Alright, so... you are all too nice to me! I never expected to get this much feedback on my story! This is theoretically the last chapter, but I am afraid I am letting you down! Thus, i could write another one? Or an epilogue? Please tell me what you think! What would you like? What do you think would be best for the story?
Update! I will be writing a final chapter. Or an epilogue. Or both. You are all right, it isn't quite finished yet. For now, I do hope you will have some patience with me, because I'm so busy these days! But, I promise! There will be another chapter, epilogue, or both! Thank you!
Thank you all, honestly!
I don't own anything you recognise.
He met with Hermione frequently during January, but in the middle of February, he realised she had changed, even if barely.
She seemed..sadder. More withdrawn.
He asked her if something was the matter, but she told him, no, nothing was wrong.
He didn't believe her.
And she had begun declining some of his invitations, and he was almost sure she was lying when she explained her reasons.
Lucius was beginning to realise she was withdrawing from him, and every time she declined an invitation, his heart gained another crack.
She didn't completely deny him, though. She still invited him for tea, or asked if she could come visit.
It just..wasn't as often.
One day in late February, Hermione visited the manor, and they decided to take a walk in the garden. It was rather beautiful with the snow covering everything, and Hermione frequently asked if they could take a walk. And when they did so, Hermione would walk around, looking enthusiastically at everything, and chatting happily the whole time.
But today was different. Hermione seemed genuinely sad. And it was driving Lucius mad.
She glanced at him with dull eyes. "Yes?"
He sighed. "Hermione, I know something is wrong. I'm not stupid, you know."
She gazed into empty air. "I'm going on a date this Saturday."
It took him a moment before the words sank in, but when they did, they did so with an impact that knocked the breath out of him.
He froze instantly. "What?"
She stopped as well, and turned to look at him. "I'm going on a date."
He just stared at her. "With whom?"
She gazed at him for a long moment. "He's just- you don't know him."
Lucius felt anger flare in him. "Still, who is it?"
She looked a little annoyed now. "Why do you care?"
"Because I-" he said, trying to figure out what to say, "I just do."
She shrugged. "It's a muggle. You don't know him. He's name is Michael."
Lucius felt like the world was about to collapse. "Michael? Michael? And he's a fucking muggle?"
Now she looked angry. "Yes, he's a muggle. Is that a problem?"
"Yes!" he said in a furious voice, "Yes, that is a problem!"
"And why, exactly, is that a problem?"
He stepped closer to her, looming over her as he stared angrily into her eyes. "Because he's a muggle Hermione! And you're a witch!"
He could see her small hands curl into fists. "I know I am a witch! But I don't have a problem with dating a muggle!"
"And where is this muggle taking you?"
"That, Lucius Malfoy," she hissed, "is none of your business!"
He felt like taking her by the arms and shake her. "Yes, it is! Where is this muggle taking you?"
She was breathing heavily through her nose, and he could actually feel how angry she was from the crackling of magic in the air around them. "WHY, Lucius! WHY do you think this is your business?!"
He didn't think, didn't consider what he was going to say, he just reacted. "Because I bloody well love you, that's why!"
She froze. Her jaw dropped, and she looked at him like he had just slapped her.
They stood like that, frozen on spot for an unknown period of time.
Finally, Lucius sighed. "Hermione, I.. I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."
That's when the change happened. The angry spark in her eyes faded in an instant, and the light was snuffed out of her eyes.
Then tears filled her eyes, and she looked away.
He just stood there, trying to figure out what the hell to do. He had just told her. Told her he loved her. And she was just looking away from him.
Lucius Malfoy's heart broke into a million tiny pieces.
He tried to breathe. So, it was confirmed then. She didn't love him. She didn't love him, and this was probably the end of their friendship. Because he had told her.
He regretted it with everything he had. Even if she didn't love him, he still wanted her in his life. She had changed everything, and he didn't quite know what to do if he lost her.
Be a friend, he thought. At least try. Put yourself second, for once.
He had to try something, so he took a deep breath, and touched Hermione's arm, causing her to flinch. Withdrawing his hand, he hesitated. "Hermione, if going on that date upsets you so much, why in the world are you doing it?"
She glanced at him, but looked away again. "Because I have to."
"What?" he asked in confusion, "Why do you have to? Is anyone forcing you?"
She met his eyes now, and the lifeless expression made his whole being hurt. "If anyone is forcing me? Well, in a way, perhaps."
Anger flared in him instantly. "Who is forcing you?"
She gazed at him, and she looked so endlessly sad. "You are."
Lucius Malfoy had never felt so confused in his whole life. "I am?"
He sighed. "Hermione, you are making no sense. I am not forcing you to do anything. What are you saying? Will you just explain?"
She gazed at him for an endless moment. "It took me about a month to fall in love with you. And since then, I have tried to fall out of love with you, desperately tried to fall out of love with you. Sorry to say, but I have failed miserably. I failed, even if I knew you would never love me back. Lately, I have been trying to get some distance, in case that would help, but it has caused nothing but crying myself to sleep because I miss you. And that is why it is you who is forcing me. I have to try to stop loving you so desperately, because it hurts, and I am quite frankly running out of options. So, I chose the exact opposite of you, a muggle with short, black hair, zero sass, and I suspect his intelligence is slightly lower than an average seagull. Basically, I love you, Lucius, I love you with every fragment of my body, my heart, and my soul, and I just can't do this any longer. It's killing me."
Lucius didn't know what to say. He was dreaming, surely. This wasn't happening.
Finally, she sighed. "And there we have it. My confession. Goodbye, Lucius."
He didn't even manage to react before she disapparated with a loud crack.
"No," he whispered. "Hermione."
He had to find her. Right now. Her goodbye had sounded so..final. Like she was going somewhere where he couldn't find her.
He landed outside her house, and realised that even if she was in there, her wards would keep him out.
No, they won't, he thought. Not this time.
He went at her wards with desperate fury, and slowly, but steadily, he managed to break them.
She wasn't inside.
She wasn't in her house.
Where else, he thought, where else would she go?
She wasn't at Flourish and Blotts either. Ana hadn't seen her.
He walked out of the shop, and that's when he saw her. She was walking up Diagon Alley, and he could see tears streaming down her face.
She froze for a moment, but then promptly turned around and walked the other way.
"Hermione!" he yelled as he ran after her. "Will you just stop for two seconds?!"
She didn't stop, but yelled at him over her shoulder. "Why?! Why the hell should I stop?!"
He saw her draw her wand. She was about to disapparate again.
Desperation took him, and he found he didn't even care about the crowd watching them in complete shock.
"Because I love you! Now STOP!"
She stopped, but didn't turn around. He ran as if he had the devil himself on his heels, and finally reached her.
He stopped behind her, taking her arm and spun her around to face him.
Her expression made his whole being hurt.
Her eyes were still lifeless, but there was a fragile hint of hope in them. It was like her heart, her soul, her..everything was in his hands right now in this moment, and if he made the wrong choice, he would break her beyond repair.
And it terrified him.
After a long moment where they just stared at each other, Hermione finally opened her mouth. "If you tell me you didn't mean it one more time," she whispered in a fragile voice, "I'm not sure if I can be fixed again."
He felt his heart break along with hers. "I did mean it," he whispered back. "What I meant when I say I didn't mean it, was everything else I yelled at you. I love you, Hermione, and I have loved you for a long time, now."
The light in her eyes was slowly coming back, and finally she sighed. "And you really, honestly mean that?"
He didn't even answer. He just pulled her to him and kissed her, and she melted in his arms, making him forget about the world around them.
"Oh, god, Lucius," she murmured against his lips, "they are applauding."
Lucius tried to regain some of his brain function, and when he finally did, he could hear it. The crowd around them was applauding.
And he didn't even care. He just wrapped his arms around her and kissed her until they were both out of breath.