Author: atruwriter PM
When Hermione goes missing, Harry and Ron are called upon to find her. Estranged from her, they soon uncover a family they didn't know she had, friendships they hadn't known were conceived, and in the middle, is a very distraught husband: Draco Malfoy.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Draco M. & Hermione G. - Chapters: 17 - Words: 98,632 - Reviews: 1,025 - Favs: 652 - Follows: 686 - Updated: 07-07-07 - Published: 01-31-07 - id: 3370910
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note: Draco's POV lower, after Harry's. Later chapters only written in single POV that goes back and forth from Harry to Draco. Example- chapter two: Harry, chapter three: Draco, chapter four: Harry... you get the picture. Enjoy...
Harry Potter walked through the front doors to headquarters, making his way to his boss' office. While on assignment, he received word that there was urgent business at home he had to tend to. Bringing his Auror partner and best mate Ron Weasley along, since he received the same request, they planned to leave Auror's Longbottom and Zabini to keep track of the most recent Death Eater sighting of Bellatrix Lestrange, since they had been tracking her along with them the entire time. However, strangely enough both Neville and Blaise were called home by their wife and girlfriend over urgent business. So instead, Finnegan and Thomas took over. Neither Harry nor Ron had any idea what business there needed to be handled, as they had spoken to Molly Weasley just the night before and she hadn't said anything about there being a problem with the family.
Knocking on the tall, heavy oak door at the end of the hall, they straightened themselves out and prepared to meet with the head honcho of Auror's. They had only been called into his office a total of five times in their eight year stint working for him, so they were feeling a little nervous. During past visits they were being recommended for awards for their part in society, but this had nothing to do with that now.
They had gone over all those who could possibly have any problems in their life that would require their help, but came up empty handed. They'd sent word to Lupin, asking how he was and was assured that he was doing perfectly fine. He and Tonks had fixed up Grimmauld Place to an immaculate degree and were expecting their daughter in another month and a half. Ron then sent out letters to each member of his family, even Percy, and was given post back that were all resounding, "Fine's!"
The only one who seemed out of sorts was Ginny, who wrote a short and to the point note back. Which was very unlike her, as she usually went in to great detail about how well her life is and what's been happening since the last time they wrote. They hardly ever saw the fiery red head any more since she moved out of the Burrow five years prior and in with her long time boyfriend that nobody but her parents had known about. Too busy to ask, Ron and Harry had never actually found out who Ginny was dating but just simply accepted that she was. They assumed he was a nice man since neither Arthur or Molly objected to the union and both had high hopes that wedding bells would be ringing in the near future.
Last, they wrote Dumbledore, asking of his health and how he was doing. They received a hesitant letter, one which was, like Ginny's, short and to the point. He simply told them that while he was very busy, he was in good health and the school was doing well lately. He didn't mention anything outside of work, and kept it fairly informal, which surprised the two Auror's as they thought they'd be getting a heartfelt letter asking how they were doing or asking them to tea at Hogwarts. Assuming that he probably thought they were busy, they shrugged it off and headed back to find out what had happened that was so important.
"Come in," came the gruff voice of their superior through the door.
Harry glanced at Ron and inhaled deeply, turning the handle and stepping inside the large round office. The man behind the desk waved them to seats in front of him, while he stood by the window, staring down at whatever was happening below and puffing on a large cigar in his thick, meaty hands. "Do I need to ask of the status on the Lestrange case?" he grunted.
"Nearly closed, sir," Ron replied, sitting up straight in his chair and squaring his shoulders. He sounded strong, but Harry spotted the shaking of his hands, which he was trying to stop by clasping them together.
"Good. Lestrange has been one of our more formidable foes these days," he said, sighing. "St. Mungo's hasn't seen such injuries like last week since the War."
"As upsetting as it was, it did give us a good lead to finding her," Harry responded, nodding.
"Mm," the heavy set man at the window agreed, turning slowly to them. "D'you have any reason to believe you should be here?" he wondered.
"No sir," they both said, shaking their heads.
"It's in regards to someone you're both quite familiar with," he told them, walking to his leather chair and sitting down with ease. Leaning forward, he rested his forearms on the edge of his desk, staring at them beneath thick black eyebrows. "She's a Healer, well known through the Wizarding world, and a Rights Activist in every sense of the word," he explained, lifting one brow to get the point across.
"Er..." Ron glanced at Harry, slightly confused. "Sorry sir, drawing a blank."
Letting out an exasperated breath, Head Auror Bankmin shook his head at them. "Granger. Hermione Granger," he clarified.
Harry almost smacked himself upside the head. While sending out post to all those they knew, they had completely forgot to write Hermione. Perhaps they just assumed that her life was in order and there was no reason to worry over her well being. After all, she hadn't had any problems since the War ended. Harry hadn't known she became a Healer and he squirmed in his seat at the information. He also had no recollection of her being a Rights Activist, though it did make great sense.
"What's happened, sir?" Weasley asked, his tone easy as if he didn't believe anything could really be all that serious if it came to their bushy haired best friend.
"She's missing," Bankmin told them glibly. "She was reported early 8 am yesterday morning," he continued, nodding. "Anonymous post that spelled it out clearly." Opening a drawer on the left side of his desk, he pulled out a piece of parchment. He glanced at them, clearing his throat to ready himself for reading. "To Whom It May Concern, Hermione Jane Granger has not returned home, nor to work, in two days. As a woman of set schedules, who always follows through with her routine, it is obvious something is very wrong. I suggest something be done. Quickly." Placing it down on the desk top, he looked back over to the two men. "We checked with St. Mungo's, they didn't send the letter but they did admit that she hadn't been in for a couple of days, which is very out of the ordinary for her. There have been no calls, no explanations, she's simply disappeared."
Ron's shoulders slumped and his face paled considerably, he hadn't been expecting the news they were given.
Harry leaned back in his chair, forgetting to sit properly for his superior and simply gaped at the shock of what had happened. "What..." Shaking his head, he tried to get his senses back. "And you're assigning us to find her?" he asked, looking up from where he had been staring at the carpet with wide, unseeing eyes.
"Yes," he told them, nodding shortly. "You both know her well. She fought side by side with you both during the War, and it is widely known that she was a close friend of yours. I figured since you both knew her it may be easier for you to find her. The paperwork on Miss Granger is... Well, let's just say she has friends in high places, because you have to go through a lot of red tape to get anywhere near her background papers."
"What do you mean?" Ron asked, sitting forward and leaning his arms on his knees. "What's there to know? She's a healer, works at St. Mungo's, lives in a flat in main London."
"Well, part of that information is false, Auror Weasley," Bankmin said, sitting forward with a frown. "When was the last time you visited Miss Granger?" he wondered.
Harry sighed, lifting his head in thought. He flushed with the answer, feeling uncomfortable. "1998, sir. She usually comes to visit us or we meet in the city. I haven't been to her home in eight years," he breathed, mostly to himself near the end.
Bankmin looked startled, but he nodded and sat back. "Well, Miss Granger's place of residence is a rather secluded piece of land outside of London. She owns 13 acres with her own home, and while her house is connected to the Floo system, it requires that you call in and inform her of your arrival first. She has apparating wards put up so you're left just down the road leading to her house," he informed them, nodding.
"When did she move there?" Ron wondered, his voice rather whispery in awe.
"The few records we could get on her state that she moved in during the summer of 2000. There's also a warning that she has a large dog named Buck who is very protective and will attack if he feels you are uninvited," he said, pulling out a thin, brown folder with a scarce few papers inside.
"Why is there so little?" Harry asked, reaching out to take the folder from his boss.
"We don't know," Bankmin admitted, looking perturbed. "Back in 2000, she just sort of drops out of our sights. You can't begin t'imagine what it took just to find out where she lives. And even then, we had to wait as the Records Director called someone privately, making sure he was allowed to hand that out. He was apparently given access to certain records, which are the ones you're holding now. Other than that though, it'll be like pulling out your teeth trying to get anything out of them. Friends in very high places," he muttered again, shaking his head and frowning.
"But Mione doesn't have friends in high places," Ron said, lifting his brow. "She's... She's Hermione... The bookworm with the smarts to become a Healer. All she does is work and read. What would she need with people in high places?" he asked, sounding shocked and flustered.
"As a Rights Activist, she had better have people up there," Bankmin reminded, sourly. "While it's not known what she's been working on lately, many a witch and wizard have been known to disappear when they've gotten too deep in the Political watering hole."
"You think that has something to do with it?" Harry asked, staring down at the papers before him. "Her work is what has her missing?"
"I can't be sure," Bankmin said, shaking his head. "But I have my suspicions, yes."
"All right, thank you sir, we'll begin work now," Harry said, standing from his chair and moving the folder to his side.
"Good," the Head Auror said gruffly. "I expect this to be wrapped up as soon as possible. Will you be utilizing the media for this, Senior Auror's Potter and Weasley?"
"Not yet, sir. I think we'll do a little investigative work before we bring in reporters," he replied, his mouth tightening with the thought of having to give out long speeches and explanations of his friends disappearance.
"Right, good luck," their boss said, turning back to whatever work he had been doing before they arrived.
Ron followed Harry out, his lanky form heavy with questions. As the door closed, he rounded on Harry with a look of shock. "Bloody hell, what's Mione gotten herself into?"
Harry sighed, holding up the folder. "I have no idea, but apparently it's very well hidden."
"Well, where do we go from here?" he asked, shaking his head.
Walking down the hall, Harry glanced around at the people looking at them curiously. "First we head back home, figure out what we can add to this folder of information. This should be easy," he said, nodding, though he felt uneasy about what was going to come out.
Shortly after leaving Bankmin's office, Harry and Ron were sitting slumped on the couch in their flat. It hadn't been used in nearly three months and was feeling quite stuffy. Though Hermione had always stopped in to air it out every once in awhile, opening the windows and throwing out the gross food in the fridge, it was empty and warm now. They had the five papers on her splayed out on the table, though they were of little use. "All right," Harry said, sitting forward. "What do we do know so far?"
Sighing, Ron leaned back into the couch, throwing his head down so his chin was on his chest. "We know her parents are Elizabeth and Bill Granger, dentists in main London who live in a modest house in a cul-de-sac. They have dinner with Hermione every second Sunday of the month and keep up a steady stream of post with her.
"We know she works as the Head Healer at St. Mungo's and has a degree to work on every floor, with every malady. That Hermione's single, lives alone, and has a cat; Crookshanks. That she has two best friends; Aurors; us. And that she has a large Siberian Husky called..." He thought it over for a minute, squinting his eyes, "Buck, whose apparently very protective. And that she is a constant appearance at the Ministry as she works for some new law for the betterment of the Wizarding world. And that, my friend, is all we bloody well know of Hermione Granger," he told him grumpily, a scowl surfacing on his face.
"Okay, so let's add what we know about her," Harry said, nodding. "Uh.. besides that she likes books and is the smartest girl of her age. Something useful, something that will get us farther in her case. What did she do everyday? Where did she go? Who did she speak to? What was her routine?" he wondered, staring out at the table and drawing a blank.
"Face it Harry, we don't know anything about Hermione's life," Ron told him, shaking his head mournfully. "We don't know who she spends her time with when we're on assignment, or what she does when she's not working. For some reason, I never questioned it."
"Me either," he replied, feeling like a lousy friend.
"So what do we do?" Ron queried, sitting forward to stare at the few pages they had.
Plucking a paper from off the table, Harry stared at it for a moment. "We go to her house. Do you remember when Bankmin read the letter? It said she was very organized, very precise. Not that we didn't already know that. But, knowing Hermione, she probably has a schedule written down somewhere. I'm sure if we go to her house, we'll find it," he said, standing up, feeling good about his plan.
"All right, so where are we apparating to?" Ron asked, standing up to join him.
Reading off the address to him, they readied themselves for apparition and focused their minds. Two pops could be heard as Harry arrived on a reddish brown driveway leading up a lush green hill, Ron just a second behind him. "She sure has the apparition boundaries out far," Harry commented, as he began trekking up the hill. "Beautiful but secluded property," he muttered. Surrounding them were huge trees lush with the spring weather. The grass over the hill was such a brilliant green that it was almost surreal in its perfection.
"There it is," Ron said, pointing.
When they reached the top of the hill, they were met with a beautiful, dark red, two-storey house with white trim and a dark grey steeple roof. A white porch wrapped around the front to the left side of the beautiful home, with six stairs leading from a stone path over the lawn, centered with the front door. Flowerbeds sat prettily around the edge of the house, an array of purple, pink, yellow, and blue; likely kept alive by a charm placed on them to withstand the season changes. It was amazing and looked completely homey, just like what they would imagine Hermione would live in had she settled down and had a family.
Climbing up the pathway, they took the steps slowly, feeling hesitant about what they were doing. "Do we knock?" Ron wondered, looking around as he shifted on the wood planks of the porch. He pulled his wand from his belt, a precaution they were used to paying attention to by now.
Following his actions, Harry stared at the door for a moment, as if willing it to open. The house was silent, almost eerily so, and he couldn't help but wonder why it was his friend had such a large house for just herself. Sighing, he rapped his fist against the door, feeling it appropriate just in case it was a false alarm and she was simply crashed out inside, down with the flu or some nonsense like that. He bet she would be pretty surprised to see him there and felt a smile tugging at his mouth as the door handle began to turn. It was then that he found himself shocked beyond words.
"But mummy's not here," his little girl said, coming into the living room wearing a bright yellow sun dress. "She always comes back for lunch," she reminded matter-of-factly.
"Mum's... busy today," he lied, feeling his throat tighten as he ran a hand over his face. He felt the shadow of couple day's growth on his face and considered shaving. Hermione hated beards, not that it was nearing that point. She did like the feel of a little stubble though, it tickled her cheeks. But she wasn't there, was she? Shaking his head of the thought, Draco scooped his daughter up into his arms, settling her on his side. "You'll have to do with me. Think you can get through an afternoon with just your dad?" he kidded, trying his best to smile.
She sighed, rolling her eyes. "If I have to," she joked, smiling.
Chuckling, Draco shook his head, walking them towards the kitchen for chicken noodle soup and grill cheese and pickle sandwiches, her favorite.
"When will mummy be back?" she asked, frowning. "She's been gone for three lunches. And she hasn't read me my bedtime story for three nights," she told him, holding out her three centered fingers and jutting her little lip out with sadness.
"She's just... She'll be back... Soon," he told her, clearing his throat. Setting her down on the counter, Draco walked over to the fridge, looking through it for the margarine, cheese, and pickles. He took the bread out of the cupboard above the toaster and pulled a butter knife from the drawer on the left side of the sink. He absentmindedly took out a cutting board, because his wife's chastising voice echoed in his mind, "Draco, you'll slice up the counters if you do that. Here, use this."
He shoulders clenched as he thought about her, fear rippling through him as it usually did whenever he wondered what had happened. Three days and no word. On the second day he had sent in word to the Ministry that she was missing. He hadn't heard anything back from them. They may not have known he was her husband, but they weren't sending anyone to the house to check it out either. He knew there would be a lot of explaining to do, especially on his part, but he decided to wait for the questions to be brought to him rather than go and face them when they hadn't been asked.
Rowena, Winnie for short, lay on her stomach on the counter jutting out from the wall, her legs swinging back and forth in the air as she watched him put together their meal. She had questions, but she kept them to herself, expecting her mum to arrive looking frazzled, with a bright smile and a simple explanation. Draco had expected the same the first morning she hadn't come back. She sometimes fell asleep in her office at St. Mungo's, having done so much paperwork that she simply petered off into slumber. However, when she didn't come back all day the next day, he began to worry. When he found himself waking up alone for a second morning, he was downright scared. He hadn't spent more than a night apart from Hermione since they married. She was always very apologetic about falling asleep at work and made up for it by doing her best not let it happen. It only occurred maybe once every couple of months, as she really tried to get home to her family every night.
It was nearly noon, which was their regular lunch time. He and Hermione always traded days on who would make lunch for them and it was her day, but he had to pick up the slack. He tossed the grill cheese and pickle sandwiches on the large frying pan, hearing the sizzle. Pulling a can opener from the drawer, he attached it to the can of chicken soup and began twisting the handle. "I like using certain Muggle devices," she had told him, "We don't have to use our wands for everything!"
Usually, he would be watching over her shoulder now, bugging her mercilessly as she tried to get their meal together. He'd be brushing her hair off her shoulders, kissing her neck as she tried to scold him for distracting her but wound up enjoying his embrace and forgetting about food. But everything was wrong, nothing was going as their usual daily routine and it was completely shaking in its oddity.
Hermione had always been very precise in her schedule, with home, work, outside commitments. She put everything in her organizer, which she took with her everywhere. When Draco had sent word to St. Mungo's asking for her, he had been informed that she hadn't been in for a couple of days. There was no warning, no call asking for vacation time, she simply hadn't shown up. Though her co-workers had been worried, they hadn't sent in a report of her missing, deciding to give it more time.
For Draco though, it was enough to shake him into immediately looking into the odd occurrence. His wife simply didn't not go to work, or come home to see him and Winnie. Her main focus was always her family, everything else came second. So if she didn't go to work, or didn't put in another law suggestion at the Ministry for awhile, that wasn't exactly earth shattering. But after three nights of going to bed without her, of waking up lonely, Draco knew that something was terribly wrong.
Flipping the sandwiches over and stirring the soup, he frowned at the quiet of the house. Not even their protective dog Buck was doing anything, he simply moped around the house, looking abandoned and depressed. They lived far enough away from neighbors and the hustle and bustle of the city that the area surrounding their property was quiet and calm. He kept his eyes out front while he made lunch, as he often had lately, waiting for someone's arrival. Draco had expected something to happen. After all, she's The Hermione Granger. Wizarding World Rights Activist, War Heroine, member of the Order, world renowned Healer, and smartest witch of her age.
But he waited and waited, paced and muttered, and still nobody arrived to look through her house for some kind of answer to her disappearance. Sure he hadn't actually said anything until the morning of her second day missing and it had only been 28 hours since he sent in the missing report for her, but that was 28 hours too many that nobody had shown up with questions. He was beginning to suspect things, and he certainly had the resources to delve deeper into her disappearance, he just didn't want to jump to conclusions.
Serving up their lunch, he walked over to the kitchen table, nodding at his quiet daughter to follow him over. She hopped down from the counter, careful with her landing as her mum had always told her that she was small, delicate, and she shouldn't be jumping off of things without thoroughly thinking through the consequences. Winnie trailed back behind him, her arms swinging by her side and her dirty-blonde curls bouncing on her shoulders. She climbed up into her chair, sitting on her legs curled beneath her for better access to her lunch.
She watched her dad for a moment, like she always did. Her dad was her favorite person, her hero, and the person she most looked up to. She felt the same about her mum, but her dad always intrigued her more. She knew what her mum did every day, it was all planned out, but her dad was another story. Some days he'd work in his office, others he'd randomly decide to play Quidditch, and many days he'd simply take her out to play or stroll by a beach he had apparated them to. He was very family oriented, thinking more about his wife and daughter than his business commitments.
She mimicked his actions while he ate, which Draco always found amusing and couldn't stifle the smile that appeared while he chewed a bite of his sandwich. She watched him, her light brown eyes wide and keeping track of every movement. He picked up his glass of milk, bringing it to his lips and watching her do the same. He motioned as if he were going to tip it for a drink but pulled back quickly and watched as she took a sip and then stared confused. He chuckled, shaking his head and taking a gulp of his milk just to show that her action hadn't been in vain. She seemed sated that he had basically done what she had and went back to copying him, this time more carefully.
"Will mummy be here for dinner?" she asked, her cheek puffed out with a chunk of sandwich sitting uneaten inside.
Draco's lighthearted expression fell apart and he frowned down at his cooling soup. "I'm not sure," he replied, hoping that she would but doubting they'd be so lucky.
"Who's going to read me my bedtime story?" she asked, sounding upset.
"I will," he assured, nodding.
"But mummy uses voices," she told him, shaking her head. "And she makes faces."
Clenching his jaw, Draco nodded. "I'll do that then," he told her, his voice hoarse with emotion.
Sighing, she looked up at him unsure, but then began twirling her spoon in her soup, following his actions.
When they were full, Draco gathered up the dishes and brought them to the sink. He didn't feel like washing them, so he used his wand to put a self cleaning charm on them. He could practically hear Hermione's voice in his head, "I don't want to use magic to clean them, I prefer to do it myself. Besides, I get to spend more time with you when we do it this way. If you'd stop making such a mess with those bubbles... DRACO! I'll get you for that!" It was their regular routine, though it had their small changes; sometimes he'd simply drop a handful of bubbles on her head, other times he'd snog her senselessly with sudsy hands and soak her shirt half purposely.
His daughter stuck around beside him, her hand wrapped around the leg of his sweat pants. He hadn't felt like dressing that morning, feeling tired and empty without his wife nearby. He hadn't realized just how dependent he was in having her in his life until she wasn't there anymore. That wasn't to say they didn't have a loving marriage; he didn't know any married couple who still loved like they did. He just hadn't realized that she had taken up the majority of his life, making it better to the point where if she wasn't there, it seemed completely lacking.
Picking up Winnie, he held her against his side, half hugging her. "What do you want to do today?" he asked, running a hand over her soft hair. "Park? Bookstore, maybe? Pay a visit to your aunt and uncle? Or perhaps we should stop in and see your grandma, I bet she'd like some company." He sighed, frowning at the circumstance they were in and how everything felt pointless. She didn't say anything, instead pressing her head against his shoulder and holding on to him. She seemed confused by her mum's disappearance, unable to understand it and not knowing what she was supposed to do or say to find out what had happened.
There was a knock at the door that surprised him, making him stop just as he was passing into the living room. Backing up, he stared at the door for a moment, a frown marring his features. "Are you going to open it?" his daughter asked, faint laughter in her voice. He glanced at her, nodding slowly before reaching out to turn the handle. He pulled it open, suddenly realizing that he was wandless and had no idea who stood on the other side. True nobody but those close to them and now those who were specifically given the information knew about their home, but still, he should've been more careful, especially under the circumstances.
He let out a surprised and rather annoyed sigh, realizing he was standing in front of two of the last people he figured would show up. Then again, he should've assumed that they would think they owed it to her to come looking. He could see the shock on their faces and briefly wondered how long it would take before it turned into anger. He stared at them standing on his wide white porch, wands hanging limply by their legs and jaws nearly hitting the floor. "Are you going to stand there all afternoon?" he asked, his brow lifting.
"Daddy?" Winnie whispered, staring out suspiciously at the two guys before her. "Who are they?"
"They're here about your mum, doll," he replied, sighing. Setting her down on the floor, he smoothed his hand over her hair, trying to smile. "Do me a favor and go read a book in your room for awhile, okay?"
She nodded, glancing back at the two men wearily before hurrying off to climb the stairs to the second floor.
"M--M--Malfoy," Weasley stuttered, his eyes large and confused, his shoulders sagged with the weight of questions in his mind.
"Weasley," he greeted, turning to his companion, "Potter."
"What... are you... doing here?" the world's savior asked him through grit teeth.
Crossing his arms, Draco rolled his eyes at how slow they could be. "I live here," he replied, simply. "With my wife and my daughter. You've just met one, you're looking for the other. Does that clear things up?" he replied, becoming irritated.
"Whoa, wait," Weasley said, shaking his head and waving his hands. "Exactly what are you implying?" he wondered, his face incredulous.
"I'm not implying, Weasley. I'm stating facts. You're here because Hermione is missing, are you not?" he queried, looking back and forth between them. "Right. So, in fact, you're searching for my wife. Do I need to say it slower, or have you grasped it yet?"
"That's... No... That's impossible," Potter told him, shaking his head slowly.
A/N Hey there readers, I'm Amanda and I'm a long time Dramione writer. You may have read my previous stories, "Blood Is Thicker Than Tears," "Growing," its prequel: "Summer Haven," "A Family Affair," "The Werewolf Tamer," or the two-shot "For You, Always For You." If not, then I invite you to check them out too. If so, then I'm very proud and glad to see that you've taken the time to check this story out as well. I hope you enjoy, "Secret Life," and all the mystery, romance, and drama that it entails. Thank you for reading, please leave a review!