Chapter Forty One
The Great Hall filled quickly as the students all dressed in their black robes filing in for the end of the year feast. Harry and Ron walked in hand and hand, no one seemed to care anymore as long has they kept their snogging to themselves. Hermione and Ginny walked in behind them. For the first time all year Ginny had a real smile on her face, being rid of Malfoy did her good. Gryffindors in general had much to smile about. They had won the house cup or at least that's the way it looked. You could never tell what Dumbledore had up his sleeve but chances where good for them. Hermione also had a smile but it was bitter- sweet. Hours before she had been in Severus' chamber for the last time this year. Their time together had been passionate and emotional. They had both cried freely, knowing that this was the last time they would be together for the next three months. They could just not figure out a way to see each other during the summer as hard as they tried. They promised to write each other and pick up next year where they left off. Hermione was in love with Severus and never intended to let him go. Severus at last felt complete, Hermione filled the void he had held for so long. Looking over the heads of her classmates she had to hold back tears when she say the pain in his eyes that he was failing to mask with his usual public snare. She stole glances at him during the entire feast and looked at him head on when Dumbledore stood and silence filled the room.
"Another year gone, and now it is time to award the house cup. In 4th place is Hufflepuff with 492 points, in 3rd place is Ravenclaw with 520 points, and taking second place is Slytherin with 625 points. Leaving Gryffindor is first place with 724 points. Now assuming my calculations are correct. Gryffindor wins the house cup!"
Cheers rang out over the room as black hats flew into the air. The noise level was overpowering, but a moment later there was complete silence when the doors to the Great Hall slammed open and no less then 300 deatheaters filled the room. A collective gasp rose from the students and staff, not only because of what was happening but the fact that leading the pack was none other then Gilderoy and Tifa Lockheart.
Mass ciaos broke out as the deatheaters stormed the Great Hall. Staff and students alike drew their wands. If they were going down it was going to be with honor. Spells started to fly everywhere as the battle for good against evil endured. Snape had worked his way to Hermione shielding her and her friends from as much of the havoc as he could. "Seems the Voldemort has a new right hand man, why the hell was I not informed. Oh well, I rather fight on this side anyway." Draco fought his way towards the Gryffindor table, he was determine to save Ginny even if she hated him. This was the least he could do for the hell he put her through this year and if he died it would be with noble intentions and not at the hand of his father. Unless father was in this mess, which was very likely. The teachers that were not really able to fight helped by removing as many students as possible from the scene. Dumbledore was locked in combat with both the Lockheart's, as Snape took out several of the weaker deatheaters. The Great Hall was slowly emptying out. Some of the deatheaters had fled, "Voldemort is not going to be happy." thought Snape as he took down yet other weakling. Gilderoy had Dumbledore in a less then fair position and Snape had no choice but to leave Hermione and her friends with Draco. Rushing over to the headmaster he took out first Gilderoy and then Tifa with a rush of well placed spells. He had not killed them but he was sure they would not be getting up anytime soon. With Dumbledore free of them they separated and took over protecting the remaining students. Hagrid, Madam Pomfrey and Madam Sprout had managed to get all but a handful of students out of the Great Hall. Most of the remaining class was sixth and seventh year students. The battle at this point was on almost even grounds. There were perhaps thirty students and staff left to fight the forty or so deatheaters that remained. Teachers had taken to levitating and moving the bodies of the fallen so that it was a clear way for those who stayed to fight. Almost an hour later, it was over when the last few deatheaters turned tail and ran. Snape knew they would be wishing for death when they got back to Voldemort he did not tolerate weakness in his mist. The next few hours were a mass of confusion. Many of the students that lived in the wizard world had been whisked away by their parents when news came out of the attacks. Students that remained were checked for injuries and tended to. The Ministry of magic had sent out several representatives to find out what happened and collect the fallen deatheaters. A total of 97 deatheaters were packed into escape proof carriages including Gilroy and Tifa Lockheart. Harry and Ron sat on the side lines leaning on each other for support. Ginny had sat down next to her brother placing her head on his shoulder. Hermione sat next to Harry watching Severus and Dumbledore work their way through the mess left behind.
"He saved me, he saved all of us" Hermione thought.
"You know what guys…." Ron began.
"What?" Harry and Ginny asked at once.
"Old Trelawney was right. She said that two of us in the room would enter into a lasting but unexpected relationship, that's us Harry."
"Well I for one am glad she was finally right about something." Harry responds as he squeezes Ron's hand."
"She also predicted her own death." Ginny added.
"Don't forget one of the Professors will betray us all and a hidden past will emerge from yet another. That's Tifa and Gilderoy. Who would have figured on that one." Hermione commented.
"Then that leaves the love hate relationship and the forbidden one." Harry added, "Don't know about those."
Hermione let he gaze drift to Severus and knew that the forbidden relationship must be theirs but she could not tell them yet. Ginny closed her eyes for a moment thinking of Draco and knew that must be what she meant by a love hate relationship.
"Don't know guys, but you got to admit she got quite a bit right before she left us." Hermione said aloud. Soon Dumbledore came to them and told them to go rest for the night and that they would be leaving in the morning. The four friends left the Great Hall heading to the Gryffindor Common Room for the last time this year. After talking for another hour they finally went to their beds. Hermione cuddled with her pillow dreaming it was Severus. Ginny laid on her back thinking how much she hated Draco for what he did to her, but silently thanking him for helping to save hers and her friends life's during the battle. Meanwhile in the boys dorm, Harry and Ron had settled into Harry's bed. They where alone now and they needed each other's comfort.
"You know mate, I'm going to get mom to have you over this summer. Watch for the owl."
"How do you think she is going take it, us I mean."
"Well I'm sure she is going to be a bit shocked, but I'm sure she will get over it."
"What about the rest of your family?"
"Oh I sure Fred and George will tease me for a bit, but I really don't care. Percy will play shocked and Charlie will just slap me on the back and say something like if it makes you happy. As for dad I think as long as he gets you in the family he will take it anyway he can get it."
Harry laughed kissing Ron on the mouth. "I hope your right."
"Don't worry Harry, I might not have been the best Divination student around but I don't need a crystal ball or any old tea leaves to tell me what I already know."
"And what's that?" Harry teased.
"That I have fallen in love with my best friend and nothing is going to stop me from being with him."
The next morning the friends packed their things and headed down to board the train with the few remaining students. Hagrid motioned them over with a wave.
"Well guys all I can say is I'm glad we all made it out of this ok. I don't think I ever get over losing any of you."
"We feel the same way, Hagrid." Hermione said.
"Now Harry, Ron you better write me lots and tell me all about you new life together. Just spare me the detail, ok?"
"We will don't worry." They laughed
"Hermione, you and Ginny better write too and tell me all about your summer. I'm gonna miss you all so much."
"We will, don't worry."
"Well, I best be letting you go. That train waits for no one."
"We know that for a fact!" Harry and Ron said.
They all hugged Hagrid and turned to get on the train. Hermione lingered looking one last time at Severus mouthing the words I love you. Severus brought his hand to his mouth as though to rub his upper lip and sent her an invisible kiss that warmed her body and soul. Turning she entered the train and sat down with her friends in the compartment.
"Well we have survived yet other year." Harry joked.
"Yeah but you got to wonder what in for us next year." Ron muttered
"Don't know, but we will find a way through it." Offered Hermione.
"At least you all only have one year left. I have to survive two." Ginny playfully whined
"Don't worry sis, once Harry here is out of Hogwarts things should settle down." He joked giving Harry a squeeze.
Everyone laughed and soon they were all relaxing in the cozy compartment. No one really knew what was in store for them in years to come but at least they had all survived the Prophet's Predictions.