Passion Burns Deep Chapter Eleven

A sudden quiet feel over the whole group. Hermione could see that the others were deep in thought, lost in their own feelings about the situation. She didn't know what to think herself.

Images of Malfoy and herself sitting inside a cave flew through her mind. Rain pouring down in sheets just outside the cave's mouth as a steady drip of water fell from a crack above their heads. A cold breeze sent its fingers snaking up her arms as she sat hugging her knees, watchful eyes trained on Malfoy. Watching his every move and not letting her guard down for even a second.

"It's going to be difficult, isn't it?" Hermione whispered, knowing the answer.

Ginny patted her shoulder sympathetically, "That's what being in the Order is all about. Nothing we're asked to do is going to be easy".

"But it'll all be worth it in the long run I suppose. Once Voldemort is finally gone, we'll be able to live life without the fear of always looking over our shoulders," Luna wisely put in.

There was no flinching at the sound of Voldemort's name. Ever since Harry had told them the truth about the horcruxes, Voldemort didn't seem as immortal as they had once believed he was. Now, even Ron barely shuddered at the mention of his name.

Hermione watched as Harry relaxed slightly and gave in to the fact that there was nothing he could do to change the events that were about to unfold.

"Well," he sighed, "McGonagall's right. I may not like it, but you are the best person for the job, Hermione".

"Why do you think that, Harry?" Hermione asked puzzled.

"Because you're the only one with enough patience to put up with some of the stuff Malfoy says and does. You're the one that was always holding Ron and me back from beating the snot out of the slimy git. If anyone could come close to keeping him under control, it would be you".

Hermione opened her mouth to argue, but Ginny cut her off.

"It's true, Hermione and there's no point in arguing about it. We shouldn't be fighting with each other when we only have a little time left together before you have to leave anyway".

Hermione closed her mouth again, realizing that Ginny had a good point. She didn't want to have to leave them all right after having a fight, when there was always the chance that she may never get to see them again.

That was the real horror of the whole situation, never seeing any of them again. She didn't know how long she was going to have to stay in hiding and frankly she didn't want to think about it.

"McGonagall also mentioned that I wouldn't be able to write to you guys that often. She said owls were easy to track and any other means of communication used too much magic".

"It kind of makes you think she's cutting you completely off from us and everyone else on purpose," Harry spat.

"Well I suppose that is the reason. We can't be completely sure that Malfoy really is on our side and is telling the truth. The Order thinks it for the best if he has no idea what's going on".

"Voldemort must really want to get his hands on Malfoy. The only question I have is 'what would he do with Malfoy once he got his hands on him'".

She looked around, as if expecting someone to have the answer. After a few seconds of silence, she continued.

"I mean, are we even sure that Voldemort wants to kill Malfoy? Seems to me that if he wanted someone dead, then he'd make sure it happened. Maybe there's more to Malfoy than meets the eye. Maybe he has some sort of special power that Voldemort wants for himself".

"Hermione," Harry suddenly exclaimed. "You have to carry out your assignment!"

"Yes, I thought we already came to that conclusion. I'm going to go and try my hardest to keep anyone from… Oh Harry, I couldn't!"

"Oh come off it Hermione! Of course you could. You're the smartest witch I have ever met. I'm sure you could do it, no questions asked."

"Would someone mind telling me what you two are going on about?" Ginny said looking form Harry to Hermione in bewilderment.

They both ignored her question, Hermione still looking at Harry like he was some mad man who didn't know what he was talking about, and Harry smiling broadly back at her as if she were the answer to all his problems.

Luna took it upon herself to answer the question. "Harry wants Hermione to figure out why Voldemort wants to get his hands on Draco so badly".

"How is she supposed to do that?"

"By persuading Draco to tell her. He has to know why".

"And how is she supposed to persuade the Slytherin prince himself into spilling his guts to her?"

A faint smile passed over Luna's face and Ginny gasped in realization. She turned to look curiously at Hermione, suppressing a laugh at the thoughts that were flooding through her mind.

Luckily for Hermione and Harry both, neither one of them had overhead the conversation that had just taken place behind their backs.

"It'll be easy, Hermione. Just slip something in his drink over dinner one night when he's not expecting it. He'll tell us everything we need to know!"

Hermione's eyes were wide and her mouth was hanging slightly open.

"It's going to take more than a potion to get that boy to spill his guts," Ginny whispered to Luna. "Hermione's going to have to lay it on thick". She giggled at the thought.

"I'm sure she'll be able to do it, if that's what she wants" Luna knowingly replied.

"You need to go get your things from your parents' house since you don't know when you'll be leaving," Harry said, practically pushing her out the door.

"Yes, I'd better do that. By the way McGonagall was talking, it seems like we're going to have to stay gone for a long time".

"I'll go with you," Ginny said jumping to her feet. "Are you two going to come along with us?"

"I'm going to go see if I can find Ron," Harry said slowly. "I don't know what could have happened to him".

"What about you Luna?"

Luna's cloudy eyes turned on them, curiously. "No, I think it would be better if you two went alone. I'm going to go to bed now".

"Suit yourself then," Ginny said, shrugging her shoulders.

"See you in a little while," Hermione said to them both.

She turned and walked out of the room, Ginny following right behind her. A silence lingered over them as they made their way through the old, creaky house, down to the kitchen.

Hermione's house, as expected, was still empty. Her parents had probably gone out to dinner after work and hadn't returned yet. She turned on the lights and Ginny, stepping out of the fireplace, looked around.

"Wow, Hermione, your house is very beautiful".

"But it's always too empty for the beauty to actually be admired. It's a waste of time and money, really. As much as my parents are home, we could live in a box and it wouldn't make any difference".

Hermione quickly packed all the important things she thought she would need for the trip, putting it all in a special light-weight bag that Fred and George had created. The bag held as much stuff as you saw fit to put in it and it weighed the same no matter how much it held. Not to Ginny's surprise, almost all of Hermione's books went in after what seemed like every piece of clothing that she owned.

"Wow, you really are going to be gone for a long time aren't you?"

"I believe so, Gin. Better to be safe and take it all then be sorry that I left something behind".

Just under an hour later; they made their way back to Grimmuald Place, both wondering how long it would be before they saw each other again.