Here it is; the sequel to The Adventures of Jack Hotchner and Ms. Granger. In some ways it still feels unfinished and raw, so I guess there is definitely more to come. I must warn you in advance; this one shot features an active shooter situation in a school setting.
I aimed to give Hermione and others more depth, but I must admit I have a very hard time writing the BAU so don't expect too much on that front. There wasn't as much Jack action because I realized that making him too big of a character would endanger him and Hermione would never want that. ^.^
As I wrote/imagined one particular scene I almost cried, so caught up in what I was writing I forgot it wasn't real or even remotely true. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it. Please leave a review and let me know. As for my jaunts in this world, they are far from over.
Hermione stilled, echoes of a terrified shriek bouncing down the hall. Her explanation on proper capitalization forgotten, she set down the chalk and walked toward the classroom door. The room quickly fell silent as the brunette peered through the glass on the door, scanning the empty corridor. Three harsh cracks split the air and had Hermione ducking down. Quickly she dodged the window and issued orders the occupied desks. "Up up, to the far corner quickly and silently, just like we practiced."
Another scream shattered the tentative silence and four more bangs followed in quick succession. Blood rushed in Hermione's ears and she gritted her teeth. Little bodies were huddled together in the corner, invisible from the door's vantage point and looking at her expectantly. They knew better than to say anything, having done several drills that year already for just this instance. Pushing her chair out of the way Hermione gripped the edge of her desk and leaned in, pushing the large item toward the door. She cringed at the scraping noises the action elicited; they seemed almost deafening in the silence. When the desk finally came to a stop snuggly against the door she froze and listened intently for any other noise. After a few minutes she quietly rushed back to her students, every one of them somber and silent as the grave.
Hermione squeezed between them and zeroed in on a sobbing Sarah Evans, enveloping her in a tight hug. Crouching low she encouraged them all to sit as close as possible, knees pulled up to their chests. Turning, she artfully tipped several desks creating another barrier between the students and the threat. Focusing back on her students she tried to smile encouragingly but when she received nothing in return she knew that even her best smile wasn't going to cut it.
"Until the police get here we're going to be as quiet as possible understand? Everything will be alright as long as you do exactly what I say when I say it."
Sarah whimpered, tears running down her face. "What's going on ? Who's here?"
Hermione hesitated, not sure how to tell the girl that she didn't know, that for once Hermione Jean Granger did not have the answer.
"I don't know Sarah."
Jack hugged Sarah from her other side.
"Don't cry Sarah, it'll be okay. The police will save us, it's what they do."
Shouting came from the hall outside and Hermione's thought pattern stopped. The voice was male, deep and gravelly. He sounded tired and angry, with an undercurrent of anxiety that bordered on hysteria. She could also hear feminine crying and a gasping breathing pattern often associated with panic. Pulling the kids closer Hermione crouched in front of them and spread her body as wide as it would go. Eyes narrowed she watched the door and for only a moment her mind was in another time.
Sweat dripped down Hermione's face as she panted, trying to catch her breath and ease the terrible burning in her lungs. It was hot in the warehouse and the temperature seemed to be rising by the minute. In reality it wasn't an impossible assumption, not with all the industrial sized cauldrons boiling below. They were all in the last stage of refinement, needing temperatures of at least 48 degrees Celsius. This particular part was the most volatile; when the liquid gold Morganna's Dust became fine glitter like flakes. A tap on her shoulder made Hermione turn away from the ledge and look back at Blaise Zabini. The Italian looked tired, his button up shirt was long gone and his white undershirt soaked with sweat.
Alekzander Notte was beside Blaise and undressed similarly with his wand loosely in hand and the other wiping a streak of blood off his cheek. "Where are they?"
Blaise nodded toward the alcove opening that overlooked the cook house below.
"All down there, at least forty cauldrons in the final stages. It's going to be a bloody fucking mess."
Alekzander grimaced. "Cleanup crew is on the way. They're hanging back until we say go."
Hermione brushed errant curls from her face and nodded. "Let's go then."
In quick succession they apparated below, firing in all directions. It was a dangerous thing to do with such a heady situation but suppression was what they were trained for and definitely what they were good at. Spells flew in a myriad of colors and shouts of pain floated throughout the room. Most of the brewers were running, an apparition restriction ward stopping them from disappearing amid the smoke. Other suppression and apprehension squads waited outside for those who managed to find their way out of the warehouse. It was almost like catching fish in a barrel.
Suddenly there was a large boom, the force of the explosion that followed sending ripples through the warehouse. Hermione stumbled mid turn, ears ringing and eyes shut tight. She fired off a stunner and turned again, an angry red slashing hex narrowly missing her face and only slicing off a lock of hair. She swore loudly and slung a curse right back, quickly bracing for what would come next.
The Bombarda impacted at the wizard's feet and flung him backwards into a workbench. The curse he had been casting went askew and caused a cauldron near him to combust. All around them cauldrons began exploding, shards of pewter and toxic mixtures of Morganna's Dust began coating the room. Thick gold liquid rained down, some of it turning into golden flakes as it fell.
Hermione scanned the room for her teammates, unable to see through the smoke. For a moment she panicked when she saw flames licking across the spilled drug. Stumbling back the way she came Hermione shouted for her partners until her throat began to hurt from the noxious smoke filling the room. A hand grabbed her shoulder and she whipped around, raising her wand offensively. Alekzander stood behind her sooty and sweating, Morganna's Dust splattered all over his face. Blaise leaned on him heavily, a fresh slice across his forehead bleeding steadily. Hermione pulled her shirt over her head and hoped she was wearing one of her nicer bra's before wiping at their faces with it, trying to prevent any of the addictive substance from entering their systems.
Dropping the soiled top she gripped their arms and began pulling on her magic. Blaise grinned crookedly as another explosion rocked the building. "So much for the cleanup crew."
Alekzander laughed and pulled the other man closer. "Let's get out of here."
Hermione closed her eyes and tugged sharply on her magical reserves, dismayed at how low they were. Just as the distorted feeling of apparition began her body convulsed and she cried out at the flash of pain across her back. The small team landed outside the barrier bleeding and gasping for breath just as the warehouse was completely enveloped in purple flames, white hot in the dark night. The cleanup crew looked on from a distance as the fire burned up all the oxygen within the shields and began smothering itself. Hermione watched in fascination as the purple and white flames died down and the shield slowly closed in. Aurors swarmed the location, grabbing up people left and right, slapping restraints on them.
"I could use a hand Granger, this wanker decided it was nap time."
Hermione turned toward Alekzander who was now holding a completely limp Blaise. Rising to her feet Hermione walked over and grabbed Blaise's other arm, throwing it over her shoulder and walking him toward the mediwizards.
Hermione eased back to the present and mentally shook herself. It wasn't the time or the place to be going down memory lane. The man's shouting was becoming more discernable as he got closer.
"I want to know where my Sarah is and I won't ask again."
Hermione's gaze fell on Sarah Evans's chalk white face. Her hands were clutching the edge of her blue dress so tightly Hermione was sure the material would give way.
The word was barely a whisper.
Hermione's heart sank. "Sarah is that your father in the hall?"
She nodded jerkily. "He sounds so mad."
Several months' back Sarah's mother had finally divorced her father and made it very clear to Hermione, the principal and the bus driver that Thomas Evans was to have no contact with Sarah at all. There was a court order in place to enforce that along with a trespass to the premise. The man had been hiding a drug addiction and had become violent when it was discovered. More shouting came from the hall and Hermione scooted backwards towards the students clustered behind her, eyes narrowing on the door. Suddenly feminine screaming erupted; terrified cries for help before another gunshot and a muffled thump.
Hermione's eyes fell closed and she released a breath she hadn't been aware of holding. Luckily most of the kids didn't know what that sound had meant however she saw jack pull Sarah closer, his face solemn. He knew what it had meant and why the woman had stopped screaming. Hermione had been told the relevant details concerning his mother and read the ugly classified ones herself.
"You've got five minutes to give me my daughter or I'll go room by room and find her myself. Don't make me wait."
Hermione glanced out the windows at the line of law enforcement surrounding the school and couldn't help but fell impressed by their response time. In total it had probably been thirteen or fourteen minutes since the shooting began and though they lived in a metropolitan area the response was almost immediate. Hermione wondered who had called 911 and if the situation had become breaking news yet. There was more yelling from Mr. Evans and a shot was fired followed by the sound of shattering glass. Police officers outside hunkered down behind their cars in response.
Everything was silent for a few minutes and Hermione waited on baited breath. One of the law enforcement officers stepped forward and picked up a megaphone. Raising the item he began talking, calling Mr. Evans by name and urging him to surrender. Mr. Evans reply was muffled; he had moved back down the hall and most likely toward the emergency fire doors.
Spotting her chance Hermione stood and crossed to the other side of the room. Climbing up onto the counter she motioned to the kids that had started to follow.
Reaching up she began popping latches on the fire exit window and pushing at the warm glass. With a grunt she gave up and stared longingly at her jacket on the coat rack, wand peeking out of her pocket. The one time she forgot her wrist holster, on the one morning she was running late. Hermione was too tired and too scatterbrained to attempt even the smallest amount of wandless magic at the moment. It required concentration that she didn't have; not with all of her students in the room, fear and confusion rolling off them and affecting her. Statute of secrecy and all that aside. Looking around she spotted one of the hard backed science books and motioned to Jack, who seemed to have become the class representative in this situation.
"Grab me that book right there, quickly."
Jack ran over to the desk, sneakers squeaking lightly. Picking up the book he didn't give the shiny green frog on the cover a second glance as he hustled back over to Hermione. She took the book with a smile and told him to back away. Raising the books she aimed the top corned of the binding at the window, pulled it back and swung. Once, twice, three times. On the fourth hit the glass cracked. Hermione paused and listened carefully. The noise hadn't been all that loud but the classroom was silent and no matter how quiet, sound travelled. When all appeared clear she began swinging again in quick succession, determination over riding her doubt.
As the glass spider webbed Hermione kept glancing at the door. Pausing she leaned down and handed the book back to Jack. Pulling off her sweater she wrapped it around her arm before turning her back to the glass. Bringing her arm to her chest she gauged the distance between her and the window. Gritting her teeth she swung her arm out, slamming it into the window. The glass gave with a sickening crack before busting outward; small shards falling all around her. Hermione winced as pain reverberated up her arm and into her jaw. Unwrapping the sweater from her arm she rewrapped her hand and began knocking out the last of the glass still in the frame.
Motioning to Jack she said, "Grab that chair over there."
Jack pulled the chair over quickly, grunting at the slight weight. Hermione kicked the glass off the counter that had gathered around her feet.
"One at a time I need you guys to climb up here. I'm going to lift you up and out the window."
Many of the children looked at her dubiously. One girl raised her hand.
"Are you strong enough Ms. Granger?"
Hermione wanted to roll her eyes and tell them that she went to the gym three times a week and still grappled with Blaise at least once a week. She was plenty strong enough to lift the kids, but she'd reevaluate that thought after she hoisted twenty of them through the window. One at a time they began climbing up to her and she lifted them under their arms, sat them on the sweater covered window frame and eased them over slowly to the ground. She began sending them in pairs, running toward the playground at the edge of the police barricade. An officer quickly grabbed his partner's attention and they began herding the students quickly behind the line and toward the ambulances that waited there.
At one point she stopped, ears straining for sound. The consistent yelling that had accompanied presence in the hallway had suddenly stopped. Hermione had become comfortable with the noise and now noticed it missing. So far Mr. Evans had not followed through with his threat, too distracted by the police knocking on his front door. The current silence however made her uncomfortable and she motioned more students forward. Their classroom was the closest to Mr. Evans's location and Hermione did not want to take any chances. She only hoped other teachers had gotten their students out the windows as well.
A muffled shout had her turning toward the door, body freezing momentarily. Mr. Evans had indeed decided to ignore the police and come looking for Sarah. His face was pressed against the glass in the classroom door and he was turning the doorknob Hermione had stupidly forgotten to lock. He began shouldering the door, trying to dislodge the desk that she had jammed in front of it.
Hermione continued lifting the kids out the window until it was only Sarah and Jack left with her. The desk was sliding across the floor and the door was opening when she set Jack down on the grass. Hefting up a crying Sarah she ignored the door and the clatter of the desk finally being shoved out of Mr. Evans way. Hermione's arms burned from the exertion as she struggled to ease Sarah down without dropping her.
Jack pulled her to him and almost fell over as she wrapped herself around him and began crying all over him. Hermione glanced behind her as she began lifting her own body onto the window.
"Run Jack, take her now!"
Jack hesitated for a moment before grabbing Sarah's hand and pulling her away from the school. Lifting her body higher Hermione berated herself for skipping the gym that morning, even if she had been running behind. Obviously this was her punishment, to lift small children until her arms felt like limp noodles.
Suddenly a hand grabbed her ankle and pulled hard, dragging her from the window and bringing her crashing onto the counter and down to the floor. Her head hit the tile hard and the breath was knocked out of her. A sharp whine echoed in her ears and she blinked slowly, everything blurring.
Hermione padded softly back to Squad 12's bunk room, weaving in and out of the desks on the main floor. The office was empty, everyone tucked away in their beds. Working the four on, two off shift was hard and exhausted them easily. Pulling the towel off her head she shook out her hair; dark curls falling around her shoulders. Blue sparkly painted toes peeked out from under her yoga pans, goose bumps covering her upper torso where the ratty Squad 12 emblazoned tank top did not. The letters were fading off the back from long use and many washes. Turning the corner in the bunk hall she noticed Squad 6's lights were out and so were Squad 4's. Gripping the doorknob of her own she opened it and slipped inside, only to be met with the invasion of Squad 4.
Once again the misfits had invaded the sanctity of her bunk room, turned up the music and began a ruthless poker game that would last all hours of the night and leave at least one participant broke until payday. Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegin sat on the far side of the table with Guiness in hand. Seamus had wasted no time bringing the muggle alcohol into every wizards life he could, claiming it to be nectar of the gods. Geoffry Valentine and Steffano Marks rounded off their merry band of raiders. Squad 12 was the only three man team in the DSU* as a result of poor planning and transfers when the squads were formed.
Blaise turned away from his piled of gold and smirked.
"You clean up nice dollface."
Hermione laughed and threw her towel at him. Blaise dodged easily however Geoffry did not, the damp item catching him in the shoulder. He hollered and began making a fuss, shouting about girl germs and Gryffindor diseases. Hermione ignored him and walked toward her bunk in the far corner. Grabbing her hairbrush she began drawing her curls up into a ponytail.
"So what's the big stakes tonight gentleman?"
Her fingertips drifted over the back of her neck and traced the symbol there, a shudder running through her body. The dark shadow of a swallow in flight was etched into her skin with gold eyes and distinctive accents while several starbursts of the same color surrounded it. A detailed depiction of her wand laid crookedly underneath the bird, one clawed foot securing the item in its grasp and the source of the starbursts. Every so often the detailed feathers and accent rippled along her skin. Each starburst represented a drug brewery they had eliminated. On the tail was a small 12 and the squad tattoo had been the last drunken high stakes, something about promises on magic and too much bravado driving the follow through.
Walking over to her bedside table Hermione dug around and grabbed her silk coin purse, a present from her parents upon graduation. Sitting herself in the only empty chair she dropped the bag lightly. The gold inside clinked as she met Blaise's intense stare. He smiled wickedly, like a snake to a mouse, like she was another victim.
"Are we going to do this again love? We both know you lost last time."
Hermione smile innocently. "All I know is that you're a cheater."
Ruckus erupted around the pair as the others hollered and jeered. Hermione could only hope someone had put up the silencing charms. Blaise held the card deck lightly before clapping it between his palms, the cards vanishing. Hermione raised an eyebrow.
Blaise just shook his head before pulling his shirt up and off. "Nothing up my sleeves."
Alekzander leaned her way, coming in close. "He's got you there Hermione."
Hermione shrugged and reached for her purse. "Get naked all damn day; you're still going to lose. Unfortunately I've already seen everything you've got."
Once again shouting erupted and Dean shouted, "She just insulted your manhood! You going to let that slide?"
Blaise's eyes took on a heated look and he lifted a finger, crooking it towards himself. Hermione had seen that look before and it made her shiver. She was tempting the beast in his own element and boy was it fun. Pulling the drawstrings on her purse she let the silk bag fall over and a few gold coins spill out.
"Show me what you've got."
Hermione blinked slowly, her vision blurry and her head pounding. Rolling slightly she winced and peered through her lashes. Mr. Evans was pacing back and forth by the bookshelf gripping his forearm tightly, the one that held a tarnished handgun. His fingers flexed and his eyes were closed. Unkempt hair was stuck to his forehead with sweat and she could almost hear his teeth grinding. Licking her lips she opened her mouth.
He stopped pacing and glanced at her, his eyes tired and bloodshot, pupils blown wide. Shaking his head he frowned. "Who are you? No, it doesn't matter, all that matters is seeing my Sarah. Is that too much to ask?"
His voice was barely a whisper, its broken tenor making her cringe. Sitting up slowly she gritted her teeth as pain engulfed her back. Lifting one of her hands she stared at the blood that dotted her palm, miniscule glass shards embedded in her skin. Mr. Evans stepped toward her, his gait unsteady.
"Do you have any kids?"
Hermione licked her lips again, nodding her head. In that moment every student she taught was her child, Harry and Ron were her boys, Blaise and Alekzander were her anchors and every other male she had ever mothered at some point were her children to look out for. Granted they were all capable young men, grown and able to fend for themselves but no one messed with a lionesses cubs.
Now that was a good question. In reality the number had shrank since graduation of Hogwarts, the Academy and her assignment to the DSU*. Then after her move to the states the number shrunk again and despite her efforts she didn't see any of her boys as much as she wanted. It wasn't safe for them or her.
"I have three boys."
Mr. Evans nodded. "Then you know how I feel. Wouldn't you miss your sons if they were suddenly taken from you?"
Hermione nodded slowly. "I miss them every day. They don't live with me."
Mr. Evans suddenly became angry, lashing out and knocking over a desk.
"Then why did you make Sarah leave? Why did you tell her bad things and scare her, make her cry?!"
Hermione jerked at the accusation and the saliva that hit her cheek. She knew it was foolish to open her mouth, knew she should be quiet. After all, Mr. Evans was the hyped and angry drug addict with a gun while she was the injured and shook up school teacher.
"I didn't scare her, you bloody did!"
Snapping her mouth shut Hermione realized what she said as an enraged Mr. Evans dived at her. She forced herself to move, scrabbling out of the way; glass skittering across the floor. Gasping she rolled, the air rushing from her lungs as his body landed atop hers. Mr. Evans straddled her waist and pushed her into the glass covered floor. His hands were wrapped around her neck, the snub nosed revolver laying forgotten several feet from her reach.
Hermione gripped his wrists, digging her fingernails into the skin. Her body bucked under his weight and she gasped, magic gathering under her skin. It made her itch and her spine tingled. Looking up into Mr. Evans face she felt his hands tightening around her neck, cutting off her trachea and larynx. Her lungs burned from the sudden lack of oxygen and she knew it was only a matter of time before she got tunnel vision.
There seemed to be nothing left of Mr. Evans, the drug induced rage taking over. Letting go of one of his wrists, Hermione grappled along the floor searching for anything she could use. Bucking again she tried to dislodge him but only succeeded in making him wobble. Shutting her eyes she concentrated, pulling on her magic until it became thick and sluggish under her skin, waiting for her cue.
Hermione's fingers clenched a large piece of glass and she grimaced at the sharp edges that dug into her palm. The ache was nothing compared to the guttural shout that came from Mr. Evans when she lodge it in his thigh. His hands moved form her throat to his leg, pain written all over his face. Unleashing the tight hold Hermione had on her magic she shoved him off her, the man skidding across the floor and slamming into the bookshelf so hard it nearly toppled over and books came raining down.
Air filled her lungs so swiftly that Hermione gagged and thought she was going to vomit. Her throat was raw and her head hurt. Sitting up she looked over at Mr. Evans still form and watched him carefully for any sign of movement. She could see the steady rise and fall of his chest but he didn't twitch. Grabbing the edge of the counter she slowly pulled herself up and nearly fell over. Her vision blurred and there was a high pitched whine in her ears again.
A light hand on her shoulder sent ice into her belly and she whipped around, stumbling away from an officer dressed in blue. Two more were climbing through the busted window and a third was already headed toward Mr. Evan's still form. Hermione could see his lips moving but couldn't hear him and the whine was getting louder. Shadows were creeping into her vision and she swallowed thickly, a shiver taking over.
The officer held out his hands in an unassuming manner and mouthed her name, that much she understood. Her side hurt badly whenever she breathed, the pain bordering on excruciating. Looking down she pulled at her shirt, mind reeling as the large shard of glass that penetrated her lower back and abdomen all the way through. Blood was dripping from the wound and running down her hip but appeared to be slowing and the wound clotting. A wave of nausea hit her and she tried to not fall over, her balance precarious. The officer in front of her was getting closer, reaching out to her with a concerned look on his face. Movement from the corner of her eye grabbed her attention and she turned toward the classroom door. Two officers were escorting a groggy and cuffed Mr. Evans out the door and the hall was swarming with first responders. The whine in her ears was quieting but she felt light headed and wondered if it was possible to have more than one concussion.
Whipping around she stumbled into a desk and fell forward, unable to brace herself to meet the floor once more. Two strong arms grabbed her and pulled her in close. Raising her head Hermione found herself staring up into Blaise's dark eyes full of turmoil. Slowly she registered the contours of his chest and the wiry arms that held her close, his heady cinnamon cologne and the soft cotton of his squad t-shirt. One arm released her torso only to slip her legs out from under her.
Hermione grimaced at the pain in her side and carefully rested her head on his shoulder, bringing her nose to his neck and nuzzling gently.
Her voice was hoarse and her throat still hurt. Faces passed by in a blur as the Italian jogged out of the school and toward the perimeter line. She found it hard to keep her eyes open, the shadows on the edge of her vision creeping closer. No one questioned Blaise as he brought her to an ambulance and climbed in the back. He gripped her tighter and Hermione closed her eyes.
"Don't fall asleep on me Hermione. You missed our lunch and now I'm angry at you."
A smile graced Hermione's pale lips before they apparated with a pop.
Blaise leaned against the nurse's station outside the operating room where Hermione lay, his foot tapping a staccato against the scuffed tile floor. Nurses and other medical staff raced back and forth, gathering supplies and shouting orders. Looking at the clock on the wall he grimaced, impatient for Madame Pomfrey's arrival. According to the doctor, the glass shard in Hermione's side had punctured and broken off in her liver, requiring immediate surgery before she bled to death. The doctor had expressed his desire to operate but Blaise had told him no, they had to wait for Hermione's personal surgeon. Producing the power of attorney paperwork had been easy enough and Blaise's tone had dared the man to go against him.
Another minute ticked by and Blaise began to sweat. There was shouting down the hall and moments later Poppy breezed in, already in her white surgical robes and hair pulled back. She gripped his arm reassuringly before approaching the doctor and demanding to see her patient. The doctor stared at her and she snapped her fingers.
"My patient doctor, we have no more time to waste!"
The doctor stuttered and nodded, motioning for her to follow. The pair disappeared into the operating room and slowly the doors to the wing closed behind them. Blaise sighed, his body sagging. Rubbing a hand over his face he straightened and decided to go for some coffee in the cafeteria, wondering how bad it really could be.
"Hey you, hold up!"
Blaise stopped and turned, eyeing the man who had just shouted at him. He was tall and dark skinned with black sinful eyes and an air of authority Blaise could appreciate. He was accompanied by another slightly shorter man, with shaggy dark hair and a square jaw.
"What do you want?"
"I'm Special Agent Morgan and this Special Agent Hotchner. We're looking for the doctor in charge of a Ms. Hermione Granger? She was brought by ambulance."
Blaise barely glanced at the badge they held out, uninterested in whatever credentials they thought they had. He titled his head; Hotchner. Now that was the same name as that cute kid Jack.
"She's in the operating room, needed surgery. Why?"
Hotch looked the man over trying to figure out where he had seen him. He was of good height with a tan and jet black hair. He wore black cargo pants and a snug black t-shirt. There was a smudge of blood on his cheek and another on his neck.
"You were at the school today. I saw you speaking with the SWAT commander. Who are you?"
Blaise chuckled. Word had travelled fast of what happened and he had a habit of keeping his ear to the ground when it concerned Hermione. Anything that could possibly cause he trouble, he was all over it. So when he had heard about the shooting at her school, he dropped everything and rushed over.
"Yeah, I was there but who I am really doesn't matter. Hermione and I go back a long time."
Morgan scowled, not liking that answer one bit.
"Look, we were getting her information for the reports and could barely access any of it. Half her file including her childhood schooling has been black marked. Black marked means secret and secret means problems, especially if she's going to be teaching kids."
Blaise raised an eyebrow at Morgan, not liking the tone he had taken.
"Secret is a secret is a secret. Who bloody well cares? She protected those kids didn't she? Let's cut the crap, it's not the kids you're worried about but one kid in particular. Young Mr. Jack Hotchner am I correct?"
Morgan took an aggressive step forward and Hotch placed a hand on his arm.
"We're only here to take a statement and ensure Ms. Granger's wellbeing. You're right, she did protect those children and for that we are very thankful. I am especially thankful; however it would ease our concerns greatly to know what we're looking at."
Behind the two agents the doors to the operating rooms opened and Madame Pomprey stuck her head out.
"Blaise, we need you. She's losing more blood than we can give her and we're down to our last pint."
Blaise nodded and headed to the door. Pausing, he looked back at the agents.
"It would benefit you to leave well enough alone. Just take her for what she is and stop digging before monsters start crawling out of the dark."
The door swung shut behind him leaving Hotch and Morgan behind in the waiting room.
Hermione leaned on Blaise heavily, her hand clenching the sleeve of his black dress robes. She had stopped listening to the preacher a long time ago and deftly ignored the rain that poured down on their heads. The crowd was quiet and small, no other family present. She didn't hear the guests as they passed her and Blaise, giving condolences and dropping galleons into the open grave. She didn't see them as they apparated away or acknowledge the preacher's goodbyes. Soon it was just she and Blaise left in the dark grove, black clouds covering the sky.
Hermione walked forward, her black pumps sinking into the growing mud. Mindlessly she kicked them off and continued on barefoot towards the dark cherry coffin, eyes transfixed on the engraved family crest adorning the hood. Her knees felt weak and her stomach sick when she reached the coffin and suddenly Blaise was there, following her as she collapsed to the ground. His arms were around her waist as she sobbed, fat ugly tears rolling down her face and mixing with the rain. He murmured in her ear and kissed her face, singing to her as she fell apart in his arms.
The coffin was an ugly reality that she had not wanted to face the past week, barely getting out of bed and refusing to eat. Blaise had been there the whole time, refusing to leave even when she had screamed at him. At the time she hadn't cared that he was suffering too, that he had lost someone close to him as well but now she regretted how she treated him and felt extreme guilt over it. Gripping his robes she pulled herself closer, nuzzling his neck and begging him to forgive her. Blaise just shook his head and kissed her hair once more, rain covering any evidence of tears.
Reaching out a pale and shaking hand Hermione settled it over the family crest on the coffin, running her fingers over the grooves. Reaching up she gripped the upper portion of the coffin that was open and Blaise's much larger hand covered hers. Together they lowered the lid closed.
"Take me home."
Hermione choked on the request, hating the word home. That place wasn't home anymore, it could never be home without him. Neither of them were sure how they could ever be complete without him, knowing there would be an empty space at the table, missing clothing in the closets and a lack of warmth in their bed. Blaise nodded and gripped her waist as they stood. Both were splatted with mud and Hermione didn't bother retrieving her shoes. Hermione hesitated and looked back, eyes locked to the coffin as they apparated away.
Alekzander was gone.
Slowly Blaise removed his boots and tossed them under the hospital bed, ignoring the incessant beeping coming from the heart monitor. Pulling aside the thick blankets he crawled in, curling his large form next to Hermione's sleeping one. Carefully he adjusted his arm, trying not to dislodge the needle being used to give her his blood. Reaching up he brushed hair from her forehead and kissed her neck before closing his eyes.
"I'm not leaving Hermione, you can't push me away anymore. I'm coming home."
There it is folks. This isn't the end, there is more to come. This was rated T and the next will most likely be rated M.
*DSU – Drug Suppression Unit