Oh gosh, oh gosh. So many things. Finishing up with my first Masters in May. My second one is already underway. But I am also moving to the UK in September. I am trying to throw out some short chapters over my (very unfortunately) short spring break. My birthday is coming up next week and I am very excited. I had some writers block with this chapter, but as my good friend (read: inspiration/neverhaveactuallymether) likes to say, if you've hit a writer's block, then introduce a new character. I believe I did just that. I hope that you all enjoy this!
Prentiss' funeral occurred on a cold winter day and the weather closely matched the feeling that resided in the hearts of those in attendance. Hermione sat among the mourners as the priest read scriptures over the coffin that contained the fallen Interpol agent. She was attending, it would be weird if she did not, but she truly felt like an outsider. Derek wouldn't even look at her. Instead she kept her head low and placed the appropriate rose on the casket when she stood to leave.
Hotch found her as she put her hand on the door to her car.
"Thank you for coming, you didn't have to."
Hermione internally cringed, but turned to face him with a relatively normal expression. "It's the least that I could do, given the situation. I'm sorry for your loss."
Hotch nodded in acceptance. "We're meeting up at Danvers Pub for food and drink to commemorate her life, if you'd like to attend."
Hermione gave a smile in thanks. "I would accept, but unfortunately my schedule won't allow for him."
Nodding in return, Hoch bid his goodbyes and left. Hermione held her breath until her door shut. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back on the rest. Her passenger side door opened and she knew it was Derek who was now sitting beside her. She waited for him to speak.
"I wanted to," he paused, "I wanted to thank you for coming today. You didn't need to."
Hermione stayed silent. She wasn't sure how to respond. She hadn't spoken to him since he had stormed out of her house nearly a month ago.
"I was wrong to be so angry with you. And when I'm wrong, I own up to it. You moved you and your daughter all the way across an ocean to provide some form of protection and for that I should also be thanking you for. So, I'm sorry."
Hermione stared straight ahead. This was a difficult situation. His words had hurt her very deeply, but she knew that apologizing took a lot. Sorry seemed to be the hardest word. "I understand." She said at last.
There was someone creeping around his room. There shouldn't have been any people left in the house. Battles were raging left and right and Harry had informed his keepers that he didn't need a babysitter when people could be helping others elsewhere. Hence, the large amount of surprise and suspicion when the silent alarm on the front door triggered. The sensors continued their silent sounding as the stranger had gone up the stairs, down the hall, and finally into Harry's recovery room. The boy-who-lived had kept his eyes shut though his hand clenched and unclenched around the wand that was hidden beneath the covers at his side.
He heard the sound of his leftover breakfast being swiped off his plate and being gobbled down. He took the moment to snap open his eyes and raise his magical instrument, a spell potent on his lips.
A rough and ragged looking Draco Malfoy met his gaze squarely as he continued to consume bits of pieces of cheese Danish. "Draco." Harry breathed out in complete shock. Never had he seen someone in worse condition being able to move and live. There were cuts and gashes in various forms and levels of healing across his skin. Burns were clearly evident and half of whatever was showing was infected. The smell of rotting flesh hit Harry squarely in the nose. Malfoy's once pristine hair was now brown with dirt and grease. In opposition to its former combed and slicked back ways, it was not matted and bound with filth. The clothes he was wearing were barely more than dirty rags.
Draco smirked at him, showing a wide away of broken and cracked teeth. "Potter." He responded with a voice that was hoarse from screaming.
They continued to stare at one another. "How badly are you hurt?" Harry asked, though he knew it to be a dumb question.
The Slytherin shrugged. "I'm not sure I can say I've had worse. It's likely that one of my injuries will kill me. But then again, I've nothing left to lose."
"Except your life." Harry countered. He needed to get Malfoy out. He should have followed through on his promise ages ago, and this was the cross that he had to bear.
Shrugging, the blonde replied. "I'll gladly give my life in forfeit to bring those bastards down."
Harry made a split second decision. He shot a stunner out through his blanket and it hit his former enemy squarely in the head. Malfoy would have crumpled if not for Harry's quick cushioning charm.
He then reached onto the counter, mindful of his burns, and pulled out his cell. Checking the time it would be late afternoon in DC. Perfect. But first. He found the number he was looking for and pressed the contact to call.
"Zabini." A voice answered after a few rings.
"Blaise, it's Harry." Harry supplied.
"I realize that, your majesty. I do have you in my contacts." Harry made a face.
"Right. Well, I have a job for you if you're willing to take me up on it." Harry wasn't the least bit hesitant. Zabini had been neutral to on the light side for the first war and again with the second. His loving and doting support of Hermione on solidified the relationship in Harry's mind.
"What would you have me do?" Blaise was curious, Potter never called on him for anything.
"I need to get Malfoy out o the country. I'm hoping to get him to stay with Hermione."
"Malfoy?" Blaise sounded amused. "Well, haven't you just turned over a new leaf. Before you know it, you'll be bleeding green."
Harry frowned. "He's in real bad shape, Zabini. If we don't get him out now, he's not going survive."
There was elongated silence on the other end. Zabini's and Malfoy's weren't natural enemies, but they weren't exactly friends. But then again, neither were Potters and Zabinis and look were he was now. In for a knut, after all he would never condemn a man to die needlessly.
"What do you need me to do?"
Hermione's phone rang before she and Derek could continue their conversation.
"Granger." Hermione answered after seeing that it was Harry calling. She didn't want to say too much in front of Derek.
"Hermione, we've got a major issue. I need to use your home as a safe house for someone." Harry had his no-nonsense tone of voice on. The voice of her commander in war. She found herself unconsciously sitting up straighter and her expression took on the fixtures of a soldier reporting in for duty.
"Give me the name and place of the pick up.
"Ronald Regan Airport. In one hour."
Hermione agreed to the time and place. She would make this happen. She wasn't even going to ask for any more details. She knew how bad things were over there, and she knew what it must be like for Harry to have to lie in bed while everyone else fights. She moved to click off the phone when Harry caught her attention once more.
"And Hermione, it's Malfoy." She paused, waiting to hear more. Her heart had clenched at the mention of Ginny's former lover, but she couldn't bring herself to be emotional right now. "It's bad, Hermione. Really, really bad. I'm sending Blaise along so that we can try to heal him. He might not make it as it is."
Hermione clicked off the phone and stared at it. They might lose Malfoy. She could only do so much, she wasn't a healer and neither was Blaise. Harry must have a plan, she knew that. But she didn't know what it was. It was times like this that she just had to keep the faith in her friend and hope that things would turn out for the better.
A dark hand landed over hers. "I couldn't help but overhear." Derek began. "You're going to take on hiding a man from these monsters?"
Hermione sighed and nodded. "I have to. He's done so much for us, and we've this small bolt hole of time to get him out, or we won't be able to at all."
Derek was quiet for a long time before pulling out his own cell phone and dialing. "Listen, Hotch. I won't be able to make it to the pub. There's been a personal emergency that I got to help take care you." Hermione opened her mouth to protest and he made a move to silence her. "Ya, I'll see you at work as soon as I can. I'll keep you posted, but I might need to take a few days."
He closed the phone and turned to look at Hermione. "You took one for the team in order to protect us. It's time that we took one for you."
Hermione wanted to protest, but couldn't find a way to do so without mentioning magic. Unable to refuse, she started her car and headed towards the interstate. They had a plane to catch.
Blaise was surprised as ever when not one but two blondes met him at the transport location. Malfoy was out cold on a muggle stretcher, Luna Lovegood on the other hand was wide-awake. She stared around at the world with eyes that never seemed to blink. He tipped his bowler at her. "Healer Lovegood." Luna nodded in return.
"Wizengamot Zabini." She greeted in kind and they looked down at the man who had brought them together. He was sweating and icy sheen in his sleep and she tutted.
"Much worse than how Harry described his injuries to me."
Blaise frowned. "But he will live, won't he?"
Luna blinked owlishly at him. "Oh, no. Without my help he will certainly die. With my help, however though the case is slightly less likely." She pulled out her Rod of Asclepius, as all Healers had them, and touched Malfoy's gurney and held out a hand to Blaise. "As a Healer I am allowed to bend the laws as I see fit to ensure the highest percentage of success with my patients. Because of that I have turned my rod into a portkey. If you would please grab my hand."
Blaise wasted no time in grabbing her. It was only a short second later when the hook appeared behind his naval and they flew.
They landed inside the portkey terminal of the airport and was shuffled through by a few weary looking individuals. It was quite obvious that they had been briefed and the answer of by who was found upon spotting Hermione. She and, surprisingly, Derek Morgan of the BAU FBI stood in one of the muggle ready waiting areas. Hermione was clearly surprised by the envoy itself, however.
"Luna." She greeted with relief and came up to hug her friend. Luna greeted her kindly in return and fixed her gaze squarely on Derek. The five of them were alone in the receiving room and Derek sorely wished that there was more people.
"Hello, Agent." She greeted with finality and stuck out her hand. "I am Luna Lovegood, and welcome to the rest of your life."
What did you think? Tell me in a review! I'm dying for some good ones, think of it as a birthday present! Are we surprised where this is going?