Explaining himself wasn't an easy task. He received well-deserved slaps, she yelled and screamed, but when she cried it hit him hard. Her crying had never affected him like it did now, because he knew it was the only emotion she could express. He could hear the emptiness within her, the despair. And like once before she closed herself from him.
"Please, just let me explain," he begged.
"Explain!" Hermione inclined her head to look at him, "Explain how you've kept my husband locked away somewhere half alive? How is this possible? Is it a joke?"
Draco reached out to wipe her tears, and shook his head, "No. And I'm surprised that you haven't figured it out by now. I didn't kill anyone at that wedding. I had cast three identical spells, and it wasn't an unforgivable cur—"
"Don't interrupt," Harshly he moved to a nearby chair, but didn't sit down, "It wasn't the killing curse, close but it isn't. You haven't heard of this because Hermione its dark magic; very dark magic … but it can be undone."
Her head was spinning.
And continued to spin until they arrived at where he had kept them.
There he was: Harry Potter. All the bruises healed, even his glasses were in place. Draco stepped back as Hermione continued walking towards his body. Before she could stop herself she fell on her knees next to his bed, her hand clutching his tightly, and hot, angry tears streaming down her face.
Draco, in the long months they had spent together, had never seen her features so simple. At that moment it seemed like she didn't have a care in the world, and her cries weren't like the ones he had heard before. He could see that she was mumbling something as she sat there, and his heart continued to sink.
It was obvious.
"Hermione," and she had never heard uncertainty in his voice until he spoke her name.
Still clutching to Harry, she turned to Draco who was now walking to her, "Get up, com'on we don't have much time, and I still have to reverse the spells on Ron and Ginerva."
"W—what?" It hadn't hit her on what he said. There were three spells. But the fact that Harry was alive caused all her senses to stop. Now though she had more of her life than she ever dreamed of having again, "Where are they?"
Draco didn't answer her; instead he pulled her off the ground and yanked his wand from his robe.
"It's a simple spell," He started. Hermione was still pondering on how this would work out. She had many options, all of them as irrational as the next.
The eyes she had missed so dearly, opened. Their brilliant green staring blankly at her, and then through spurts of breath Harry grasped her hands tightly as he sat up. For a moment Hermione stood unaware of what exactly to do. The words to say were still processing in her head. Hermione carefully brought him into her arms, her fingers grasping at the sweater he was wearing. The guilt she hadn't felt was now swelling inside of her.
"I'm so sorry, Harry," she said, desperation evident in her words, "I'm sorry for what I've done…"
Harry still confused held her closely, and just like she had done he remembered the last things he saw, and heard – felt.
"Draco stop! Stop, you've gone mad!" Hermione was now between him and the blonde. Desperate to save Harry she grabbed onto Draco's wand only to be forcefully taken into his arms as he pointed the wand straight at Harry.
Draco wasn't listening to her pleas. His face was shaded by a nearby tree. At Hogwarts Draco hadn't been considered 'dangerous', a prick, but definitely not dangerous. Harry wasn't sure of what to think of him now.
"Let her go, Malfoy. Please, It's me you want …"
"Wrong, Potter." He muttered, "She's the one I'm after, and well you're just in the way."
"Wrong, Potter." He muttered, "She's the one I'm after, and well you're just in the way."
Hermione closed her eyes as Draco raised his wand.
A brilliant scarlet light, almost like a ribbon wrapped itself around Harry. By then, Hermione had fallen to the ground, unable to continue.
"Where is he? Hermione how did we get here? Where is everyone! Is he in jail…"
The questions would all be answered, but for now she couldn't speak.
"Hermione! What's happened?"
Blankly, she fumbled recklessly with how to break it to him, "Harry …" She sighed, and again tears started spilling down her cheeks, "Harry listen to me –"
"Where are we?" By now he was getting up, his legs and arms starting to work once more after their long break. The room was dark and from what Harry could see it was elegantly decorated. The bed he had been in was covered with fine sheets, the draperies over the window closed off any possible light.
Then as if a switch had been clicked, he understood what had happened.
"This was your fault."
Hermione's eyes flashed and looked up at him curiously, "What?"
"I knew. Hermione, I knew."
She began shaking her head violently at his revelation. Slowly she began getting up, her hands grasping for his still perfectly in tact tux. Harry couldn't handle it anymore, all at once he wanted to hold her but he also wanted answers. She betrayed him.
Before he could ask anything he heard the familiar voices of Ron and Ginny, they were frantic, and obviously following the sounds of Hermione's cries.
"Harry, Hermione!" They both shouted before running over to grab the both of them. Hermione held on, wanting nothing but time to reverse so they could go back. But they were here in this moment, the four of them –
"Harry Potter," Hermione's heart froze at the sound of his drawl, "The entire wizarding community thinks your dead. The world has gone astray and yet here you are."
"Malfoy?" Ron turned to face him, and at the sight of his pale features marked with triumph Ron broke into a run after him.
"No! Ron stop it!" Hermione came between the two of them, "Listen to me." She held Ron back and was shortly joined by Ginny who couldn't find anything to say, and Harry who was still trying to keep himself from killing Draco. The difference between he and Ron was that Harry never let his temper get the best of him.
Draco grabbed Hermione and brought her towards him, "You see, they're fine. Back to their old selves even."
"Let go," she hissed.
But he didn't, instead he led her away into a secluded room while the rest watched unsure, scared, confused. She slapped his hand away from her arm and backed up against a nearby wall. Steadily he watched. This wasn't the time to fight, because he was just as vulnerable as the rest, although he never led on. But Hermione saw right through the façade.
Never before had she done so, until today.
But even having the advantage over him, Hermione came to the realization that she knew had been coming ever since Harry opened his eyes. Harry would remain dead to her. Even with a choice, Harry could not be in her life, and she could not be in his. And dot was made worse seeing Ron and Ginny. Thoughts swam through her head and she braced herself before her knees buckled.
"You know you are free Hermione."
The words caught her off guard, and slowly she inclined her head to face him.
"If you choose so –" He choked on his own words. Looking down he shrugged his shoulders, "You may go."
The wheels in her head stopped turning.
It was apparent.
Everything came together.
She took a step towards him. Gently she placed her hand on his cheek and with a bittersweet smile he knew all to well she spoke, "Draco. It's harder than that. Much harder. But you and I both know what is going to happen. I am dead to him; he is dead to me. I will miss him. I will miss the thoughts of being normal once again, but we knew before this began how it would end. I fought it hard, Draco. I never wanted this – but I got it. You gave me this, and in return –"
Hermione thought about her next words carefully.
Because it would make it final.
There would be no more hope.
"I choose you," a sigh escaped her lips, "Yes. I will think about him. It will take a long time to no longer think about him. And once I know that Harry will be okay, once I know he has moved on, and once Ginny and Ron are fine – only then will I give myself to you fully. Me, all of me, Draco. Only then."
And just like her gave up on his own pride.
He understood that he had to think about her before himself this time.
"I know, Hermione. Now make your goodbyes quick, and I'll stay here so you can say what you need to."
As she returned to the room, Ginny approached her, obviously angry and everything else she could possibly be, "You are disgusting. Terrible, Hermione. How could you!"
Ginny broke into sobs, only to be grabbed by Ron and held in his arms. Harry turned slowly to Hermione and threw his hands up in the air, "So what? Hermione, what now?"
Tears welled up in her own eyes as she faced the three of them. Her best friends. The ones she loved. The only family she had left in this world now. They were her hope; something to hold onto. But this was it. She stepped towards Harry and grabbed his hands in hers, and he didn't struggle to fight.
"Hate me. What I have done deserves your hatred. It deserves for all of you to hate me. But listen, Harry, please. I love you. That won't change, but when you go back things will be changed. Know that I am sorry. If I could take back this pain that I am causing you and everyone else, and the things that led to all of this – I would. No one was ever meant to be hurt from my mistakes," Harry looked away from her, only to feel her hand on his cheek forcing him to look at her once again, "You are now my enemy. Fight me. Take me down. When the time comes Harry there will be a war, and you will fight. I can't be on your side. I wish it would've been different, but fight until the end. When we come to that battle do not view me as the woman you were going to marry, know that I am his wife; the dark lord's wife. Do not let love get in the way."
Harry understood everything she was saying and as hard as he tried to fight the tears welling in his own eyes, a tear escaped and ran down his cheek. Hermione kissed it away and pulled him into a warm embrace.
"I am so sorry," She whispered into his ear, "Harry –"
She broke off and pulled away to turn to Ron and Ginny who wouldn't look back at her. "I love you. Please understand."
And with that she walked.
They could not grasp it. They never did. And they could never fully understand what happened to her. When they thought back on it, she never gave signs of foreshadowing what would eventually happen to them all.
But no one ever saw it coming. Not even Draco or Hermione.
When he opened the door she collapsed into his arms and they made their escape to the new manor where they would live from now on.
Watching her intently, Draco continued to follow her every move through the new manor. It couldn't compare to the dank of the Malfoy manor. It was warm, and their only form of confinement now.
It killed him to see her like this though, still sad even though she wasn't as alone as she thought.
Hermione had made a sacrifice that she was going to live with every day for the rest of her life. Lives had been taken away because of her stupidity, even her child wasn't with her any longer.
But there was one person that had been there since this whole ordeal started, one who she destroyed the life of just as he did hers, and still she could tell that he loved her. Grabbing onto his hand, Hermione turned herself to face him.
"Our lives would have still been meaningless if we would've kept away, you know that right?"
For a second Draco processed what she had said. Like every question that had ever been asked, she had the right answer. As selfish as he was, as much as he wanted to keep her for himself, all he could think of was how he had ruined her life.
They had ruined each other.
But when the war finally came – they became invincible.
Author's notes: Yes, it took all that time to write that. Not because of length, not because I didn't know what was going to happen but it had to be right. Hermione and Draco had to do the write things and with this there WILL be a sequel. There has to be right? No word on when the first chapters will be up but expect a darker story than this one that includes the marriage, the war, the deaths – and everything in between. Thank you all for the support for this story, I loved writing it, I loved everything about it and I hope you did too. All my love.