A/N: Here you go! I tried to get it out as fast as I could, don't expect the next one to come out this fast okay?
TO MY FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS aka REVIEWERS: So many faithful readers I have! Thank you everyone for sticking with me for sooooooooo long! I thought everyone deserved an individual response this time for not giving up on me! If I missed you, it was an accident and I'm sorry. THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR STILL READING THIS!
petrynronlover: Yes, yes, I know it took me forever! I'm sorry already okay! This chapter came out fairly fast though, right? Right?
BEV Granger711: Be glad you didn't find my story earlier because then you would have forgotten about it just like petrynronlover did when it took me a year to update! I'm glad you liked it though, thanks!
TammyLynnSlark: Yeah, I know you can get your license in the UK at 17, but um… I'm a stupid American? That and I wanted Hermione to drive, so lay off me!
sballLuvr5: Oh don't die; this story isn't worth it I assure you! Thought about makin' it Lucius but well… you'll see.
Harry Lvr: Hahaha! I'm glad you can feel Harry's pain about being scared to touch anything. I too have been in that situation and well… let's just say it didn't end too pretty…
IsabellaPaige: Read the whole story in one night? You sound like me! I love when I find a story with a lot of chapters that I haven't read before and I can just sit and read through it all right on the spot! I'm glad I was able to provide that for you!
Silver Sailor Ganymede: Thank you so much for reading and sticking with me!
jehanm: Genius, aw shucks…
animerocksjapanrocks: thanks for reviewing and you're right, anime and japan do rock!
dancerrdw: I hope this update is soon enough for you, it's one of my fastest!
pxleno52: Well if I GOT to then I GOT to, so I will, and I did!
: okay okay okay okay okay okay okay…whew, that's harder than it looks!
Hermione fell to her hands and knees as she was apparated into a dark room with a few torches flickering from the stone walls. She felt as though all her strength had finally abandoned her.
"Pathetic" the death eater muttered from above her. Hermione clutched her side in pain and tried to steady her breathing.
"Who…are you and… what do you… want from me?" Hermione managed to gasp out as she struggled back to her feet, still holding her side, slumped over slightly.
"I'm certain you know me quite well and I want nothing but your meaningless life." The death eater stated as he threw off his hood. Hermione recognized him immediately. It's the last face she remembered seeing on that night at the department of mysteries.
"Dolohov." Hermione spat.
"I'm glad to see you remember me." Dolohov's lips twitched into an evil sneer.
"Why would you want my life if it's meaningless?" Hermione asked, a little too smugly for the position she was in.
"I thought you were supposed to be smartest witch of your age?" The death eater shot back as he strode towards her. He grabbed Hermione by the collar and pulled her up straighter than was comfortable for her ribs. "Don't you realize that even though you're a useless mudblood that stupid Potter will come looking for you?"
Hermione stared straight into the Dolohov's eyes; there was a craziness there that scared her more than anything else about her situation did.
"He won't." Hermione said as if trying to convince herself. "He won't come for me; he doesn't even know where to look."
"He will come for you," Dolohov glared into her eyes, Hermione shuddered uncontrollably at his gaze, "You know he will come for you, and when he does, either you will meet your death or he will surrender himself." With that Dolohov released her and without the extra support Hermione fell back to her knees. The death eater turned his back toward her and pulled his wand from the interior of his robes.
Hermione looked longingly at his wand. If only she had her wand with her she thought, and suddenly she remembered, she did have her wand with her! She was attacked so suddenly by her birth parents that she had not even thought to use her wand until this very moment. Slowly, trying not to draw any attention, Hermione reached down and felt in her pants pocket. It was charmed to comfortably conceal her wand and to her extreme relief her hand made contact with its familiar wooden surface.
"Ron! Harry! Get back in this car!" Molly Weasley yelled, but to no success. Ron and Harry were already sprinting across the yard where the dark mark was in the process of being removed. Witches and wizards were scattered all over the neighborhood modifying memories and aurors were inside the house investigating the situation.
"Those boys," Molly huffed as she sat in the front of the car; Tabitha and William Granger were sitting worriedly in the back, "don't worry, Arthur's inside helping with the investigation, I'm sure everything's already been handled." Molly gave the Grangers an encouraging smile before turning to look at the situation in front of her, not really believing what she had said herself.
"Get out of my way!" Ron yelled, pushing past anyone unlucky enough to get in his way. "Dad!" Ron shouted as soon as he spotted his father and hurriedly made his way towards the house where he was located.
"Excuse me boys," A man said, stepping in front of Ron and Harry before they could reach the house, "have you got clearance to be here?"
"My dad has." Ron said angrily.
"Yes, Arthur does, but do you?" The man asked, recognizing Ron immediately by his red hair. Harry and Ron looked at the man blankly. "I'll take that as a no. I'm sorry boys, but I can not let you in that house, there's been a triple homicide."
"Who got…. killed?" Ron asked weakly, looking at the man in desperation.
"I'm sorry son, but we're not allowed to release that information to the public yet." The man said.
"Well, um… look over there! It's the dark mark!" Ron yelled suddenly, pointing behind the man's head.
"I've been an auror for almost thirty years, do you really think I'm going to fall for that?" he said with a smile.
"I had hoped," Ron shrugged, "so that I wouldn't have had to do this…" Ron said as he balled his hand into a fist and slammed it into the man's stomach, taking him completely off guard. He darted past the man and into the house, leaving Harry behind to apologize.
Dolohov took a few steps forward and turned around. "I suppose it'll be best to tie you up until Potter arrives."
But before he could aim his wand, Hermione jumped to her feet, a new found energy surging through her veins. She whipped her wand out of her pocket and yelled "STUPEFY!" as she pointed her wand at Dolohov. He was caught so unawares that he threw his hands up to shield himself from the curse, forgetting about the wand clutched in his hand.
However no burst of light shot out of Hermione's wand as was expected. Instead, sparks shot haphazardly out of the half of a wand that she clung to with both of her hands, while the other half of her wand soared across the room and hit Dolohov in the leg before clinking to the ground and rolling across the stone floor.
There was a deathly silence in the room as her wand half rolled to a stop and the sparks ceased to spurt from the half still in her hands. Dolohov slowly lowered his arms from around his head and began to laugh. It was a crazy maniacal laugh, but it was still a laugh, he held his sides and doubled over with laughter.
Hermione dropped her remaining wand half to the floor and fell back to her knees. Of course her wand had been damaged! Why hadn't she at least checked to see if it had been nearly snapped in half during her ordeal at the Grangers before pulling a stunt like that? Her adrenaline burst ended as quickly as it had come, leaving her feeling even more helpless and weak than before.
She found herself hoping that Harry and Ron would come looking for her, that they would find her. Certainly they would be able to handle one death eater. Angrily she wiped a tear from her eyes. She should have been able to handle one death eater. What a failure she was, always depending on Ron and Harry to save her, putting them at risk in the process.
Dolohov's laughter slowed and he was finally able to straighten up and look in Hermione's direction. "I'm sorry I said your life was meaningless before mudblood, you are good for a laugh. I have to admit its fun to see you struggle. When Potter comes though it'll be strictly business, you understand."
"No, I'm sorry but I don't understand." Hermione said fiercely, taking her self directed anger out at the only other person there, who just happened to be the one who deserved it.
"It wasn't my idea to deal with muggles you see, but seein' as how it was my partners idea and it turned out to be a fruitful one," Dolohov said gesturing towards Hermione, "and seein' as how he's no longer alive to take the credit, I don't see how it will be a problem if I reap the benefits of it. See, we simply put word out on all the underground circuits, muggle and wizard, that we wanted you or that Weasley boy or his sister alive. Anyone who was to bring one of you to us was to get a reward. As you saw, that was where my partner and I had a bit of a disagreement." He said grinning maliciously. "Anyway, I got you, Potter will come for you, he'll trade his life for yours, I give him to Lord Voldemort and suddenly I become an important and respected person in Voldemort's kingdom."
"You're even stupider than I first took you for. That will never work." Hermione said, glaring hard at the psychotic man in front of her.
Dolohov squeezed his hand tighter over his wand in anger and aimed it at Hermione's head. "I can make this as hard or as easy as you want it to be. Right now I'm leaning towards hard, but it's your decision to make. If you want I can just torture you to insanity now and take Harry by force when he arrives!"
"You could never take Harry by force!" Hermione shot back. She knew that she should just shut up and save herself some anguish, but for some reason talking made her feel less frightened and she couldn't seem to control or stem the flow of words coming out of her mouth. "I mean, he beat you in fifth year! We didn't even know how to do silent charms then! He won't be alone anyway, he'll bring aurors with him, he's not th-" Hermione was cut off as ropes burst from the end of Dolohov's wand and bound tight around her torso, pinning her arms to her sides and burning as they rubbed roughly against the lacerations on her back.
"I will not have a filthy little mudblood talk to me like that again. If you want to live to see Potter try and rescue you then I suggest you learn shut your smart little mouth up before I shut it for you, permanently." Dolohov's wand hand was shaking furiously as it remained aimed at her head.
Ron ran into the house and immediately saw three figures lying dead on the ground. One was a male death eater the other two were a muggle man and women. He let out a breath of relief that he didn't know he'd been holding. Hermione wasn't dead, but if she wasn't dead, where was she?
"Dad!" Ron yelled running over to him. "Where's Hermione?" but just as he got the question out, a hand clasped onto his shoulder. Ron spun around to face the man he had just sucker punched.
"Sir, I'm sorry, it's just…" Ron started but the man cut him off.
"Don't worry son, Potter explained things to me." The man said, gesturing towards Harry who was standing next to him. "It's forgiven as long as it doesn't happen again." The man held his hand out towards Ron and he shook it eagerly. "Of course it won't sir."
Arthur stood looking between his son and the man, confused for a moment before shaking it off and getting back to business. "Kingsley, I need to talk to you about this case, since my son is here, it means my wife and the Grangers are as well. I have a hunch that the Grangers will be able to identify these bodies for you." At this, Arthur stepped out of the door and Kingsley followed.
"Kingsley? Kingsley Shacklebolt? Head of the Auror department Kingsley Shacklebolt?" Ron asked Harry and he nodded in response. "Blimey, I punched Kingsley Shacklebolt! Wait until Hermio…" but at the mention of her name, Ron immediately quieted.
"Ron, I'm sure she's fine, I mean, she's not dead at least, right?" Harry said lamely.
"We don't know that for sure! She's not here! We don't where she is! She could very well be dead for all we know!" Ron was hysterical now, but Harry leaned in close to talk to Ron in a whisper.
"Listen Ron, when I told Shacklebolt about Hermione, he let it slip that they were able to trace an apparition trail from this room." Harry whispered. Ron just looked at him blankly. "It was a double apparition, whoever apparated from here, brought someone with them sidelong. I think it's safe to assume that the one who apparated was a death eater. They never seem to go anywhere alone when they're in costume and I'll stake my life that the death eater dragged Hermione with him." Ron's blank expression suddenly shown with understanding.
"Harry, we have to find her." Ron said as if he were pleading with him.
Harry was just about to reassure Ron that they would indeed find Hermione when Arthur, Kingsley and the Grangers entered the house.
"Can you identify any of these bodies for us Mr. and Mrs. Granger?" Kingsley asked them. The two of them stepped forward, Mrs. Granger holding tightly to Mr. Granger's arm.
"Yup, that's them. That's my brother Tim, Timothy Granger and his wife Sharon." Mr. Granger crouched down next to his brother. "Is he really dead, it almost looks as if he just fainted?"
"That's what the killing curse looks like sir." Shacklebolt responded. "Alright people! Clear these bodies out of here so we can prep them for burial. I'm sorry Mr. Granger, but because of their magical deaths," Here he gestured towards the two corpses, "they will have to be buried in a magical facility in order to avoid muggle investigation. If that's not okay, we can arrange for a squad to perform memory charms on the local authority and-"
"No," Mr. Granger interrupted, "that's fine. Whatever you want to do will be fine, my brother and I haven't been on speaking terms with one another for years."
"Thank you for your cooperation." Kingsley gave Mr. and Mrs. Granger a curt nod before turning towards Arthur. "This death eater is either reckless or wants to be followed, his trail was too easy to trace. I have a team ready to apparate to the location; we'll be leaving in minutes."
"I'm going too." Ron said, giving Kingsley a hard look, as if daring him to reject his statement. Kingsley stared him in the eye for what seemed like minutes, before breaking contact and grinning.
"Fine," Shacklebolt relented, "but I am not your mum. You're going to have to take care of yourself, watch out for yourself; don't expect us to baby-sit you. We're leaving in five."
"I'm going as well then." Harry said.
"We'll see Potter." And with that he turned and moved away from the group, Harry looked confused for a second before following after Kingsley to plead his case.
"Ron…" Mr. Weasley started warily.
"Don't bother trying to talk me out of it dad. I… I care about Hermione and if I didn't do everything possible to try and protect her and… and something happened… I could never forgive myself. Don't you understand?" Ron asked sincerely.
"I can't believe I just noticed that you've become a man." Arthur said, smiling almost sadly. "A good man, I understand son. You do what you have to do." He said as he pulled Ron into a hug.
"Thanks dad." Ron said hugging his father back.
A/N: That's it for this chapter! Thanks for reading; y'all are awesome to have stuck with me these long years it's taken me to get these chapters out! Just so you know, it'll probably be a month or two before the next chapter is out. School is crazy, it might let up, I'm just giving you a heads up just in case! Thanks!
p.s. did y'all notice how many times I had people gesture at someone? Too many I know, but when I reread it before posting, I was too lazy to rewrite it!