Chapter 15: Separate & Apart
Chapter 15 - Separate & Apart
"Hermione wake up! Please wake up! You have to get up!"
It was his voice in a state and she stirred awake slowly as her head cleared. They were still alive.
She was lying on her side on what felt like a cold stone floor. She moved to sit up but her right hand was restrained in some way. She twisted on her elbows as she raised herself from the floor.
"Are you alright? Say something Hermione!" his voice again sounding in a slight panic.
Her eyes slowly opened and adjusted to the light. He was sitting about five feet away from her and was trying to reach her but his hand was also in some form of restraint. His left eye looked a bit swollen from a blow he had received.
"Ron! Are you ok? Your eye...What happened? Where are we?" her voice cracked as she spoke.
"I'm fine. What about you? How are you feeling?" he asked.
"I think I'm alright...just a bit groggy but I'm fine. Where are we?" she asked again looking around her now.
They were both seated at the foot of a broken marble staircase in what she could only describe as a very old and very tall broken down mansion. The outer walls were made of stone bricks and covered in vines. Almost half of the wall directly opposite and furthest away from them was missing as well as over half of the roof above them. All the interior walls were partially destroyed as was the staircase behind them. Ron's voice drifted over to her.
"Actually I think we are in Wales. I know this building. When I was with the Professor on my first job I visited all the well know historic mansions. I think this is the FOXHALL NEWYDD Mansion in Denbighshire. It's one of the old historic ruins and is barred from the public. No one will find us here I'm afraid.
"But how did they know where to find us? How did they know about your flat in Sunbury? What do they want from us Ron?" she asked with her voice now betraying a hint of fear.
"It was Robert! It was him all along Hermione. He was the one who must have told them about us. He's made some deal with the Death Eaters but I'm not too sure what it is. They were waiting for me when I got to my flat with him. They brought me here then Robert and another Death Eater went back to wait for you. The rest of the Death Eaters were here earlier setting up this place for a trap. They left to scout and secure their hiding places around the mansion. It's a trap Hermione and we have to warn Harry! I heard them and I know what they are planning." he informed her before glancing outside to check that no one was coming.
"They put up anti Apparation Charms around the mansion. They know that the Ministry has been watching them for a while so they are going to send a message to the Ministry that you and I are being held captive here. When Harry and the Aurors enter the building after disarming the few death eaters left on guard, the rest are going to attack and blow the building inwards killing everyone inside. They won't be able to apparate out. This old mansion is pretty shaky as it is and it won't take much to blow it apart. There is no cover outside on the grounds so anyone outside will also be taken down easy." he paused with the same look of panic on his face before continuing.
"You surprised them by coming back early. The two that brought you here are outside but we have to find a way out before the rest come back to check that everything is set. Can you get out of these shackles? You have to get out of here Hermione!" he cried out softly with a strange look in his eyes now as she wondered if he was telling her everything.
She now examined the black steel around her wrist. There was no keyhole, no hinge and no means apparent to open the shackle. The chain holding her was embedded in the floor. They were being held by a solitary clasp around their right wrist and it looked unbreakable.
"I think these are charmed death shackles Ron. They can't be destroyed or even broken. They can only be opened with the correct spell. I remember Harry describing them." she told him sadly. Ron looked hopelessly dejected and she immediately continued with a hopeful thought.
"Harry will know it's a trap Ron. I'm sure he will realise that as soon as he gets the word that we are being held. He's not going to just show up and walk in here without checking the surrounding areas. He knows them well enough to ensure that all the necessary precautions are taken before coming. We just have to trust him Ron." she tried to reassure him but he moved towards her with a sense of desperation.
"You don't understand Hermione, they are going to send a message that they have us held captive and if certain prisoners held in Azkaban are not released by 5:30pm then they are going to...kill you. Harry will then get a tip from a good source as to the location where we are. He's going to think that the death eaters will be caught by surprise but he will have to hurry and they will be no time for him to run all his regular checks. Once he enters here, the bastards will get a chance to kill the famous duo as well as a few Aurors." he now looked at her with a pained expression on his face.
"I'm sorry Hermione. It's all my fault. I'm a real jackass! I never considered your safety as a priority. They knew I would be the weak link and now I'm responsible for getting you in this position...you can't be here...please you have to..." he sank to the floor as he trailed off. She immediately sought to correct him.
"Ron it's not your fault! You could not have known. If anything I was the careless one...listen we can beat this...we can..." her words were stopped by the force of a spell hitting her square on her chest. She was flung backwards and hit the floor heavily as her hand jerked on the shackle.
"Hermione!" she heard Ron scream. "Leave her alone! I swear I will kill you if your hurt her." he swore at the man who now approached him. He was tall and his face was made hideous by a deep scar that ran from his forehead across his left eye and down his filthy cheek.
"Shut up you piece of squib filth! I said no talking." he hissed. He did not even attempt to use his wand but swung his hand at Ron who dodged the blow and swung his free left hand at the man's stomach hitting him with a clean punch. His early childhood had obviously taught Ron how to defend himself.
The tall man stumbled back but quickly recovered and fired a spell knocking Ron against the steps. Before he could recover the brutal wizard fired a series of kicks and spells that soon had the red head coughing up blood unto the floor. Hermione could not take it.
"Leave him please. Please stop! Don't hurt him please!" she sobbed out as she tried to reach him. "Ron!...please leave him..."
The tall death eater gave a last kick as he laughed. "You dare hit me you lowly nothing! You are useless. How about I give you my wand then you can fight back...oh I forgot you can't use a wand...because you are useless." he laughed again.
"Please...stop...don't hurt him..." she begged as the tears welled in her eyes.
The second man now reached her and grabbed her chin in his grubby hands. He was shorter but had the same cruel face. His head was bald and he was missing a few of his teeth as he opened his mouth.
"You filthy mudblood! I should kill you both now. You and your useless boyfriend." he spat. As he studied her, his hand now moved to grope her breasts and she twisted away in disgust.
"Maybe we can't kill you yet but it doesn't mean we can't have any fun." he grinned.
"You take your filthy sick hands off her! Leave her alone!" she heard Ron again from the ground. The tall man was still standing over him and he again unleashed a kick . She heard the distinct crack of his ribs as he cried out.
She had to act now but she knew that there was only a chance if the shackle was taken off her. There was only one way! It was risky and dangerous and she was not sure how she could disarm him but she would take the advantage given to her by her gender.
"You can have me! Just leave him alone. I will do anything you want just don't hurt him again." she addressed the short toothless man. "You can have me and I promise I won't resist but not here. Take me outside and you can do whatever you want." she cried as the tears now fell on her cheeks.
"Hermione..no! Don't do it! Please don't do it!. They can't kill us yet. Don't worry about me...please." he seemed to be crying also.
"Shut up squib! your girlfriend is smarter than you...or maybe she just wants what you can't give her." he taunted as he turned to the tall man. "Open her shackle." he ordered.
The man pointed his wand at her wrist and muttered a spell that she couldn't discern. The black band fell away and was replaced by the tight grip of the bald death eater.
"Come on it's time for me to have some fun." he grinned as he made to pull her away. The tall man shouted out at him.
"Make it fast. It's my turn after." he laughed.
The short man chuckled and turned back to reply when Hermione brought her knee upwards in a flowing arch and hit him with all her strength in his groin. His wand clattered to the ground as he doubled up in pain. Hermione repeated the motion and brought her knee in contact with his bent chin. The bald headed man splayed back with the blow and she felt his jaw crack with the force of her swinging knee. She dived for the fallen wand as the tall man who seemed to recover from the shock raised his wand. She was not going to make it!
Ron lunged at the feet of the tall man standing over him and pushed with all the strength he had left in his battered body. The man gave a yell and toppled over with his hands flapping wildly at his side. He crashed into the short step column his head hitting the marble stone with a sickening crack. He was dead before his body slumped down to the floor. Hermione whirled around and hit the bald man with a stunning spell just to make sure.
The sound of heavy breathing cut through the air for a few brief seconds.
"Hermione! Are you all right?...you're ok...thank God...Bloody fucking Hell!...Gods Hermione!..." his voice cracked as he laid back out on the floor.
Hermione rushed to his side and raised his head onto her lap. She studied him as his one good eye held hers. The other was swollen shut and she held back a gasp.
"Ron...You're good...we're both good... I can fix you then we get out of here." she said calmly. She felt the tears return as she wiped the blood from his face and bent down to give him a small kiss.
Ron suddenly sprung from her lap and held her hands in a grip so tight she flinched a bit.
"Hermione you have to get out of here now and warn Harry." he suddenly blurted out.
"Yes Ron I know but let me see about you first then we can plan our next move." she replied shakily. Ron was staring at her with his churning expression and she suddenly felt a chill hit her as he hugged and released her quickly.
"You have to go now Hermione. I can't leave you know that. I still have the shackle on and the only man who knows the spell to open it is dead. You can't apparate with me in here as the charms are up. You have to leave me and..."
"NO! I'm not leaving you Ron! Don't ask me! I can get it open. I can get it open..." she cried out as she proceeded to try all the spells she could remember to break the thin steel clasp around his wrist. She tried the same on the chain and she tried again but deep down they both knew it was futile. Ron was getting more and more agitated as the minutes passed.
"Hermione...listen to me...you have to go. They don't know you were here. Just get rid of these two and they will still think that they are waiting back at my flat for you. It's 4:30 so you still have time before they expect you. Go to Harry and he will know what to do...you have to go Hermione...they will be back anytime now!" he pleaded as she saw his eyes fill with pending tears. She was lost.
"I'm not leaving you Ron..." she sobbed loudly now as her tears suddenly flowed down her face. " I can't leave you here with them. You promised...we promised!...no matter what happens we stay together...remember?" she was openly crying now.
Ron appeared to be in anguish as he fought for control. He brought his hands up and cupped her teary face between his hands. He stared at her with a strength she felt in him. A single tear fell off his good eye and rolled down his cheek.
"Look at me Hermione. If they catch you here they will hurt you...hurt you bad. Then they will kill you. And they will do all of it in front of me. If that happens, then for all purposes I will be just as dead as you. I could not live if you die. This way at least yo...we have a chance. If you stay we will both die Hermione...you have to leave now...please...before they return...please." he brought her into another hug as she sobbed into his chest. She felt him take a deep breath before he pushed her away.
"Go..remove these two bodies and get to Harry...I will be fine...Go!" he shouted at her.
She was still crying but she kissed him soundly and spoke as clearly as she could as she looked at him.
"You stay alive Ronald Weasley...no matter what they do to you...you stay alive for me."
She stood up and quickly disposed of the two bodies before giving him a last glance as she ran outside the old abandoned mansion and onto the surrounding grounds until she was sure she was out of the anti-apparation bounds. She quickly sent her patronus to Harry with a message to meet her immediately at the Burrow. With a fierce determination she concentrated and disappeared with a loud pop.
She landed on her feet on the familiar gravel pathway leading to the distinct home of the Weasleys. She had to get to Harry and get back to him.
With the same determination she felt earlier she made a step forward but her legs gave way and she tumbled heavily to the gravel road. She tried to rise but her body suddenly caved in with an agony that twisted within her.
She had left him! She had left him to an unknown fate at the hands of the death eaters! After all they had gone through...she had just abandoned him!
A loud wail came out of her mouth as she hugged her stomach and cried into the cold wind. She did not hear the distant cries of surprise and the hurried footsteps that approached her with concern.