Well, thanks to everyone who has reviewed throughout the entire story, if you've stuck with me this long, you deserve, at the very least, a pat on the back. You know that I love the reviews, and I highly encourage them.
I can honestly say that I didn't expect it to end in this chapter, but as I was writing, I knew that it would. So here it it, the long awaited end to this, sometimes, neverending story.
Hermione readjusted in her seat. "I'm not backing down in this, Harry. It's not even a choice."
"It's just Malfoy."
"No, he's just Malfoy. So what if he had different beliefs, so what if he was a horrible person? You of all people should be able to realize that it's possible to become your own complete opposite."
"That's not fair and you know it. I can't just give him back to you, either, Hermione. Do you know what kind of blow getting Malfoy out of Las Brujas would be?"
"Give him to me and he won't go back. I'll make sure of it."
"Will you keep him chained to you for the rest of your life?"
It was almost scary, but she wasn't as horrified by that image as she should have, and once would have, been. "He won't go back."
"My way ensures it."
There was one thing she could give him, but it almost terrified her to do so. Was Malfoy worth what that weapon could do in Harry's hands?
Could she trust Harry to never use the information she could give him?
Merlin, she hoped so.
"There's one thing that I think you'd be willing to bargain for."
"You've already given me all of your information about Las Brujas."
She shook her head, "There is one thing not in those files."
When she didn't continue, he said, "What?"
"I mentioned it in passing, the security system."
"You actually have something that could kill all of wizarding kind?"
"I have half of a copy, as does Malfoy. Though I suppose you'd now be in possession if he had it on him. MI-5 has the information, too."
"Anyone else? I thought you said it was a secret."
"I never said that," she stiffened at his tone, "But you can have my half, and Malfoy's if you don't have it already, just give me Malfoy back."
Harry ran his fingers through his ever unruly hair, "You'd trust me with that…for Malfoy?"
"I would've trusted you with it regardless, now it's my bargaining chip."
"It's a bloody good one."
I know, she thought but didn't say.
"I need to speak with some people, go to your room for now. When I've reached a decision, you'll know."
Yes, Mum. She stood and walked out of the office silently, any careless words could sway his decision. Harry Potter was no longer her friend, he was Malfoy's judge, jury, and executioner. She just needed to make sure that he didn't fulfill his third role.
"Malfoy, are you alright?" she asked once she was lying on her bed.
"Bloody swell, Granger, emphasis on the bloody."
She grimaced, knowing that he was blocking the pain that he could all to easily share with her, "Did you hide the disk I gave you?"
"Is that the bargain, then. My life for our last bit of information."
"You're not going to protest that your life is worth that information, or suggest that I run while I can and save myself?"
"Hell no." Hermione grinned, "If Potter hadn't turned on us, he would've gotten the info for free."
"Too true." She was silent for a moment, and then said, "How bad is it? I--Will you be alright?"
"They've stopped for now, but it's bad."
"I'll need to know where you've hidden your half."
"Heathrow. It's in one of the men's toilets in Terminal One by the Irish flights baggage claim."
"Okay. I--" Harry knocked on her door, "I need to go. This will be over soon. I promise."
"Come in," she called. Harry walked in. He didn't close the door behind him, and she made no move to stand up. "Well?" she asked.
He nodded, and she managed not to sigh in relief. "Your disks for Malfoy."
"I'll give you my half, but I won't tell you where his is hidden until you hand him over."
He held out a hand. She pulled in out of one of her many pockets. In exchange, he handed her their wands. "As a sign of trust," he said.
He nodded, "He should be here in a few minutes. We can wait for him in my office." He didn't make it sound like an option, she followed him.
They were seated for a few minute before he began shaking his head. "You're insane!"
"I think there's something to be said about a pot and a kettle here, Harry."
He stood up and started pacing, "He's Malfoy! How can you want someone like…like that free in the world?"
"We've already been over this, Harry. It's my decision."
"It's a stupid decision. Don't you remember what he was like? Five years ago you would have been cheering me on in this."
"That was five years ago. If you don't have a better argument than he is a Malfoy and therefore evil, can we just sit here quietly until I leave?"
He sat down but glared at her, "He's our enemy."
"He was, I guess he's still yours, but I can't say the same for me. Any explanation I give won't make any sense to you. Just trust me that I'm doing the right thing."
"And if you're wrong about him?"
She shrugged, "I'm not."
"But if you are?"
"Then I'll deal with that problem if it arises, alright, Harry? Did you need me to say that? Does it make you feel better?"
"Well I'm just so happy." She slumped in her chair and ignored Harry's continued glares.
There was a 'ding' but she didn't know where it came from, "That's Malfoy," said Harry.
"He came through the microwave?"
Harry shot her a confused look and she shook her head, now he couldn't even understand her sense of humor. They went to the closet door that he'd sent Malfoy out of.
And there the man of the hour was, sweat covered, a little bloody, and overall looking beaten, but there. And alive. She told Harry where Malfoy's disk was hidden and went to the blond man. "You look like shit," she told him.
He scowled, "You should see the other guy."
She slung his arm over her shoulder, and, carrying most of his weight, began her walk down the hallway. "Goodbye, Harry." She said as she passed him. They walked off of Harry's property and neither looked back.
She'd decided on France, at least for the night. They were at a cottage, unbeknownst to the owner. During high season, the area they were in would be full of tourists, but it wasn't high season, and they were almost completely alone. No harm in borrowing the house for a night.
Malfoy was laying in the bed in the Master Bedroom.
Which was the only bedroom.
Which meant he was in the only bed.
She was trying not to think about that.
Holding a glass of water, she entered his room. He smiled when she entered, which seemed weird in and of itself. Since when did Malfoy smile at her?
And why did it make her feel all girly inside?
She handed him the glass. "It's too late to go anywhere right now, so I can't get you any painkillers. And there's not much of anything here." She'd given him a mild pain charm earlier, but anything stronger would have side effects that neither of them could afford if something happened.
She nodded and turned to leave the room.
"What's the matter, Granger? We've both had worse than this, but you're acting like I'm on my death bed or something."
It definitely wasn't that. "No, I'm not."
"You, Hermione Granger, gave me a pain charm, and then offered me Muggle painkillers because you didn't think you were doing enough. We both know that I can walk, but you've brought me a water that I didn't even ask for. So, what's wrong?"
She threw her hands us in the air, "I almost got you killed. Has that not occurred to you yet? I trusted the wrong person, a person you warned me about, and you had to pay for my stupidity."
Still amazingly calm, he patted a spot next to him on the bed. "Even I didn't think that he'd betray you. I am angry, just so you know, but not at you. You saved my life, so what if it's your fault that it was put in jeopardy in the first place? Thanks, by the way."
"Are you sure you're alright?" She studied his face, looking for signs of a head injury.
"Let's just say I've realized a few things."
He shrugged, "I don't think I'm going to tell you just yet."
She decided to ignore his strange attitude, if he didn't want to tell, she wouldn't push him just yet. "You know that we can't go back to England?"
"Harry will take out Las Brujas soon, I know that. Especially with the information we gave him, but until we're certain that they're no longer a threat, we can't go back."
"I know, Granger."
"I need to call my parents in the morning. I--you don't care. Sorry, I just need to go think."
She began to stand, but he grabbed onto her wrist. "If you want to talk, I'll listen, Hermione." Her eyes widened a little at the use of her first name.
She shook her head, "I can take care of my family, Malfoy. I don't need to vent out all my angst on you."
"What else are you going to do? We've got all night."
Why did it sound like he had a few alternatives to voice. Hermione ignored that voice in her head. "I was just going to say that I'll pass on the contacts that they'll need to arrange new identities. Simple stuff for us, but it's harder for Muggles."
"I know how to do it the Muggle way." He grinned again, but she tried her best to ignore it. "So, where to next?"
"You want to stay together? I'd been thinking it would be best if we split up." She felt herself being pulled closer, but didn't resist.
"You know those revelations I told you about?" She nodded, "Well I'll tell you two of them." She raised her eyebrows. "One is that I'm sticking with you."
He didn't continue, so she prompted, "And?"
He pulled her close, there faces were now only an inch or two apart, "Two," he whispered, "Is that I'm going to kiss you."
And he did.
This wasn't like that other kiss they'd shared while mixing the potions, or like any of their shared dreams. This was a real kiss. She would have expected a gentle meeting of lips for their first time, but this was Malfoy. His mouth was almost violent in its desperation. It was just this side of painful, but as first real kisses went, it knocked all others out of the water.
And just like that, he let her go. She was a little breathless as she stared into his eyes, "Just how many of those revelations did you have?"
He smiled, not a grin or a smirk, and said, "Wouldn't you like to know?"
Things to come wouldn't be easy. Even if Harry and his vigilantes destroyed Las Brujas, too many people knew about her past for her life to ever return to normal. Her parents who she'd successfully kept in the dark for so long would be thrust violently into a world she'd tried to keep hidden. She'd never been a regular witch, but for years she'd been able to pretend. Now the time for pretending was over, and she wasn't as afraid as she should have been.
But she was alive, so was Malfoy, and now it was time to try for a new life. Looking into his eyes, with the taste of him still on her lips, that didn't seem to bad.
She grinned at him. This will work, she thought.
And, for now, she let herself believe that it was true.
I hope you liked it. Please review.