A Matter of Minutes
Hermione splashed the cold water on her face as she bent over the sink. It was a great relief to the hot, dry weather but it still did not wash away all the anxiety and premonition inside her. Hermione could not shake the feeling that something ominous was going to happen. Then again, it would be a miracle if nothing bad happened under the circumstances she was in. Especially now that she had to work with a bloody DeathEater. Spy or not, Draco Malfoy had done some really terrible things in the past which she could not simply overlook.
As she walked out of the bathroom and grabbed a towel to wipe her face, she heard the bedroom door open and whipped around to find her least favorite person standing in the doorway.
"What?" She snapped as she glared at the Slytherin.
"Don't have to get all hostile with me. I just came to return your wand." Draco retorted back with his usual snarl. In his right hand was Hermione's wand, which Hermione noticed was dirty and dusty.
"Why is it so filthy?" She questioned as she snatched the wand from Draco.
"What's wrong? At least it matches you."
Hermione glared daggers at Draco as he smirked at her. Even in dark, dangerous times Draco just had to throw an insult.
Just as Hermione was about to throw back a nasty comment, she heard Professor McGonagall's voice from downstairs.
"Mr Malfoy! Miss Granger! Could you please come down now!"
Draco rolled his eyes and turned back around, stuffing his hands into his pockets as he trudged down the stairs. Hermione sighed and stuffed her wand into her pocket before following behind Draco.
Downstairs, the entire Weaseley clan, besides Ron, was seated around the fireplace and Professor McGonagall was whispering frantically to Mrs Weaseley.
Before she could register what was happening, she saw a flash of bright red and was crashed into by a body.
"Ginny!" Hermione exclaimed as the two girls hugged each other tightly.
The minute Ginny pulled away, Fred and George enveloped Hermione in a big hug, nearly chocking her.
"Guys! Oh it's so wonderful to see all of you again!" Hermione beamed happily at her best friends and second family.
"It's great to see you too, Hermione!" Ginny replied, grinning ecstatically.
"I know reunions are a happy matter but at the moment we cannot focus on that. We've called you down here because we know time is running out and you and Mr Malfoy need to start on your mission immediately."
Hermione nodded solemnly at Professor McGonagall and sat down on one of the leather sofa's, her face as serious as ever.
"Right of course."
"Now, we need to think of where Voldemort could have hidden the Coins. He definitely would have hidden them well and I doubt he would keep them in London. They could be anywhere in the world." Mrs Weaseley stated.
"Maybe we could find Roberta Henson first. Maybe she knows where the Coins are." Hermione suggested.
"Alright. But does anyone know where Roberta Henson could be?" Ginny asked.
Professor McGonagall thought for a moment before hurrying out of the room, seconds later, she returned with an envelope in her hands.
"This was a letter from Roberta to Tom Riddle. We found it in a Hogwarts vault. There's an address here."
"But that letter was over 50 years ago. How can we be sure she still lives there?" Mrs Weaseley questioned.
"There's only one way to find out."
Hermione coughed as she walked through the dusty old house. It was run-down in the middle of an island just off the coast of England. Luckily, the fire-system was still connected to the Floo Network, which allowed her and Draco to transport there. As she walked through the broken furniture and cracked wooden planks, she had to squint her eyes to see through the dim lighting. While she explored the living room, her partner was in the dining room, investigating some strange scratches and cuts in the walls. Hermione noticed a portrait hanging on the grey wall. It was tilted and covered in dust. Still, Hermione could make out that the portrait was of a woman in her 30's. The woman had a very angelic and soft face, with blue pristine eyes and thin, pink lips. Hermione could only guess this woman was Roberta Henson but at the moment, she was more keen on finding the actual person than just her painting. However, she knew no one would ever live in such conditions, and her gut told her that Roberta Henson definitely didn't live here anymore.
Suddenly, there was a creak from upstairs which made Hermione swivel around. The stairs looked like they would give way any second but she knew she had to investigate the upper levels as well if she wanted to find clues. As she started to ascend the creaking stairs, she noticed Draco emerge from the kitchen and watch her. He must have heard the creak too. Though Hermione really wasn't bothered about Draco, she still could not ignore how she could feel his presence behind her as he followed her up the stairs.
Upstairs, there was only one room and it's door was broken and hanging by the hinge. Hermione took in a deep breath and clasped her wand in her hand just in case of anything. She slowly entered the room and suddenly felt weak in the legs as she took in the sight before her.
On a small, white bed there lay Roberta Henson. She was definitely older-looking than the girl Hermione saw in the portrait. Still, there was some resemblance which confirmed that this was Roberta Henson. Her blue eyes were wide open and as lifeless as ever. Blood stained the white bedsheets as it poured out from the back of her head. Nasty gashes and cuts covered her face and her hands looked broken.
Hermione jumped back in shock and felt her back hit something hard but at the same time soft. She looked back to find deep blue-grey eyes piercing down into hers as her back pressed against a chest. Draco made a disgusted at Hermione and shoved her away, muttering something under his breath. Hermione had to hold onto the door so that she didn't fall forward from the force of Draco's push.
Draco walked forward towards the dead body as if it was a mere statue. He did not seem affected by the blood or the ghastly wounds. He stared at the wounds and touched Roberta's forehead before pulling away immediately with a slightly panicked look.
"What?" Hermione questioned, looking at Draco in confusion.
Draco did not bother casting a second glance at Hermione as he dashed out of the room.
"Shut up!" Draco hissed through his teeth as he darted down the stairs.
He rushed into the fire-place, the Floo Powder in his hand and ready.
Hermione, not knowing what was going on, stepped in and they transported back to the Weaseley home.
"What was that about, Malfoy!" Hermione yelled at Draco as they stepped out of the fireplace. Professor McGonagall and Mrs Weaseley were discussing in the living room when they noticed Draco and Hermione. Draco looked slightly panicked and Hermione looked confused and angry.
"Did you find out anything? Did you find Roberta Henson?" Professor McGonagall asked in a rush.
"Well, we did find her. Dead, at least." Hermione muttered.
"Dead?" Mrs Weaseley gasped.
Hermione nodded and glared at Draco who was pacing up and down in deep thought.
"I would have investigated more but someone here just freaked out and left."
Draco's head snapped up to Hermione and he snarled at her.
"I did not freak out and leave. You were more scared than me. I left with good reason."
Hermione scoffed and shook her head.
"And what would that be?" Hermione snapped.
"She was still very warm. Too warm."
Everyone was confused by Draco's words, which caused him to roll his eyes.
"It means she hasn't been dead for a long time. She was probably dead for only a few minutes. And I know those injuries and marks on her body. Only one thing could do that, by orders from only one person."
There was a heavy silence as Draco's words sank in everybody's minds. Professor McGonagall was the first to speak up.
"Voldemort murdered Roberta Henson minutes before we arrived there."