Disclaimer: No recognisable characters are mine but are the property of J. K. Rowling.
Authors Note: This story is the sequel to Blood, so I suggest you read that before attempting this. If you don't, very little will make any sense.
I hope this story comes up to expectation. As always, please let me know what you think of it.
The small, but popular, Muggle restaurant was doing a roaring lunch time trade. Besuited men and women sat at tables laughing and talking, as they consumed with almost indecent haste, large lunches mostly consisting of salads of some description, while shooting anxious glances at their watches. Waitresses bearing yet more platters of food jostled their way between tables, spurred on by the almost tangible sense of urgency and impatience that pervaded the crowded room.
From his position at a back table, a tall blond man dressed in an impeccably tailored suit, watched the frantic activity around him idly, while sipping from a glass of chilled water. Glancing at the gold Rolex watch strapped to his right wrist, Draco Malfoy let out a sigh of impatience. His brother-in-law was already ten minutes late. Sitting back, he scanned the crowd of diners around him for any sign of the boy.
The doors of the restaurant were pushed open hurriedly, and a casually dressed young man entered. Upon seeing Draco, he crossed the room and threw himself down in the opposite chair with a loud exhalation of breath.
"What kept you?" Draco asked by way of greeting, beckoning a waitress over to their table as he spoke.
"The anatomy lab class overran," Mathew Granger explained in an off-handed manner. "It's only just finished. Fascinating stuff though, we were examining the kidney under the microscope and-"
"I get the picture," Draco broke in. "I really don't need to know the gory details, thanks."
"You asked." Mathew grinned. "As Mum's fond of saying, if you don't want to know, don't ask."
"I asked why you were late," Draco shot back, "not for a blow by blow account of what you'd been doing in your class."
"In order to answer your question properly, I had to explain what I'd been doing. How else would you have understood the reason for my lateness?" Mathew responded, still grinning.
Draco scowled at the younger man but didn't answer, choosing to turn his attention to the menu lying before him. Across the table, Mathew did the same.
"I think I'll have a cod steak with a green leaf side salad," Mathew said to the waitress who had just arrived.
Nodding, the young woman wrote his menu choice down on her pad before turning to a still-scowling Draco with a dazzling smile.
"The same for me," he said briskly, without glancing at her.
Waiting until she had moved away, he leaned forward and pinned the other man with an intense stare before saying, "Well?"
"I did it," Mathew answered in a low voice, also leaning forward. "I attached it to the bottom of her car. As soon as she moves it, the device will kick in. If all is well, we'll be able to locate her."
"I still don't think it's going to work," Draco sighed, "this is the twelfth device of its kind we've used and that's not counting the magical ones. I've lost count how many of those we've tried."
"Yeah, but as I was saying the other day, this one's different. It's much older and more simplistic. Most of them nowadays used GPS tracking systems, and the magic of the charm buggers them up good and proper. This one's much more straightforward and uses radar signals, like they used in the Second World War."
At that moment, their food arrived and both fell silent, as large plates of steaming fish and salad were placed before them.
Mathew waited until the waitress was out of ear shot before resuming. "As I was saying, this one is much more simplistic, and the magic of the charm shouldn't interfere with it."
"When will we know whether it's worked?" Draco asked tensely, as he deftly sliced his fish into small pieces.
"Whenever she moves her car, which, knowing her, probably won't be for a few days. She either walks or takes the bus to her workplace, so I'm guessing it won't be until the weekend."
"It's got to work, it just has to," Draco said, half to himself.
"I'm sure it will."
"I don't know, Mathew; I'm starting to give up hope. You do realise it's been over six years? Not a sign or sight of her in all that time. What's to say this thing will work?" Draco looked down at his barely touched plate of food as he spoke, the cynicism of earlier forgotten, replaced by a note of despondency rarely witnessed by anyone else.
"Carry on thinking like that and you'll never find her." Mathew frowned across at his brother-in-law. "C'mon mate, this isn't like you. You can't give up hope now, not when we're so close to finding her. I'm just as keen to find her as you are. Yeah ok, I get to see her every few weeks, but I don't even know where she lives - that damned charm has me tied in knots if I try so much as mention her name! Imagine being reduced to having to refer to your own sister as 'she' – it becomes rather demoralising after a while. We could say her name at first, you know, when you and I first met, but as soon as we went to see her, all that changed."
"Her Secret-Keeper didn't want to take any chances. If I ever find the git, I'll take great pleasure in disembowelling him with a pair of tweezers." Draco stabbed viciously at a piece of fish as he spoke, glaring down at it.
Mathew nodded in agreement. "You're telling me. Although a screwdriver may be more effective."
It was strange, Draco thought, as he began to eat once more, that this young man who didn't have a drop of magic in him was now his closest friend and confidant. It was true that initially he had cultivated the friendship in the hope that the boy might unwittingly lead him to Hermione, but her dratted Secret-Keeper had obviously thought of this possibility, and had taken steps to prevent it.
He winced as he recalled the day he had first tried accompanying Mathew and his parents to Hermione's house. Within moments of getting into the Grangers' car, he had developed a headache, the likes of which he had never known before. They had been forced to stop and Draco had clambered out of the car feeling dizzy and sick. Soon however, the pain in his temples had subsided and when he had tried to get back into the car, the headache had returned full force.
He had finally conceded defeat and apparated home. All subsequent attempts to either ride with the Grangers, or follow them in another vehicle, had ended in similar bouts of pain. From what Jones, his private investigator, had been able to find out, Potter and Weasley had suffered in the same way when they too, had attempted to follow the Grangers to Hermione's house.
Draco had been forced to change tactics and had then resorted to magical tracking devices placed either on the car, or charmed to hover around it, out of sight. He had, at this point, decided to tell Mathew the true extent of his relationship with Hermione. The boy, far from being shocked or horrified, had simply shrugged in acceptance. "I thought it was something like that," he had explained. "As much as you tried to cover it up, you looked pretty desperate that day you came round to our place and asked if we knew where she'd gone. Much more distressed than any boyfriend had a right to be, almost as though you'd lost a spouse."
From that day on, a bond had been forged between the two, at first fuelled by the common goal of finding Hermione, but later developing into a friendship based on mutual liking and respect.
Draco thought back over the last few weeks, and the memory of the twinges of unease that had gripped him at odd moments, surfaced in his mind. From what he had read, these twinges were a warning sign that his spouse was doing something that may jeopardize their bond, increasing in intensity the more the link between them was put at risk. If she attempted to break the loyalty vow by giving herself to some other man, he would be summoned to her side by the old magic that bound them. He wasn't sure he wanted to find her in this way.
True, he had tried the same tactics more often than he cared to admit over the years, in the hope that she would be summoned to him, but she had never appeared. He thought that she may have been forced to do so had he actually been unfaithful by sleping with another woman, but he had never been able to bring himself to sink that low, to commit that ultimate betrayal to their union, no matter how much he had drunk beforehand. These twinges though were different. It was the first time over the past six years that he had felt like this and he knew that he could not allow it to continue - could not tolerate another man enjoying what should rightfully be his, making it even more imperative that he find her, and fast!
"Oh yeah, I nearly forgot," Mathew broke the silence, "here." He pulled a thick packet from the pocket of his jacket, and pushed it across the table towards Draco. "You'd better be grateful; I had to almost sell my soul for these."
"Thanks," Draco smiled. "You don't know how much it means, although I doubt that your soul was in any danger."
"Yeah well, she nearly caught me at one point. Luckily that cat of hers distracted her, or she would have had the camera from me before you could blink."
"I guess the cat has its uses then," Draco commented as he stowed the package carefully in the inside pocket of the jacket of his suit.
"I still think it's an ugly bugger," Mathew exclaimed. "I honestly don't know what she sees in him."
"I remember the thing as being not much more than an orange fur ball. I don't suppose it's changed much?"
"Nop, it's as ugly and bad tempered as ever. She always says that it's got more intelligence than any human, but I've yet to see it."
"Well, if it is half Kneazle, then technically it should be pretty sharp, although as you say, I've never seen any evidence of this. The damned thing used to like Potty and the Weasel back at school, so what does that say for its intelligence?"
"Maybe it didn't have any choice but to like them, after all, she was best friends with them." Mathew suggested fairly.
"Hmph!" was Draco's only response.
Soon, both had finished their meals, and having paid, were leaving the still packed restaurant.
"Do you need to get back to your university in a hurry?" Draco asked over the sound of rumbling traffic, as they walked down the busy road.
"Well, now you mention it, I do as it happens." Mathew grinned engagingly.
"Oh c'mon, you owe me for getting those photos for you; the least you can do is apparate me back to Barts."
"OK, OK! Anything to stop you whining, although how you can stomach side-long apparition is a mystery to me."
The owl sat perched on the windowsill of his living room, and Draco frowned at it. It was his fathers Sleek Tawny Owl, and judging from its impatient air, it had been waiting there for a while. Untying the letter attached to the bird's leg, he watched the animal fly out of sight before unfurling the parchment. The letter was brief and to the point:
'Please come to the Manor as soon as you've finished work; there's something of great importance that we need to discuss.
Turning, Draco glanced at the wall clock, which read 07:30. He supposed he had better get this thing over with - no doubt his father wanted to discuss some new business plan he had come up with. Why the man couldn't leave things alone was beyond Draco. Even though Lucius had supposedly retired from the business world to spend time travelling and enjoying life, this did not stop him from coming up with new schemes and ideas for the expansion of Malfoy Enterprises Ltd.
Checking the wards on the apartment, Draco disapparated, to appear a moment later in the spacious hall of Malfoy Manor. Seeing that there was no one in sight, he moved to the door of the informal drawing room and pushed it open. His parents and a woman he didn't know were seated round the unlit fireplace, chatting amicably while sipping coffee.
"Draco, there you are," his mother greeted him, smiling and rising to her feet. "We were wondering when you would arrive. Long day at the office?"
"I would imagine that the takeover of the Cleansweep Broom Company is taking most of your time," Lucius Malfoy said, smiling at his son while gesturing to a seat.
"Something like that," Draco responded guardedly. Kissing his mother's cheek, he seated himself beside her.
Lucius turned to the woman seated opposite Draco and smiled. "Mira, allow me to introduce our son, Draco. Draco, this is Mira Shama, a fascinating lady whom your mother and I met in Indonesia, and who is anxious to make your acquaintance."
Draco smiled politely, and moving over to the stranger, shook hands with her. Mira was dark-skinned with long shiny hair, drawn up in a bun at the nape of her neck. Her eyes were dark and heavy-lidded, with lashes that veiled their expression. There were a number of rings on her fingers, and bracelets matching the sari she was wearing adorned her wrists.
"It's nice to meet you," he said formally, resuming his seat.
"And you," she answered in slightly accented, but perfect English. "I have heard lots about you." Her eyes roamed over his face as she spoke and he felt a shiver of something he could not identify, run up his spine.
Nodding his thanks as his mother passed him a steaming cup of coffee, Draco studied the strange woman with interest. She reminded him of a snake enchantress he had once met as a child, while holidaying in Cairo and he wondered why his parents had invited her here. She was nothing like the kind of people that normally visited the manor.
"As I was saying," his father's voice broke in to his musings, "your mother and I met Mira in Sumatra, a few weeks ago. We got talking, and it soon transpired that Mira was a very gifted Empath."
At these words, Draco sat up and stared at his father, incredulity written all over his face. An empath? Such things didn't exist - everyone knew that. Certainly there were legends about them, but that was it. He himself had tried to find such a person soon after Hermione's disappearance in the hope they would be able to help him find her, but his search had been fruitless. No, there must have been a mistake, he must have heard wrong.
"You may look shocked," his mother smiled at him. "We too, were similarly incredulous when we found out, but all the evidence pointed that way and we had to accept that the stories and legends were indeed true. Empaths do indeed exist."
"But mother, surely…I mean, it can't be…" Draco fell silent not knowing how to continue without offending his parents' guest.
Mira seemed to realise what he was thinking for she said, "You think that I am a hoax? That I am here to perhaps cheat your parents in some way?"
Draco didn't answer and she went on. "No, I am no hoax; the gift as we call it, is in my family, passed down the female line from mother to daughter. It has been so since the 1600's. It is not unheard of in India, which is where my family originates."
"Err... right," Draco muttered. He had to be polite to the woman; she was his parents' guest after all. However, that did not mean he had to take at face value everything that she said. She made him uneasy and he would be glad when this visit was over and he could go home and relax.
"Draco please," his mother laid a hand on his arm. "Let Mira explain to you. All we ask is that you hear her out."
He nodded, finally acknowledging the feeling of disquiet taking hold of him. For some reason, this woman was making him feel unsettled, as though there were secrets in those veiled eyes, secrets that only she knew about. There was a definite aura of mystery surrounding her, and he wasn't sure he felt comfortable with it. He had never had much patience for divination and the likes, and that was not about to change any time soon.
"You are nervous, for you feel that the gift is a bad thing," Mira stated calmly. "It is not - we use it to promote the healing of the mind. For generations, my family have been healers, helping those with problems that are not of a physical nature, but which are connected with emotions and feelings."
"I'm sure that's very admirable," Draco responded in a polite voice, wondering why he was being told this.
"Before we go any further," she carried on, "you need to believe me, and for that, I think that you need to see proof that I am no hoax."
Lucius and Narcissa were both silent, but Draco shrugged in reply.
Getting up, Mira moved to stand behind him, placing the tips of her fingers against the back of his head and shutting her eyes. "You are troubled," she said quietly. "Worried about an encounter you had with a disagreeable person not too long ago. You are suspicious of me, but more than that, you are unhappy, searching desperately for a young woman-"
"Enough." Draco swivelled round to face her, anger flooding him. "I don't know what game you're playing, but whatever it is, it certainly isn't amusing."
Mira resumed her seat once more, unfazed by his anger. "I am playing no game, simply sensing your emotions and feelings." She spoke in a quiet serene voice, as though untroubled by his annoyance
"Draco listen," Lucius spoke up, eager to put his son's suspicions at rest. "As you know, your mother and I went to Sumatra, so I could have a holiday and for my health. While there, I engaged the services of a healer who had been recommended by one of the St Mungo's healers. The man told me in no uncertain terms that my heart problem was not caused by any physical symptoms, but was the result of unresolved worries, which were manifesting themselves in a physical way. It was he who suggested I see Mira to see if she could help me. Within moments of meeting, she told me that my worries related to someone close to me, and his worries. Naturally, I was very suspicious of this, especially as I had been talking to that useless investigator just before we had left England and accused her of using Legilimency on me. Of course this was out of the question as she was standing behind me at the time. The only way she could have known all that would have been by interpreting my feelings and emotions. Do you see now why your mother and I believed her? Only an empath is able to interpret with such accuracy. Even you must admit that."
Draco was silent, his mind racing. Could his father be telling the truth and this woman really be an empath? It was possible that his parents had told her about the meeting with that git, the stroppy director of Cleansweep's today, and of his search for Hermione, but she would have known nothing about his father on meeting him, and yet she had supposedly guessed at his worries with apparent ease. He rubbed at his temples in frustration.
"Ok," he turned to Mira once more, "let's say for a moment that you are an empath, what of it?"
She smiled. "I may be able to help you in the search for your wife. At least, I presume she is your wife. From what I could deduce, the bond between you indicates as such."
Draco felt his mouth fall open in shock and swiftly shut it. Glancing at his parents, he saw that they too, wore looks of deepest surprise. His mother was staring at Mira as though she had never seen another female before, while his father wore a look of incredulity that would have been comical had the situation not been so serious. Clearly, neither had told her of the fiasco of Draco's marriage.
"How…how did you know that?" Narcissa's question was hesitant.
"I felt it. Draco's emotions are in turmoil and therefore easy to sense."
"I see." Lucius nodded, looking slightly in awe of the Indian woman.
"So how will you be able to help me?" Draco persisted, leaning forward and fixing her with a penetrating look. "From what I can gather, you seem to be using Legilimency more than anything else."
"I am not using Legilimency. I am using my ability to sense feelings, that is all."
"Empaths are the stuff of legends; plenty of people have tried to find them, to harness their power, but never managed it. Why? Because they don't exist. If they did, someone would have come across one by now," Draco burst out, unable to contain his impatience with the woman any longer. From what his father had told him, Voldemort had tried in vain to find an empath to join the Death Eaters, combing the world far and wide but to no avail. Admittedly, he had wanted to use this power for reasons other than healing, but he had not been successful in his search. He had finally given up in the belief that such people didn't exist other than in stories and myths.
"The people who want to 'harness' the power of an empath, are those who can never do so, simply because their reasons for wanting to use us concern harming and not healing," Mira explained, watching him closely. "I know of the Dark Lord's attempts to find one with abilities such as mine, but he did not succeed for the simple reason that he wished to use our power to harm the innocent, which goes against everything we stand for. Had he been looking for a thousand years, he would never have found one of us."
There was a silence once she had finished speaking, and Draco shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Glancing at his father, he saw that he too looked discomforted and was staring fixedly at the arrangement of flowers in an antique vase standing on the mantel piece.
"Okay," he finally conceded. "I accept that there's something unusual about you, but getting back to the topic in hand, I still don't understand how you can help me."
Mira smiled. "Ah, I am glad that you believe that I can help you. Before answering your question I need to know more about the circumstances; from what I can construe from your emotions, powerful old magic was used to bind you and your wife together, am I right?"
All three Malfoys nodded, and both Lucius and Narcissa leaned forward eagerly. So this was why they had invited her here; Draco had been wondering about the reason. They had hoped that she may be able to help him but he had a horrid feeling that their faith was misplaced and bit back a sigh. Ah, well, he would go through this for their sakes if for nothing else.
Briefly, his father outlined the marriage ceremony and all that had taken place after it. Draco noticed that he skated over the reasons for such a hasty marriage, preferring instead to concentrate on the ceremony and Draco's devastation afterwards.
"So you see, it's been six years without a word from the girl. We've combed Europe and India in the search for her, but found nothing," Lucius ended.
Mira stared unseeing at the wall opposite her, a faraway look in her eyes. Getting up, she positioned herself once more behind Draco, placing the tips of her fingers on his temples. He resisted the urge to push her away and snarl, but sat stiffly, waiting for he knew not what. His parents, too, were silent; sitting rigidly in their seats, watching Mira.
Finally, she spoke. "Interesting, very interesting. The Fidelius Charm is designed to physically hide a person or persons by means of a Secret-Keeper. It cannot, however, blockade the mind."
"Right," Lucius nodded, trying to keep up.
Mira carried on explaining. "The marriage ceremony used to join the two of you is old and involves the basic components of magic: Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. Such a bond, if successful, is very powerful. It easily transcends manmade magic such as the Fidelius Charm."
"How, though? How does it transcend it?" Draco burst out. Merlin, the woman was good. She almost sounded as though she knew what she was talking about.
Mira turned him so that his back was to her, replacing her fingertips on his temples and smiled. "It uses emotions and feelings to create an empathic bond between the couple. You will easily be able to communicate with your wife if you use this bond; it is simply a matter of practice."
Draco felt the breath leave his body in a hiss. "How?" he asked hoarsely, surprise in his voice. "How do I practice?" He might as well hear what she had to say, to satisfy his curiosity if for no other reason.
She was silent for a moment. "By relaxing, and letting go of all thought, feeling, and emotion. Once this is done, you must concentrate on that feeling of oneness that you experienced immediately after the completion of the ceremony. This will enable you to connect to your wife, for that feeling is the link between you, the pathway which will enable you to exchange feelings and maybe, given time, thoughts as well." She stepped back from him, letting her hands fall away from his temples.
For the second time that evening, Draco felt his mouth fall open and shut it hastily. He felt winded; how did she know about the feeling of oneness that he had experienced? He felt his doubts about her start to melt away in spite of himself. No one was that good at Legilimency that they didn't need to maintain eye contact.
"This connection," he asked anxiously, "is it hard to forge?"
"It has already been forged six years ago. It is merely a case of rediscovering it." Mira replied.
He sat back, his mind whirling. What she said made sense, and not only that, it fit with his own knowledge of the ceremony and its effects. Of course, it was possible that she was simply repeating old knowledge, but he was starting to seriously doubt it. He knew for every couple, the bonding ceremony produced different effects, some felt very little afterwards, while others such as Hermione and he, had been drained of energy and could hardly stand. The latter effect was very rare, hence his increasing certainty about Mira's authenticity. If she had been able to deduce that, she really must be an empath of sorts. Not even Legilimency could pin-point such detail, as he very well knew.
Would he really be able to do this? Would he, by following Mira's instructions, finally be able to have a direct link, however tenuous, to Hermione? It seemed impossible, and yet Mira had sounded so sure.
"How do you know?" he asked her with a frown. "How can you be so sure of all this?"
"Because of what I am," she replied calmly. "I could see the pathway, the linkage when I probed deeper into your feelings and emotions. It is there, as it has always been, just waiting to be discovered."
"Yes, but if the likes of Severus Snape, one of the best Legilimens of the age could not see this link, then how did you?" Draco knew he sounded ungrateful, but he couldn't help it. More times that he cared to count, he had started hoping that finally there had been a breakthrough, but it had always amounted to nothing. The accompanying disappointment was devastating.
"Legilimency is not the same as empathy. It is the ability to sense and piece together emotions and feelings from another being, so that they present a whole, rather than the ability to use emotions as a gateway to watch sequences of actions unfold, that allows for detection of such intricately woven associations to be made," she explained. "This link is what allows you to know when your wife is in danger, or doing something that may endanger your bond in some way. It is so strong that if the need arises, it will act as a magical channel enabling one spouse to be summoned to the one in need."
Draco hoped his face did not reveal the shock he was feeling. This last revelation more than anything else, had finally convinced him that she was what she claimed to be. No one, not even Mathew knew of the twinges of unease that had attacked him of late, but Mira had been able to pick them up. He had, of course, read about the pathway that was forged between couples during the bonding ceremony. It all made sense.
Mira's voice brought him back to his surroundings. "You see, the link is activated unconsciously at such times, but what you need to do is learn how to control it with your conscious mind. Only then will you be able to communicate successfully with your wife."
"Draco, why don't you try it?" Lucius suggested. "I mean, the worst that can happen is that it doesn't work, and then you'll be no worse off than you already are. It's worth a try."
Narcissa nodded in agreement, too nervous to speak.
"Ok, but I don't hold out much hope it'll work; it's too easy," he told them cynically.
"Right then," Mira resumed her stance behind him. "Close your eyes and let go of all feelings and thought, as though you were about to perform Occlumency. Then when your mind is blank, allow the feeling of oneness wash over you, and engulf you completely."
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes at these words, Draco leaned back in his chair and shut his eyes. He began the familiar ritual of letting go of all thought and feeling until his mind was completely blank. Occlumency was something he had mastered in his sixth year at Hogwarts and it was now almost second nature to him. Soon his mind was completely blank, devoid of either thought or emotion. Now came the hard bit; he concentrated on the feeling of utter rightness that had enveloped him once the marriage ceremony had been completed. He frowned in concentration, and as the feeling of utter rightness started to surface, a pain, vicious and sharp, stabbed at his temples, making him gasp.
He opened watering eyes and focused on the faces of the three people watching him. His parents were both looking anxious, and his mother had half risen from her seat. Mira however, was smiling at him, her eyes gleaming.
"The pain signifies that you are doing it right, and that you made the connection," she explained.
"It hurts." Draco rubbed his temples as he spoke. Luckily, the pain was fading now, allowing him to think clearly.
"It hurt because you are not used to using this ability. The pain fades with time and practice. You did make the connection though, however briefly. That tells me that with practice you will be able to hold the connection, and after a while, the pain will cease to bother you."
"I don't remember making the connection. That is, I didn't feel any different if you know what I mean. Yes, I let the feeling engulf me as you said, but as soon as it started to take hold, the pain kicked in and that was it."
"Ah, it won't take you long, I am sure of that. Soon, you will be able to communicate feelings to your spouse with relative ease. Finding her, will only take a matter of time once you have achieved this. Shall we try again?"
Draco lay back on the leather sofa of his sitting room, savouring the peace and quiet of the flat. He had just returned from the manor, and he was glad that the meeting with Mira Shama was over. He yawned widely, as he looked round the room. Opposite him, French windows leading on to a wide balcony, let in the rays of the moon, which was reflected off the surface of the plasma TV and DVD recorder standing in a corner. Beside these, sat a muggle telephone. On the wall of the fireplace opposite, an ornate clock ticked away the seconds. It was 11:30 and Draco was exhausted but exhilarated. He smiled to himself as he replayed the conversation with Mira in his mind. With enough practice, he would soon be able to contact his missing wife and then things would certainly take a turn for the better. For one thing, he would find out the identity of the toe rag who was currently causing him so much unease and deal with him!
Six years he had looked for her, using every means both magical and muggle, when the key had resided in his brain all the time. He sighed, thinking back over the long and miserable years that he had spent alone. If only he had known of this link before. He had visited several highly trained Legilimens in the hope that they would be able to find some link that he could use to trace Hermione but nothing. All had come up blank, telling him that the ceremony had not resulted in a connection between the two, that maybe if they had had a chance to finalise things by consummating the marriage, things would have been different.
He supposed it was a bit like the x-ray scans Mathew was so fond of. The x-ray itself showed body parts as a whole, allowing the observer to see the connections and links between the bits that made up the body part, while surgery (Draco shuddered at the thought), only enabled the surgeon to see one blood vessel or whatever at any given time, thereby increasing the chances of overlooking something crucial. He grinned as he thought of this analogy. That would show that brother-in-law of his that you didn't' have to be a Muggle to understand the concept of biology!
Draco was thankful that his father had met Mira when he had and persuaded her to pay a visit to England. He smiled as he remembered his initial mistrust of the woman. Oh how wrong he had been to be suspicious of her. If this worked, and he was pretty sure it would, he would be ever grateful to the woman for showing him the means of finding Hermione.
Raising his wand, Draco accioed the package of photographs that Mathew had given him a few days earlier from the draw of his desk, and opened it. Inside, were about twenty Muggle photographs of Hermione in different poses. In three, she was clutching that mangy old cat of hers, but in the rest she was alone. He smiled as he traced her features with his finger. She had changed subtly over the years; there were now faint lines around her eyes, giving her a maturity that had not been there when they had last met. He flipped through the stack of photos and smiled. If all went well, he may see her in the not too distant future.
For the first time he could remember, Draco Malfoy whistled as he got ready for bed, his heart lighter than it had been in years. Admittedly, there was the occasional stab of pain in his temples, a reminder of the three times he had tried to make use of the dormant link between him and Hermione before giving up for the night, but he didn't mind in the least. Anything was worth getting her back and picking up the pieces of his marriage.