I'm back! Dodges rocks and bad fruit thrown by angry readers. I'm sorry guys- I became too busy and stressed with school to write. I know that is really no excuse. I would hate me if I were you- I left you guys at such a crucial point in the story. But I'm back, and I don't intend to go anywhere. Honestly. So here is the next chapter in my story... thank you all for reviewing and still reading.

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. (Except Andrew). Savvy?

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The light was beginning to fade as Hermione looked out of her window, peering at the surrounding lands, searching for a sign of... anything. 'A sign of Ron,' her heart secretly reminded her.

"I'll take anything!" She cried out desperately. "Anything to know that you haven't forgotten me. That you're real- and not a figment of my desperate imagination." A tear rolled down her cheek, and she peered even farther into the darkness.

Minutes later, Hermione received the most unexpected sign she could have asked for. At first it was just a blur- a flash of red between two trees. And then it was unmistakable. Riding towards her with a broomstick fast as lightning and as silent as a mouse, was a very angry Ron Weasley.

Hermione held her breath as the first guard approached Ron. "Silencio!" Ron said firmly, but quietly. The guard clutched at his throat and Ron petrified him. Ron climbed back onto his broomstick, preparing to fly over the moat, but something stopped him. There was a barrier- some kind of spell that was preventing him.

He stared at the moat for a minute and scratched his head in thought. Finally, he picked up his wand once more. Pointing it at the moat he whispered, "Productus!" A bridge appeared, linking Ron directly to the opening gates of the castle.

Hermione was ecstatic. Ron was going to save the day, and with any luck they would be out of the castle before Malfoy and his goons even noticed. She turned back to Ron, just in time to see the guards come out from behind him.

"Ron, no!" She shouted. He turned, but not fast enough to miss the blow dealt by one of the castle guards. He flew into the castle wall, and Hermione screamed. Suddenly, there was noise throughout the castle. Feet were pounding on the stone steps, and Hermione heard plenty of swearing from the wizards that had misplaced their wands.

Hermione was in a panic. There was no way Ron could take on all these men, despite his apparent ability as an auror. She was standing in her window once more, wondering what she could do to help, when she saw what appeared to be fireworks at the edge of the forest Ron had come from.

She gasped as one of the fireworks flew through the empty fields, hitting a death eater and sending him flying. She looked back towards the forest as more and more flames shot out, hitting various guards and death eaters, clearing Ron's path to the castle.

Soon the flames were followed by their owners. Hermione actually jumped with joy as hundreds of aurors appeared out of the haze. They sped towards the castle with determined looks on their faces, clearing Malfoy's cronies out of their way with single movements of their wands.

Hermione looked back down at Ron, but he wasn't there. "He's inside the castle," she whispered to herself.

"It appears so, yes." The sound of Draco Malfoy's voice made her jump.

"How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough to know that if I'm going to defeat Weasley, I'm going to need a bargaining chip." He walked over and pointed his wand directly at her head. "You."

Hermione was silent. She couldn't breath, move, or call for help. For the first time throughout the entire ordeal, she was terrified for herself.

Before long, she heard a familiar voice scream a spell, and the door flew off its hinges. Ron entered the room looking surprisingly good for all he had just faced. "Get off of her, Malfoy."

Draco began to laugh and Hermione felt miserable. There was nothing she could do. Draco turned his wand to Ron, and shouted, "Crucio!" Before he could finish, Ron had dived out of the way.

"Expelliarmus!" Ron shouted, and as Draco struggled to hold onto his wand, Ron pointed to the ceiling and muttered an inaudible incantation. Huge stones from the ceiling fell down, collapsing onto Draco's head. Draco Malfoy was finally dead.

Ron wiped the sweat off his forehead and turned to Hermione. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I put you through this- "

"Turn around!" Hermione shrieked. She was too late. There was a figure in the doorway, laughing hysterically. Ron was slowly sinking to the ground. Running to him, Hermione saw the cause of his pain. There was a glowing sword, sticking out of his back.

There was a surprised look on his face. Then his eyes rolled back, and he hit the ground. He was gone.

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Hermione awoke with a start. She was screaming, but no sound was coming out. Looking up, she saw that Malfoy's partner was standing over her. "Sweet dreams, Herms?" She tried to shake off his use of that nickname.

"No, it was a nightmare Andrew. I dreamt I was with you."

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"Can Mark Jacobs hack it?" Ron asked Nymphadora Tonks. "I have yet to see him in action."

"He's good, but he hurt his leg last month- he'd be a gamble."

Sighing, Ron closed his file and moved on. He and Tonks had been up the entire night, going through various files, trying to come up with the perfect group for the next mission. Ron wasn't going to take any chances. Everything was at stake here- they couldn't afford to fail.

That evening he called his troops together. He had come up with a team of his thirty best aurors, as well as Harry and Ginny, and Fred and George. "We need some kind of plan." He explained. "A general mission outline..."

His voice began to break, so Tonks motioned for him to sit down, and took over. "They have Hermione Granger. There will be a portion of you dedicated to helping her make it out alive. However, most of you will be attempting to capture or kill their new leader, Draco Malfoy."

The only people who showed much surprise were Harry, and Ron's brothers and sister. He half smiled. They had reacted rather well to hearing the news about him being an auror. There had been only mild cursing, and out of the four only Ginny had fainted.

The next morning, they set out. They apparated to a forest in front of the castle, and made their way towards the stone structure. Ron and his team led the way. As he glanced at Tonks he smiled. She had tied a ribbon around her wand in honor of Samantha, the little girl who had been murdered months before.

As they approached the castle, hundreds of guards and death eaters surrounded them. Ron shot spells at anything not wearing blue, and gradually the number of death eaters diminished.

He ran to the gate of the castle, turning to take one last look at his men. There was Simon, caring for a fallen auror. The twins were taunting four ugly guards, throwing various objects in their path. Harry and Ginny were fighting side by side, with Bellatrix herself.

Silently, he wished them all luck before he turned and ran into the castle.

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Hermione was biting her nails with worry. What was Ron thinking attacking with only thirty men? Draco had ten times that many! Slowly she turned, as she heard the door close behind her. Draco Malfoy stepped into the room, and she gasped. Her dream was coming true!

She took a step back as he pointed his wand at her torso. "Well, Granger. I knew there would be a time when you would succumb to me."

Shaking her head no, she cried out, "You're going to lose this fight, Malfoy. And I can't be responsible for what Ron does to you when he finds you."

"If the Weasel ever makes it up here." Draco sighed in mock impatience.

"Trust me, he did." Hermione turned to the sound of the voice, and let out a cry of joy when she saw Ron standing in the doorway. He looked back and forth from her to Draco, and his eyes lingered when they saw Draco's wand, still pointed directly at her chest.

Draco began to laugh and Hermione felt her shoulders fall. She couldn't do a thing to help the situation. She glanced around, searching for something- anything- that would help her. The only piece of furniture within reach was her bed. Suddenly she had an idea.

Ron had now focused his wand on Draco. He was terrified. What if he angered Malfoy into hurting Hermione? He didn't think he'd be able to handle that. If he could just get Hermione away from Draco, he could use a spell to disarm him. He looked at Hermione, surprised to see that she was looking right at him. She had a serene expression on her face, as if nothing was wrong in the world, and this was all a game.

Draco was looking at her too, obviously confused. Why wasn't she frightened? He would have thought she'd at least attempt to fight back. He'd obviously given the mudblood too much credit. A mistake he wouldn't make in the future.

Hermione glanced at Draco to make sure he was distracted, before she made eye contact with Ron one last time, shouting, "Now!" Ron shouted a spell to disarm Draco, while she reached over and grabbed the nearest object, a pillow, hitting Malfoy in the face with it.

As Draco scrambled to regain his composure, Hermione dove onto the other side of the bed, out of his reach. Draco was now standing, powerless, in front of Ron. Hermione could see the rage flowing out of the two men, but was unsure of what to do.

Ron pointed his wand at Draco. "Avada- " He stopped. Clearing his throat, he tried it once more. "Avada K..." His voice faded away. "I can't do it- I can't kill him this way, Hermione." She nodded, tears in her eyes.

"Ron, you saved me."

And then she heard it once more. "Avada Kedavra!" Only this time the entire spell was uttered. And this time, Ron did not say it. Ron looked at Hermione, his mouth opened in shock, before he fell to the ground.

Andrew, standing in the doorway, began to laugh. Hermione was vaguely aware of someone screaming, until she realized that it was herself. She ran to Ron's motionless body. "Wake up, wake up!" She couldn't stop screaming, and felt as if she were drowning in the tears running down her face.

With a bored expression on his face, Draco picked up his wand once more. "Imobulus." Hermione felt her body go rigid as Andrew picked her up and he and Draco made their way out of the castle.

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Harry was worried. He and a group of aurors had entered the castle shortly after Ron, but they had yet to find any sign of him, Hermione, or Draco Malfoy. The aurors were leaving, and Harry was making his way out of the castle, when he passed by an open doorway.

Inside he saw a familiar head of tousled red hair. "Ron!" He ran in, shocked by what he saw. Ron was lying on the ground, motionless and lifeless. "Help us," Harry whispered, as he picked Ron up and made his way out of the castle.

The aurors left the castle defeated. They had lost men, had seen no sign of Draco, and had failed in saving Hermione. They apparated back to the base, where Ginny sat crying over her brother's seemingly dead body. Simon rushed over, and as he ran his hands over Ron's chest his eyes opened wide.

"He's not dead. He's not dead!" The aurors rushed to Ron's body, as Simon began to shout orders for the various medical supplies he would need.

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Weeks later, Ron awoke to unfamiliar surroundings. "Where the hell am I?" He asked, to no one in particular.

"Hospital," replied a familiar voice. Tonks stepped out of the shadows in the corner of the room. "It's a miracle you're even alive." Slowly Ron began to remember what had happened.

"Hermione! Where is she?"

"Ron, no one saw any sign of Hermione but you- she wasn't in the castle."

"Yes, she was- I saw her, I spoke to her..." He trailed off at the look on her face.

"Ron, I'm sorry. You must have dreamt it when you were asleep. Hermione wasn't there. We couldn't find a single shred of evidence that she'd ever been there at all."

He let out a cry of frustration. "You don't understand- "He stopped as she lowered her head, tears in her eyes.

"It gets worse, Ron. That was our only chance. I don't know how else to say this, except that there is nothing we can do. We lost the battle, along with most of our men. It's been weeks, and we can't even find Malfoy anymore."

Ron laid his head in his hands. They had lost, and Hermione was gone.

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Done! Wow... that was long. Ok, thank you to whoever read that, and I'm going to reinstall my sugar cube promise to whoever reviews. Please guys, I'd love to know who is still reading this, and who has given it up. New readers too- review and make me happy. Love and Sugarcubes!

Sugar High

Thanks to: lean, Persephone's- child, GDQ, Emmylou, Topaz Waters, Mask, Delia, Spawn of Piccolo, Bluehoax, MaNdAsFoRrOn, xzotic2986, chris-black, crazzzzzzzzzy kat, sweet stephy, Hermione 4eva, Urebriviel, Cheese Diva, Treader, SoundofSilence872, May, Ingenious, Greywind, EllaWeasley, Lissa, Hp fan, Mione Weasley, Hopeful Writer, deadnun, sarah, girlwithnoface, sunnyflower2005, starwars-freak, lid'l roque, waterlily37, and hermione30, as well as STRAYCAT and BACI- you guys are the best.