Whoa, I'm surprised at how many people hate Ron!! Well, just to let you know, he's my favorite character! No, really, he is! (Then follows Draco, of course). Lol, that's why I made him save the day… because Ron rocks! *Laughs madly*
Ok, um… sorry about that, got carried away…
And the reasons of this chapter taking so long were: 1) the fifth Harry Potter book on sale!! HOW COULD I MISS IT????? And, what did you think about it? I really liked it, but why did --------------- have to die??? (won't put the name here for those who still haven't read it). Argh… seriously, that made me want to walk up to Rowling and make her come back to her senses. I almost yelled out!! Arrrgh!! Why did ------------- die?? *sob*
And *screams* 991 reviews!!! I can't believe it! Thank you to SVZ, Kate, CindyLea, Esperanza, DracoMalfoy, Aindel Druida, two insane chicks, sb1, willowwiccantara, Draco-Malfoy-Vegeta-luvr, fb90, Chocolat Elf, ***, Silver Fawkes, BellethePhilosopher'sCookie, Ellie, Winter Fae, LuvCr8zy4TomFelton, Starry Skies, Shivohsongbreeze, Bitch-with a sword, Pannygirl, Naoko Ten'ou, Tiya Granger, Scarlett, Crystalline Lily, Joanna, Thara, Queen Serendipity, Jayne Elizabeth, DarkGurly819, Babybeauty, Seom, Cherry, Oo.DrAcOzAnGeL.oO, Professor Smith, TriGemini, Mystik4L M3nt@LneZz, Crazee Coaky, tjs91989, squorpionlady, Zyzychyn, sierradogbaby, magicalferret, Amics Per Sempre, Metallicafangirl, dancing_kween, AnOtHeR.lOsEr.AnThEm, Classionista, OceanDancer, and DracosGirl4Life for reviewing!!!! I'm so happy ^_^
"If we have to wait for that idiot to look for us," Draco said. "We could spend all our lives here,"
Harry glared at him, but Draco didn't seem to notice. Harry looked at Hermione, as if to seek some help, but she was absorbed in her own thoughts.
"But…" she was the one who broke the silence that followed. "How is he going to get to us?"
"If he ever does," Draco corrected.
"I mean," Hermion went on. "He's not a Malfoy. And this place is full of traps. There is no way he can get up here,"
"Too true," Draco muttered.
"I just wish we could do something!" Harry said in exasperation, and punched an invisible wall.
"The only thing we can do is wait, so why get so frustrated?" Draco asked, still staring at the sky.
But how could he just wait? He felt so helpless… he wanted to do something!
"Your father can't keep us here forever, can he?" Hermione aked. She was starting to feel nervous.
"Of course not," Draco drawled. "He's probably thinking up the best way to murder us, or something of the sort,"
He said it in such a calm, matter-of-fact way, Hermione's mouth dropped open. "Are you saying," she said, feeling, at this point, very nervous. "That we're all sitting here quietly, waiting for our death?"
Draco shrugged as best as he could. "Yes, something like that,"
"AND YOU'RE LYING THERE SO CALMLY?" Hermione yelled.
"Hey, I'm trying to think," he said.
"Thinking is not enough!" Hermione exclaimed. "We have to get out of here!" she started punching the invisible wall desperately.
Draco sighed. "You're only going to waste your energy, Hermione,"
"I'm going to get out of here if it's the last thing I do!" she said stubbornly, punching harder.
She gave up eventually, though, because nothing happened. She looked at Harry.
He was staring at the ground, playing with a leaf, and apparently thinking.
Then she looked at Draco, who was still looking at the night sky with an expression of utmost concentration.
Then, suddenly, Hermione's eyes filled with tears.
She turned away from them so that they wouldn't see.
Was this it? Was her life suddenly going to end like this? How could it? She was only sixteen years old! And she still hadn't got on with SPEW at all! And what about her NEWTs? How could she die without doing her NEWTs? That was insane!
If Lucius is going to kill me, as yound as I am, he should at least give me a chance to do my NEWTs! She thought stubbornly.
"Maybe…" Draco said, making Harry and Hermione jump. "Maybe, if I touch this wall… the spell will vanish."
Hermione looked at him. "But you've already touched it, remember? When we tried to get out."
Draco shook his head. "Only with my shoes," he looked down at his pale hands. "But maybe, if I touched it with my hands… maybe the spell breaks when someone with Malfoy blood touches it…"
He extended his finger towards where he thought the wall might be, and touched it.
A small, burning red circle suddenly sprouted around his finger, turning redder and redder.
"Agh!" he yelled, and quickly drew his finger back and put it against his other hand, trying to lessen the pain.
"What happened?" Hermione asked frantically.
She looked at the spot on the wall again. The circle had turned a black, greyish color.
"Ashes?" Hermione gasped.
Indeed, they were ashes, and they fell to the floor, but a there was a burnt, black outline around the place where the ashes had previously been.
Harry stuck his finger through the circle. "It's a hole." He looked at Draco. "You managed to open a circle,"
Draco was still clutching his finger.
Suddenly they heard footsteps approaching, and they all sat up quickly, listening intently.
Hermione's tears dried away, and her heart started beating faster.
Nobody moved. Everyone was waiting… waiting…
The trapdoor, which led to the attic, opened, and some red hair poked out.
Hermione's heart lifted. Could it be?
After the hair followed a long nose and some Hogwarts robes, and she knew they were saved.
"Ron!" she managed to gasp, too happy for words.
Ron looked at them and grinned. He started walking towards them.
"DON'T!!" they all shouted.
Ron stopped dead in his tracks. "What?" he asked, confused.
"Stop right there, Ron!" Harry said. "If you step on this green floor you'll get trapped inside with us!"
"Weasley," Draco said, looking intently at Ron's hand, and holding his own finger. "What's that you're holding?"
Ron let them see. "It's that weird necklace Hermione wears all the time. She dropped it back there in the tunnel and I, er… thought I'd bring it back,"
"Did you have any difficulties coming up here? Did any trap go off?" Draco went on.
Ron shook his head. "Nope. I don't think you really need Malfoy blood for this…"
For a fleeting instant, Hermione thought she saw Draco's face lighten up.
"Ok, Weasley, give me the necklace. Just throw it at me. It'll go right through this invisible wall," Draco said, speaking with some difficulty. His finger hurt very badly.
Ron threw the necklace at them, and Draco caught it with his spare hand.
Then he looked at Harry, and handed him the necklace.
"Listen here, Potter," Draco said. "I want you to throw the necklace with all your might into the opposite wall,"
"What for?" Harry asked suspiciously. He still didn't trust Draco much.
"It may be our only chance out of here," Draco said impatiently. "And throw it as hard as you can,"
Harry was still doubting about what to do, but, when he saw the look on Hermione's face, he knew Draco was telling the truth.
He leaned against one of the walls, raised his fist above his head… and threw the necklace as hard as he could into the the opposte wall.
As soon the brooch made contact with the wall, it glowed orange, and Hermione saw, just before the whole wall started to turn a burning red, that, in the place where the Snake's heart might have been, there was a tiny red substance. Then the necklace melted, and the wall turned into ashes.
As soon as the ashes fell, the three of them hurried off the green floor.
Harry ran towards Rom and clapped him on the back. "Nice work, mate,"
"Now what?" Hermione asked as she walked to join them.
Harry sighed. "I would suggest getting on our brooms and flying off, but as we don't have our wands…"
"Who said?" Ron asked, getting four wands out of his pocket.
Hermione's mouth dropped open. "Ron! How could- how did-"
Ron shrugged as he passed the wands around. "I still had my own wand, didn't I? I couldn't just come and find you without making sure we'd all be armed."
Hermione opened her mouth again, but Ron spoke for her.
"How did I get them?" he asked. "Well, after Lucius trapped you up here I followed him. Cautiously," he added as he saw Hermione's face. "He went back to his office and set the wands on the table. After a while he left, so I got them and went to look for you,"
"So then Lucius must have probably noticed the wands are gone by now! We better leave!" Hermione exclaimed.
Harry nodded, and pointed at the ground. "Accio brooms!"
Immediately the brooms flew over to them, and started floating alongside them.
Ron and Harry mounted their brooms, but Draco stood back.
"Maybe, if I stay here and face my father…"
"No!" Hermione yelled. "You are not! You know he's too dangerous, and I will not let you go! Now, you get on this broom and fly off to Hogwarts!"
Draco was taken aback. He had never seen Hermione like this. It was a long time since she had yelled at him. In fact, he was getting amused.
"But, if I…"
Hermione grabbed his sleeve. "Draco, we are going to Hogwarts," she hissed. "Together,"
Draco tried to pull away, but she drew out her wand and pointed it at him. "I'll put you under the imperius if I have to," both her hand and her voice quivered.
That made him chuckle. "Oh, but I know how to fight it off now!" there was a naughty glint in his eye.
Hermione blushed as she remembered why he had learned to fight it off, and released his sleeve.
"Please don't go," she whispered.
Draco glanced at her and saw that she wore a pained look.
He groaned, but then got on the broom.
He wasn't altogether convinced, but he decided to leave, for Hermione's sake.
And for your own, a small voice in his head said, but he didn't pay attention to it.
"Come on, Hermione," Draco said.
With a last look at the melted brooch, she mounted Draco's broom, and they were off.
It was dawn when Draco landed softly on the castle grounds.
He was grinning slightly, because Hermione had held on to his waist the whole journey as if her life depended on it.
"I do not," she panted, once she was off the broom. "Like flying,"
She looked at Draco, who was watching her with an amused smile. There was laughter in his eyes.
"Well, you were going too fast!" Hermione said quickly. "I had to grab on to something!"
Harry and Ron landed beside them, and shouldered their broomsticks.
"Let's go into the castle, shall we?" Ron said. "Before anyone notices we've been gone all night…"
"Oh no!" Hermione exclaimed. She started running towards the castle. "Hurry, before our lessons begin!"
"Hermione," Harry said. "It's two hours until breakfast,"
Ron yawned. "Yeah, 'mione, slow down,"
Hermione's pace dropped until she was walking normally again. She waited for the rest to catch up, and then fell into step with Draco.
"Er…" she started. This was so strange… she felt as if they hadn't talked together for ages! She wondered if she could just start talking normally, or if he was angry… but he seemed to be in a good mood… "I was wondering," she finally said. "When we were trapped on the roof, and Harry threw the necklace to the wall… I saw a small red thing in the place where the snake's heart was supposed to be. And, as Ron was able to get to us safe and sound, I thought it might be…"
"…A drop of Malfoy Blood," Draco finished for her. "Yes,"
Hermione looked at the dewy grass. "And now the necklace is destroyed…"
That explained why the necklace had opened the wall, and why Ron had found them without any trouble.
Draco shrugged. "At least we got out of that one,"
They walked onto the Entrance Hall.
Harry and Ron started going up the marble stairs.
Hermione and Draco stood side by side awkwardly.
"So, I guess I'll… see you around," Hermione said.
"Yeah. See you," Draco said and, with that, he turned to the dungeons, and was gone.
Hermione caught up with Harry and Ron just as they climbed through the portrait hole. Apparently Ron had had an argument with the fat lady, because when he entered he was flushed, and muttering something about "useless talking portraits" under his breath.
Hermione saw that Lavender was sitting on one of the best couches. As soon as she saw Ron, though, she jumped out of the couch and ran towards him.
"Oh, I've been so worried!" she said as she threw her arms around him and kissed him, right on the lips.
Ron blushed until the point Hermione thought he might need a bucket of water to cool off.
"Lavender!" he gasped when she drew away from him.
"I think we better leave them alone," Hermione said quickly, and she dragged an amused Harry to his dormitory.
After breakfast Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco were called into Dumbledore's office. Apparently he had somehow found out of their absence at night.
"Tell me all about it," Dumbledore said once they were in his office.
He sat back in his chair, put the tips of his long fingers together, and surveyed the group through his half-moon spectacles.
And so Harry started relating the story, while the portraits of the previous headmasters listened eagerly.
Dumbledore turned let his gaze fall on Draco. "You organized this rescue mission, then, Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco looked away uncomfortably.
Dumbledore took this as a yes, and turned to Hermione instead. "You did well on stopping him from facing his father, Miss Granger. Mr. Malfoy has a good deal of courage, but he cannot face his father alone."
Draco clenched his teeth.
"Oh, and next time, Miss Granger, please don't play around with things that look suspicious,"
Hermione blushed and nodded, and Dumbledore winked.
He then turned to Harry and Ron. "You two have been very brave indeed, and have been helpful yet again. However," he looked at the three boys. "Next time someone is in trouble please contact me or one of the teachers. No detention this time. I will talk with Lucius shortly. You may go now,"
Hermione didn't see much of Draco that day. She wanted to talk to him. It had seemed as if they weren't angry with each other anymore… at least, she wasn't angry with him… he had come to rescue her, after all!
Everyone seemed to be happy: Harry was acting normally, Lavender and Ron wouldn't leave each other's side, and everybody else was chatting away happily, as if no one saw that she, Hermione, was not alright!
The mere sight of Neville and Seamus talking at lunch was annoying! She even snapped at Harry when he asked her to pass the salad, and Neville jumped at the sound of her voice.
After lessons she was so frustrated she decided to go into the library, to be alone. That way, she thought moodily as she walked between the shelves, in search of a good place to sit, I won't snap at anyone, and we can all live in peace.
So, when she was interrupted in the middle of her charms essay, she snapped.
"What?" she said so loudly that several people turned their heads to see what was the trouble, and Madam Pince ushered her to be quiet.
"I see you're not in the mood," Draco said as he slid into the chair opposite her.
"Oh…" when she saw who was in front of her, all the frustration suddenly disappeared, leaving an oddly pleasant feeling.
Actually, Draco was very brave to approach Hermione when she was in one of her moods, but… he had to talk to her.
"Listen," he said. "I want to talk to you."
Suddenly she felt anger rising up inside her. So now he wanted to talk? He'd been avoiding her the whole day, and now he wanted to talk?
The memories of the previous weeks sprang up in her mind, and her anger flared.
But he came to rescue you, a small voice tried to reason with her.
"Why now?" she asked, rather coldly.
"Because there's something I should have told you the moment I knew, and I want you to know before it's too late,"
Hermione noticed that his finger was back to normal. Madam Pomfrey must've taken care of it…
She looked at him. He didn't seem to be lying, or to be making fun of her.
In fact, he seemed rather serious.
She sighed. "Fine. What is it?"
Draco shook his head. "Not here. Not now,"
"Then when?" she asked with a bit of frustration in her voice.
"Can you meet me under the tree at midnight?"
"Midnight?" she echoed. "Are you trying to get me into trouble?"
Draco shook his head, and looked at her intently. "I want to make sure we're not heard. Please, Hermione,"
He was looking at her so strangely, and he had said please!
She felt herself nodding. Her mouth was dry. "Under the 'Joggart Tree' then?"
Draco stood up. "Midnight," and he left.
Hermione sat up in bed and looked around.
Her roomates were all sleeping soundly. Everything was still and silent.
The coast was clear.
She stood up and walked towards her chair, where both her Hogwarts cloak and Harry's invisibility cloak were waiting.
With her white nightgown, she looked like a ghost gliding in the dark. She put her Hogwarts cloak on, and made her way to the common room.
A small fire crackled lazily as she crossed the room and climbed out of the portrait hole.
She made sure the invisibility cloak completely covered her, and then set off towards the Entrance Hall.
Once she almost tripped over Mrs. Norris, but other than that it was all fine.
She stepped into the cool night. The stars were twinkling in the beautiful, clear night sky, and there was a half moon that looked as if it was smiling down at her. There was enough light to see the grounds, and she soon spotted Draco, who was leaning his back on the trunk of the tree they had always sat under when they worked on their Joggart project.
Hermione took a deep breath and, wrapping both cloaks tighter around herself, walked over to the tree.
"Draco," she whispered as she took the invisibility cloak off.
Draco looked at her, hands in his pockets. "Hermione," he said.
They stood there, looking at each other awkwardly in the dark.
"So… what did you want to tell me?" Hermione finally asked.
Draco sighed. There was a sort of pained look on his face. "Look, Hermione…" he seemed to be fighting with himself, as if a side of him wanted to say it, but the other wanted to remain silent. "I should've told you before, but I didn't think that…well… anyway, the thing is… when I tickled Bluey, it turned into you,"
After saying this, he looked determinedly away.
Hermione felt numb. Had she heard right? Had he just said what she thought?
"Why did you kiss Pansy?" she demanded.
Draco clenched his teeth, and looked at the ground. "My father found out my… feeling for you, and so he put me under the imperius curse. When I kissed her, I was still under the curse. But… when I saw you, I suddenly felt an inner force and I… broke the curse. So then I chased you and… you know the rest,"
"Is that true?" Hermione asked firmly, although her heart was softening. "Are you lying?"
"Of course not!" Draco exclaimed, still looking anywhere but at her. "Why would have I kissed you if I didn't love you? Look, you can put me under the imperius curse right now, and you'll see I can fight it!"
Hermione said nothing.
She still couldn't believe this. It was just too great to be true…
He came to save you, he's not lying, a little voice whispered in her mind.
"Well, you can go back to the castle now. That's all I wanted to say," Draco said, and started to turn around.
The little voice got louder and louder, until it was deafening, and she wondered if anybody else could hear it.
"Wait!" she said as Draco started to walk away.
She had finally come to her senses. She realized now that he couldn't be lying, that he was telling the truth.
That he really did love her.
Draco stopped, but didn't turn around.
"I…" how could she tell him? Just do it! The voice urged her. "Bluey also t-turned into you," she said in a trembling voice.
A silence followed.
Draco slowly turned around, and met her eyes.
She smiled weakly.
"Do you mean you…"
Hermione nodded. "I love you," she whispered.
A beautiful smile that reached his eyes.
He started walking closer, never leaving her eyes. "Once, I stole a kiss from you," he said, getting closer and closer. "And I was wondering if I could… give it back,"
She smiled, and her eyes said everything.
Their lips finally met.
That morning Hermione was happier than usual. A wide smile lit her face, and she hummed everywhere she went.
In fact, she seemed to fly.
At breakfast, Harry asked her what was the reason of her sudden change of mood, and Ron choked on his bacon when he heard her answer.
"Sorry, Ron, but Draco's part of the group now," she said, but she wasn't sorry at all. Actually, she was smiling widely while she said it.
Ron almost screamed. "I won't have Malfoy-"
"Draco," she corrected.
"I won't be his friend! I won't! You can't make me! How could you just- hey! Hermione! Are you listening?"
But she wasn't.
Because, across the Great Hall, grey eyes were set on brown.
Wow, I can't believe I just wrote those two words! Believe me, it was HARD writing them, because, after working SO HARD on getting these two together, now the story's over! Oh well… I hope you liked it! What did you think of this last chapter? I hope it wasn't too cheesy back there, at midnight *wink* *wink* I tried not to put too much cheese in, 'cause I don't really like cheese all that much! Please review, because it'll be the last time you do on this story!! ^_^