A/N's: First the standard disclaimer – I don't own any of the characters, they belong to the fab Jo Rowling, and I'm not making any money off this or anything.
Second, thanks as always goes to EllaMarie for being an absolutely wonderful Beta who never ceases to find all my spelling mistakes! I recommend her stories to you as she's a wonderful writer.
Lastly, please be warned – this story contains two major character deaths. I hope this won't put you off reading.
I Won't See You Tonight
He had not set foot in Azkaban before. It was pretty much as he'd imagined it to be, even with the Dementors no longer casting their dreaded imprint on the place. Most of those foul creatures had been destroyed in the War - for it would always be remember as the War - but some had survived, fleeing to Merlin knew where, persued by the Aurors. Even with them gone the stone gaol still held a kind of lingering feeling of despair but almost ghost-like; sort of like the feeling you get when you've been wearing a hat for a long time and finally take it off, only for certain movements to make it feel like it's still on. It was a silly comparison, but the only one that came to mind. Not that he really registered it. He was occupied with other thoughts, as he had been since that fateful day. And the reason he was here.
Looming and foreboding from the outside, perched atop a jagged outcrop of rock that was the only feature in miles of endless sea, the fortress was equally oppressive inside. It was dark; candles were spaced far and between along the corridors, only adding to the gloomy atmosphere. It was cold, not cold enough for his breath to cloud in the air but enough to make itself known and for him to draw his black robes around him a little tighter. But most of all it was quiet; where once the prisoners had screamed and moaned day and night as the Dementors moved along the corridors, sapping what joy and pleasant memories they had from their lives, now it's occupants were silent. Not that the cells were empty; he was aware of the many eyes that watched him from the darkness behind the rusting iron bars, aware of the malice that those glares turned on him - their leader was gone, and he was the reason. And now he walked amongst them, moving silently and purposefully along the corridors. There was the occasional rustling of chains, and from outside the boom of the surf against the rocks drifted in through the barred windows, but it was quiet. The tang of salt from the sea was in the air. Albus had advised him not to come, that it would do no good, that it would not bring her back. He knew that. But he had to do this. He had to face him . . . the one who took her away. Even the briefest thought of it began to bring back the pain, so he quickly buried it. He would grieve again later, as he would grieve for the rest of his life. But now was not the time. He was almost there. What he was doing there, he wasn't even sure of himself. He just knew that he had to do it.
The cell he was looking for was at the end of the corridor on one of the highest levels of the fortress. Up here only a few of the cells were occupied; one or two of the occupants let out low hisses as he passed but he paid them no attention. His heart was pounding heavily in his chest and his thoughts were swirling. The one who had done it was here, at the end of the corridor. There was a solitary candle burning in a holder set into the wall opposite the cell's entrance, casting a feeble light that penetrated very little into the cell itself. But he could see the occupant of the cell was in there as he stopped and faced the iron bars. From the small barred window a sliver of moonlight fell in, casting a stripe of silvery light over the prisoner. Whilst most of him was still cloaked in darkness, he could see that he was sitting with his back to the wall in an almost casual position, one arm behind his neck and his legs stretched out into the darkness. He could see the manacles attached to his wrists, but not the ones he knew were attached to his legs. He had to fight hard to catch his breath as the great well of emotion inside him flooded up, threatening to burst. The hatred he felt was utter and complete, searing his every breath. The occupant of the cell registered his appearance; the one grey eye that was not hidden behind a long lock of silvery-blonde hair narrowed in obvious loathing. His visitor was wearing black robes with the hood up, but from the darkness within the hood he could see those all-too-familiar green eyes regarding him.
He watched as the cell's occupant raised his head and met his gaze for a moment. Then he spoke; his voice dry but somehow still retaining it's drawl despite all that had happened.
"Well well, if it isn't Saint Potter. I was wondering when you'd turn up."
From under his hood Harry regarded him for a moment more, controlling the utter rage that threatened to swallow him. When he finally spoke his voice was cold, flat.
He slowly reached up and withdrew his hood. From inside the cell Draco watched as that familiar face was revealed, and he was pleased at the obvious grief he saw in those green eyes. The famous scar was visible through the hair hanging loosely over his forehead; it had turned a bright fiery red upon Voldemort's demise (and bringing with it a pain so intense Harry had almost passed out) but was now a dark coal red.
"It's been three months, Potter. I've been expecting you before now, you know. I've almost been looking forward to it, to tell the truth, as this place is nothing but boring."
In the slit of moonlight Harry saw him smirk. It only fuelled his anger. That he could still be so arrogant and obnoxious, even now.
"Take as long as you like, I'm not going anywhere," Draco drawled through the bars.
Harry took a step towards the bars.
"Come out of the dark, Malfoy. I want to see you."
"No I'm fine back here, thanks Scar-Head. So what shall we talk about, old times? Hogwarts?"
"Look at you, sitting there . . . like you've done nothing wrong . . . like you don't care . . ."
Inside the cell Draco yawned deeply, making sure that Harry could see him doing it.
"Get up and look at me," Harry said venomously. He had begun to visibly quake with anger. The voices inside his head had started up again, telling him that coming here was a mistake and it could do no good and what could he hope to achieve by doing it and there was her voice too of course there was her voice always there . . .
Inside the cell there was a rattle of chains as Draco sat forward, throwing his profile into the light. His silver-blonde hair was long and unkempt, and he was clothed in the same dirtied and torn prison uniform Harry had seen on Sirius's wanted posters - had that only been four years ago? It seemed like a lifetime - with a serial number stamped on the breast. The left sleeve had a long tear along it, revealing the Dark Mark emblazoned on the skin beneath. Even though he was dirty and with the beginnings of a gaunt look in his cheekbones, his eyes were very much alive. Those grey eyes narrowed in amused contempt and, with a sneering grin, he looked Harry dead in the eye.
"What's the matter, Potter?" he goaded. "Thinking about Granger?"
With a strangled cry Harry stepped up to the bars and gripped them tightly.
"SHUT UP!" he roared, the anger he had been fighting to control taking over him. "SHUT UP! YOU DARE SPEAK HER NAME?"
(I know you will Harry, and I always will too)
"Hermione Granger," Draco said in response, smirking again as Harry's green eyes blazed in anger. And pain. Oh yes, and with pain. That was good. He wanted to see this close up. Oh, how he had been waiting for Potter to come. Waiting and waiting.
The chains rustled again as Draco pulled himself to his feet and walked over to the bars. They allowed him to just reach the edge of the candlelight, about a foot away from the bars themselves. He brushed his hair back from his eyes and regarded the saviour of the Wizarding World, standing just over a foot away from him and visibly shaking with anger and grief. Merlin, there were tears in his eyes too.
"You killed her," Harry said quietly, his head shaking very slowly from side to side.
"I don't deny it," Draco said evenly. "One less Mudblood cluttering up the world, I certainly won't miss her-"
Harry let out another roar of rage made as if to pounce on Malfoy, stopped only by the iron bars separating the two of them. All the time Draco continued to smirk at him. Then he leaned in as closely as the chains would allow.
"And I tell you what else Potter," he whispered. "I enjoyed it."
It had happened so fast. So fast. The War had been won. The battleground had been Hogwarts - where else would Voldemort have chosen to strike - and the losses had been heavy. Smoke had hung in the air surrounding the grounds; Hagrid's cabin and some sections of the Forbidden Forest were on fire. Everywhere was bits of rubble and scorch marks from spells and curses, and there were bodies. Too many bodies. Many were black-robed and masked Death Eaters, but many were Aurors, teachers and students. People Harry had known and cared for. His heart had broken as he watched Fred and George bear Ginny's lifeless body into the castle, tears streaming down their faces. Brave Ginny, the final victim of Bellatrix Lestrange. Bellatrix herself was dead, unable to match the fury of Ron's wand. He had avenged his sister, but found little satisfaction in doing it.
And of course there was Voldemort's body, laying broken and smoking on the lawn before the castle. He and Harry had faced each other in the Entrance Hall, which was now a scene of utter devastation, and the force of Harry's final spell had blown Voldemort out through the great oak doors. That he was dead was no question; every Death Eater still standing had suddenly sank to their knees, clutching their left arm in agony as the Dark Mark flared an angry red. Harry had staggered out and inspected the body himself before finally allowing himself to feel the freedom he had been denied for so long. It was finally over.
Or so he thought.
Hermione had emerged from the greenhouses clutching a bleeding wound on her right arm ("Just a Cutting Curse," she told him dismissively) but relatively unscathed. It was only when he took her in his arms did he finally feel complete, and safe. To finally be able to enjoy the prospect of life, and a life with Hermione a part of it. He had kissed her then
(Stop it you know that tickles!)
not knowing it would be the last time, and taken her hand as they walked into the castle. People were emerging from the Great Hall to the left calling for help; with a quick squeeze of his hand Hermione had gone over to them. From behind him he heard a quiet hail from Ron, and he had gone back to the blasted doors and embraced his friend, whose eyes were wet with tears.
"Ginny," Ron had croaked.
"I know," Harry had said softly. "I know." But then . . .
Draco Malfoy's voice rang out across the hall, and all heads turned to the entrance to the dungeons. His mask was long gone and the black robes he wore were not Hogwarts but unmistakably those of a Death Eater. Time had seemed to slow down for Harry then. Both he and Ron reached for their wands but Draco already had his drawn. He had time to take in the situation, realise he was outnumbered, see Hermione and make his choice. Even as Harry felt his hand grip his wand he saw the evil look in Malfoy's eye, knew instinctively what he was going to do and knew even then that he couldn't stop it, there wasn't enough time as even though both he and Ron now had their wands out Malfoy had brought his down in a sweeping arc and with a triumphant yell
he sent the killing curse towards the girl that Harry Potter loved, the one he would have shared his life with, the one who still had both arms around the arm of an injured student who was finding it hard to walk, the one whose beautiful face held a look of sheer surprise and had no chance to defend herself as the deadly spell rushed towards her.
It was too fast. Harry saw the blast of green light, heard the hauntingly familiar sound that was like the rushing of the wind and then Hermione collapsed to the ground. He didn't register anything after that, not Ron's cry of "Stupefy!" or the jet of red light that blew Malfoy back down the stairs into the dungeons. Not the screams filling the air around him, not even the wailing sound of despair he himself was making. He ran to her, held her lifeless body. At that point, nothing else mattered.
Draco watched the torment flickering across his face with amusement.
"Do you want to curse me, Potter? Do you want to kill me? Avenge the Mudblood you loved? Do want to take out your wand and hurt me, Potter?"
Harry didn't answer him. Oh yes, how he wanted to do all those things to him. It must have showed in his eyes, for Malfoy only smirked even more.
"Too bad, Scarface. No wands allowed in Azkaban now, not even for the guards. New rules and all. I doubt they'd be bent even for you." He spat the last word in contempt.
"I don't need a wand, Malfoy," Harry said calmly.
He gave a quick flick of his left hand and said "Alohomora."
The lock clicked and with a squeal of rust the cell door swung open. Malfoy's eyes widened briefly at this display of wandless magic but his sneer quickly returned.
"Ever the show-off."
Harry walked slowly into the cell. Draco backed away a few paces, the manacles clanking as he did so, and for the first time his face briefly betrayed a flicker of fear.
"What are you going to do, Potter? The guards will hear you, whatever you do!"
"Why did you do it, Malfoy?" Harry asked quietly, acting as if he'd not heard Draco's question. "Why? It was over. It's what I don't understand."
Malfoy laughed scornfully, regaining some of his swagger.
"Why did I do it? Because I hate you, Potter. I would have thought that was obvious. I knew that the Dark Lord was dead, I felt the Mark burn . . . I had to have some revenge. It wasn't going to be a glorious victory for you, oh no, not if I could help it. And when I saw her in the entrance hall, I knew what I had to do!"
Moving incredibly fast, Harry grabbed Draco by the throat with a cry of anger and pinned him against the back wall of the cell in a choking grip, using his other arm to hold Draco's own arms at bay. Now Harry was the one caught in the silver of the moonlight, and the tears in his eyes sparkled.
"You killed her!" Harry cried. "YOU TOOK HER AWAY FROM ME!"
(Honestly Harry we're never going to get this assignment done if you keep doing that)
Draco coughed and spluttered against Harry's grip. He had not been in Azkaban for that long, but he was already weakened and could not throw Harry off. Yet still the malevolent gleam in his eye remained, and he coughed out his words as best he could as Harry continued to choke him, shaking with anger.
"Do it, Potter!" Draco spat. "Do it! Kill me! There's dark in you, just like the master said, I can see it in your eyes . . . you want to do it . . . think of what I did to her! Think of the things I would have done to her if I'd taken her alive, as the Dark Lord wanted - oh!"
Harry's fist connected solidly with Draco's stomach and he let him fall to the floor. Draco retched and brought up the remains of his last meal, his stomach churning with pain. Harry breathed in and out deeply as he fought to control the red haze consuming him. He would not do it,
(I love you too)
he wouldn't lower himself to the level of Voldemort and the disgrace of a Wizard at his feet. He would not turn to the Dark Side, not even for the briefest of moments to allow himself revenge.
"You can't do it," Draco said from below, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. "You coward, I knew it . . ."
Before he could react Harry had hauled him to his feet once again and thrown him back against the wall roughly, but he did not pin him there.
"Oh I could do it Malfoy, and you know it," Harry said, his eyes briefly flashing once more, but then the anger was gone and there was only the grief and the pain evident in them. "But I won't do it. For her. She wouldn't want me to."
Draco was breathing heavily, holding one hand to his throat which was burning from where Harry had choked him. For the moment he could think of nothing to say.
"I wouldn't expect you to understand how much I loved her. If you even understand what love is at all. You obviously knew that I did love her, why else would you have chosen her . . . but you could never understand just how much I loved her. How important she was to me . . ."
"Oh, someone conjure me a violin."
Harry's eyes narrowed and he seemed to contemplate striking him again, but his arm did not raise.
"So I'm going to show you."
Draco rolled his eyes, or rather his eye as the other had become hidden by a long clump of hair again.
"You're going to show me?" he said contemptuously. "Do you honestly think that I care? I hate you, Potter. Killing Granger? Seeing what it's done to you? Nothing has given me more pleasure in my entire life, and nothing you can do will change that."
(Do you promise you'll come back, Harry?)
Draco was sure that would do it, was sure that would send Potter over the edge. But it didn't. Instead he simply gave a wave of his right hand and said "Legilimens."
Instantly the cell disappeared, and to Draco's horror his memories were being laid out before him. And with the memories came all the emotions attached to them, flooding through him as sharp as the bitter taste in his mouth had been after he'd vomited. And Potter was in control. His voice came to him clearly.
"I can show you anything from your memories, Malfoy. Everything you'd rather forget and never hoped to see again, like this . . ."
Suddenly he was a ferret again, being bounced back and forth off the ceiling with the roaring laughter of the Gryffindors in his ears . . .
"Or this . . ."
He was four, and his father was beating him with his serpent-crowned cane for wetting the bed . . .
"Or any of the other things you'd rather not see . . . but that's not the point. I'm going to show you my memories, Malfoy. I'm going to show you just what you've done, what you've taken away. Maybe then you'll understand . . ."
The scene before him disappeared and Draco felt a tug in his chest that was not dissimilar to a Portkey and then all he registered was blur of images and a roar of voices and-
He couldn't believe the girl in his arms was is. This was too good to be true. He was Harry Potter, the boy doomed to have the most miserable life in existence, not Harry Potter the boy who finally had something go right for a change . . .
"Why are you smiling like that?" Hermione asked him, smiling herself.
"You," was the only thing Harry could say, and grinned even more at the fabulous shade of pink Hermione's cheeks became.
They were in the Gryffindor common room, laying entwined on the sofa next to the fire. This was
(the night we got together)
in Sixth Year, and it had taken all of Harry's Gryffindor courage to do it, to finally take the plunge Ron had been encouraging him to take ("Go on, you daft git!" were his final words before Harry left to find Hermione) and admit to her what he was feeling, what he knew he'd been feeling ever since she'd been hit by the curse and he'd realised what life would be like without her
(what life was like now)
but this was then, and the warmth of the fire was nice and the feel of Hermione pressed against him was even nicer, and her hair was soft and her kisses were softer and the best thing of all was realising that this was his best friend and that she loved him, Harry Potter, not anyone else but him. She had chosen him, something no-one else had ever done and how his heart had swelled to think of that and for the first time ever none of the bad things that haunted him were unbearable anymore, not his longing for his parents, not the horrible Dursleys, not Sirius being gone. With Hermione everything would be all right . . .
"Can you feel it yet, Malfoy?"
christmas time now and they're outside in the snow, acting more like six year olds than sixteen as for the first time Hermione joins in their traditional snowball fight and the air is filled with laughter and shrieks and flying snow; Team Snitch scores a triumphant win over Team Snorkack after Hermione levitates what seems like a football pitch's worth of snow onto Ron's head. Ron looks to Luna to demand to know why she didn't help, but Luna is busy building a Snow-Ron and Ginny is laughing uncontrollably. Then an icy ball of snow scores a direct hit on Hermione and she turns, shocked, to where Harry is standing and grinning at her. "You're going down, Potter!" she says gleefully and begins to chase him towards the Quidditch Pitch . . .
"Every happy memory I have is because of her."
now Harry and Hermione are sitting together atop the Astronomy Tower wrapped in a blanket and each other's arms and Harry makes a promise to himself that never again will he let anything hurt her
(Merlin she was beautiful)
walking out of Transfiguration and Harry felt Hermione's hand slip into his own and he smiled at her, marvelling at the tingle her touch sent travelling up his arm and at how such a simple act as holding her hand made his heart want to skip a beat
"Are you beginning to understand? To know just how much she meant to me? To feel it?"
her eyes, so incredibly brown . . . her hair which was so long and soft and it was still bushy but he wouldn't have it any other way . . . her hands which fit so perfectly into his own . . . how perfectly their bodies had fit together, when they finally took that step . . . the feel of her breath on his ear . . . her whispered voice telling him that she loved him, how hearing that made him feel truly happy . . .
seventh year, and the pride he feels as she ecstatically jumps up and down with her new Head Girl badge
"Have you ever experienced love like this?"
she's fallen asleep in front of the fire with a quill and parchment on her lap, and somehow don't ask him how but she's got ink on her nose and she's never looked more adorable
"Have you ever had it taken away from you?"
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" those words echoing around the hall and that sickly green light is flashing and the horrible rushing sound is coming, that sound that has plagued so many of Harry's dreams as he remembers his parents deaths and no it's all happening again and I'm too late I can't stop it and now it's hit her and she's on the floor and oh Merlin no please don't let this be happening please I love her I need her please don't let her be dead and Merlin she's cold how can she be cold already please no
(I love you)
she's all floppy and her eyes are open and this can't be happening I was supposed to see you tonight after dinner you had classes all day and then you had to see McGonagall but I was supposed to see you tonight
(I won't see you tonight)
(I won't see you any night)
Everything is perfectly vivid. Harry's heart shatters into a thousand pieces once again as he relives that moment, the moment he realises Hermione is gone and that she won't be coming back. There are no words to describe the pain; surely his heart has been scooped out and smeared onto the floor for there is only a hole in his chest where it once was. All the light has gone out of the world. All the hope for a long and happy future with the girl he loved is gone, snuffed out in an instant by the young man standing before him in the cell, entranced in the memories Harry is allowing to see, already he sees the despair in Malfoy's eyes as he shares everything he's feeling, and with a sob he lets it all flow into Malfoy unfiltered, nothing held back, all of his grief and pain and anguish and sorrow
(oh Merlin Hermione I love you I need you I miss you)
and then just like that he broke the connection. Malfoy gave a strangled cry and staggered back into the wall. Harry breathed in and out deeply, wiping the tears from his eyes. Malfoy is looking at him with a look of disbelief so utter that in a different situation it would have been comical.
"That's what you did," Harry said, his voice choked. He saw the disbelief and the confusion in Malfoy's eyes, and yes the understanding as well. Harry took no satisfaction in the growing look of horror creeping over his face, but inside him something settled and changed. He had had no idea what he was going to do when he had set out for Azkaban, but now he knew it was to do this. He would never forget Hermione, but now Malfoy never would either.
Harry turned and left the cell, closing the door and locking it with another wave of his hand. Draco slowly slid to the floor, the little humanity that remained in him utterly overwhelmed by the emotions he had just experienced. As Harry Potter's footsteps faded away along the corridor, Draco Malfoy hung his head and, for the first time in his life, he cried.