That night, Draco couldn’t sleep. He heard the others snore, loudly, which didn’t help. After twisting and turning for over an hour, he gave up. Perhaps some fresh night air would help. As he softly tiptoed away, Hermione woke.
“Where are you going?” she whispered, careful not to wake the others. For safety purposes, they had lined all the beds up together with no privacy at all…
“Outside,” he mouthed. “Can’t sleep.”
“Let me come…” Hermione got up too and they left the farmhouse, hand in hand.
“Hermione…” Draco whispered softly, when they were looking up at the night sky, standing next to each other, near a cornfield. “I’ve been meaning to ask… when Ginny… she said it sounded as if you were…”
Hermione cringed. “She and her big mouth…”
“I mean… I assumed it was far too early… and I wouldn’t even dream of hoping… Not before we caught them, anyway…” He hesitated briefly.
Hermione touched his face, making him face her as she looked straight into his pale eyes. “Are you asking permission?” she wondered. “When you’ve all but moved in anyway…”
“It’s a big question,” he replied. “And a complicated one…”
“Draco, “ she said, moving a little closer towards him, grabbing his hands in her own. “I’d be honored.”
“You can’t really mean that…” he said, shyly looking away.
“I do,” she replied, “I truly do. There’s a Muggle saying: He who overcomes himself is greater than he who conquers a city…”
“I can’t… Not yet… Not before all of this is solved…”
Hermione bit her lip, but just before she kissed him, she said: “I wish you would…”
Her words fueled him and Draco fiercely kissed her back. His eager hands opened her flannel pajama buttons, stroking her bare breasts underneath.
“We can’t… Not here, Draco…” she giggled nervously.
“Why not?” He whispered in return as he led her towards the field. “No one will see us in there…”
Hermione looked around. It was very recluse…
“I can’t believe this is happening…” she said, a little out of breath.
Gently, Draco stripped her pajama trousers and lowered her onto the ground, unburdening himself of his silk pajamas too.
“Back to nature,” he said, as he entered her warm waiting body. Hermione moaned in pleasure. All worries temporarily forgotten.
Lying in each other’s arms, closely bundled together, they didn’t hear the approaching figures at first… Draco was fondling her curls when Hermione suddenly motioned him to stop.
“What was that?” she said, as she got up to put on her pajama’s again. “I think I heard something…”
“Probably some beast…” He waved her complaint away. “Come here…” He stretched his arms out to her.
“We need to check it out!” she whispered, loud and stern.
“Fine, fine… It’s getting colder anyway…” he mumbled. Draco got dressed as well and they quickly, but silently, left the field. As they came closer to the farm, they overheard loud voices inside. Draco and Hermione peered through a crack in the wooden door. It was them!
With Draco and Hermione outside, it was three against three. Ginny and Harry had their wands drawn, but Elphaba had been caught by one of the sons…. She was already tied up and muffled, strapped unto one of the kitchen chairs…
“Should we..?” Hermione whispered in Draco’s ear. It was very eerie to face Ron’s murderers up close. Dread clawed at her throat. During the War, she had gotten a bit acclimated to death in every corner, but these days….
He shook his head. They should let them steal it, not interfere. “We should move away from the door,” he replied, “so they won’t see us when they leave…”
“If they leave…” Hermione muttered fearfully.
Treading softly, they arrived at another crack at the side of the house. Being a little closer, they could follow the conversation even better.
“Remember last time, Potter?” One of the sons said. “You want it repeated?”
“I’m not alone this time…” Harry said. “So, you won’t be able to…”
“I wouldn’t be too sure…” his brother remarked.
“Hush, boys…” their mother said, causing Ginny to giggle. Jemina narrowed her eyes… “You are with child…” she said, after gazing at her for a moment. “What an unwise decision…. bringing a pregnant wife to a fight…” she tutted. “I wouldn’t have sought it after the great Auror…”
“It was my decision.” Ginny gritted her teeth. “Harry had nothing to do with it…”
“You foolish woman…” Jemina replied, as she pointed her wand at Ginny’s belly. “Do you really think I will hesitate to hurt you?”
Harry swallowed. Where the hell were Draco and Hermione?
“What is it you want?” he asked.
“Oh… I think you know…” She said. “Give me the Bole and you’ll be spared. I’m not a monster…”
Harry nodded solemnly. “You win, Jemina…” he said. “Let me get it for you…”
Like a hawk, she followed him, but Harry didn’t play any tricks. He simply opened up one of the many cupboards and handed her the Bole. “I hope you’ll use it wisely…” he said, as he handed it over.
“Smart-mouth…” Jemina Jennings laughed hysterically. She had gotten the Bole, out of Harry Potter’s hands himself!
“You’re a traitor to our kind,” she hissed at him. “This will grant me my vision of the future!” She held the tree trunk triumphantly in her hand. “Pure-bloods will all be destroyed and Muggle-Wizard marriages mandatory….”
Her sons and she apparated, sidelong, away from them, right from the spot where they were standing.
“Ginny… are you all right?” Harry leapt to his trembling wife…
“She could have killed me! Or the baby!” Ginny wailed. “Why didn’t you do anything?!”
“We had to let her feel in charge … Like she’d won…”
“It sure seems like she has!” Ginny was agitated and not about to calm down. She scolded Harry with at the swear words she could think of. Meanwhile, Harry untied Elphaba, who immediately started rubbing her painful wrists.
Draco and Hermione entered. Hermione was visibly shaking as Draco supported her…
“Who do you think did it?” she asked Harry. “Which one of them…?”
“I don’t know…” he said. “They were hooded, the night Ron was….” He sighed. “They’re all built so similarly… and you can’t tell the sons apart anyhow…”
“I want them dead.” Hermione said. Her voice horribly cold. “All of them. All three… If we don’t know who did it… They’ve killed before; they’ll kill again. They’ve attacked so many already…”
“Hermione…” Harry was shocked. This didn’t sound like her….
“I’m serious!” The confrontation had opened something inside her. A well of pain. Pain and hatred.
“They’ll be arrested. Perhaps, they’ll receive the Kiss… If, and only if, they engage us in battle, you may kill them.” Harry replied. “I’m an Auror, Hermione.”
“She has to be taken alive, Hermione,” Draco pleaded. He desperately needed her to be alive. If she died, his condition would become permanent….