you can't fight the feeling and all is the same in the pouring rain (...)
a broken heart is still beating in and out of time, hold your body next to mine (...)
you can't stop the bleeding so sing to yourself and hold on
They had just buried another one of them, the second one just that month and it was becoming even more frequent. That one in special was one of the strongest and that was reason enough to worry. Hermione shaked her wand pointing at the makeshift tombstone and, in seconds, words started to appear: “Great friend, partner and son. We’ll miss you. Dean Thomas, 1980 – 2000.”
The tombstone was at the feet of a big apple tree with yellow leaves who fell delicatedly on the ground from time to time. A strong and cold wind shook the tree, dissipating the rest of the leaves who was at the top of the tomb. It was like the tree was receiving Dean’s body and protecting him.
Hermione shrunk on herself when the same wind reached her. It was autumn and the trees around her was dry and the twigs looked like claws; it was terrifying.
Behind her was possible to hear the soft cries of some people, but she was also capable to hear the worried whispers. She knew what she had to do now; they need to get out of there, fast as possible or they would get caught and only God knows how they were going to survive. They had diminished in number in a scary way on the last months but she didn’t wanna show fear. She couldn’t show fear. She had people to take care of and she had people to help. She couldn’t dare to feel fear.
Hermione took her eyes from the tombstone and turned to her friends. They looked exhausted and defeated. There was no more of the typical griffyndor glow in their eyes, there was no smiles; for more than two years. Two fucking years of chaos; two years of the death of Harry Potter and the rising of the Dark Lord; two years running away and hiding. They all looked at her with expectancy, waiting for some command, something to do. She sighed and cleared her throat.
“Alright. We leave at nightfall. Neville and Seamus come with me, we’re gonna prepare the portal keys, the rest of you, get up camp.”
Neville and Seamus followed her while the others got to work, clearly happy to have something to do and take their minds off Dean’s tomb a few meters away. The three of them entered the bigger tent, where was the improvised kitchen and sometimes the reunion room. They sat at the table and looked at each other.
“Where do we go now?” Seamus asked. He looked even more tired than the others and Hermione suddendly remembered that Dean was his best friend. She sighed and ran her hand through her hair.
She took out a shabby map with several points marked in the paper. The red dots marked the places where they were already have been, while the black dots marked the places where they have encountered Death Eaters; there was too many black dots to not be worried.
Hermione pointed at a distant place on the map, away from all the other marks. Indonesia, said the name. An island. Close to Australia but still far away. She had spent the last days thinking about this. Australia was the place where she had sent her parents away, almost three years ago, and hadn’t heard a word about them since. If she was lucky enough, Australia was still a safe place and she could finally breathe in relief and get them somewhere, anywhere.
“It’s an island. This type of place is hard for them to take and mostly they have sticked to big countrys where there was more people to subjugate.” she explained.
“I can see that. There is a good chance that they were never even there.” Neville chimed in.
“I’ll go check.” Seamus announced. Hermione immediately shaked her head. She didn’t wanna lose another one of her friends and she was absolutely sure that Seamus would want revenge if he finds any Death Eaters on the way.
“I’ll go and if I don’t get back before nightfall you already know what to do.” she cut off the beginning of Seamus protest and he sighed in defeat.
“We’re not going without you, Hermione.” said Neville and she shaked her head again.
“Yes, you will, if that’s necessary. We are dealing with hundreds of lifes for the price of one, Neville.”
Without giving time for them to protest, she left the tent and walked in the direction of the forest. On the way, she saw the people, whom she got to know better on the last years, taking down the camp. At this point, the tasks were done with such easy that it took very little time to finish. Some were shaking their wands at the tents, some were weaving their wands to make objects shrink and put them in their bags; many of the things they had today were collected on the run. There wasn’t many things.
She kept going until the protection spells were left behind and she was standing in the open cold forest. The plan was to apparate directly in Australia, the closer place form Indonesia she had visited and could remember. She took her wand in a firm hold and closed her eyes, concentrating. She thought of the last place she visited in Australia and apparated. Seconds later, she stepped in firm ground and stumbled. She always got dizzy after long distance apparatation. She closed her eyes again to avoid the world spinning around her and realised how tired she actually was. She opened her eyes again, startled, when someone aproached her.
“Are you okay miss?” the woman asked. Hermione blinked and quickly became alert. She cleared her throat.
“I am fine, thank you.” she managed, trying to force a smile. The woman only offered a doubtful look to her clothes. Hermione looked down and almost cursed when she saw the blood on her shirt, visible even under the coat she was wearing. She mentally cursed herself for this absurd mistake and negligency.
“Are you sure?” insisted the woman.
“Oh, yes, this was only a nasal bleeding.” Hermione made a face, trying to be convincent. Unfortunaly, the woman didn’t seemed to buy any of that.
Hermione sighed, already hating what she had to do. With a deep displeasure, she raised her wand and pointed to the woman’s temple, who looked at her in confusion.
“Obliviate” she whispered.
The woman’s eye unfocused and Hermione swallowed the knot that formed in her throat. She hated with all her being when she had to do something like that. Before the woman could get back to conscience, she fleed the scene.
At last, Hermione turned back to the task at hand. Closing the buttons of her coat to hide the blood, she looked around and tried to blend with the shadows of the houses.
She was in Darwin, of that she was sure. Right ahead she could see the park that her and her parentes had visited so many years ago. Darwin was a tourist town and was always full of people. That’s why she knew something was very wrong. Unlike the last time she was here, the streets were empty. She couldn’t avoid the tears that fell to the concret floor together with her last thread of hope. The country had been attacked and the chance that her parents could be alive were slim. She allowed herself a minute of grief and them she wiped her face and dismissed those thoughts. She needed to think what she was going to do next; she had already lost almost twenty minutes without reason.
At first, she looked around the small street with clinical eyes and when she didn’t see anything, made the decision to leave the safety of the hiding. She started walking, still scanning her surroudings. On the way to the next street she found some people walking by. Black coat, head down and in a hurry. She noticed that the houses around her were mostly empty. Some seemed directly out of some horror movies, the fence knocked down and windows closed with pieces of wood. Other ones seemed immaculated. Two houses ahead of where she was, one house stood out because of it's beauty and the sounds coming from there. Having another look around, Hermione noticed that at least two more houses seemed lived in, while the others were abandoned.
Pushing the hood of her coat over her head, Hermione tried to mingle with the shadows on the streets again. She had to get away from there as fast as she could. She took her wand in her hand, ready to disapparate when she heard voices coming her way. She holded her breath and closed her hand tight around her wand inside the pocket of her coat. Instantly she recognized one of the man, if he could be called that. Fenrir Greyback passed her, talking with another Death Eater that she didn’t know the name. She almost breathed in relief when they got at the end of the street and made the move to turn the corner. But then, Greyback stopped abruptly and looked back, looking right at her, still hiding in the shadows.
“I know that smell.” she heard him say to the other man, who scoffed and rolled his eyes.
“Of course you do, every muggle smells the same.” he answered, revealing to Hermione that he was another werewolf.
“I meant that I smelled it before.” Greyback retorted, closing his eyes and smelling the air obscenely. “It’s a scent really hard to forget.”
Hermione, who was frozen in fear, was shaken out of it when he made a move in her direction. She breathed deeply and made her legs move faster and as quietly as she could, in the opposite way. The shadows helped keep her away from the eyes, but that advantage started disappearing at every step that Greyback took in her direction. She couldn’t risk apparate and have him follow her to the camp, she needed a safe place first, where she could concentrate on where she was going. Maybe she could get in one of the houses without being seen and apparate... Before she could finish the thought, she realised the shadows had disappeared with the lights of the houses illuminating her path. She turned around with wand in hand to face her enemy but was too slow. In a minute she was down, stupefied. Fortunately, the spell was weak, and she didn’t blackout, but was thrown at the wall behind her with enough force to make her dizzy. She blinked a few times, trying to get her wits back and got up, launching a stupify right back at the werewolf. Greyback avoided the spell with easy but seemed surprise to see her standing. At the same time, the other werewolf who was with him joined the fight, raising his wand in her direction. She was cornered and her head hurted. In this circunstance she could take one down, sure, but two... she doubted she could be fast enough.
“Well, well, well, she’s a witch.” Greyback said, assessing her, wand loose in his hand. He knew he had the upper hand and was toying with her. If the situation wasn’t desperate she would’ve made a sarcastic comment.
“Who are you?” asked the other werewolf. He was young, tall and had big and terryfing yellow eyes. Hermione remembered him vaguely, maybe he was in Hogwarts at some point. They probably had some classes together and now he was going to kill her.
She prepared herself for an attack. If she was going to die, she was going down fighting. As a last thought before the fight began, she thought that she had made a good decision in not letting Seamus come. She was sure that at this point he would be already dead. Hermione knew that pain and what it made you do. She wanted to die too when Harry died, and wants to die everyday that she doesn’t have news on Ron or the Weasleys. Still, she was about to fight for her life and she wasn’t going to make it easy on them. Not when the people she loved died fighting.
She avoided the first spell with a protego and avoided another when she got away from the wall. She was cornered. She could avoid the spell but she didn’t have a opening to make a counterattack. There was no way out, she was cornered. Hermione readied herself to launch a sectumsempra but it wasn’t necessary. From somewhere on the end of the street, two death curses knocked down the two Death Eaters with a loud noise.
She stopped, frozen again, terrified and even more dizzy. She tried to take a breath but couldn’t and the pain in her head was getting worse and spreading. Someone approached her and she saw the world spinning. The pain in her head was now in every part of her body and she felt like she was on fire. The person tried to talk to her but she couldn’t listen, she couldn’t see, her vision swimming in tears. She put her arms around herself and fell to the floor, weak. She didn’t understand what was happening.
“We need to get out of here.” she finally could hear the person say. He took her in his arms and in her delirious mind she thought that she recognized that voice.
The pain was so intense that she almost missed the moment that he apparated with her. She found herself incapable of concentrate in anything else, like where she was and who he was. Her breathing got faster and desperate and the person quickly put her down.
Even in her fogged brain she could feel he was as desperate as her, more, even. His hands were shaking when he put her in someplace soft; a bed or a couch, she had no idea. He disappeared, taking all the heat from his body away and leaving her cold, so cold. She was cold-sweating and delirious and was absolutely sure that she was in hell.
The man came back moments later and forced her mouth open, pouring a bitter liquid down her throat. Hermione chocked but swallowed everything that she could. The fire inside her was the first thing to diminish and with it the worst of the pain. Her body calmed down enough for her to start breathing normally and her heartbeat slowed to a less intense rhythm. She was covered in sweat and her body ached all over. A sigh of relief coming from her right made her remember that she wasn’t alone.
Hermione turned her head and if she had enough strenght, she would be surprised. Looking at her, equally distressed, was Draco Malfoy, the last person she thought to find in this world.
By reflex, she tried to get away from him and get her wand, but the simple moviment made her cry out in great pain.
“Don’t get up. It will still gona hurt for a long while.” He said. Hermione nodded, incapable of doing anything else. “Drink this.” He put a bottle in her hand and she looked at him, doubtful. He laughed without humour. “Honestly, Granger, I just saved your life, why would I have all this trouble just to kill you ten minutes later?”
She considered him for some moments before drinking everything down. She noticed immediately that she knew the taste. Dreamless sleep potion, her brain supplied. Hermione gave back the flask and he got up to put it atop a table precariously standing in the corner. He came back and looked at her with uncertainty, then came closer and took her in his arms again, ignoring the cries of pain she made. He put her on the bed carefuly and covered her with an old sheet.
“Sleep. You’ll feel better when you wake up.”
He made to get up from his position by her side but she held his arm, making him stop. He looked at her, confused, and she cleared her throat.
“Thank you.” She whispered weakly. Hermione just had time to see him nod and then the potion did it's job and she sunk into unconsciousness.