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Chapter Nine

“We need to get to Hogwarts this week, sometime,” Draco said, moments before taking a bite from a croissant and pulling a face at the taste.

“Well, it shouldn’t be too hard since we’re both taking time from work right now. When did you want to go? And what’s with the face?”

“Nothing tastes good,” Draco said, and then looked contrite when Tippy hung his little head in shame.

“Everything’s great, Tippy, don’t let his grumbles get to you.”

The elf still looked put out as he left the nook and Hermione shot Draco a look.

“Well it doesn’t!”

“I know, but you don’t have to hurt their feelings.”

Draco resisted rolling his eyes while Hermione took a tentative sip from her tea, trying with all of her might not to grimace; she wasn’t eating any food, though, because she was worried she would be unable to keep it down.

“Feeling any better?” Draco asked casually, although he was still slightly appalled from seeing the girl letting go in his bathroom that morning. He had been gentlemanly enough to back out of the bathroom and shut the door hard, where he proceeded to wait on his bed until he could no longer hear her heaves.

She thought he could have at least held her hair or something, insufferable prat.

They were sitting at the kitchen nook, two mornings after their abrupt departure from Hermione’s flat. They had spent those two days otherwise entertained, except this morning, but were now getting serious about life again.

Draco was sitting in a pair of dark grey sweat pants, sockless and shirtless. Hermione loved seeing him this way. Draco had scars on his body, more scars than she would have expected him to have, and she enjoyed looking at them. They were a testament to what he had been through, the things that made him the man he was today. She also felt a little thrill whenever she noticed the dark smudge on his left arm with her peripherals, because to be honest, she wasn’t going to blatantly stare at it; not now that he was actually bearing it so freely around her. That fact made her feel infinitely trusted by him and she wouldn’t do anything to make him regret it.

She was glad that he didn’t feel the need to hide any part of himself from her, anymore.

Hermione was wearing knickers and one of Draco’s button down shirts. It was large on her, obviously, and she loved lounging around in them almost as much as Draco loved seeing her wearing them like this.

“Anyway, when would you like to go?” she asked again, setting her teacup down lightly.

“After lunch if you’re feeling better,” he answered after he swallowed another bite of the dreadful croissant. What the elves were doing when they made these was totally lost on Draco; they’d never made bad tasting food once before that he could remember.

“So soon?!”

Hermione was afraid to go. She understood what was on the line and what needed to be done but that didn’t stifle the fact that everything in her life was coming down around her ears. If it wasn’t for Draco’s constant presence she thought she might actually lose it in fear; she just wanted Harry to go back to normal, her friendship’s to have never gotten out of control as badly as they had.

She really wanted to try and pretend that Harry wasn’t acting the way that he was. Going to Hogwarts would almost cement the fact that he was losing it more firmly; ignoring the entire situation was easier than accepting everything for what it actually was.

And she had a really bad feeling about the entire situation.

“Were you planning on waiting until after Harry found the Hallows?” Draco asked her, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Obviously not, I just didn’t realize that it was imperative to go today.”

“Why are you trying to put it off?”

“I’m not. After lunch is fine.”

Hermione swallowed thickly and Draco raised an eyebrow at her. She avoided his eyes and began buttering a piece of toast, deciding to brave it; Draco was chewing another bite of his croissant when they both heard, “Draco! You’re finally here!”

Draco looked up, surprised, and Hermione glanced to the door as well, but from her position she couldn’t see anyone. She would recognize that voice anywhere, though, and she was glad to see that Draco did not look happy.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.

He did not enjoy the way Pansy kept trying to undermine his relationship with Hermione. If Hermione decided, for some reason, that she didn’t want to be with him anymore because of Pansy’s behaviour, well, Draco wouldn’t be happy.

To say the least.

“I wanted to see when you would tire of staying at the mudbloods house.”

Pansy came into Hermione’s sight then and she hesitated for a moment, more than a little surprised to see the muggle-born witch sitting there. Her eyes widened and her lips formed an O, but she mastered her expression after a moment and stood back.

Like she knew Draco was going to erupt.

“If you use that word one more time in my presence you will regret it. How did you get in here?”

“The front door,” Pansy answered, her eyes lingering on Hermione’s obvious bedroom state.

“Elaborate.”

“I came to the door and Tippy answered, he was going to alert you of my presence but I told him it wasn’t a problem and I would find you myself.”

Draco clenched his jaw.

“Pansy, you have to stop this.”

“Stop what?” she asked, feigning innocence.

“Hermione, darling?”

Hermione started, she had been watching the way that Pansy was staring at Draco’s chest. She looked at Draco.

“Would you mind just giving Pansy and I a few moments alone? I need to speak with her.”

Doubt shadowed Hermione’s eyes for a few moments before she remembered that Draco hadn’t wanted anything to do with Pansy ever; it wouldn’t have changed in the last few months.

“Of course,” she answered, smiling, pushing those jealous feelings away as she stood from the nook. Pansy stared at Hermione’s long, bare legs, surprised at how slender they were; surprised by Hermione’s appearance in general.

Draco touched Hermione’s hand that was resting on the table as she stood up and she glanced at him before smiling and moving in for a kiss, his hand rubbing her thigh.

“I’ll send Tippy for you when we’re done.”

“I need to shower, anyway,” Hermione said, throwing him a saucy wink before walking from the room, completely ignoring Pansy and the incredulous looks she was receiving from her.

“Sit,” Draco commanded as soon as Hermione was out of the kitchen. Pansy obeyed instantly. “You need to stop whatever it is you’re trying to do, Pansy. We haven’t seen each other for years and I don’t know why you’re trying to ruin my life.”

“Ruin your life?” Pansy asked, skeptically, “I’m hardly trying to ruin your life.”

“I don’t know what you’re trying to do, then. I’m finally, finally, happy with the way things are going for me and I know you may not understand that because you had been gone for so many years, but it wasn’t easy after the war, Pansy. After my father died- no, just listen to me, Pansy, don’t interrupt. After my father died I was suddenly thrust into the role of the head of family. I had no choice but to take on the family business, all of the investments, run the house, keep my mother safe and happy, all while still trying to figure out who I was. Do you understand how hard that was for me? I was in my early twenties and was forced into taking on things I had no interest in.

“Before I met Hermione again, I was finally feeling like I was in my stride, but I wasn’t exactly happy. I had friends who were married, having children, some who disappeared,-“ he inclined his head to her, “-and what was I doing but taking care of my mother, who was depressed and didn’t want to live anymore, and taking care of a business I had to teach myself how to handle? Nothing. I hadn’t done one thing for myself, other than get a job at the Ministry, and the only reason I did that was so that I could get out of this house and away from my depressing life sometimes.

“Hermione and I crossed paths again, and we had a mutual interest in figuring out what was going on with the pure-blood curse, which we decided to figure out. Things progressed and I’m happy with her, Pansy! I know it’s hard to understand, after everything we were taught and exposed to when we were younger, but there it is. It has been so long since I could truthfully say that I’m happy, and now here you are, trying to ruin the happiness that I’ve finally found.”

Pansy was listening to Draco’s speech very closely, and she felt a sliver of remorse for the things she had done. He was completely right, she hadn’t known anything he had been doing for at least five years, and before that she had truthfully just wanted to bed the man to see if the rumours were true.

“I’m worried, though,” Draco suddenly confessed, and Pansy sat up straighter at the severe expression on his face, “something is going on with Potter and I have no idea what it is, but I need to keep Hermione out of danger. He wants to do something to her, I can tell, I just don’t know what he wants.”

And suddenly Pansy burst into tears. Not just slow tears leaking from her eyes, but chest heaving, shoulder shaking, and nose running sobs were tearing from her throat.

Draco was alarmed, to say the least, and was glad when Hermione came sauntering back into the kitchen. She hadn’t showered yet, but she had thrown on a pair of shorts and was carrying a bundle in her arms. She stopped and stared when she got closer and watched Pansy Parkinson bawl her eyes out at her boyfriend’s kitchen table, her makeup smearing and nose running.

“What’s that?” Draco asked, deciding to ignore the crying witch until she could calm down.

Hermione smiled and held out the bundle; Draco realized it was a shirt.

He pulled it on, Hermione wistfully watching his stomach muscles disappear as the cotton was pulled over it, and he grinned back.

“Like what you see?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

Hermione just raised an eyebrow of her own in perfect imitation of Draco.

Pansy’s sobs had quietened down and Hermione was turning to leave them to their conversation, but Pansy stopped her when she said, “I think you two should sit down. We need to talk.”

Hermione narrowed her eyes in wonder, confused now that she had been suddenly invited into this conversation, and Draco sat, pulling Hermione down beside him and keeping his arm around her back; his hand at her waist.

“I have some things to tell you, and neither of you are going to like it. I understand if you don’t want anything to do with me after this, Draco, but you need to know.”

Draco tensed against Hermione’s side and she dropped her hand to his thigh, squeezing.

“I’ve been… working with Harry Potter.”

Hermione’s hand squeezed tighter, and Draco made a sound low in his throat, his arm tightening around her side.

“What do you mean, ‘working’?”

Pansy sighed.

“I lied to you, Draco. I had been back in the country quite a while before I approached you in Diagon Alley, and I knew about you and Hermione before it was even in the papers.”

Hermione glanced at Draco but he was staring at Pansy as though he had never seen her before.

“I wanted to contact you as soon as I returned, but I didn’t know how to go about it. After I left I felt like I had deserted you, in a way, and I expected you to be angry with me. I didn’t want that, because as you and everyone else know, I have carried a torch for you since we were teenagers. I needed to figure out a way to contact you and make you realize that as adults, we could pursue a relationship.

“Before I could put any plans into action, I was approached and informed of your relationship that was still unknown. I denied that you would do it, and was in a world of pain the first time I was shown the two of you together, but then jealously reared and I wanted to break you apart. It was in mutual interest to the person who had come to me, because he wanted the two of you apart as well.”

“Harry Potter?” Draco said more than asked, and an unreasonable fear stole up his chest. He knew that Pansy’s story would not be good.

“Harry Potter,” Pansy confirmed, with a small nod.

Hermione’s breaths were uneven, and Draco felt her hand shaking on his leg.

“He’s obsessed with you,” Pansy said, looking at Hermione, “obsessed to the worst degree. He feels that you belong to him, he thinks that you’re interested in him, and I don’t know what he will do to anyone who tries to stop him. I had agreed to spy on you both and tell Harry anything I noticed or what you had been doing when he couldn’t be around. I knew he was barmy, but it took me way longer than it should have to realize just how nutters he really is.

“He told me his plans, and I promised I would help him. I didn’t take a vow or anything, and he seemed happy enough to just take my word.”

Pansy looked like she was going to cry again, and Hermione suddenly felt bad for her. Had Harry done something to her?

“Why the sudden change of heart?” Draco asked cruelly.

“Your admissions to me, Draco. I could never make you as happy as you’ve been lately. I’m too selfish and I know that you could never love me the same way. You never had, and I’ve been around and available since we were fourteen. If you had wanted me, I’d have known long before now. I just hope you both can find it in your hearts to forgive me for everything I’ve done.”

“What have you done, then?” Hermione asked, voice shaking, unsure if she wanted to hear the answer.

“I spied on you both, approached you for no reason in order to try and start fights between the two of you… I helped Harry do so many shameful things. I’ve been to your house with him, even though being there felt wrong, I’ve- “

“Wait, you’ve been in my flat?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Harry goes there, a lot. A lot. He roams around, and I think he pretends he lives there with you. He steals little trinkets from your place, is always hovering around your fridge like he’s trying to decide what to make for dinner, and uses your things. I caught him rolling around in your bed one day… naked, and it seemed like something he had done many times before.” Pansy’s cheeks were red, and Draco thought there may have been things that she was leaving out, but didn’t press her because he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to know. “He steals hair from your brush Hermione, because he’s got you under the Maledicti Somno curse-“ Hermione gasped and Draco’s heart began thudding when he realized his suspicions about her nightmares were right,”- he saw you guys in your apartment a lot during the night. The first time, he was livid. He came back to his house and started to destroy things, kicked holes in his walls, fought with me. It was awful.”

“So you were staying with him?”

“For months, now.”

“Did he harm you?” Draco asked, and both Hermione and Pansy looked at him in surprise, the softness in his voice shocking them both.

“Of course.”

“Why did you stay?”

“I thought it would be worth it, in the end. Obviously I was completely wrong. I knew he was barkers before I involved myself with him, so I was expecting some semblance of violence, but as I said, I never realized quite how bad.”

“When he came back that night, I knew something had changed between the two of you. He started going to your flat every night, Hermione, and I accompanied him a few times. It was strange, the way he would stand in the shadows and watch you sleep, taking pleasure from the nightmares you were experiencing. Then Draco started staying with you every night, and he was frantic to get there once the sun had gone down; he was desperate to see what you guys were doing or how your relationship was progressing.”

Hermione felt dirty, she was aching for a shower now. She was shaking and couldn’t get her breathing in check.

“You watched us have sex?” Draco asked, reading between the lines of Pansy’s words.

She shrugged, “Sometimes.”

“Sometimes?! How many times?!”

Hermione was scandalized.

“I only saw it a couple times, but Harry goes to your flat every night. I knew you guys had to be here because you haven’t been there for a couple nights and Harry is freaking out.”

“How did you get into my flat?” Hermione asked, her hand still clamped on Draco’ thigh, who looked sickened.

“Harry is extremely powerful, now. It’s shocking.”

“I’m assuming he can’t get here?” Draco asked.

“No. He’s powerful but he can’t break the wards to get onto Malfoy property. He’s trying to figure it out, but it’s only been two days.”

“Blood wards,” Draco answered, silently thanking his father for the fierce protection of their home. “He won’t figure them out, thankfully. I knew we should have been staying here from the beginning.”

“Does he have horcruxes?” Hermione asked suddenly, sitting up straighter; her hand was almost painful on Draco’s leg now, but he didn’t do anything to ease it.

Hermione wanted questions answered, and she wanted them answered right now.

“Just one,” Pansy squeaked, and Hermione let out a breath.

Harry was officially a murderer.

“You need to tell us what it is,” Draco said forcefully.

“Harry found the Potter Family Ring in his vault, it was meant to be an engagement ring, but he has obviously put it to other uses.”

“Where is it?” Draco asked.

“On his dresser. He’s arrogant because of his power, at the moment. He doesn’t think any sort of harm will come to him.”

“Does he have any Hallows?”

Pansy paled a shade, surprised by Hermione’s knowledge.

“He found his cloak. He stole it from Borgin and Burke’s ages ago.”

“That’s all?”

“Yes. He can’t find the stone, even though he knows where it is, and he can’t get the Elder wand.”

“Good.”

“I’m really sorry, Draco… Hermione… I didn’t exactly realize what I was getting myself into.”

“I don’t really know if I can accept your apology, Pansy. I understand that in some strange way you thought you were going to get us to break up and have me to yourself, for whatever reason, but I don’t think I can forget about the fact that you broke into Hermione’s flat on numerous occasions and also watched us having sex. I don’t know if you actually feel bad about that, judging by the very casual way you told us. Why would you want to see that, Pansy?”

“I didn’t want to see it, Draco! I was already there with Harry when we realized what was happening and he was so angry, I couldn’t just leave.”

“You could have.”

“I couldn’t!”

“I think it’s time for you to go.”

“Hermione, you understand don’t you?”

“Not really. I really think you have to let go and move on…”

Pansy looked stricken for a few moments before she jumped to her feet and adjusted her cloak, smoothing it down. “I’m sorry,” she said one last time, but she sounded more angry than remorseful, and she turned away to see herself out of the house.

“Well… fuck,” Draco said, obviously unable to express himself in any other way.

**

Hermione and Draco apparated to Hogsmeade later that same day. Hermione was still reeling from the information that Pansy had given to them, and she knew then and there that she would have to visit Harry at some point so she would be able to get her hands on the Potter ring.

It needed to be destroyed, pronto.

“I feel like I should have dressed better,” Hermione said, glancing down at her blue t-shirt that read, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your… oh!” with a picture of tyrannosaurus rex on the front, paired off with black yoga pants and black flats.

Draco rolled his eyes, “You look fine.”

“Fine?” Hermione asked, quirking a brow.

“Don’t fish for compliments, it’s unbecoming.”

“Don’t make me fish, then.”

“Fine, your hair looks so good today that you look like a stripper.”

“What?” Hermione almost shouted, trying to stifle her sniggers.

“You look so good, like a giant adorable penguin sliding down a rainbow of love and happiness before landing on a cloud of baby laughter.”

Hermione burst into giggles and laughing felt amazing.

“Just shut up, alright Draco?” she said, once she calmed down.

He smirked.

“That’s what happens when you fish for compliments.”

“I wasn’t fishing! I was actually concerned about wearing this super dinosaur shirt to talk to professor McGonagall.”

“I think it’s funny.”

**

Hermione went directly to the Headmistress’s office once they entered the grounds and Draco made his way to the opposite side of the Black Lake, where Dumbledore’s tomb was laying. Security at Hogwarts was incredibly lax since the downfall of the dark, which wasn’t exactly a good thing.

Hermione and Draco were on a mission to do good, though, so they weren’t exactly upset about it.

Hermione didn’t want to be there at all; too many bad memories.

Unfortunately, it was something that needed to be done as Draco continuously reminded her, not understanding her odd behaviour.

Draco watched her walk away and strolled with his one hand in a pocket, clutching his wand, and the other holding onto the handle of a briefcase tightly, noticing that nothing had changed since he had attended school there. As he walked he realized just how often he was around Hermione in school, even though it was unintentional.

He could see the spot in the quidditch pitch where he had first called her a mudblood, see the area where she had slapped him in the face. Draco still had a tough time coming to terms with his abhorrent behaviour in school. He thought of all the times he had been around her, but realized that he really hadn’t been as awful to her in their later years as he had somehow recalled.

He was much worse to Weasley and Potter, Hermione was mostly on the sidelines.

From third year on, he barely remembered even calling her a ‘mudblood’, he may have a few times but he wasn’t outlandishly mean to her.

Interesting, he thought to himself now.

He was brought out of his musings as he came upon the marble white tomb, hoping beyond hope he could get the wand. He didn’t want it, really, but Hermione had insisted that she would be able to distract McGonagall better than he would.

He just hoped he could keep it together when he was carrying the Deathstick.

Draco stood beside Dumbledore’s tomb, his wand in his slackened left hand, staring. There was a deep crack in the middle of the lid, but other than that it looked undisturbed. He put down his briefcase before finally raising his wand and muttering a long chanting spell that began to lift the lid, and Draco took this to mean that he was considered safe enough to be granted access to the tomb; the wand.

He could feel his energy dwindling from the strength of the spell, the lid dropped gently to the grass and Draco approached the tomb, seeing the almost sleeping form of the man who was the headmaster when he was a student.

‘There’s obviously a stasis charm on the tomb’, Draco thought to himself morbidly after seeing the still peaceful body laying before him. He let out a sigh of relief to see that the wand was still there before he bent down and gently pulled it from beneath his headmaster’s fingers, whispering an apology to the man who would never hear him. He made sure to inform Dumbledore that he was only taking the wand to ensure the world was kept safe, and that he was sure the old man would understand that.

He felt overcome with memories, remembering how he had almost been forced to kill the man before him, even though in the end of it all he was considering taking Dumbledore’s offer of protection.

Draco shook himself, ridding himself of the pointless thoughts. Nothing in his past could be changed, but he definitely felt as though he was heading in the right direction for his future.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” Draco said one last time before easily levitating the lid of the tomb and lowering it slowly to cover his old headmaster.

As soon as it clicked into place Draco felt a thrum of deep magic shoot through the air.

The protective spells had been put back into place.

Draco stooped and snapped open the briefcase he was carrying, tossing the powerful wand inside quickly before closing it and locking it with an audible click. He slowly made his way back toward the castle, feeling tired and somewhat restless. He hadn’t been able to shake an awful feeling he had obtained ever since Pansy’s story about just how insane Harry was. His thoughts stopped as he came upon the staircase to enter Hogwarts; Draco really didn’t want to enter the castle.

He hadn’t had a good time during his school years, and really didn’t have a lot of good memories of the place. In fact, the only good memory he had of the school was Voldemort’s murder, and that wasn’t a good enough reason for him to go inside.

Fortunately for him, just as he was about to take a seat on the stone stairs, Hermione came strolling out casual as could be.

He hovered awkwardly above the stair for a moment and then stood up quickly, automatically taking her hand and walking companionably with her to the gates.

“Mission accomplished?” she asked, still extremely casual.

“Yes. You?”

She smiled and nodded. “Yes.”

She opened her cloak and pulled out the sword that she had come to the school to obtain. Its blade glinted in the sunlight for a moment and Draco then took it from her hands and tossed it into the briefcase he was carrying. The case had an undetectable expansion charm casted on it.

“I can’t believe, after all of these years, that she would allow you to just borrow the bloody sword of Gryffindor.”

“I was her Golden Girl, remember?”

Draco snorted slightly and almost cracked a grin at her sarcastic smile.

“Was she aware that I accompanied you?”

“No. Well she may have been, but she didn’t mention it and I didn’t say anything, although she did comment on the Witch Weekly articles. ‘Well, Miss Granger, I can’t say I was surprised when I read about the relationship you’ve started with Mister Malfoy,” Hermione mocked in a falsely high-pitched voice that sounded nothing like their old professor.

“She wasn’t surprised?”

“I guess not.”

“That’s… strange.”

Draco craned around to get a look at the castle they were walking away from, and even though they were much too far away from the headmistresses office, he could have sworn he saw a figure move away from the window, drapes falling and covering it completely.

He was about to comment on it until he realized that Hermione was no longer holding his hand. He stopped and looked back to where she was standing to see that she was staring in the completely opposite direction that he had been.

He followed her gaze to the forbidden forest and the hairs on the back of his neck instantly called to attention, slight goosebumps breaking out on his skin.

“Let’s go,” Draco said urgently, taking Hermione’s hand and pulling her behind him. He had no interest in a confrontation with the psychopath known as Harry Potter.

They made it a few steps before Harry materialized directly in front of them on the stone path leading to Hogsmeade. Hermione and Draco exchanged stunned expressions; even though the security around the school had lessened, apparation was still dampened. No one should have been able to pull that off while on Hogwarts grounds.

Harry Potter seemed to be just as strong as Pansy had stated.

Draco cursed the ability of apparation sometimes.

Before anyone could utter a sound, Harry screamed, “Where’s the stone?” at Hermione, who was backing away as quickly as Harry was advancing.

“I don’t have the stone, Harry,” she said, and Draco was proud to notice that her voice was steady. “If I had it, I would give it to you, but I don’t. I don’t even have any idea where it could be.”

“Don’t lie to me!”

“Back off, Potter, she doesn’t have the bloody stone.”

Draco could easily see that whatever normalcy Harry had possessed was completely gone.

Harry was worked into a frenzy of rage and Draco finally found himself worried. He moved so that he was directly in front of Hermione, minimizing any chance that Harry had of reaching her.

“Why are you here?” Harry asked so quietly that Draco was even more concerned than he had been previously. Potter didn’t seem to be able to stick with a specific emotion, flashing between rage and quiet calm; it was decidedly eerie.

Neither Hermione nor Draco answered and that seemed to push Harry into another fit.

“Betrayer!” He screamed at Hermione, all abandon lost. Spittle was flying from his lips and he seemed incredibly deranged at this point. Draco turned and looked at Hermione, hating the fear he could recognize in her eyes.

“It’s been years, Potter. Years. She isn’t betraying you by being with me. We’ve all grown up, we’re adults now, and unfortunately that also means that Hermione’s allowed to make her own decisions about what she’s doing with her life.” For some reason, Draco had the mad idea that if he spoke normally to Potter, the man would calm down. Instead he seemed to be pissing him off even more, and Draco wasn’t even embarrassed to take a startled step back as Harry got right into his face.

“She’s mine Malfoy, and you have no right to stake any claim to her!”

“Stake my claim? She isn’t a piece of real estate.”

“Mine!” Harry screamed again, as though he hadn’t heard the blond man’s words.

Maybe he hadn’t.

He didn’t seem capable of being able to comprehend anything at this moment.

“Petrificis totalus!” Harry screamed, whipping his wand out and pointing it at Draco. The red spell soaked directly into his chest and he fell down in an undignified heap, his briefcase falling beneath his body, his wand still clenched in his hand.

Even though he was unable to move, he was still able to see whatever was directly in front of him, (the sky) and hear everything that was going on. He could only lay there and hope that his girlfriend was running for the gates so she could apparate outside of Malfoy Manor and get into the mansion before Harry could get to her. Tippy would allow her access.

He knew, though, that Harry’s ability to apparate inside the grounds was something that lessened Hermione’s chances of escaping.

Draco stared at the sky in the few seconds it took for those thoughts to cross his mind before the horrifying image of Harry Potter’s face entered his sight lines. The dark haired man was grinning, something that would have caused Draco’s arm hair, and those little hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end in a normal situation, and Draco distantly heard running footsteps pounding on the ground away from them.

Hermione was running, then.

“She’s mine now, Malfoy,” Harry crooned, his eyes alight with madness.

Harry’s face was gone from his sight a moment later and Draco heard an ear-splitting scream in the distance.

**

Draco wasn’t sure how he did it, but he was glad that he was at least petrified with his wand in his hand. He had never been a master, or even a novice at wordless magic, but after at least ten minutes of struggling he finally finished the spell keeping him in one place. He sat up quickly, blinking his eyes and shaking out his limbs in order to regain proper feeling in his extremities before he was able to stand and run from the property.

He appeared in Hermione’s flat seconds later and flung his briefcase aside, rushing for the kitchen.

He knew what he was looking for.

A scrap of paper.

He almost wanted to scream when he was unable to find it after mere minutes of looking, and he stopped to compose himself, breathing harshly in the almost stale air of her kitchen.

He looked around at the mess he had made, surprised to see the floor littered with scraps of paper and books.

Slow it down, he thought, look at each piece of paper thoroughly.

Hermione was a clean woman, but she had a little area in her kitchen where she managed to let papers and odds and ends build up until she went through them all and discarded what she didn’t need. She had admitted that she sometimes forgot to do it for months and Draco was thrilled about that little quirk, now. He lowered himself to one knee, reaching for a stack of papers he had shoved to the floor in his haste.

He rifled through them and his heart almost stopped beating. He had made fun of her for this note to him, but now he was ecstatic that she had been paranoid enough to write it.

He felt triumph course through his veins when he saw the coordinates of Harry’s house written on the paper that also stated the time she left her flat and the clothes she was wearing.

Draco clenched the paper in his hand tightly, rumpling it, before turning into apparation with a victorious gleam in his eye.

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