"We've been found."
Draco saw Hermione's fear as he said the words. They had known they wouldn't be able to hide forever. Now, they needed to move quickly. It wouldn't be long now before the wards would be torn down and Death Eaters would be swarming.
As another lightning strike lit the tent, Draco reached for his wand before remembering he didn't have one. He was beginning to panic. They had been found, and he didn't have a wand! It wasn't fear because he couldn't protect himself, though that was still very present, but that he couldn't protect Hermione.
"I need my wand," he announced as he rushed to pack the last bag.
The others looked at each other, uncertain.
Minky started to panic even more than Draco himself.
"Master Draco needs his wand!" the elf shrieked. "Master Draco needs his wand! Master Draco needs his wand!"
"We don't have time for this! Give him his wand! You're going to get him killed!" Hermione pleaded.
"But we still don't know what happened-" Ron started, but Hermione cut him off.
"That was so long ago. Can't you simply trust me? This once?"
Draco hadn't been ready to tell the others what happened that night and thought it was only effecting him. It was more than that now. He needed a wand.
He cleared his throat nervously. Draco hated sharing intimate details about his life, especially with people who didn't care what happened to him. He hated that he was having to justify himself like this. It was pathetic. And that he had to use has mother's death to get himself out of this hole he dug himself into, sickened him. But this wasn't just about him anymore. Draco didn't trust these people with their skills against Death Eaters; not when it was Hermione and his daughter's life. They had been getting better, but still wouldn't measure up to himself.
"If tell you, will you give it to me?" he asked. There was silence. Hermione was right; they didn't have time for this! They needed to get out now! Didn't anyone else realize that they couldn't just fight their way out anymore? Hermione couldn't do that. "That night, I found out my mother was dead. She sacrificed herself for me, the son who abandoned her, because she loved me," I explain quickly. "And I was stupid. All I could see was the one person who had ever loved me, dead because of it. I know Hermione, and I could see her doing something like that for someone she loved. I couldn't let that happen."
Silence fell through the tent; all except for the storm swirling around them.
Would they even believe him?
"Accio, Draco's wand."
Draco's eyes went wide as Mr. Weasley handed him the wand.
"We'll talk later," the man told him.
Draco nodded his thanks.
Mr. Weasley looked to the others. "Go now. Take Hermione. I'll grab the tent," he ordered.
"No. We should stick together," Hermione insisted. "Nobody gets left behind."
"Hermione," Draco urged. "You need to go and someone needs to go with you. We also need the tent."
"The wards have held haven't they? And we don't even know what is happening for sure. I understand that you are trying to protect me, but we need to stay together," Hermione argued.
"Fine. Everyone out, wands drawn," Mr. Weasley said, giving in.
Why did Hermione always have to look out for everyone else? Even when she was waddling around, holding her big pregnant belly, she was still more worried about everyone else being safe. It was so frustrating and down right terrified him. Nevertheless, Draco took a deep breath and stayed by her side.
Hermione clung to him as they made their way outside into the freezing hail, Mr. Weasley quickly snapping the tent down to traveling size with a wave of his wand.
Draco scanned the darkness, every muscle tense, fingers tightly gripping his wand in case someone were to fire from the shadows.
The group gathered together, each person shaking both from the cold and fear.
"Quickly now," Mr. Weasley whispered, pulling everyone closer.
Just as they disapparated, something happened. Why did they have to take so bloody long? Why couldn't they have just left as soon as they recognized the storm as magical?
As his stomach began the normal flip that went along with disapparation, there was a flash and a scream. But they were off and nobody could stop them. And Draco had no idea who the shriek had come from. They were turning and twisting and his thoughts wouldn't come together.
In another moment, they were in a valley and the storm was gone. But the chaos was still very present. Before he could even think, Draco had his wand out and was casting a shield over Hermione. There were spells flying seemingly from every direction at the single Death Eater who had apparently grabbed hold of someone as we fled the previous location.
He ran to the nearest, thin tree cover to hide behind a trunk, every once in a while casting spells at his pursuers.
Draco kept Hermione tucked safely behind him. If anyone wanted to hurt her, they would have to go through him first.
The Death Eater fell to the ground, unconscious or dead, Draco wasn't sure. Adrenaline was pulsing through his veins, his body shaking, mind racing.
"Are you alright?" he asked Hermione quietly.
She nodded her head quickly, eyes wide.
"Why. . . why would they do that? Why would they tell us they were coming?" Neville asked. There was a confused silence.
Draco sighed in frustration and defeat. He remembered something. They had used that same tactic on a task once. He wasn't there at the time, but he sure heard those people bragging about how well it worked. Brilliant really. And they had fallen for it, though, there really was no good option.
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"I remember some of the Death Eaters talking about something that worked hilariously well according to them," he explained. "When they only knew the general area of their target, they would create a sort of alert, hence magical storm, and lure them out. It shows the pursuers their wards and forces their target to move. I mean, it wouldn't be long until they were found anyway, but it just makes it easier."
"And why didn't you tell us before?! You knew we had been found! You knew what it meant!" Ron accused.
"I knew it was them, I didn't remember why exactly," Draco defended. "I wasn't there when they used it. It wasn't the first thing on my mind at that moment! Excuse me if my wife's safety was more important than details of overheard treacheries!" he spat. "Now, let's find somewhere else before this bloke wakes up or someone else shows up."
"My Lord." The man bowed before the Dark Lord, eyes never daring to look up from the ground.
Voldemort had been patient, forgiving, after the last time they let their targets escape. He knew they would work harder and faster to find them again, if only to avoid the full wrath of their master. He knew they were close. He had been assured that tonight would be their recapture. But here the men stood, empty handed before their Lord.
"What was it this time?" he sneered.
"They're wards . . . they held . . . they held far longer than we had anticipated."
"Meaning you have disappointed me once more," the Dark Lord replied.
"We saw them, my Lord. There are more. . ."
"What do you mean more?!" he demanded.
"It wasn't just the three. There were many."
"How many?" Voldemort implored.
"Not sure . . . exactly. A few more?"
The Dark Lord had had enough. Did he really have to do everything himself?
In an instant he was searching through the insolent man's memories. He saw them in the woods. It was foggy and getting dark. A storm surrounded the area, magical in nature, revealing the wards around one particular space. Yes, the wards were evidently strong, but Voldemort observed their attempts and they eventually gave way. Nine. In that brief moment from when the wards fell to when the group disapparated, there were nine. Plus, a house elf? Why would they keep one of those filth around? Just a testament to their inferiority.
The Dark Lord pulled out of the man's mind.
He fell dead to the floor. The man knew, but did not say.
A great anger filled every inch of Voldemort's body until his magic crackled around him. The boy who never dies! He killed him! He saw his spell reach its target! He saw Potter's body fall to the ground! It was impossible!
Each of the seven men in the room fell victim to his unrestrained rage until blood splattered every surface and the satisfying screams became a quiet crimson dripping.
He would have to take matters into his own hands.
"Draco," Hermione whispered against his chest.
It had been a stressful day full of everything from running for their lives to petty arguments. Although, things seemed to be getting better now that Draco had told the group what had really happened that night. Mr. Weasley sat him down and asked Draco to explain in more detail what had made him act the way he had.
Draco looked up at everyone; all eyes on him. Hermione sat beside him, giving his hand a squeeze and sending him a slight smile of reassurance.
"They came for us, but it's never just a physical fight with them," he explained. "It's how much damage they can cause, emotionally too. I let them get to me. The taunted me, told me I was soft, a coward, that I abandoned my parents, let my mother die for me without a care. They said things about her, horrible things of what she deserved for protecting someone like me. I just . . . I didn't want Hermione to do that, to face anymore of this. I thought I was hurting her more by sticking around."
"You just found out?" Harry asked, voice soft.
Draco nodded, looking down at his hands in his lap.
"And let's not forget the fact that he did save Hermione's life tonight," Ginny added, implying that she had been right all along. "It seems as though this whole time he has been trying to protect her, whether it worked, or not."
Ron didn't say anything and it was difficult to tell if anything changed for him, but things seemed to get a little better after that.
Now, it was night and the others were asleep.
"I'm awake," he whispered back.
"How am I supposed to do this?" she asked.
The baby didn't seem to be liking all the excitement and kept kicking her, keeping her awake and her mind alert. This wasn't how any of this was supposed to be.
"What do you mean?"
She swallowed. "This," Hermione said, gesturing at her giant belly. "I don't know how to do this."
"Sure you do," Draco assured her softly. "You're Hermione."
"You always say that," she accused. "It doesn't mean much."
"Of course it means something. You were always able to do absolutely everything. And I despised you for it," he admitted. "With everything that's going on, I don't think many other people but you, could handle it."
"I'm not good at everything. Never have been," she argued.
Draco raised a brow. "Then why was I lectured nearly every time I went home because you were beating me in everything?"
Hermione sighed and put a hand on her stomach. "This isn't school. It's real life. And its completely terrifying."
"I know," he said, hugging her tighter. "I'm scared too."
"How am I supposed to be a mother? How can I be what she needs when we're living on the run, in a tent, who knows where in Britain, with no idea if we are even going to survive past tomorrow?"
"Don't underestimate yourself," Draco told her. "I mean, you are more powerful than you know. You're the Dark Lord's daughter, and I know you think that is the worst thing to happen to you, but it just means that you have the potential to be one of the strongest witches in the world. And with your heart, that could be a very good thing for world right now. A very good thing for our daughter. You can do this."
He kissed her forehead softly as she closed her eyes and nuzzled into his chest. He believed in her. Knowing everything he did about who she was, he believed in her. And for a single moment, Hermione felt peace.
Happy New Year! Wow, 2018! And you guys are still reading my story! I got the most views in one day last week than I have ever had before, it was incredible.
It's funny, because every time I come back to writing this story, I get sudden inspiration for another one! But this time, I am going to keep writing this one for you guys while I start on the other (Which already has nine chapters written since Thursday lol). I know you have been waiting a long time for this story, so I won't put it on hold any longer, even though I have another one going. I think I am going to post the first chapter of the new one tomorrow, so check it out!
I think I have another three chapters or so of this one to write, so the end is near! I'm going to try to post weekly like my other stories have been so stay tuned!
Thank-you to those few of you who reviewed, it meant so much to me. When I see someone reviewed it puts the biggest smile on my face and gives me more motivation to write this story, which I am really struggling for right now. But I do want to finish it for you, so leave me some comments!
Thank-you for reading and for sticking with me over time, and I hope you have a wonderful start to the new year!