A/N: Well, my beloved reviewers and readers, it's all to and end with this chapters. Know that I cried like a fool while writing this and I think I just might hate myself for it because of it's sad demeanor. (sigh) Anyways... thanks to: All-American Vampire, Magicalflame, sweet-essence03 (my self-appointed fan club president? I have a fan club? -faints- Oh joy! lol. Double thanks), san01, PapayaCrazy, Twilight Elf-Maiden, Gaerwen, and anyone that might not have got to review for Chapter 28 but read. In fact, thanks to everyone. You're the best bunch of reviewers anyone could ask for and I'm sad to say that this is the last, I'll miss you! Thanks again for making this such a success!
And finally... the fin!
Chapter 29 – A Prophecy Fulfilled
"You were wonderful," Tom said as he and Hermione walked up to his dorm, Hermione holding a single long stem red rose.
"Let's not cast your magnificent performance into the shadows... I believe you deserve some of the limelight," Hermione said as she nudged him in the side with her elbow.
"I was pretty darn good, wasn't I?" Tom laughed.
Hermione rolled her eyes as they entered his common room and sat down upon the couch. She was happy to be in her comfortable pajamas which she had put on immediately after the final bow on stage. She laid her rose on the coffee table and snuggled up to Tom, her eyes just registering the time before closing under her heavy eyelids. 11:30 p.m.
"Harry!" Ron bellowed from across the first floor of the Ministry.
Harry turned around in just enough time to see Voldemort emerge from a room and send Avada Kedavra his way. He was about to be struck, his senses freezing him, when Ron jumped in from out of nowhere. Ron deflected the spell, but couldn't save himself from the Killing Curse sent by Lucius Malfoy. Ron's red hair was green for a split second that felt like an eternity to Harry who watched his friend drop to the floor, froze in eternal slumber.
"RON!" Harry shouted as he felt pain surge in his chest. His best friend was now dead. "DUMBLEDORE!"
Where was he?
Hermione awoke with a start. She started around the room. It wasn't the room that she had remembered falling asleep in, but a room she recognized. Tom's bed chambers. She paid no attention to this though, that wasn't what had awoken her. She strained her ears to hear the sound again. Tap. Tap. Tap. Like popcorn popping in a tin.
She crawled out of bed, careful not to wake the still fully clothed and lightly snoring Tom. She crept to the door and peered out into the common room. Something was using magic down there. She could see the light of it. She pulled out her own wand from her sewn on pocket on her pants and sneaked down the stairs.
She peered around the corner of the stairwell into the common room and saw something she next quite expected. The silver instrument. The one that had sent her back to this time in the first place. It was sitting on Tom's coffee table next to her rose and it was rocking about as though ready to explode.
She rushed forward, but stopped before passing the couch as she saw something across the room shine. She whipped around quickly, her wand finding its target on a white haired man in half-moon spectacles. Dumbledore.
She gaped at him as he stood up, his glasses flashing again in the firelight. He approached her and her head throbbed harder with each step he took. She dropped to the floor and was about to scream, but she never heard herself do so as Dumbledore cast a spell upon her. She fell forward on the floor, riving in agony as her brain beat with the feeling of being pricked all over by thousands upon thousands of needles.
She felt as though she needed to sleep, but Dumbledore turned her over and poured something into her mouth. It was a familiar burn that made her throat feel like it was on fire. Pepper-Up Potion. She laid there for what felt like only a few minutes before sitting up slowly, her head still pounding dully.
"Ready to go home, Miss Granger?" Dumbledore asked.
"Go home?" she repeated.
"Yes... back to the future," Dumbledore beamed at her, his eyes twinkling.
Horror rushed over her. She was to go back now, but she truly didn't want to. What about Tom? Would he be left alone? He needed her. She couldn't leave him.
"We must hurry. Harry and the others need us," Dumbledore whispered.
"Tom," Hermione muttered as tears filled her eyes.
"I'll give you a moment or two to say good-bye, but you mustn't wake him or tell him you're from the future," Dumbledore advised.
Hermione nodded as she got up and walked back up the stairs to Tom's room. It all felt so surreal. She had wanted to go back so badly before, but now that the time was here, she wished it would go away and never come back. She wanted to stay on here. Be with Tom.
She took a deep, steadying breath and pushed his bed chamber door open before entering. She stared at his sleeping form, his handsome face lit and looking paler than normal in the moonlight. She opened the drawer on his nightstand and dug around for some parchment and a quill. She wrote him a quick note and laid it on his chest as her eyes burned with tears and her lips quivered. She leaned over, placing a kiss on his forehead and then on his lips before standing up and leaving rather reluctantly.
She exited his bedroom, pulling the door shut behind her enough to leave a crack in the door. She turned to see Dumbledore at the top of the stairs, making his way over to her. He smiled at her and she wiped the tears from her eyes as Dumbledore turned a few dials. She watched as the instrument went through its familiar movements and froze time, the fire in the common room freezing as its crackling ceased, the shooting star outside the window freezing in place, and the trees no longer swaying in the breeze. She looked at Dumbledore before feeling the familiar pull and taking her last glimpse of the room.
When they stopped, Hermione dropped to the floor and hear people screaming around her. Her body ached all over and she felt hands on her arm, pulling her up from the floor. When she stood, she shook her head and heard someone scream her name.
"Hermione!" Harry shouted.
She opened her eyes and found herself inside the Ministry of Magic. The was carnage everywhere along the corridor, but the one thing she noticed immediately was the man with which Harry was battling. A tall, gaunt man with a snake-like appearance. She strained her eyes and searched deep within his red pools and saw something in surprised expression. Recognition.
"Tom," Hermione whispered.
Tom's bedroom door slammed open and he gasped as he sat upright in the bed, a letter falling from off his chest and into his lap. He looked around for Alice, but didn't see her. Figuring that maybe she went back to her common room, he picked the letter up out of his lap. Tom. It was Alice's neat scrawl.
He flipped the parchment over with trembling fingers and unfolded it. He looked down at the parchment as he leaned over and turned on the lamp. His eyes took only a second to adjust before he began to read the writing of his beloved.
No tears. No fears. Remember there's always tomorrow. So what if we have to part, we'll be together again. Your kiss. Your smile. Are memories I'll treasure forever. So try thinking with your heart. We'll be together again. Times when I know you'll be lonesome. Times when I know you'll be sad. Don't let temptation surround you. Don't let the blues make you bad.
Just promise me one thing: that you will, no matter what, stay as you were before I left. Sweet and completely kind, warm hearted and intelligent, gentle and caring, honest and generous. You're so much better that way. And remember, you'll always have a place in my heart.
Tom reread the letter. Had he missed something? Alice. Gone. His love. The one thing that mattered most to him. Gone. If she was gone, then what was left to live for?
"Tom," Hermione muttered again.
Voldemort stared at her and then pointed his wand in her direction, but something in his eyes told her to have no fear. Something shimmered and sparkled there. Tears.
"Alice," Tom muttered as tears fell down his snow colored cheeks. "You were my only friend. My love."
Tom stood up from the bed and walked to the bathroom, staring into the mirror and feeling empty. He looked long and hard at himself, but saw nothing. 'I'm nothing without her' Tom thought distantly. He staggered back into his room and pulled from under his bed his journal. He opened it to a fresh page and searched the nightstand drawer for a quill and ink.
He dropped the bottle and it rolled across the floor as he wiped tears from his eyes and groped for it. He finally opened it and dipped his quill into it, upsetting the ink bottle onto his sheets as he began to scrawl across the page of his diary.
This is my request of you: Find Alice. Give her this.
Tom ripped the page from the diary and folded it, addressing it to the Deputy Headmaster. He then went to the next clean page in his journal and began to write something new.When he finished, he closed the diary and found some string that he used to tie letters to the school owls. He tied Dumbledore's letter to the journal and held it to his chest as he stared into the drawer of the night stand. There was his wand.
He reached for it, but paused. He gulped down all fear and snatched it from the drawer. He looked down a the black wood of his wand, feeling raw power crackling from it down through his hand. He thought for a moment about what he had to live for. Where was his ambition for power that he had once used to drive him through live? It, just like Alice, was gone.
She had changed him greatly. He thought about the dreams he had once had. To become the greatest wizard of the time and rule over the wizarding world in darkness and make all bow before him while punishing Muggles for their distrust in magic and poison to that wonderful world. It meant nothing now. She had torn that dream down for him and given him a new one. A new hope for a wonderful life of love and happiness with her. But, just like the last dream he had, she tore that down too.
Maybe he could start anew and still become the most power dark lord to ever live. 'No' he thought brokenly. None of it was worth it now. Nothing was worth it now. She was gone and there would always be a hole in him. An incompletion. He would be a walking emptiness for the rest of his lonely being. He would never find another like her. Never love again. Never do anything. What was the sense of being if his life was going to mean nothing at all?
There was no sense in it. So there was only one thing for him to do. He stood from the bed and walked to the window. He looked out at the cold January early morning. The sun hadn't even risen yet and everything was still cast into darkness. He turned away from the window and squeezed the wand in his hand as he closed his eyes tight like trying to block out even his own memory. He pictured Alice and her smile, forced his lips to recall the touch of hers upon his. Urged his hands to feel her fingers between his like they were holding hands as he tightened his grip on his wand and raised it to his won chest.
"A-A," Tom muttered as he became overcome with tearful emotion. "Ava- I love you, Alice."
He dropped to his knees and felt his heart twinge. It panged in his chest and he shook for a second with a violent sob. He loosened his grip on his wand slightly as he felt his throat tighten with a lump from crying. He hugged the diary to his chest and breathed deep, but the air in his nostrils felt stale and lacking. Alice's scent wasn't on it and he let out a hiccup as he wished he could touch her face once more. Run his fingers through her hair.
His chest throbbed in agony again and he felt he could take no more. He raised his wand once more and gripped it fast as he forced his mind to concentrate, yet he could still see Alice's shining chocolate orbs and dazzling smile.
"Avada Kedavra!" Tom said quickly.
His body seized up. His memory froze as his brain shut down. The last thing on his mind before darkness the picture of Alice. His breath froze in his lungs and his heart gave one last torturous throb which felt as though his heart split completely in two before stopping. He dropped backward on the floor, the diary still clutched in his hand. Tom Riddle, some would say, died due to suicide, but few knew the real truth, which was that he died of heartbreak.
"You," Voldemort muttered. "You brought Dumbledore back... you were the cause of trouble for me," he hissed. "Ava-," he stopped there though.
His wand dropped from his hand as he clutched his chest and looked around in alarm. What was happening? Hermione gasped as Harry ran to her and Dumbledore cast a shield around them. Voldemort dropped to his knees as he stared at his hands. They were disappearing into thin air.
"What- what's happening?" Voldemort shouted. "You... girl! What did you do?"
Hermione sputtered as Dumbledore and Harry shielded their eyes. With a blinding white light, Voldemort disappeared. Just as he ceased to exist, the ground shook, screams filled the air, and the last thing Hermione remembered was the feeling of someone tearing open her skull.
"Miss Granger?" Dumbledore said softly as Hermione's eyes fluttered open.
She looked around the brightly lit white room and smelled the unique smell of the hospital. She sat up slowly in the bed, still getting a head rush even though she did.
"Where am I?" she asked as she put a hand to her head.
"St. Mungo's... where most everyone had been," Dumbledore replied simply. "It's all part of the change you helped to make."
"I helped-," Hermione began. "You mean... I-I did it?"
"Indeed you did," Dumbledore nodded.
"With his parents at the Weasley's who are having quiet the get together this afternoon in celebration of Harry's birthday," Dumbledore informed.
Hermione felt overcome with a wave of emotion as she smiled broadly.
"Would you like to know of all that you've done?" Dumbledore inquired.
Hermione just nodded and Dumbledore sat down upon the edge of her bed as though settling in for a long story.
"First off, Harry has a loving family of a mother, father, baby brother, and godfather. The Weasleys' are celebrating the new repairs they've put on their house because of Fred and George's success with their shop. Charlie has been given a Third Class of Merlin award for work with dragons. Bill and Fleur are expecting their first child. Ginny will be returning to Hogwarts where I am Headmaster."
"All that because of me?" Hermione cut in as Dumbledore paused for breath.
"That's not all," he said as he pulled a copy of the Daily Prophet from his robes. "Two wedding announcements."
Hermione saw the smiling faces of Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang as they posed for a picture above their wedding announcement. Next to them was a picture of an awkward looking Remus Lupin and his soon-to-be-bride Tonks as she grinned broadly and waved while hugging Lupin above their wedding announcement. Below that, Hermione noticed a different section of the paper announcing that Ron Weasley had a just been appointed the position of Keeper on the Chudley Canons team.
"I- everyone is so happy," Hermione stuttered.
"And all because of you," Dumbledore beamed. "Oh, and I mustn't forget to tell you... Neville Longbottom was made Head Boy the last year as your partner. He's got his parents back, you know?"
Hermione laughed tearfully and threw her arms around Dumbledore's neck.
"I have one more thing for you," he said as he pulled a black book from his robes. "I'll leave you to read while I go over here and raid your get well gifts," he chuckled before getting up to leave Hermione to read.
"Thank you," she said as she looked down at the book.
There upon the cover in gold was the name Tom Marvolo Riddle. Hermione stopped breathing as her heart skipped a beat. She quickly opened the book and flipped to the last page with writing upon it. There she found a letter written to her.
When I'm alone with my fancies...I'll be with you. Weaving romances...making believe they're true. But outside those dreams, I'll never smile again until I smile at you. I'll never laugh again. What good would it do? For tears would fill my eyes. My heart would realize that our romance is through. I'll never love again because I'm so in love with you. I'll never thrill again to somebody new. Within my heart I know I will never start to smile again until I smile at you.
You see, you went away and my heart went with you. I speak your name in my every prayer and see your face in my every thought. If there is some other way to prove that I love you, I swear I don't know how. You'll never know if you don't know now. You'll never know just how much I miss you. You'll never know just how much I care. Our time together was all too special and perfect, kind of like a performance. A performance of real life and heart.
I see my role as playing in love with you as my sweetheart. Act One was where we met and I loved you at first glance. You read your lines so cleverly and never missed a cue. Then came Act Two. You seemed to change, at times you acted strange, and why I'll never know. I guess our love was just never meant to be, but I had no cause to doubt it. But if given a second chance, I do it all again because I'd rather go on believing lies than to go on living without you. Now my stage of life is bare, and I'm standing here with emptiness all around. And if you won't come back to me, then it's time to bring the curtain down.
Hermione felt hot tears soak her cheeks and a whimpering sound escape her lips.
"That was found with Mr. Riddle when we found him in his room," Dumbledore informed. "Boreas Black was the one who found him. Tom instructed in a letter that I leave that to you."
"What- what happened to him?" Hermione asked, fearing the answer because she felt she already knew it.
"He committed suicide," Dumbledore answered gravely. "His heart was broken and he couldn't handle life without Alice Granger."
Hermione broke into uncontrollable sobs, Dumbledore handing her some tissues as he sat down upon the bed once more. He patted her hand and continued to speak to her.
"Look at all the good you did, though," he soothed.
Hermione said nothing though as she hugged the diary to her and thought of Tom. Was he better off this way? Without the cruelties of the world and at least knowing some love before he left this God forsaken world of so many evils and so little good. Maybe.
"C'mon, Hermione," Ron called as he pulled Hermione away from the pond at the Weasleys' house and over to the party.
He grabbed her hand and she smiled. She had missed him so. Thoughts of old returned to her. Living in a small cottage in the countryside with him. The perfect fairytale. This was her love, yet she still felt the tiniest bit of emptiness. She had loved Tom. It was possible to love more than one, yet never one as much as the other. She knew her place was here with Ron as he led her over to the crowd and began to introduce her to his relatives.
They came to a familiar looking on, one Hermione had seen once before but only for a brief moment. She strained to remember and suddenly it came back to her. Leo. When he had been under the aging spell for the play.
"Hermione, this is my dad's cousin, Leo Witte," Ron stated. "Leo... this is Hermione Granger. My girlfriend."
"Ah, Ronnie, she's a right beautiful one, she is," the older man laughed. "She reminds me a great deal of someone... Did you say her last name was Granger?"
"Yeah," Ron replied.
"Maybe you know my grandmother," Hermione said quickly. "Alice? She was my dad's birth mother... she died not too long ago."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Leo sighed.
"You never told me your grandmother was a witch," Ron whispered to her as Leo left them.
"She wasn't," Hermione laughed before excusing herself from Ron's side and joining Dumbledore who was on his own away from the crowd, watching everyone with twinkling eyes. "I know it maybe wrong for me to ask, but what happened to everyone else? Like Sandie and them?"
"Sandie and Brian got married and that was the last I heard of them. Tiffany... I believe you would know her as Oliver Wood's grandmother," Dumbledore informed. Hermione laughed at that when she remembered her first impression of Tiffany. "Leo I believe you just met. Arnold... he became a broom inventor... part of the inspiration for the Nimbus line."
"What about Abraxas and the other Slytherins?"
"Abraxas lived a cursed life... lost a great deal of his family's fortune, but still not enough to make them middle class. He died at an early age from dragon pox," Dumbledore informed. "His life was truly cursed for killing that unicorn. Dolohov was arrested not long after leaving Hogwarts for some crimes against Muggles and Rosier was arrested as well for assault charges on a group of young girls. I suppose that the other early Death Eaters lived pretty silence, but rich lives. Can't be too certain."
"Yeah," Hermione sighed. "One more questioned," she sighed. "Why do you and I remember the way things used to be?"
"Those who are involved in the change always do," Dumbledore replied simply before giving her a smile with twinkling eyes to put her at the greatest of ease.
It had all been worth it. Her prophecy, which she was still quite oblivious to had been fulfilled and the lives of her loved ones changed greatly. Though no one knew it, sweet little know-it-all bookworm Hermione Granger had made a world of difference.