In the moments after the chaos, Hermione watched the so called Golden Trio slip through the crowd at a run. Draco gave her a knowing look. This was the sort of sign they’d been looking for. As he started to move towards her, his elbow was caught by Umbridge. He dutifully trailed behind her, casting an apologetic look over his shoulder. She knew he had hoped to be able to slip away together to get their final preparations. As Hermione had feared nothing was going to plan, but the adrenaline pumping through her body was enough to keep her moving. She moved as quickly and inconspicuously towards the Ravenclaw tower, grateful that they’d been so thoughtful in their preparations. Hermione had thought to store all of their gear in one place. She had decided to keep it warded in her quarters, because she had come to the stark realization that her power far surpassed her peers and that even in the most dire circumstances she would be able to find her way there.
Tucked away at the bottom of her trunk were two sets of black clothes. There were no discerning marks on the fabric. They were intended to blend in with the Death Eaters. Neither Draco nor Hermione had yet received the mark, so there were no masks to obscure their faces. Instead the heavy outer robes had deep hoods they would use to hide their identity. And they would have to be lucky. Hermione changed quickly into her set of clothes, brushing her fingers reverently against the Black family crest hanging around her neck. She had never stopped longing for Bellatrix. Regardless of how the night went, whether she succeeded or failed she would end her day at Malfoy Manor. There was no way after breaking into the Ministry of Magic that she would be staying the night at Hogwarts. In a hidden and protected pocket in her cloak she slipped the false prophecy before magically sealing it. Only a handful would be able to find and extract it. She told Draco of its location just in case, but only she or Bellatrix would be able to remove it. She strongly suspected that the Dark Lord would be able, which was fine with her.
Shrinking the set of clothes and robes belonging to Draco, she slipped them in her bag and left the tower. She again had to slow her pace to match the normal cadence of students making their way through the school. Passing students gossiped about the Inquisitorial Squad once again collecting Dumbledore's Army and taking them to Umbridge’s office. She moved in that direction, attempting to look and feel less tired and tense than she did. Just below it she heard a muffled conversation and watched as Snape slipped back out of the office door, shaking his head. He paused and looked in her direction where she hid in a dark corner. She felt a familiar gentle probing at her mental barriers. Seeing the smirk on his face, she realized he knew exactly what he was doing. She lowered enough to allow him to communicate. Through her mind floated his ever calm, measured, voice in a simple statement,
She froze and threw her walls back up. Feeling the enthusiastic mental shove, just the corner of Snape’s lip curled into a small prideful smile before he glided away. She watched as Lavender and Harry were led from the office by the pink witch at wand point. She stalked up the staircase to the office entrance, hoping to be able to pick Draco’s thoughts out of the crowd’s. The room was practically screaming at her as she sifted through the group. Finding the one calm strand, she knew it was her blonde friend. She gently pushed at him, hoping he would realize who it was. Evidently he did as she suddenly found it much easier to whisper,“Outside the door,” to him.
After a few moments he slipped quietly out, looking for her. She stepped from the shadows slowly, allowing him to fully take in the effect of her appearance. She looked fierce. Her clothing was every bit as intimidating as what he had seen her lover wear on the nights of battles and the determined look on her face. He was so grateful to be fighting with her and not against her. He had no doubt that if she was seriously challenged the types of spells that would fly out of her want would be nothing like what he had ever seen before. He made his way down the staircase to her. As he stepped into the alcove of shadows he said,
“It's time isn’t it.”
“I think so. Between what I’ve seen today and Snape’s indication I think we go now as quickly as we can.”
Her debrief was interrupted by the office door. Out spilled the 4 remaining members of Dumbledore’s Army. In shock Draco began to raise his arm and move towards them, but she caught his arm to keep them in the shadows. Once they passed she released her grip.
“It's better they didn’t see either of us. We need the floo in that office. Go see what is going on and clear the room if you can.”
He scaled the steps two at a time to find a handful of very sick looking Slytherins. Without thought he pushed them out and down, telling them to return to the dungeons or the hospital wing. The group slinked away and Hermione dashed up to meet him. Opening her bag and handing Draco his clothes, she turned her back to him, providing as much privacy as she could. After he finished the quick change he said,
“Ok. One more run down of the plan.”
Hermione burst out laughing. “Well, mostly we are going to improvise. The general idea is to get to the Ministry and figure out where the prophecies are kept and try to get Potter’s out of his hands.”
“I know where the prophecies are kept.”
“You what,” Hermione said looking at her companion incredulously.
“I know where the Hall of Mysteries is. I know how to get there. My father has taken me there a few times.”
Once again, Hermione found herself being shocked at the amount of privilege pureblooded children experienced. She pushed down the feeling of being cheated by leading her friend into the fireplace with her.
“Alright Malfoy,” she began playfully. “Let's do this.”
The pair stepped hesitantly out of the roaring green fireplace. Draco took a moment to gather his bearings before nodding meaningfully to the witch. Together they tugged up their hoods to obscure their identities the best they could. With Hermione on the tail of his robe, he moved quickly through the ministry to the winding corridor that would lead them to the dark room. As they reached the door they could hear from within the echoing voices of their classmates. The young witch let out a breath she hadn’t known she was holding at the realization they managed to be at the right place at the right time.
Once inside the room, Hermione led Draco around the outside edges of the rows. Dumbledore’s Army gathered in the middle chatting loudly. Until a solid voice spoke slowly over the crowd,
“Harry, this one’s got your name on it.”
The hush over the room was palpable. All eyes were on the young man lifting his arm up to the high shelf, except Hermione’s. She felt a familiar pull at her body, the one that told her that her lover was nearby. She struggled to control her desire to find the dark witch and jump directly into her arms. She brushed her fingertips against Draco’s wrist, drawing his attention to Bella and Lucius’ stealthy approach. She smiled when she heard her lover’s voice raise. The false insanity registered faintly, but the young witch was too distracted by the seductive overtones. It led her to believe that she was not the only one aware of the other's presence. For the first time, Hermione wondered if she’d made the right decision. Neither she nor Draco asked permission nor passed their plan by anyone. She didn’t want to anger Bellatrix, but the isolation had driven them to action. And she was prepared to deal with the consequences.
They watched as the DA subtly created a defensive circle before blasting spells at the Death Eaters. Against her protective instincts, Hermione forced her attention towards Potter. When he took off at a sprint weaving through aisles, she mimicked his path on the outside edges of the room. She watched Death Eaters attempting to follow the boy in apparition form. He knocked several backwards and skidded around a corner to try to catch his breath. Seeing an opportunity beginning to open, she crept towards him. Hermione arrived near him, within a few meters, but tucked away behind another row. A sharp pained scream echoed through the hall distracting the crouching boy. It was just enough to cause the prophecy he was clutching to slip from his fingers and roll towards Hermione. She moved quickly to retrieve it but froze realizing she couldn’t do so without drawing his attention.
“What are you doing Potter,” Draco sneered in his best annoying voice.
Harry spun, wand drawn, at the familiar antagonistic voice. Hermione quickly retrieved the fake prophecy and switched them. She handled the real prophecy with great care as she magically stored and protected it. Drawing back into the shadows, she heard the distinctive cry of her friend. She extracted a less extreme version many times before in practice. Potter ran past her, snatching the fake prophecy off the ground as he headed towards his waiting friends.
She darted to her fallen friend. His shirt was ripped open and he was bleeding badly. She muttered the strongest of the healing spells Snape taught her. It seemed to slow the bleeding, but it did nothing to alleviate his pain or close the cuts. She was out of her depth. The only option was to get out. She performed a weightless charm allowing her to gather the man in her arms. She moved as smoothly as she could without losing speed. As they left through the door, she heard the crashing of racks and prophecies. Knowing her time might very well be limited, she pushed herself into a run, stopping only when she reached the floos in the main entrance. In the fireplace she yelled “Malfoy Manor” and closed her eyes at the travel.
Stepping out of the fireplace in the familiar hall, Hermione lowered Draco gently onto the ground. He grunted in pain and grasped weakly at her hand. She took it in her own, drawing a deep breath in before shouting at the top of her lungs for the boy’s mother.