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"Now what?" Draco said, he hadn't thought this through at all.

"Doorbell." Ginny said, pointing to the round button next to the door.

"Here goes nothing." Draco muttered, pressing the button. He heard a chiming inside the house, followed by footsteps.

The door opened and Mrs. Granger's surprised face appeared. "Ginny?"

"Hi Mrs. Granger, can we come in?" Ginny asked.

"Sure," Mrs. Granger seemed confused. "What are you doing out of school in the middle of term?"

"That's... a bit of a long story." Ginny said. "That, Drake here is going to tell you."

Draco looked at Ginny oddly as they followed Mrs. Granger into the sitting room, and whispered, "Drake?"

"They know about Draco Malfoy picking on Hermione during school." Ginny hissed back. "Do you want to have that conversation right now?"

Draco blushed, and shook his head.

"So, what's going on?" Mrs. Granger asked. "Is Hermione in trouble?"

"Actually, Mrs. Granger, Hermione is in hospital." Draco said gently.

"What!?" Mrs. Granger leapt out of her seat, and then sat back down abruptly. "What, how, why..."

"I can explain everything." Draco said, putting a hand on Mrs. Granger's arm. "Do you want to go to the hospital first, or do you want me to explain now?"

"We have to call Robert." Mrs. Granger said. "He's still at work."

"Have him come here," Ginny said, "And then we'll take you both to the hospital."

After the phone call to Mr. Granger was placed, as they waited for him to return home, Draco and Ginny filled Mrs. Granger in on the details of Hermione's kidnapping, rescue, and subsequent hospital stay.

“So, she’s… not conscious yet?” Mrs. Granger sniffed, she had cried silent tears throughout most of the story, but had never gotten overly emotional.

“Well, the Healer is keeping her asleep intentionally.” Ginny explained. “She wants Hermione to be a bit more stable before she has to deal with this emotionally.”

Mrs. Granger nodded, and reached for a tissue. Just then they heard a door slam, and Mr. Granger shout, “Jean?! What’s going on, what’s happened to Hermione?!”

“We’re in the sitting room.” Mrs. Granger called.

They repeated the story again, quickly for Mr. Granger, as they all piled into his car and drove to St. Mungo's. Draco was uneasy in the back of the car, he’d thrown himself headfirst into the muggle world, and he felt completely out of sorts.

When they reached the Shop Window that hid the entrance to St. Mungo's, the Grangers looked skeptical until they were pulled through by Draco and Ginny.

Finally at their daughter’s side, even Mr. Granger had a tears in his eyes. “She always kept us at arms length. Tried to protect us from these “Death Eating” people.” He said sadly. “I wish she understood that she can trust us.”

“I don’t think it’s a matter of Trust.” Draco said softly. “She knows you wouldn't have been able to defend yourself against Death Eaters.”

“I could’ve done something.” Mr. Granger insisted.

After a long silence, Mrs. Granger spoke up. “I think I need a cup of tea.”

“Come on,” Ginny said. “I’ll show you where the tea room is.”

The two ladies left, and Draco felt a bit awkward sitting there with his girlfriend’s father, even though Mr. Granger didn’t know about their relationship.

“You said she’s a member of a secret organization?” Mr. Granger said softly, running a hand over Hermione’s curls. “That’s what got her into this mess?”

“Well, kind of.” Draco said, awkwardly. “Mr. Granger, how much has Hermione told you about last year?”

“Not much.” Mr. Granger said sadly, “I know she’s leaving out big gaps. She said there was a fight, and I know she got that award.”

“Yeah, those would be a few gaps all right.” Draco sighed. “Mr. Granger, Hermione will probably be furious with me for telling you this, but it wasn’t a fight. It was a war.”

Mr. Granger’s eyes bugged out. “A war, as in… a war?”

“Yes sir, it was actually known as the Second Wizarding War, and it took place more or less over the last several years. The worst of the fighting was last year, culminating in the Battle of Hogwarts last spring.” Draco said, trying to keep his voice calm. “Hermione was pivotal to ending the war. She saved hundreds, if not thousands of Witches and Wizards.”

“How.. how did she do that?” Mr. Granger asked, sounding somewhat in awe of his daughter. “Did she fight in this war?”

“She did, yes, but mostly at the end.” Draco explained. “Last year, when she sent you into hiding, she was on the run. She and her friends were at the very top of the Death Eater’s ‘Most Wanted’ list.”

Draco carefully explained about Hermione helping Harry fulfill the prophecy, realizing that he didn’t even know the true story of what had happened to her last year himself. They had discussed the war at length, but she’d never elaborated on where she’d been or what she had done.

“I don’t understand.” Mr. Granger said. “Hermione couldn’t fight a war, she’s never even held a gun!”

“Mr. Granger, wands can be as deadly as guns.” Draco explained.

“So, she… defended people?” Mr. Granger said.

“Yes. She defended people who were being oppressed.” Draco said, and then hesitated before continuing. “And she didn’t get ‘an Award’, she was made an Order of Merlin, First Class. It’s our world’s equivalent to being knighted.”

“Hermione, my Hermione: the odd, little bookworm… was knighted for defending oppressed people in a war?” Mr. Granger asked.

“Well, more or less.” Draco said, with a shrug.

“Why wouldn’t she tell us about all of this?” Mr. Granger gasped. “Why wouldn’t she want us to know?”

“She doesn’t like the attention, the limelight as she calls it.” Draco said, glancing around the room and finding a discarded copy of the Daily Prophet. Sure enough, there was an outdated story on the front page about Hermione’s love life or supposed lack thereof; he showed it to Mr. Granger. “She didn’t want you to treat her differently.”

“Good lord.” Mr. Granger said, resting his head in his hands.

“I’m sorry Mr. Granger, I know it’s a lot to absorb, but I felt you deserved to know.” Draco said quietly. “About last year, and about her being in hospital.”

“You’re right.” Mr. Granger said. “I think sometimes the people in your world forget about people like us.”

“Well, that’s rather a large part of what the war was about.” Draco explained.

“I’ve just realized I don’t know your name.” Mr. Granger said, turning to Draco.

“Um, it’s Draco.” He said. “Draco Malfoy.”

“Draco, as in the boy who bullied my daughter all through school?” Mr. Granger asked sharply.

“Yes sir.” Draco said, hanging his head.

“And what, may I ask, are you doing here now?” He pressed.

“Well, I… I’m in love with your daughter, sir.” Draco said in a rush, feeling horrible.

“I see.” Mr. Granger said. “And is Hermione aware of your feelings?”

“She knows I love her.” Draco said. “She doesn’t know I’m in love with her.”

“That seems a rather pivotal distinction.” Mr. Granger said.

“Yes, it is.” Draco agreed. “I don’t want Hermione to know. If she doesn’t know, she can still walk away if she doesn’t share my feelings.”

“And you would let her?” Mr. Granger asked, “Let her end any relationship if she chose to?”

“Of course!” Draco said, without hesitation. “She has a million reasons to walk away from me, and I can’t figure out a single reason why she wouldn’t. I just want her to be happy, whether that is with me, or someone else.”

Draco stood, and said, “I’ll give you some time alone with her.” He slipped out the door, and into the waiting room.

After a while, Ginny joined him. “I’m sorry Draco, but Mrs. Granger knows who you are. I said your name accidentally, and then I had to explain.”

“What did you explain?” Draco asked softly.

“That you were the one who saved Hermione.” Ginny said.

“Well, no harm done Weaslette.” Draco teased gently. “I already told her father who I am.”

“You did?” Ginny gasped, “Like… everything?”

Draco nodded.

“Well, you don’t have a broken nose, so I’m guessing he didn’t try to kill you?” Ginny joked.

“No, but I kind of hit him with a lot of information.” Draco admitted. “I told him about last year. What I know, anyway.”

“Ooooo, you’re going to be in trouble when Hermione finds out!” Ginny teased.

“They should know.” Draco insisted. “They have a daughter they can be proud of.”

“Your parents have a son they can be proud of.” Came Mr. Granger’s voice, from across the room.

“No sir, they don’t.” Draco said.

“I disagree.” Mr. Granger said, taking a seat across from Draco. “Look son, I’m guessing from the way you’ve been talking the you and my daughter were on opposite sides of this war.”

Draco nodded, and looked at the floor.

“Well, I thank you for that.” Mr. Granger said, and Draco’s head snapped up.

“What?” He asked, agog.

“I mean it.” Mr. Granger said, “Jean just filled me in on the little detail you left out: that it was you who saved my daughter from these kidnappers. So whatever mistakes you made in the past, I’m glad you made them, because you were clearly the only one who had the information needed to save my daughters life.”

“Sir, you don’t understand.” Draco started to say, before Mr. Granger cut him off.

“I’ve only know you about an hour Mr. Malfoy, and I’ve already seen you put my daughter ahead of yourself several times.” He said, putting his hand out for Draco to shake. “That’s all I need, Draco, to know you’re a good man.”

Draco didn't say anything, he just hesitated for a moment, before shaking Mr. Granger's hand.

"We spoke to the Doctor, and she said that she won't be waking Hermione up until tomorrow at the earliest, so we're going to go home and sort things out at the surgery." Mrs. Granger said. "Please tell us if anything changes?"

"Of course." Draco said.

The Grangers left, and Ginny and Draco headed back to Hermione's room.

Ginny prattled on about nothing in particular, but after a few one word responses from Draco, she asked. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing, just thinking." Draco mumbled.

"Dragon dung." Ginny said simply.

"No one's ever called me a good man before." Draco said. "Other than Hermione."

"Yeah, I think I'm starting to see where Hermione gets her tolerance." Ginny teased.

"He's got me all wrong." Draco sighed.

"I don't think he does." Ginny said, softly.

"What?!" Draco scoffed at Ginny. "You of all people know who I really am Weaslette. Hermione didn't grow up in our world, she doesn't truly understand what my family is, what I am. You know better. My father caused you to get possessed by Riddle your first year, for crying out loud."

"I know all of that Draco, I'm not saying I think you're a good guy." Ginny explained. "But I can see why the Grangers would think that. They know you picked on Hermione in school, but I'd imagine she didn't tell them the full extent of what that meant. And here you show up all helpful, after rescuing their daughter from a potentially horrible fate. I can see why they might like you."

"I guess." Draco said thoughtfully.

"That being said," Ginny continued. "You haven't been behaving like a complete jerk the past few days. And you did save Hermione's life. So I reserve my right to change my opinion of you, if necessary."

"Don't hold your breath Weaslette." Draco scoffed. "I'm still not a nice guy."

"I guess we'll find out." Ginny said.




The next morning, Healer Murphy came to check Hermione's progress, and found that Ginny, Draco, Harry, and Ron had all slept in the hospital waiting room.

Professor McGonagall had appeared at one point the previous evening to check on Hermione's progress, and halfheartedly demand that Draco and Ginny return to class. They had refused, so McGonagall had allowed them to stay after they promised to catch up on their schoolwork in a timely manner.

"Come on you lot, we're going to wake her up." Healer Murphy said. "I want familiar faces around her, she won't know where she is."

"We need to wait for the Grangers." Draco said, stretching after a night in a plastic chair. "I promised them I'd tell them if anything changed."

"You did?" Ron asked, shocked. "When?"

"We went to get them yesterday Ron." Ginny explained. "Draco thought they should know what was going on."

"You don't have to get us, we're here." Came Mrs. Granger's voice. "That mannequin in the window remembered us apparently."

"Oh, excellent." Healer Murphy said. "Let's get going."

The all filed into Hermione's room, and gathered near the bed and slightly out of the way, at Healer Murphy's request.

Draco watched as the healer performed a few more checks on Hermione, and then lifted the charm that was keeping her asleep.

Hermione's eyes fluttered open, and she rubbed them, trying to focus. Where am I? She immediately tried to scramble off the bed.

"Hermione, you're ok!" Draco called. "You're in St. Mungos!"

Hermione's fight or flight response was still in the front of her mind, and she didn't fully process Draco's voice. It wasn't until she heard her mother say "Hermione, sweetie, take a deep breath!" that she calmed a bit, and looked around.

"What... what happened?" Hermione gasped, looking around at the odd collection of familiar faces. "I feel like I was run over by a truck!"

Healer Murphy took over, "What do you remember Hermione?"

"I was helping the Order, with..." Hermione looked up at her parents, "Um, with that issue in Hogsmede, on Saturday morning. Kingsley, he... oh! Is he here, is he okay?"

"Auror Shacklebolt is fine, he's happily back at work thanks to you." Healer Murphy said. "Do you remember anything after Saturday."

"No, not really." Hermione admitted. "What day is it?"

"It's Friday honey." Mr. Granger said, gently.

"Friday?!" Hermione gasped, "How is it Friday?"

“I’ve kept you asleep while you’ve been here.” Healer Murphy said. “We wanted to give you a chance to overcome your injuries a bit more before you woke up. Mr. Malfoy here said you were unconscious when he found you.”

“Draco found me?” Hermione looked puzzled. “Draco, what were you doing out of the castle? You were meant to maintain your cover at Hogwarts, or we’ll lose you as a double agent.”

“A Double Agent?” Mr. Granger asked, looking at Draco.

“Yes, well…” Draco muttered.

“Nothing Dad, never mind.” Hermione insisted, trying to change the subject. “Just a game at school. Like capture the flag!”

“Or a secret organization fighting to defend your world from Dark wizards?” Mr. Granger asked.

“Um, how… how do you know about that?” Hermione stammered.

“Your Mr. Malfoy filled me in.” Mr. Granger explained. “Seem’s there was rather a lot you weren’t telling us about last year. Although he didn’t mention being a double agent.”

“Yeah, his cover is pretty well shot.” Harry said. “Particularly now that he’s a deputized member of the DMLE.”

“He’s what?” Hermione gasped. “What in Merlin’s name happened this week?”

“Why can’t she remember?” Mrs. Granger asked, patting Hermione’s hand.

“Memory charm?” Ron suggested.

“That doesn’t make sense.” Draco pointed out, “Lestrange wouldn’t want to remove last week from her mind.”

“Ok, let the professionals do the guesswork!” Healer Johnson said, pushing through the crowd. “I want everyone out, except Mr. Malfoy.”

“Why him?” Ron protested.

“Because he found Miss Granger, so it stands to reason that he would be able to fill in the most gaps in her memory.” Healer Murphy said. “Go on, scoot. I don’t care if the lot of you are famous, you’re in my hospital!”

Everyone but Draco left the room, hugging Hermione on the way.

“There we are.” Healer Murphy said. “That’s a bit better, isn’t it? Not so many people.”

Hermione nodded, nervously. “Why can’t I remember the past week?”

“Well, I have a few theories about that.” Healer Murphy said, pulling up a chair.

Hermione wrung her hands nervously, so Draco reached over and wrapped his larger hands around her smaller ones. Hermione took a deep breath, “Like what?”

“Well, my first guess is the simplest. You lost quite a lot of blood last week; your brain may have been deprived of oxygen and you’re experiencing temporary memory loss. Classic Neurological Amnesia” Healer Murphy said.

“What are the other possibilities?” Draco asked, squeezing Hermione’s hands.

“The first is that she’s blocking the memories out, protecting herself from the experiences of the past week. That’s called Psychogenic Amnesia.” Healer Murphy explained.

“That seems plausible.” Draco said.

“Yes, and the last possibility is early stage Cruciatis Poisoning.” Healer Murphy said.

“But you said she might not have Cruciatis Poisoning!” Draco cried.

“Wait, quit talking about me like I’m not here.” Hermione said. “What is Cruciatis Poisoning?”

"You read Healer texts for fun and you haven't come across Cruciatis Poisoning in any of them?" Draco asked incredulously.

"No. Is that bad?" Hermione asked, looking scared and even more pale.

“Well, Miss Granger, you like reading Healer’s texts?” Healer Murphy asked.

Hermione nodded. “I was trying to decided if I wanted to be a Healer. After Hogwarts.”

“Well, I respect a girl who does her research.” Healer Murphy said with a smile. “Did you read anything about the Cruciatis Curse.”

Hermione shook her head. “I… I didn’t want to know.”

“That’s understandable.” Healer Murphy said. “Miss Granger, I’m sure you know that the Cruciatis works in the mind. The curse makes you think you are in pain, but your body is not actually enduring any physical harm.

Hermione nodded.

“Well at a certain point, after prolonged or extreme exposure, the lines between physical an psychological begin to blur. Your limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for our body’s involuntary reactions, starts trying to stop the pain.” She continued. “This can manifest itself in many ways, the most dangerous of which is the loss of regular brain function. There can also be physical symptoms such as numbness and paralysis.”

“Ok, but I haven’t had that much exposure to the Cruciatis curse.” Hermione asked, “Have I?”

Draco checked with Healer Murphy, who nodded, before he started to explain. “Hermione, after you helped Kingsley during the raid, you got hit by a stunner, and kidnapped.”

"What?!" Hermione gasped. "How, wait... who kidnapped me?"

Hermione was on the verge of panic, Draco squeezed her hand and softly filled her in on everything that had happened.

"But we don't really know what kind of torture the Lestranges used on you." Draco finished. "I can guess, because they have a pretty typical pattern. And when I found you, you had a wound in your side, and were unconscious. You'd lost a lot of blood."

"Oh god." Hermione whispered. "I was back at the manor?"

Draco nodded grimly.

"But, why there? How did they get in?" Hermione was starting to panic, "Draco, I cant..."

"I know," Draco said, pulling Hermione into a hug. "I know. We'll figure it out."

Hermione started to hyperventilate. She hated not knowing things, and not remembering what had happened over the past week scared her.

"Ok, deep breath." Healer Johnson said. "We're going to do some tests, ok? Let's get to the bottom of this. If we can rule some things out, we're that much closer to figuring this out!"

Hermione nodded, tears threatening to spill down her cheeks.

Draco felt horrible, she was terrified and there was nothing he could do to fix it.

"I'm going to get you some Calming Draught, ok Hermione?" Healer Murphy said, and motioned for Draco to follow her.

Hermione nodded her head, swiping under her eyes to brush away the tears.

Draco smiled at her and then slipped out with Healer Murphy.

"Ok, what was that reaction?" Healer Murphy said. "What happened at the manor that had her so upset?"

Draco blushed scarlet. "She was tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange at the end of the war. Snatchers brought her in, and they were trying to get information out of her."

"Ok, so I'm going to assume that she doesn't have Psychogenic Amnesia. If she were prone to that she would have blocked out the previous torture as well." Healer Murphy said. "I'm going to get her calmed down, and then I'm going to test for CP. Why don't you go and wait with the rest of the group."

"Ok, are you sure she shouldn't have someone with her?" Draco asked, immediately worried.

"I'll chat to her about that, but I need to do some physical examinations anyway, and I'm sure she wouldn't want company for those." Healer Murphy said. "I'll keep you informed."

"Ok, thanks." Draco said, hesitant to leave.

"It's ok Mr. Malfoy." Healer Murphy said. "We'll get this all figured out."

Draco nodded, and started to choke up. "Please, just..."

"I know." Healer Murphy said, patting Draco's arm. "I promise I'll take good care of her."

Draco watched her slip back into Hermione's room, and then took a moment to compose himself before walking back to the waiting room and filling in Hermione's friends and family.







Authors Note:


Sweet Merlin! Over 5000 reads? You lot are the best! And I really appreciate all the reviews!

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