Things happened too quickly for Hermione after the last battle. Everything had gone back to normal and they had graduated Hogwarts in late May. Though Hermione was glad to have gotten her N.E.W.T.'s done and over with, she wasn't glad to be leaving school.
It was their last day. All their trunks were packed. Graduation had taken place the day before and after several tear-jerking stories and speeches, it was all done with. All that was left was to get on the Hogwarts Express one last time and that would be the end of it.
Hermione placed the last of her things in her trunk and trekked down the stairs to the common room. There she found Draco sitting on the couch with the Prophet in his hands. "They're still talking about it," he informed her. "Today they're questioning if the battle really DID happen. They're putting people under the veritaserum to check who's telling the truth. Of course my father has his crazy ideas and all but..."
"But it'll all turn out right in the end. Trust me, Draco. Now let's get these trunks shrunken. We're going to be late." She took out her wand and Draco did the same. Before they even knew it, the trunks were the size of peas and inside their pockets.
"Where are Potter and Weasley?" Draco asked as they shuffled out the portrait hole.
"They're saying goodbye to Hagrid. Honestly, those two were acting as though we'd never see anyone from here again." She said it in a joking manner because it was easier than admitting that she was feeling the same way. Her uneasy laugh gave her away.
"We'll see them again, love," Draco assured her. "Who knows? Before long, I'm sure you'll be back and teaching."
She gasped. "Heavens, no, Draco! I don't want to teach. I just want to find a decent job at the Ministry..."
"As the Mistress of Magic?" He laughed at the idea. Hermione Granger, Mistress of Magic, running the wizarding world. 'Well,' he thought, 'at least she'll be better than Fudge.'
"I don't know about Mistress of Magic, Draco, but something or someone that makes a difference. I want to be there in a crisis and I want to help people. I want to make sure no one like Voldemort ever gains that much power again. I want to affect the world."
"I'm sure you will," he told her, holding her hand as they walked down the hallway.
They got to the train station and Hermione held back tears. It was all happening so quickly and she barely even remembered when it had all started. She remembered being a small first year, making great friends and a few enemies. She remembered being petrified in second year and waking up to hear Harry's wonderful story about Tom Riddle and the basilisk. She remembered the breakout of Sirius Black and her use of the Time Turner. She vaguely recalled her fourth year spent with Victor Krum. And of course fifth year, she remembered the Order of the Phoenix all too well.
But somehow, she knew that years later, the year she would most remember would be her seventh year. The year she fell in love with Draco Malfoy.
He held onto her hand a little tighter when he realized she was lost in thought. "Hermione, love," he said in a soft and soothing voice. "We have to get on the train or it'll take off without us."
She smiled back at him. "You love me, right?"
"I mean, we're engaged obviously and plan on being wed but...well...I just need to make sure. I love you so much and I guess I'm just nervous that..."
"You're thinking that since everything is going so well, eventually the bottom has to fall out?" She nodded her answer. "I think you're worrying too much. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to go back to Malfoy Manor where we will live. We will be wed soon and have lots and lots of little Hermione's and Draco's running around. How does that sound?"
"It sounds like a lot of hard work. Kids are a big hassle Draco!"
"I know but it'll all be worth it. Now come on. The train waits for no one."
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Hermione awoke to the sound of the train slowing down. No, wait. It had stopped. What was going on? The lights were out in her compartment and she was all alone. She stood up slowly in nervousness.
"Draco?" she called out, hoping he was right outside the door. But no one was there. She pulled her hair back from out of her face and tied it in a ponytail. "Draco?" she called once more, thinking maybe he just hadn't heard her the first time.
She slowly pushed back the compartment door and stepped out.
The hallway was empty. Not a soul was in sight. Everywhere she turned she found darkness and silence. Though she found complete emptiness, she saw no signs of a struggle. That was a good sign, she thought.
She moved to another compartment to look inside. Still no luck. Twelve compartments she checked and twelve rooms of nothing is what she found. Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder and in fear, she froze up.
The lights flickered with her nervous energy and then went out again.
She didn't dare turn around for fear of finding someone who she truly wished was dead. The hand didn't move. It just sat there for the most part, not moving at all.
"Finally woke up?"
She sighed in relief and turned to face Ron. "You scared me half to death, Ronald Weaslery," she scolded. "What's going on?"
He laughed and messed up her hair a little bit. "We're all in the first half of the train having a big party. We were going to wake you but you just seemed so peaceful."
"Well why are we stopped?"
Ron laughed once more. "That would be because there was a bit of a shaking sensation what with all the dancing and all. The train had begun to rock and the driver didn't like it too much. We should be starting up again soon, though."
"Oh. Alright. Well, have you seen Draco?"
"Yeah. Malfoy's at the party. Didn't want to wake you, that's all. Said you looked really peaceful or whatever. Too mushy for my liking. I didn't really want to listen."
Hermione laughed and pushed his armed playfully. "Let's go join the party, Ron."
"Sure." He led her through the empty corridors and soon opened a door to the next train. As soon as the door opened, music filled the air. Everywhere you looked, people were dancing and partying, trying to have a good last goodbye.
She spotted her fiancé over in the corner, talking with someone. Was that Harry? They were getting along? Since when? She walked towards them with a worried feeling in her stomach. All she could think of was that it was possible they were having another row. In that case, this would not be a fun day for her.
But as she got closer, she heard calm voices...civil.
"Hermione," Draco finally said, just then noticing her presence. "When did you wake up, love?" he asked. "I thought you were out cold. You seemed exhausted."
"I just woke up. Ron came and found me. What's going on?"
"Potter and I were just discussing wedding plans. I asked him to be my best man."
Hermione's eyes went wide. "You did? Oh Draco that's so sweet but really, you don't have to. I don't mind if you want to choose one of your friends."
"My friends don't mean half as much to me as yours do to you. I'd rather you be happy."
Hermione suddenly looked sad. "But who's going to walk me down the aisle."
"I WILL!" She looked around to see Ron looking so very excited at the thought. "Oh please 'Mione, let me walk you down the aisle. I mean, I'm not too happy that you're marrying this git and all but I..."
Hermione laughed and cut him off. "Okay, Ron. You can walk me down the aisle. No need to give me your resume." He was so ecstatic that he quickly wrapped his arms around her and embraced her in a tight hug.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Hermione, Harry, and Draco all watched Ron run off in glee and the three shared a tiny chuckle. "I think you just made him the happiest man in the world," Draco commented with a heavy sigh.
"Wasn't that supposed to be you when I said yes to marrying you?" Hermione replied teasingly.
"Well I mean, maybe I would have been that happy if I wasn't going to be stuck with you now for the rest of my life," he retaliated, his arm wrapping around her waist.
Harry pretended to gag. "Ew. Gross. No flirting in front of me, please. Should I be expecting little Hermione's and Malfoy anytime soon?"
Hermione smiled. "It's possible. You just never know."
Draco's jaw dropped. "You're not...you're not keeping anything from me, right?"
She thought Draco's reaction was absolutely priceless. Hermione couldn't help the laughter from coming out. "No Draco," she assured him. "I'm not pregnant. And I'd prefer not to be pregnant until after we're married. Speaking of which, it's time we set a date and a place. Where do we want to have it? Outside or in a big church? I was thinking a traditional wedding would be best. With lots of flowers. Not too big of course. I mean, the only family I have is my mum, Harry and Ron. And of course we have to book a party hall for after the ceremony. Unless you didn't want that and wanted to go straight to the honeymoon. Oh my! The honeymoon. I almost forgot about it entirely. Where do you want to go? And..."
"Breathe, love," Draco finally interrupted. "Breathe. We have plenty of time to discuss wedding plans. For now, let's just worry about the summer."
"But Hermione's got a point," Harry said. "You at least need a date. I mean, come September, Ron and I are starting Auror training. We'll have training everyday for six months. And I know you guys are going to be looking for jobs and stuff."
"I've actually got a job lined up in the Ministry," Hermione beamed with pride. "I'll be working of...well I'm not too sure yet. They basically told me the other day that I could get a job doing whatever I wanted and they'd be sure to create a position if need be. I told them that as long as no one else loses a job on my behalf I'd be delighted to start in a few weeks."
"That's our Hermione, always on top of the game. One step ahead of the game, right?"
Hermione hugged Harry tightly with a small smile. "I wouldn't be here without you, you know. None of us would."
"Seven years of solving mysteries and stopping evil, Harry, and you still don't get it. Sure, you can be modest and all. But everyone else knows that it was because of you that we were able to maintain our freedom and our safety. Don't even try to fool me by saying it was all of us. I was selfish. I fought for myself and for my mum. You fought for the wizarding world."
"Don't even go there. You're one of the most selfless and bravest people I've ever met."
A cough interrupted their conversation. "Sorry but I don't fancy hearing all the mush. It's too sensitive and I'm just not that kind of guy. Then again, I never pictured you, Potter, as that kind of guy either. Funny what Hermione can do to men."
Harry hugged Hermione once more and then walked off to go find Ginny, leaving Hermione and Draco alone. "I was thinking this summer we'd go backpacking for a few weeks. Travel through France," Hermione suggested hopefully as Draco took her in his arms and smiled down on her.
"Backpacking, yeah?" He kissed her chastely. "Sounds fun."
"We'll check out the beaches of Normandy and then take a boat ride in Venice. But we'll be walking so don't get any funny ideas about apparating or flying brooms. We fought my dad for the right to do things the muggle way so that's how we're going to do it."
"I wouldn't dream of arguing."
"Sirius told me the other day that they were able to cut your mothers Azkaban visit out of the whole deal. Did you hear from her lately?"
"Yeah. She's got some probation and they took away her wand. She got off real lucky but I'm not sure I'm fond of how much time she's spending with that guy, Lupin. It's weird."
"Sirius told me that Remus and your mum actually dated a while back."
"Let your mum be happy, Draco. Let her find what we have found." The kiss they shared was nothing short of wonderful as magic flowed all around them.
It was like watching the fire works explode inside the Hogwarts Express. Hermione's eyes fluttered closed as she let the feeling of completion overwhelm her. Forever and always now, all that mattered was Draco.
He had saved her from Hell and now delivered her to heaven. The love they had known would only intensify as the years went on and the legacy they had all left behind would never be forgotten.
Stranded no longer.
A/N... This story was started as just pointless babble but your wonderful reviews helped me turn it into a real story. But since I never really planned this story to begin with, the ending took quite a while to finish. I'm sorry for the long wait. Over two months is a long time so I apologize. I just had to figure out the end.
I won't be making a sequel to this, just to let you know. I feel some things are better left as they are. I hope you all enjoyed this story.