A/N: Okay. I have finished writing Afterglow - it's not all up on the site yet - and I have started other fics and deleted them all because in my opinion – they sucked! If I ain't satisfied with something I won't publish it on the site but now, hopefully, I have come up with one that will suit me… let's all hope for the best.
DISCLAIMER: Only the plot.
Summery: Straight after Dumbledore's funeral the new Headmistress calls a school meeting telling the students those old enough will learn to fight, except for Harry. But a traitor returns battered and unconscious with Hagrid and is put instantly into Hermione's care… what will the summer holidays and seventh year hold for those at Hogwarts?
Taking Over Me
Chapter One: Change of Plans
Hermione sat on the log watching the sun set into the hills as Harry threw smooth pebbles into the smooth, calm lake. Ron on the other hand had gone to say goodbye to his parents and older brother's with Ginny. As Hermione picked up with small leaf to fiddle with Harry turned his head in the direction of where the Weasley's stood watching Ginny smile at something Fred said.
"Everything okay Harry?" asked Hermione noticing his quietness.
Harry turned to Hermione and walked over to sit on the log, "I broke up with Ginny."
Hermione looked at Harry surprised, with a small frown, "Why? You two seemed fine to me."
"We are, I mean were fine. But it's too dangerous now. If Voldemort found out what Ginny means to me, he'll go after her… I can't risk putting her in that kind of danger."
Hermione nodded understanding why he'd broken up with her, "She seems to be taking it fine."
"Yeah I know. She understood… maybe when it's all over," shrugged Harry with a deep breath as the school bell rang.
The two stood and headed towards the castle. McGonagall walked past them briskly, followed by other teachers and members of the Order. Lupin was amongst them along with Moody and Tonks. They smiled at Hermione and Harry quickly before moving on to keep up with McGonagall's pace.
"What's going on?" asked Hermione curiously.
"I don't know," answered Harry before a loud voice echoed around them.
"All students to the Great Hall immediately!"
"I guess we are about to find out," added Harry as Ron caught up to them.
"Mum says to keep safe," said Ron looking at Harry, "She doesn't want you doing anything stupid."
"I don't do stupid things."
"I know. I told her that. I said stupid things follow you."
Hermione chuckled as Harry managed a smile. The trio entered the Great Hall and found their seats near members from their year. McGonagall looked down at them all as Professor's found their seats and Order members stood behind them.
"I understand today has been hard for you all," she said in her firm yet strangely gentle tone, "We have said goodbye to someone we care a lot about and he will be greatly missed by all. But we have a war on our hands and to win it, we need to stand together and be strong… a strong united front that I know you all can be if differences are put aside!"
Hermione looked over at the Slytherin table. Most were scowling at the idea while some seemed rather sober. One major character from the group of sleazy, slimy, manipulative Slytherin's was missing. Hermione narrowed her eyes at the thought of him and turned back to McGonagall.
"This summer, no students will be leaving the castle," as Professor McGonagall said that a ripple of voices ran through the hall. Hermione turned to Harry and Ron looking surprised and they returned the look.
"I have to leave," whispered Harry urgently, "I have no choice but too."
"This summer students in fifth, sixth and seventh years will be learning how to fight in a battle. They will learn how to defend themselves and attack back at their opponent. First, second, third and forth years will be taking healing courses to help here at the castle with injured people. This is compulsory and all parents have been notified. They understand and agree it is for the best, including Slytherin students. I know you all are too young to face war. In fact none of us should have to face it. But it is a reality now and we all must take part in it and try to win it for better future. Now… can I please see Mr Potter in my office instantly."
Harry stood and left quickly leaving Hermione and Ron to wonder about the news and how they were to find the remaining Horcruxes with Harry.
Hermione and Ron jumped up from the lounge as the portrait door opened and shut with the arrival of Harry. He looked at them grimly and walked over to their favourite sitting area. He sat in the single seater and gave a heavy sigh shaking his head. Hermione sat first with Ron flopping down after her. Both looked at Harry expectantly and were answered with a defeated sigh.
"What did McGonagall want?" asked Ron bluntly, "You look like she sentenced you to death."
"Ron!" cried Hermione hitting him on the arm, "Saying that at this time isn't really appropriate!"
Hermione gave him an annoyed look and turned back to Harry, "What did she want, Harry?"
"I leave Hogwarts tomorrow. I go back to my Aunt and Uncles for two days and then the Order will pick me up… then with Lupin, Moody, and Tonks I will go and find the remaining Horcruxes. Dumbledore left a letter telling them everything… absolutely everything."
"But we want to come," said Hermione leaning forward, "It was all planned. We go where you go."
"I told them that but they want you two to stay here and learn to fight and help train the fifth years. I can't change their minds."
"That is bullocks!" cried Ron angrily, "We are your bestfriend's! We are meant to go through everything together!"
Harry didn't respond and just looked at the fire. Hermione sat back silently biting her lower lip with tears in her eyes. It really was like watching her bestfriend walk off to face death on his own. She wanted to walk that path with him and make sure he had proper support.
"Can we write to you?" asked Hermione quietly looking at him after wiping her tears away.
"I think so. But not with the same owl for obvious reasons," replied Harry as Ginny came down from the girl dormitory. He looked away closing his eyes.
"Go talk to her Harry," said Hermione, "You'll regret it if you don't."
Harry stood and walked over to Ginny. Hermione watched him pull her aside near the window. He spoke to her calmly gesturing with his hands.
"He is lucky she understands him so well," said Ron also watching the pair before looking away as Ginny flung her arms around Harry to hug him.
Hermione looked away and sighed, "I wish we could go… but I guess McGonagall needs us here seeing as we know things about battles already."
"When you think of it we know more about battle then most Aurours do these days. How bad is that?"
"It is in a sense… but I would rather go a lifetime never experiencing battle and having had to live it."
They sat in silence till Harry came back looking a little happier. The three sat at the fire talking till late about memories till the three headed to bed to wake to a day where they would be separated for a long, long time.
Hermione woke and dressed into her jeans, white top, and light pink jacket. She placed her wand in her pocket and ran down stairs where Harry was already standing with his packed trunk and Hedwig in her cage.
"Can you look after her?" asked Harry gesturing to Hedwig, "Leaving her at my Aunt and Uncles would, ah, be the worst decision ever."
Hermione smiled and placed the cage on one of the tables, "Ron, Ginny and I will make sure she is healthy and living when you return."
Harry smiled as Ron came down stairs dressed for the day as well, "You leaving now?"
"Lupin will arrive at any minute," replied Harry with a sigh.
The three stood in silence and Hermione felt a lump forming in her throat. She looked away at Hedwig's cage. Hedwig sensed the mood and hooted sadly at Hermione. Hermione turned away as the entrance door swung open with Lupin stepping in. He smiled the three and took Harry's trunk.
"I'll wait outside. Five minutes till we have to leave, Harry," he said before leaving.
Harry gave a sigh and turned to Ron. The two looked at each other awkwardly before going for the brotherly hug with a pat on the back.
"Take care mate," said Ron with a nod stepping away.
"Yeah, you too," agreed Harry turning to Hermione.
Hermione gave a small sad smile that caused tears to roll down her cheeks before she could stop them, "Argh! Trust me to cry!"
Harry laughed and embraced Hermione tightly as she sobbed into his shoulder. Harry stepped back with his hands on her shoulders.
"Stay safe Hermione. I promise to write," he said.
"You better or I will come after you," replied Hermione not bothering to wipe her tears away, "And be safe. Remember to keep your wand with you at all times. Give Voldemort hell Harry."
"Believe me. I will," said Harry before walking over to the door.
"Harry!" came a cry running down the girl dormitory stairs.
Ginny burst through Hermione and Ron before running into Harry's arms. She hugged him tightly and leaned back to kiss him tenderly on the lips.
"Promise to come back to me," said Ginny quietly as possible.
"I promise," replied Harry kissing her again before leaving with one final smile at his friends.
Silence filled the common room as Hermione walked over to a window crying silently. Ron sat on one of the lounges and Ginny sat at a table crying silently as well. The three remained that way until other students began waking up. Hermione dried her eyes and turned around seeing Ginny being consoled by her friends. Ron gave Hermione small smile which she returned before they headed for the Great Hall for a quiet breakfast.
It didn't like long for news of Harry's departure to spread. No one gave him a hard time for it as all understood his role in the battle. He was still seen as The One and now Hermione and Ron didn't try to stop the name. They let it spread because they knew he was the one.
McGonagall handed out notices on the summer training program, which would begin in two days. The fifth years going on sixth years would have classes with the sixth years going on seventh years every day from nine to one pm. Seventh years that had finished would have classes from one pm to five pm. The other years would have healing classes from nine to one pm as well and if they wanted to learn some fighting skills they could do an afternoon class.
"Look, " said Hermione reading the note to Ron, "We are being asked to give some lessons to the first and second years in fighting. I think I am going to do it. What about you?"
"Well… I guess so. Nothing better to do then sit around wondering whether we are going to die or not."
Hermione gave Ron an annoyed look, "You are meant to be positive. Everyone will look to us seeing as we are Harry's closet friends. If we look sad they will think we got bad news from him directly and start to panic."
"I know Hermione," sighed Ron picking at his breakfast instead of woofing it down, "But it's not that simple."
"I know it isn't. But we have to try," shrugged Hermione, "I'm going to the library after I tell McGonagall I'll take part in helping the first and second years. I should plan some classes."
Ron just nodded and Hermione left. She came across McGonagall in a corridor talking to Professor Sprout. After telling her she would do the classes she headed for the library. Passing the Entrance Hall she was stunned by the bursting open of the door with Hagrid stumbling in with a limp body in his arms covered with blood, dirt and ripped clothing.
"Hagrid!" cried Hermione as he looked around for help, "I'm not going to ask. Just head to the Hospital Wing and I'll get help."
Hagrid just nodded as Hermione ran into the Great Hall. She pushed past a confused Ron and ran up to the teachers' table where Madam Pompfrey was.
"Madam Pompfrey," said Hermione looking worried, "Hagrid just arrived with a body in his arms. The person is covered in blood and isn't awake."
Pompfrey instantly stood and left at a run with Flitwick following having overheard. Hermione turned and ran out of the hall grabbing Ron by the hand on the way.
"What is going on?" he asked confused.
"Hagrid arrived with someone badly injured. I don't know who… I couldn't tell who they were."
Ron just nodded and ran beside Hermione. He dropped her hand to run faster. The pair dodged students and arrived at the hospital wing where Hagrid was standing looking… furious.
"Hagrid," panted Hermione, "Did the person die?"
"No!" he said, "I bloody saved Draco Malfoy's life!"
Hermione and Ron were rocked speechless and just stared at Hagrid as though he had turned into Voldemort. McGonagall came hurrying along at that moment and walked into the Hospital Wing ignoring the three. Hermione caught sight of a frantic Pompfrey leaning over a still body as the door swung open and shut.
"I was walkin' through tha forest lookin' for some herbs for Madam Pompfrey," said Hagrid not waiting to be asked how he had found the evil Slytherin, "And I heard a groanin' sound. Being worried I followed tha noise. I didn't recognise him, I thought he was a just another silly student thinkin it would be smart to wonder about in tha forest. Had I known it was that ruddy Draco Malfoy I would 'ave left him for dead!"
"I'll go finish him off," growled Ron marching towards the door.
"No!" cried Hermione holding him back and looking at him with wide brown eyes, "No Ron. You do that you will end up in Azkaban – with his father. He isn't worth the effort."
Ron yanked himself from Hermione and stormed away in a fury. Hagrid placed a heavy hand on Hermione's shoulder in comfort before walking off himself. Hermione stood around feeling rather odd standing outside the hospital wing. She turned to leave when the door swung open and her name was called.
Hermione turned to see Flitwick walking off and McGonagall waiting at the door. Hermione walked over to her fiddling with her cardigan's sleeve.
"I need you to help Madam Pompfrey look after Mr Malfoy. Don't worry I am aware this is the last thing you wish to do after the end of year's events. I am going to get a Ministry official to come and deal with him… but until then we need to keep him alive. Can you please help Madam Pompfrey?"
Hermione hesitated in answering before nodding. McGonagall gave her a grateful smile before leaving. Hermione took in a deep breath before walking in. Pompfrey gave her a smile and urged her over.
"I need you to wipe away the blood and dirt with his cleaning potion. Don't worry he is magically bound to the bed in case he wakes. But he shouldn't for at least another half hour."
Hermione nodded and took a cloth from a tray. She dipped it into the bowl with the blue mixture in it. Checking Draco's face to make sure he was truly unconscious she dabbed at the blood around his eyes. The blood moved off the pale skin with ease revealing a nasty gash above his left eye. Hermione frowned at it and looked on the tray for something to close the wound. Pompfrey was finding other medical supplies to help heal him in her office leaving Hermione alone… with a Death Eater. She swallowed a lump in her throat and grabbed a jar of the healing balm. She found another cloth, dabbed it into the balm and applied it to the wound closing it slowly.
"Good job Miss Granger," said Pompfrey coming back into the room, "Here, let me heal the wounds and you clean the blood from him."
Hermione nodded and continued cleaning. She stopped to take her jacket off and knew after finishing her shirt wouldn't be white any longer. Once the blood and dirt was removed from his face her and Pompfrey looked at the damage done to just the face. The gash above his eye, bruise on his right cheek and the bloody lip.
"What cruelty happened to this boy?" sighed Pompfrey.
Hermione shrugged. In all honesty she felt no remorse for what had happened to him.
"Cut away his shirt," said Pompfrey handing Hermione scissors, "Who knows what damage is done under the shirt."
Hermione cut away the shirt and slowly peeled it back, but what met her eyes stunned her beyond anything she had ever seen that was shocking. Engraved into his skin was the word WEAKLING. The letters were deeply dug in through the layers of skin with dried blood and fresh blood around each letter. Hermione felt real tears fill her eyes and her stomach clenched tightly at the sight.
"My dear Merlin," whispered Pompfrey, "Quickly Miss Granger, clean the wounds. If I heal them now scarring will be minimal to none."
Hermione didn't argue and cleaned the wounds away as tears rolled down her cheeks. The sight was shocking and truly showed what the war was coming too.
"H-his own side turned on him," said Hermione softly, "Didn't they?"
"It looks that way," replied Pompfrey just as softly, "You may go… I can handle it from here."
Hermione placed the cloth on the tray and left the hospital wing. She collected her jacket and left wiping the tears from her eyes. As she walked out Ron came around the corner looking for her.
"Hermione!" he cried seeing her with blood smeared on her face and shirt, "Why were you in there?"
"McGonagall asked me too," replied Hermione quietly, "Y-you should see the d-damage… it's horrible. Cuts, bruises… blood everywhere a-and on his chest t-they engraved the word w-weakling."
Ron didn't get angry like he normally would but instead put an arm around her shoulder's leading her through the castle to the Gryffindor Common Room where Ginny took over leading her up to the bathrooms to get cleaned up.
Hermione went to bed early that night full of dreams about torture and blood being everywhere. She jerked awake early in the morning and got dressed. She headed out of the Common Room to walk through the castle in hopes of clearing her mind. The sun was barely rising as she slowly headed down the steps to the corridors, yet teachers were already bustling about reminding Hermione she needed to prepare her classes for the first and second years.
She headed down in the direction of the library hoping it was open this early, which she doubted, but setting her mind to something was helping her forget the images of Draco's injuries. She walked determinedly towards the library doors and pushed on the handle. It was locked. With a sigh she sat down beside the door on the cold ground. She fiddled with a bracelet on her wrist that her parents had given to her. She needed to send them a letter informing them she was okay and was missing them, which she was… missing them that was.
"Up early Miss Granger?"
Hermione looked up to see Professor McGonagall looking down at her with concern. Hermione nodded not knowing what to say verbally.
"Sleep is hard to have during these times," said McGonagall with an understanding nod, "Madam Pompfrey said you were upset at the sight of Mr Malfoy yesterday. Do you need to talk about that at all?"
"No Professor," said Hermione softly, "It was a shock… it really showed what the war is coming too. What is going to happen to Malfoy, Professor?"
"The Ministry are asking us to look after him until he is well enough to tell his side of the story. That may take up till a month or so."
"He will be convicted won't he? He let Death Eaters into the school and was going to kill Professor Dumbledore."
"Miss Granger… Professor Dumbledore knew many things none of us did. In his letter he left behind he said people do actions for a reason. Now, like you, I do not think Mr Malfoy is entirely innocent but we cannot call him a murderer or Death Eater until his side is known."
"But even the use of the truth potion can't tell us the truth entirely. He could declare innocence or seal his throat."
"I am aware of that Miss Granger and steps are being taken to ensure Mr Malfoy cannot weasel his way out of speaking the truth."
Hermione gave a nod and sigh before fiddling with her bracelet again.
"I am, however, glad to have come across you. Madam Pompfrey was pleased with how you maintained yourself around Mr Malfoy yesterday and has asked for you to look after Mr Malfoy while she deals with other injuries from the recent battle. You will only need to redress wounds and give him medication twice a day. I understand you have a distinct dislike for Mr Malfoy but I find you are the most trustworthy and mature student this school has."
Hermione stood up looking hesitant at the thought of helping keep Draco alive. She bit her lower lip in thought and gave a slow nod. Perhaps she could use the time to help pump any information he had about Voldemort. It would benefit the Order and give them some leverage in defeating him possibly.
"Good. Well you better head to the hospital wing now. Madam Pompfrey will need to tell you how to redress the wounds and give the medication."
"He is still unconscious isn't he?" asked Hermione walking beside McGonagall to the hospital wing.
"He woke during the night. For safety he is bound to the bed by magic. He is allowed to sit up and move his legs and arms but they cannot leave the edge of the bed, or grab anyone out of anger or attempt to injure them."
"That's good. I don't fancy him trying to kill me," said Hermione in relief.
They arrived at the hospital wing where McGonagall departed Hermione with a kind smile. Hermione walked in and was greeted with a happy smile from the school nurse. She gestured Hermione over to the bed where Draco was laying reading the Daily Prophet. He lowered the paper and glared at Hermione who just shot him a nasty look.
"Now redressing the wounds is quite simple," said Pompfrey, "It's only the ones where the word was written. His other ones healed over night. Plus there are the internal injuries like deep bruising and three cracked ribs. I would use the bone healing potion but with the bruising and other healing potions inside his system… it's just dangerous with the risks."
Hermione nodded and watched Pompfrey do three of the wounds explaining each step and answering any questions Hermione asked.
"Wait," said Draco, "Is Granger looking after me?"
"Yes she is. I have other people to worry about Mr Malfoy and Miss Granger knows what she is doing. I trust her above any other student in this school."
Draco looked at Hermione coldly as Pompfrey walked off.
"Don't worry Malfoy," said Hermione peeling off a cover over a wound, "I'm only doing this to make you healthy enough so the Ministry can finally convict you for what you have done. Then I will take great pleasure in watching you be carted out of here to join your father."
At the last word Hermione ripped the cover off a wound earning a hiss of pain from Draco. He glared angrily at her breathing deeply. Hermione glared at him with hate and anger before applying more healing balm. The two were silent up until Hermione handed him some medicine to drink.
"I am not drinking that," he said refusing to take the vial, "You probably put poison in it."
"Why would I want to poison you?" snapped Hermione, "I want you alive remember? I want to see you convicted of working with Voldemort."
Draco gave a violent shudder at the sound of Voldemort's name.
"Scared of your own leader's name?" asked Hermione coolly.
Draco took the vial and downed the contents in one gulp, "You know absolutely nothing Granger."
"Possibly, but what I do know makes you look guilty as hell," replied Hermione before turning to wheel away the tray of dirty covers, medicine and other healing products.
A/N: I already love where I am taking this. Basic outline all worked out… so what do you all think? Please review to let me know!
Until next time… (hopefully)