Chapter Eleven – You hope that nobody knows

"How the hell should I know how he found this place?" Draco gestured wildly with his hand as he glared at Hermione. Ever since Blaise had stumbled upon their lair, Draco had been in the spotlight again.

"You were sleeping with him!" Hermione blushed at her words, averting her gaze from his. It burned her throat to say such things, but it was true. And if she didn't get his answers, then Oliver or Arthur would, and that would mean more bruises, broken bones, more tears… at least for Hermione.

"Are you jealous?" Draco's voice was dangerously low as he walked towards her, cornering her against the bed. The frame hit at Hermione's knees as she swallowed hard, trying to avoid looking at him.

"No," she managed to whisper.

Draco snorted at her, turning, and running a hand through his hair. "Can I see him?"

"No!" Hermione shouted before thinking. Clapping her hand over her mouth, her cheeks flaming, she looked at the floor. "You know the others are talking to him."

It was Draco's turn to flush, but this time from irritation. "There's not much talking involved in what they're doing, Granger."

Hermione flinched. That was the first time in a long time that he'd called her Granger. She licked her lips nervously and shrugged. "I can't get him out of it, Draco. He found our safe house." Her eyes begged him to understand, but she knew that it was asking a lot of him as he turned from her.

"You'll take care of him?"

Hermione nodded hesitantly. "Of course." She swallowed her heart down as she left his room, quietly shutting and locking the door.

Hermione frowned as she applied a healing salve to the cut on Blaise's lip. She was frowning partially from concentration, but also from denial. There was no way she could compete with someone as gorgeous as Blaise. Even in his current state of disarray, he still looked handsome. His olive toned skin, dark eyes with long lashes, finely angled cheekbones and jaw… he was a dream.

Him and Draco would look like handsome statues next to each other, she decided as she absently packed her items away.

"Is he here?" Blaise's voice was hoarse, quiet. His eyes were on Hermione, pleading with her. "I-I couldn't stay there without him."

Avoiding his gaze, Hermione nodded curtly. "Yes."

Blaise relaxed into the wall. Hermione had hoped she'd never have reason to be in this pathetic room again, and here she was, with another capture dependent on her. She snapped her bag together and stood silently. Her hand touched Blaise's shoulder for just a second, "He's okay."

Blaise gave a content sigh. "Oh, that's good then." The half smile on his face made Hermione's stomach roll as she backed out of the room quickly.

"Now we've got two of them. I say we barter with them." Oliver buttered his toast as he glanced around at the others gathered. Ginny was there, holding Inara as Arthur held Annaliese. Rocking Inara gently, Ginny glanced up at Oliver, smiling a little.

"Don't get so excited dear." Everything about her spoke of her happiness; nothing ruffled Ginny's feathers anymore. She was happy. Hermione envied her. She had two beautiful baby girls, and a man who adored her. It was obvious by the way he looked at her. Hermione sighed.

"Draco is worthless for bartering; he deserted."

Remus gave Hermione a questioning look at her using Draco's first name, but he quickly turned his attention to Arthur. "Hermione's right. Both of them are pretty useless beyond what they know. Zabini confirmed Malfoy's earlier statements about Voldemort's soul dying." Moody grunted and eyed Oliver's toast as he bit into it.

"We ought to just cull them and be done with it, then," Moody grumbled after a minute.

Hermione blanched and gripped the arm of her chair tighter. Pulling a rein in on her emotions, she shook her head. "I don't want more blood on our hands, Moody."

Ginny nodded agreement with Hermione, her eyes raising from her daughter for a second, "But we do need to do something with them. We're putting too much time and effort into keeping them."

Hermione pushed forward the papers she'd written up earlier. "I've got a proposal for that." Oliver and Moody leaned in (Moody brushing away the crumbs from Oliver's toast as he growled) while Hermione explained. "It's a pretty basic spell. I can connect it to something as simple as a bracelet or ring or something." Oliver leaned back with a leer at Moody.

"Out with it, Hermione. We've got things to do." His gaze drifted to his daughters and Ginny.

"Keep your pants on, cowboy," Hermione mumbled as she shuffled some papers. "Here. See, you tie it to an item, put it on the person, and it acts like a built in cage almost. It binds them to whatever room, building, or even country you want them to stay in. It's not really the nicest form of magic, and it's…" Hermione fumbled for a word, "darker magic."

The others squirmed a bit at her wording, but Oliver shrugged. "As long as it keeps them where we want them and gets me out of door duty, it's fine by me."

Arthur, cooing at Annaliese, looked up for a second. "Fine by me, as well." He rocked the baby in his arms.

George pulled the sheets closer, frowning. "It requires blood?"

Hermione nodded, "Part of the binding," she explained. Remus mimicked George's frown and rubbed the back of his neck.

"Is it safe?"

"As safe as sticking one of you to watch their doors," Hermione retorted a little sharper than she'd intended.

Remus leaned back at her tone, and shrugged. "Go for it."

Hermione pulled the sheaves of paper back to herself as she nodded. "I'll get right on it." She shuffled from the common room, back to the library. There was a couple of things she'd need for this to work.

"Okay, give me your wrist."

Draco held out his wrist with a bored look as Hermione tied a piece of twine around his wrist. Referencing her papers, she repeated the incantation over the string before pricking her and Draco's finger with a needle. Draco flinched a little (she supposed she should've told him she was going to do that) but he quickly recovered and served her with a glare.

"All right." Dabbing her blood and Draco's on a piece of cloth, she stepped back from him. Holding the cloth in one hand, she passed Draco a pair of scissors. "Try to cut it."

Draco held the scissors as he carefully slid them under the bracelet. No matter how many times he hacked at the piece of twine, it stayed firmly in one piece. Scowling, Draco held up the scissors. "Well, that's not going to work," he commented dryly, showing off the dents in the scissors.

Standing next to the door, Hermione mumbled a few words, and swiped the cloth with their blood on it over the entrance to Draco's room. Taking a few steps out, she looked at him. "Come out if you can." She flashed him a vaguely suggestive grin.

Draco raised an eyebrow and took a step towards her. With a curse, he rubbed his forehead. He stopped dead at the doorway. Crossing his arms, he rolled his eyes at her. "Show off."

Hermione smiled again and walked out of Draco's line of vision. She returned not long afterwards, rubbing the slightly dirty cloth over his doorway again. With a few words she was done, and she invited him out. "You have your room, this hallway, the common room, and the kitchen." Swallowing, she steeled herself. "And Blaise's room."

Draco's eyes met hers at the last. He hadn't seen Blaise yet. "He's down the hall," she murmured softly before turning. She wouldn't look at him, as she took a deep breath. "I'll do the same for him tomorrow. I'm too tired tonight." It was an excuse, and they both knew it, as Hermione walked down the hall to her room.

When the door squeaked shut, Draco paused. Cautiously, expecting a solid wall yet again, he took a step out into the hallway.

It was the most exhilarating thing he'd done in weeks. With his spirits lifting oh-so-slightly, Draco turned down the hall to finally face Blaise.

A/N: Welcome back from the dead, dear old story. How I've missed you. Longer updates forthcoming.