Chapter Thirty-Six

Hermione's heart stopped when Harry had jumped in front of Draco. She couldn't believe that Harry of all people had jumped in front of a curse for Draco. At first, her heart had snapped, staring at Harry's still form laying on the ground in front of her lover. She had let out a loud sob, and Draco had pulled her to him, and she lost control in his shoulder, soaking his shirt.

Then, Voldemort had threated Ron, and Hermione hadn't dared to look. She couldn't watch both of her best friends be killed within seconds of each other. She had felt Draco stiffen, holding her close.

And then a miracle happened, and Hermione heard a voice she didn't think she would ever hear again.

Now, Hermione sat stock still, watching Harry and Voldemort circling one another, neither one backing down. Hermione's heart was beating frantically, and she crossed her fingers in hopes that Harry would be victorious. Watching him die the first time had been horrible and heartbreaking. If she had to watch it again she didn't think she would be able to handle it.

"Give up Potter," Voldemort snapped.

"In your dreams."

"In what world would a boy be able to defeat the most powerful wizard to ever walk this earth?"

"Albus Dumbledore was, and always will be the strongest wizard that ever walked this earth."

Harry knew that he hit a nerve as he watched Voldemort's eyes narrow, and he threw a killing curse his way, which Harry anticipated and easily blocked.

"I seem to have hit a nerve," Harry said smirking.

"ENOUGH! Let's finish this once and for all."

"As you wish," Harry said.

Hermione watched as Harry's face became a mask of concentration, his game face, and she knew this was the moment that Harry had been waiting for ever since the day he found out what had truly happened to him and his parents.

It was hard to keep track of who was throwing what spells, as all you could see was colours clashing. Hermione knew it was only so long before one of them would become tired and make a silly move, and Hermione was hoping that it wasn't Harry. Just as she was thinking this, she heard an Avada Kedavra amongst all the commotion. She looked around the battle area wildly, trying to determine whether or not the spell had connected with its intended target. Dust and particles that had accumulated due to the commotion of the spells was obstructing her view, and Hermione was trying desperately to see through the matter.

It was eerily quiet, and Hermione knew that someone stood victorious. She held her breath as a shape became visible.

Hermione let out a sob as she watched Harry walk out of the debris towards them, and she flung herself at him, her arms extended. Harry caught her easily and wrapped his arms around her.

"It's okay Hermione. I'm okay."

Hermione pulled back and started hitting Harry. "You stupid, stupid boy!" she said as she hit him each time. "What the hell were you thinking, jumping in front of a killing curse like that?!"

"I wasn't thinking really," Harry stated.

That only infuriated Hermione further.

"Harry James Potter! What the hell did you think was going to happen when jumping in front of a killing curse? And what the hell was wrong with you doing that in the first place? You have horseshoes up your ass! You could have died! And then what were we supposed to do? You were our hope of defeating Voldemort and then you just throw yourself in front of that spell, giving your life away like it's nothing!"

Harry waited, bemused, until Hermione finished her rant.

"Well, as you can see, I am fine. And, I defeated Voldemort."

Hermione narrowed her eyes at him.

"Before you start lecturing me again, I jumped in front of that spell on instinct because I heard you scream. I knew what was happening, and I saw the look on your face and knew that you wouldn't have been able to handle losing Malfoy, regardless of if you admit it or not. The look on your face in that moment told me everything I needed to know, and that's why I jumped. You're my best friend, my sister and I don't want you to hurt, and if there is something I can do to stop you from hurting then it's what I do. I never said that it was the smartest thing I could have done, jumping in front of the killing curse like that, but I didn't think twice about it."

Hermione's eyes welled up with tears, and she threw herself into his arms again

Harry smirked but held her in an embrace again.

When she pulled back, she was feigning anger, but Harry could see the happiness and appreciation on her face. "You're still stupid, but I love you."

"I love you too."

Draco approached, and Hermione stepped back from Harry.

"Well, I don't think I can ever repay you for what you just did for me, but I want you to know that I really appreciate your saving my ass Potter."

"You're welcome," Harry stated.

Hermione smiled warmly at two of her favourite people.

"Let's go and see how everyone else is doing," Hermione stated. "And give a helping hand where needed."

Harry nodded and started behind Hermione and Draco.

"Oh, and Malfoy?"

Draco turned around and looked back at Harry, and eyebrow raised.

"There is one way you can repay me."

Draco looked at Harry confusedly then asked, "How's that?"

"By treating Hermione right."

Draco looked into Harry's eyes, and found acceptance and trust.

"I will."

Harry nodded and sent Draco a small smile. "Good."

The minute they had left the room the battle between Harry and Voldemort had taken place, it was obvious that Death Eaters were fighting back with a vengeance since their Dark Lord had fallen.

There were still battles taking place all over the Manor, and the group decided to spilt up in order to try and help out those who were in need.

Hermione tried not to look down at the dead bodies, as she needed to stay focused on finishing the inevitable once and for all. She rounded a corner and saw Blaise in a battle with two Death Eaters, one that happened to be his father.

"I must say Blaise, you have improved a lot. I didn't think you would be able to last this long against us."

"You'd be surprised at how many things I am skilled in father."

"Following in my footsteps was not one of them," the elder Zabini snapped.

"I prefer to choose my own paths in life, not have my life dictated for me. And clearly I chose wisely since your master is dead."

Hermione saw anger flash across the elder Zabini's face, and Hermione's stomach knotted. She watched as another Death Eater closed in behind Blaise, without his knowledge due to his concentration on the other two who were still in front of him. Hermione reacted immediately, throwing a curse towards the man, and he toppled over, unconscious and stunned on the ground.

Blaise looked over at her momentarily with shock, before realizing what had happened.

"Thanks."

Hermione nodded as Blaise turned his attention back to his father and partner, who had clearly been waiting for the third man to finish Blaise off.

The two Death Eaters eyes swept over to where she was standing and then back at the Death Eater who was immobile and not moving.

Blaise's dad snarled.

"You stupid girl!"

"Don't talk to her like that," Blaise warned.

The elder Zabini looked at his son with disgust.

"I always knew that you were a bad seed. And who you've chosen to associate yourself only furthers the accusation. Since this Mudblood seems to be sticking around, why don't we make this interesting. Come here girl, and fight side by side with my abomination of a son. See if the two of you are capable of beating two of the Dark Lords best followers."

Hermione jutted out her chin and walked confidently towards Blaise's side.

"It's me you're after, leave her out of this. It has nothing to do with her."

Blaise's dad chuckled.

"The minute you decided to befriend this trash automatically made her involved. Do you think I'm going to let her walk away from this without a scratch? What man would I be if I backed down, to one of Potter's best friends, whom the Dark Lord wanted dead almost as much as Potter himself?"

"Voldemort is dead! Nothing he says matters anymore," Blaise snapped.

"Enough! I will not stand here and listen to you speak his name. You have no right! You think you've chosen the right path by betraying me? Well, let's just see about that. Let's see if you and your friend are able to kill two Death Eaters. Because believe me, if both of us happen to live through this, I promise you that I will find a way back to the both of you, and finish what I intended to start."

Blaise's eyes narrowed and he took his fighting stance.

"Hermione, I know you aren't a fan of the unforgivables, but do what you must. Even if that means you stunning your opponent and me having to finish the job. My father is being serious about his promise, and I need to ensure both yours and my safety, and the only way to do that is to do as he said and to kill them," Blaise whispered fiercely to Hermione.

"I'll do what needs to be done," Hermione stated as she readied herself.

Blaise looked at his father, determination and hate in his eyes. "Let's see who the better man is father."

And with that, spells started being thrown back and forth in a frenzy.

xx

Draco couldn't help but let out the deep breath of relief he felt as he walked around the Manor. Most of the Death Eaters had fled immediately as they had felt their master die, some of the most loyal, like Bellatrix and his uncles, had stayed behind and fought till their death.

Draco had never liked his aunt, and he had come into a room where Fred and George were fighting off one of his uncles, while Neville and Luna were taking on the other. They seemed to have the battle under control, so Draco continued forward, not wanting to cause any distractions. When he heard cries of triumph, he had turned around to find out that the both sets of Order members had successfully killed their opponents.

"Sorry about that mate."

"Sorry about what?" Draco had asked confused.

"We know they were your family, but we had no other option," George stated.

Draco nodded his head in understanding. He had known that his uncles would die fighting. "Honestly, I never really liked them much anyways."

Fred's face broke out into a grin, and that grin removed quickly as the door behind them crashed open.

Draco whipped around and found his aunt in an intense battle with Ginny.

Draco's heart picked up. His aunt was nuts.

He looked between the two, and saw that Ginny was doing a hell of a job defending herself against his aunt, much to his aunt's annoyance that was evident on her face. He also knew that once Bellatrix became agitated or infuriated, she let loose, not caring the consequences.

He could tell that Bellatrix was starting to lose her patients with the girl in front of him, and he felt fear rise up in his throat. She threw a spell that Ginny had not anticipated, and her body flew against the wall.

Bella cackled happily.

"Blood traitor filth! In what world would you be able to defeat me?"

Draco watched as his aunt stalked towards her prey.

"Expelliarmus!"

Bella whipped her head in Draco's direction as he caught her wand effortlessly.

"Give me my wand Draco," she hissed menacingly.

"I'm not going to let you kill her," Draco stated.

Bella narrowed her eyes. "I always knew you were weak," she spat. "Told your father and Cissy all the time, but they never believed me. Couldn't see any faults in their perfect boy. I knew it was all an act. Especially when you refused to get the Dark Mark. Made up some silly excuse as to why you should wait. I knew you were never going to get it, but of course your parents ate it all up. Your father finally started coming around towards the end but by then it was too late."

"My father is dead."

Bella's eyes widened in disbelief.

"How DARE you kill your own father you ungrateful disgrace!"

"I didn't kill him. Although I wish I had."

Bella snarled.

"Give me back my wand Draco."

"No."

She stalked towards him a few steps. "Give me my wand and I'll take it easy on you."

"We both know that's a lie," Draco stated as he snapped her wand in half.

Bella's eyes widened and she let out a shriek as she dove towards him, hands outstretched reaching for his throat.

"Avada Kedavra!"

Draco watched as his aunt fell to the floor, dead.

He looked over at Ginny, who was standing up with blood running down her face from the wound on her forehead, her wand outstretched.

She locked eyes with him.

"Sorry?"

Fred and George snorted behind him.

Draco couldn't help but smirk.

Ginny dropped her arm and made her way towards them. "I've always hated that crazy bitch."

Laughter erupted, and they were all clutching their stomachs.

Harry made his way into the room, followed by Ron.

"Oi, what's going on in here?" Ron asked looking around at Neville, Luna, Ginny, Draco, Fred and George who were all wiping tears of laughter from their faces.

"Where's Hermione?" Harry asked.

"You haven't seen her?" Draco asked.

"Me and Ron searched this whole floor and there was no one around besides the Order members. It seems that most of the Death Eaters apparrated away as soon as they felt Voldemort die."

"Bloody cowards," Ron said grinning.

"Did anyone see Blaise at all?" Draco asked, an uneasy feeling in his stomach.

He looked around the room and saw everyone shaking their heads.

"Do you think they're together?" Ron asked.

"I have a feeling that they are," Draco stated.

"Well lets go look for them," Ginny said.

"Yeah, we can't leave a man or woman behind," Fred stated.

Draco turned to Harry and Ron. "You guys said you checked this whole floor right? And that you didn't see them?"

"Right."

"Well that only leaves one place left that I can think of."

"Well then, what are we waiting for?"

Draco took off running, the Order members following behind. He needed to get to her, to make sure that she was okay and that nothing bad would happen. If something happened to her, he didn't know what he would do. Feel 100% responsible, that's for sure.

He knew immediately that his suspicions as to where Blaise and Hermione were correct as they rounded a hallway and heard blasts and shouts coming from a room at the end of the hallway. Draco looked at everyone over his shoulder and they all pulled out their wands. He nodded, and they started towards the door.

A loud blast erupted, and Draco flew backwards, his back connecting with a wall. He felt groggy and disoriented, and he coughed, trying to get the wind back into his lungs. He let out a grunt and turned his head to look around and assess the damage. He took in his comrades, who had all seemed to have been hit by the force of the spell as well. He saw everyone sprawled out, some in worse shape than others. Draco knew he couldn't stay where he was, he needed to get up, to fight off the pain. He groaned as he rolled himself onto his knees, and slowly got up. He headed towards the room he knew Hermione was in, quickening his pace. When he entered the room he took in the scene, and found Hermione and Blaise battling with a vengeance against Blaise and another Death Eater that Draco didn't quite recognize.

Curses were being thrown back and forth vigorously, and Draco couldn't help but be proud of how Hermione was handling herself against the Death Eater that she was currently battling. Draco looked over at Blaise, and saw him and his father battling each other intensely, and Draco knew that it was a life or death situation for both of them.

Draco wanted more than anything to interfere, but he knew that becoming visible or joining in would distract both Blaise and Hermione, and he needed to make sure that they kept their full attention on the fight. He also didn't think he would be able to send a curse at his intended target, and that he might accidentally hit either his friend, or the love of his life instead. They were dodging spells left, right, and center.

Hermione's hair was wild, and she had a look of pure determination and concentration on her face, and Draco thought she looked beautiful. His girl was a warrior, and she wouldn't back down. She was strong.

Just as Draco thought this, Hermione spotted him as she dodged a spell, and the Death Eater she was fighting took full advantage of her split second of broken concentration.

Draco reached into his pocket for his wand, and cursed as he realized he must have lost it in the blast. Without thinking, Draco raised his hand, and tossed Hermione to the side as lightly as he could, the spell just missing her body.

Draco let Hermione drop softly, before he stood face to face against the Death Eater who had just tried to kill his Hermione.

His face betrayed his anger, and Draco watched as the Death Eaters eyes opened wide in fear. Not many people knew about the power that he was able to wield. The Death Eater raised his wand, pointing it in Draco's direction, and he flicked his wrist, and the wand flew out of his hand.

He opened his palm and raised it towards the ceiling, the Death Eater's feet leaving the floor as his body followed the direction that Draco's hand was taking.

Blaise's dad took in what was happening, and tossed Blaise aside, turning on Draco.

Draco narrowed his eyes and he dropped the Death Eater, who scrambled and grabbed his wand.

Draco stood facing the two Death Eaters.

"Blaise, grab Hermione and get out of here."

"Draco-"

"Do as I say Blaise," he snapped. "Get her, and everyone else out of this house immediately."

Blaise nodded and scooped Hermione up in his arms, and ran out of the room, Hermione's complaints stopping as the door shut behind them.

"Little Malfoy, trying to be the hero."

"Shut up Zabini."

"Is that any way to talk to your superior? Did you learn nothing from your father?"

"My father was a coward."

"What is with both you and my son. You're both ungrateful of your heritage. You had everything you ever could have dreamed of and you both gave it away for people of lesser beings. And for what? A friend? Pathetic."

"Or, maybe we both realized that Voldemort was a crazy fuck and that his whole idea of trying to make the wizarding world a pure race was bound to fail."

"Watch your tongue boy."

"Well, it looks as though his plan failed, since he's dead."

"That does not mean that his plan failed."

"What, you're going to become the next Dark Lord?" Draco snorted.

"You never know."

"That would mean that you're getting out of here alive, which we both know is not going to happen."

Draco watched as both of the Death Eaters raised their wands at the same time, and he heard the killing curse being thrown his way.

Draco threw up his hands using all of the power within himself to block the oncoming curses. As soon as the spells hit the barrier, an explosion erupted around them, and Draco was once again launched across the room, his back hitting a wall. He heard, as well as saw parts of the roof starting to fall in on itself, and Draco rolled out of the way just in time to avoid being squished by a huge chunk of cement.

He stood up, and looked around through the fire and smoke that was in the room, and spotted two bodies laying still on the ground. He turned to the exit and saw that it was blocked off. He let out a growl of frustration and looked around for a different way to escape.

xx

Hermione had been running along with the rest of the Order members when a loud explosion sounded, and she knew instantly that it had to do with Draco. She turned back towards the Manor and watched as glass exploded out of the windows, and fire consumed the building.

"DRACO!" She screamed.

Blaise wrapped his arms around her, and Hermione tried to fight him off as she sobbed uncontrollably.

"This is all your fault!" Hermione snapped as she started pounding her fists into his chest. "Why did you listen to him?!"

Blaise held her to him, letting her lash out at him.

She continued her frenzied attack on him until her body weakened, and she slumped against him.

Ginny came over to her and rubbed her back reassuringly.

Harry and Ron followed, and stood side by side with Ginny as her support team. Their hearts broke as they watched their friend break apart in front of them.

Blaise sat her down on the ground, and Hermione wrapped her arms around herself, burying her face in her knees.

Harry bent down next to her, followed by Ron.

"Mione," Harry said softly.

Hermione looked up at Harry, her eyes red and puffy.

"Leave me alone Harry," Hermione said weakly.

"Malfoy did what he did in order to save you Hermione."

"Does it look like I asked to be saved?" Hermione snapped angrily. "I knew what I was doing! I didn't need him to sacrifice his life for me!"

Tears were streaming down her face.

"Hermione…"

"Don't!"

"Hermione!"

"SHUT UP RON!"

"HERMIONE LOOK!" Ginny said as she grabbed her friend's shoulders, spinning her around.

Hermione looked in the direction that Ginny was pointing, and saw a figure making its way towards them. Hermione took off, throwing herself into his arms, sobs wracking her body.

Draco caught Hermione easily, and he held her tightly against him.

"YOU BLOODY GIT!" Hermione finally yelled out as she got control of her crying. "How could you do that to me AGAIN?"

Draco looked down into the face of the woman he loved, who was looking at him her face full of love and adoration, as well as anger, and he smirked.

"Because I love you."

EPILOGUE

Draco could feel Hermione's radiant energy as he walked them towards the Potters house, something that came as natural to him now. He knocked on the door, and Ginny threw it open, a baby in her arms. She wrapped one arm around Hermione, planting a kiss on her cheek as she ushered them inside. She smiled warmly at Draco, which he returned, and he followed his girlfriend into the kitchen.

Ginny had sent out an invitation inviting them all to dinner, and Draco and Hermione had been the last to arrive. He spotted his best friend, who was sitting down next to one of the twins, Draco could never tell the difference between them, and he shook his head smirking. Blaise had become quite close with the two twins after the war, and the three of them were famous for puling pranks on people now. He watched as he discussed something with the twins, and they started sniggering.

Draco rolled his eyes.

Harry was standing in the doorway, and shook Draco's hand as he walked in, the two of them sharing a nod.

Ron smirked at him and gave him the thumbs up.

They all took their places at the table, Hermione sitting beside Draco. The dinner was amazing, and was something that the group of them did every Sunday night. The war had brought them all close together, and dare Draco say it, had made him a good group of friends that he trusted and actually cared about, Potter and Weasley included.

Thinking back, Draco couldn't believe that it had been a year since the war had taken place, a year since Voldemort had fallen.

He looked around the table at his group of friends, and smiled. He couldn't believe how much his life had changed, and how it was about to change again.

He looked at the woman next to him, and cleared his throat. The table immediately went silent, all eyes on him.

Hermione looked over at him, a smile on her face, which faltered slightly at the intense look on his face.

"Draco? Are you okay?"

"Hermione, I never believed that I would be able to love someone as much as I love you. Hell, I didn't even think that love existed, but then Dumbledore threw you and I into that dorm room together, and at first I thought that it was the end of my life, that we were going to rip each others heads off, and I hated the man for it. But then, something happened, and instead of resenting you like I always had, I started seeing you in a different light. At first it confused and frightened me, and I lashed out at every chance I could. I didn't understand what was happening, why all of a sudden my heart would race when you came into a room, why I couldn't stop thinking about you, couldn't get you out of my head. And then one day I woke up and realized that you were the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and that you were my equal in every way. Yes we argued, but you still treated me in a way that I was not used to. You showed me concern and care, something that I had never gotten before, and it made me realize what an amazing person you were. Even though I treated you like absolute shit all those years, you were still there for me when it mattered, and when I finally realized that, I was a goner."

Hermione's eyes were shining with unshed tears.

"And then I kissed you one day, and I felt something that I had never felt for another person before, and I knew right then that something had changed within me, and that you were the one responsible for it. I knew in that moment that no other kiss would be able to compare, regardless of how much I tried to tell myself otherwise."

Draco stood up and pushed back his chair, kneeling down on one knee in front of her.

"You, Hermione Granger changed me into a better person, and I want to be able to spend the rest of my life repaying you for all of the bad things I ever said or did to you. Will you do the honour of marrying me?"

Hermione felt tears leak from her eyes, and she looked down into the eyes of the only man she had ever truly loved, and knew that she wouldn't be able to see her life without him in it.

"Yes, yes I will."

A/N: Sooooo, here it is ladies and gents, the end! Thank you to everyone who has stuck by me since day one, giving this story a chance and leaving me your wonderful reviews and all of that. I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you! You guys are what keep me going and who give me the inspiration to keep writing. I have started another story already, which I am extremely excited to start sharing with you all once I have some more chapters written. So please keep an eye out for it!

I hope this story satisfied you all, and ended in a way which made you happy. If not, then I apologize, but I'm a sucker for happy endings.