but can you talk us through what happened? Our readers will be keen to know…
DM- Well, I got home later than usual from work. When I got to the front door, it was already opened. Every room in the house had been ransacked. Furniture, ornaments, everything was broken, the place was a mess. I shouted for Astoria and didn't hear anything, so I looked in all of the rooms in the house and there was no sign of her. There was a plate of unfinished food in the library and that was when I knew she was gone.

TH-Heartbreaking. You must have been terrified?
DM- I can't explain how I felt. I'd seen houses like that before, at work, you know? I prayed that she had just gone out and not told me, but as soon as I saw the library, I knew she'd been taken. Nothing in there was broken, whoever took her obviously stopped blowing things up when they found her.

TH-And you've no idea who would want to take her?
DM- None at all. They left no clues.

TH-There has been some speculation that some of Voldemort's supporters are still out there and angry that Harry Potter is still alive. Do you think you working with him and Astoria going missing is linked?
DM- Who knows? It would make sense, I suppose, why else would anyone want to take Astoria? She had no enemies at all, it's impossible to not love her.

TH-Wow. You really love her don't you?
DM- Of course.

TH-Tell us what happened after you realised she was missing.
DM- I waited for my mother to come home, I knew that she was planning on being out that night. As soon as she arrived, I took her to the Leaky Cauldron and booked us a room for the night. The next morning I found us somewhere else to live. You understand I can't tell you where, but it's safe and that's all that matters. I told my boss shortly after and he assigned the case to Harry. There's a team of us working around the clock to get her back.

TH-And there are no leads so far?
DM- We have some, I can't really talk about it. I will find her though, I can tell you that.

TH-Well, thank you very much for agreeing to talk to us today, we understand how difficult it must have been.
DM- Thank you. I'll do anything that might help bring Astoria back.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Astoria Greengrass please contact Harry Potter or Draco Malfoy at the Auror department in the Ministry of Magic.

Hermione read the article several times, and each time caused her confusion to grow. She set down the copy of Magical Musings and picked out a copy of the Daily Prophet from the previous day. She scanned the pages and found a brief few paragraphs on Astoria's disappearance that was positively modest compared to the interview Hermione had just read. She put the newspaper down on top of the magazine and pulled another out of the box. She read several more over the next few minutes and in each one she found an interview similar to the first she had read. She was halfway through another when the door swung open and Malfoy appeared, making her jump up and drop the magazine.

"Granger!" he exclaimed. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Waiting for you," she replied quickly. "Harry said he couldn't make it to go through your father's things and asked me to come instead."

"So you thought you would just go through my stuff while you waited? You didn't think to go home and come back later?" he demanded.

"No, not at all. I saw the box on the table and just assumed it was one of your father's."

"Well it wasn't," he replied curtly.

"No it wasn't. Can I ask why you've done interviews in just about every magical publication there is?"

"To raise awareness, of course," Draco said coolly.

"Or to try and convince the world you're innocent?" Hermione asked.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" He folded his arms across his chest and raised his eyebrows at her.

"Exactly what I said. You see, I've been thinking about Astoria's disappearance a lot and there are some things that don't add up."

Draco took a seat at the small dining table, leant back casually in his chair, and motioned for Hermione to sit down. She resumed her seat and he spoke.

"Enlighten me, Granger."

"Well firstly, the fact that it took you a week to report her disappearance, that you were conveniently working late and your mother was out meaning she was home alone. Harry told me you barely reacted when he told you about the stunt your father and Stan pulled, that you were barely surprised. Now I get here and see that you've done all of these interviews, why didn't you tell Harry and Ron that you were raising more awareness? Why don't you mention in any of them at all that you had the note signed Knights of Walpurgis, or that you waited almost a week to tell anyone?"

"Hang on, are you trying to tell me that you think I'm the one that kidnapped Astoria? Why in Merlin's name would I do that?" he asked incredulously, sitting forward in his chair and losing his devil-may-care attitude.

"Publicity? Trying to get the sympathy vote so that the wizarding world finally loves the Malfoy's again? Or could it have something to do with the fact that you weren't getting along?"

She raised her eyebrows at him and he gave a loud, hollow laugh. "I've heard it all now, Granger."

"Explain then."

"You know, as do Potter and Weasley, why I waited so long to report Astoria's kidnap. Yes, I regret that it took me so long to come to the right decision, but I still did, didn't I? I can't help that I was working late, it's part of the job I do, a late case comes in and I have to stay to deal with it. As for my mother being out, I'm counting that as a lucky coincidence because she might not still be here if she had have been home."

"Fine, that makes sense, but what about the interviews?" Hermione questioned.

"Raising awareness, like I already said," he replied simply. "I didn't tell them about waiting to report her missing because it doesn't exactly make me look good does it? I didn't want the whole world suspecting me like you obviously do. And yes, I didn't tell them about the note, because people either doubt that the Knights of Walpurgis exist or completely fear them, neither would invoke a very good reaction would they?"

"So then why have an interview in every single magazine but not the Daily Prophet? It's the most read by wizards and witches and yet it only has a tiny story about her disappearance. You've got pretty much the same interview in how many magazines?"

She started picking them up and dropping them on the table in front of him as she counted. "One, two, three…"

The pile in front of Draco grew as she continued. Once she had shown him all of the ones she had read, she reached back into the box and pulled more out. "..eight, nine different magazines, but not the Prophet. Didn't you want Harry and Ron to know that you were being so great in 'raising awareness' for their case? Hang on, is this another one?"

She reached back into the box after a piece of paper caught her eye. It turned out not to be a magazine article, but a hand-written letter on a piece of parchment.

"NO!" Draco yelled and stood up, making an attempt to grab the parchment from Hermione but she was too quick for him.

She pulled out her wand and quickly cast a leg locker curse on him, making him freeze on the spot. He pulled his wand from the inside of his robes, but again, Hermione was faster than him. She disarmed him and caught his wand in her left hand in a move that Harry would have been proud of. Then she jumped out of her own chair and stood in front of the sink so that she was far enough away from him that he could not reach her.

"Granger, let me go. Don't look at that, please," he begged.

"Let's see what you don't want me to read, shall we?" she asked him before looking at the note again.

Draco,

This is now the fourth time we have written to you, and it will be the last before action is taken. Your reluctance to join us proves what a disgrace you are to your fellow pureblood wizards. Think of what your father would say should he find out that his own son is working to help Mudbloods and with Harry Potter, the man responsible for the fall of the Dark Lord. We wish for you to join with us and help to rise to power and rule the wizarding world as it should be ran, starting with the downfall of Harry Potter. Rest assured, if you decide not to join us, there will be consequences.

KoW.


Hermione finished reading and stared up at Malfoy, who was avoiding her gaze, an extremely guilty expression on his face.

"When did you get this?" Hermione asked slowly.

"About a week before Astoria and I got engaged."

"Have Harry and Ron seen it?"

"No. Please, let me explain-" he pleaded.

"Explain what? I've figured it all out now Malfoy. You joined the Knights of Walpurgis after they sent this, and faked Astoria's kidnap so that you could get closer to Harry, to kill him!" she shouted and waved the letter at him.

"No, that's not it at all. Please, Granger, just let me explain."

"Not a chance Malfoy. I'm leaving you there and going to find Harry and Ron, they need to see this."

She crossed the room, his wand safely in her pocket and hers gripped tightly in one hand, the letter grasped in the other. She had just reached the door and pushed it open when Draco shouted.

"It was my mother's idea!"

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