And so it ends...
Wednesday the fifteenth of September 1999 would be a day Draco Malfoy would remember for the rest of his life. Regardless of what happened in the next two hours he would at least know he had been given a chance to try and make up for some of the things he did whilst in Lord Voldemort's service.
He had repaired the robes he was wearing and managed to make himself look half decent. He still had scars on his face from the run in he had with the Ministry Auror, and the dark circles under his eyes were somewhat permanent, he really didn't notice them anymore.
He had spent the night in a small cell deep underneath the Ministry of Magic. He had suggested he be held there to show the Ministry he was serious about his intentions, but he had other reasons for requesting the cell; it was probably the safest place he could be. For once he had actually managed to catch a few hours sleep.
A quiet knock on the door brought him from his thoughts and he stood up from the bed, ready to be taken to the dungeons for his hearing. To his surprise it wasn't a Ministry employee come to take him, it was Hermione Granger.
'Can I come in?' she asked quietly.
'Yes,' he replied.
'Thanks,' she shut the door behind her and looked around the small room.
'Not exactly 'homely' is it?' he said with a smirk.
'Not really, no. Then again it is a holding cell,' she replied with half a smile.
'True,' he replied. He looked at the witch stood before him. 'Not, for once, wanting to sound rude Granger, but why are you here? Potter's the one who has asked to be at the hearing, not you.'
'I know he did, but I just wanted to say something to you, because if you're freed then I have a feeling you won't be staying around here for long, so I would have missed my chance.'
'Well you're right there Granger, if the Ministry decide to believe me then I will have left the country by the end of the day.'
'It's a good thing I came then isn't it? Now, whilst I'm saying what I'm about to say, I don't want you interrupting with any snide comments, I don't want you smirking and I don't want you laughing at anything, all right?'
Malfoy nodded his head in agreement.
'Right, well, all I really wanted to say was…thank you. I know you mainly did all this for your own benefit, but I don't care. You changed the way my life is going to go for the better. If you hadn't told us about the spells then I wouldn't have lived to see Ron wake up. I won't ever forget that…so…thank you. That's all I wanted to say.'
She raised her head to look at him, his grey eyes looked back at her and she saw a small smile creep across his face.
'I said no smirking!' she said.
'I'm not smirking!' he argued, still smirking.
'Yes you are!'
'Well I don't mean to, apparently my smile and my smirk are very similar, but…on a more serious note, you're welcome.'
'I'd better be going,' Hermione said, looking at her watch, I'll be late for work.'
She turned and opened the door, behind which a security guard was stood.
'Granger, wait. Shut the door…please.'
Hermione did as she was asked and turned to face Malfoy.
'Same rules, no interrupting, no smirking and no laughing.'
'It's me who should be saying thank you to you. Regardless of what happens today, you trusted me, when there was absolutely no reason why you should. After everything that happened at school and afterwards I never expected you to, but you did and for that I thank you. Don't feel like you owe me anything, you don't, but I still owe you a lot…so…thank you.'
'You're welcome. Will you do something for me though?'
'Don't ever use the word 'Mudblood' again.'
Malfoy looked at her, a slightly shocked expression on his face. He regained his composure after a second.
'Good. Now I really have to go. Good luck Draco, I hope you get what you want.'
She opened the door and left without a backward glance.
Malfoy sighed and looked at the door, 'Goodbye…Gra-…Hermione.'
Hermione woke up on the morning of her birthday and rolled over, expecting to see her boyfriend led asleep next to her. He wasn't there though, so she rolled back over to look at the time on her alarm clock. It read nine seventeen. She laid on her back and closed her eyes wondering what Ron had been planning for the past few days for her birthday night. It was quite annoying for her to know that something was being arranged, especially when there seemed to be quite a few people helping him doing it, and not having any idea what it was.
She opened her eyes and saw the door open. Ron backed into the room carrying a tray with breakfast on. She smiled at him as he turned round and beamed at her.
'How long have you been up?' Hermione asked Ron as he perched on the edge of the bed, fully dressed.
'About an hour.'
'An hour! Ron it's Sunday! You never get up early on a Sunday!'
'When it's my girlfriend's birthday I do.'
He put the tray on the floor and then kissed Hermione.
'Happy birthday Hermione,' he said as he took a small box out of his pocket. 'It's kind of only half your present, you'll get the rest tonight but I thought I'd better give you this now.'
Hermione took the box from Ron and opened it, a huge smile on her face as she did so.
She looked at the ring inside and took it out.
'Hang on, isn't this-'
'Your ring, which I gave you before the final battle. Yes!'
Hermione looked at her right hand and noticed the band had gone from her finger.
'When did you-?
'Just look at it properly first,' he said.
Hermione turned the ring in her fingers and gasped when she saw three diamonds set into the silver.
'Oh Ron, they're beautiful!'
'When I bought you the ring I wanted to get you something more than a silver band, but money was tight, as ever, and I didn't have much time either 'cause of everything that was going on. But now I can give you what you deserve, so I have. It's still bewitched so you can still feel how I feel about you, but now it sparkles too!'
Hermione pulled Ron into a hug, 'I love it,' she said as she held him. 'Mind you I loved it before, but now, as you said, it sparkles too! When did you manage to take it from me without me noticing?'
Ron smiled, 'now I can't be telling you my secrets can I?'
'Oh please tell me!'
'Well…to be honest, it's not very spectacular. I waited until you fell asleep on the sofa last night and took it to the jeweller who I'd persuaded to do it so late at night, then I borrowed a simple silver band from him, came back and put it on your hand. Then when I went to collect your ring from him this morning I took the silver band back. I'm just glad you didn't decide to try the spell on it, 'cause it wouldn't have worked!'
'Is that why you were giving me a lot of wine last night, so I was less likely to notice?' she asked with a mock scowl.
'Would I do such a thing?' Ron asked, pretending to be annoyed.
'Yes!' Hermione said, unperturbed by the look on his face.
'Yeah Ok, I would. Worked though didn't it?' he replied with a smile. 'Anyway, eat your breakfast, you have to get ready. We're going to see your parents at ten.' He picked up the tray off the floor and put it on Hermione's lap.
'What do you mean we're going to see my parents at ten? Why?'
'Because they wanted to spend time with their daughter and her handsome boyfriend on her birthday, that's why.'
'Is there anything else I need to know about what I'm doing? This is a beautiful breakfast by the way, thank you.'
'You're welcome, and no, there's nothing else you need to know. Not yet anyway.'
Hermione drank her glass of orange juice in one go, then buttered a slice of not-too-well-done toast (exactly how she liked it) and bit hungrily into it.
'You will give me chance to get ready for whatever you've got planned for tonight won't you?' She asked through her mouthful of toast. 'You won't let me turn up in my jeans and trainers will you?'
Ron laughed, 'no Hermione I won't. I'll give you plenty of time to get ready. Now if you'll excuse me I have a phone call to make. Unless you want me to stay here and watch you eat your breakfast of course.'
'No no, you go and make your very important phone call, and I'll eat my breakfast.'
'Good, I'll be back in a few minutes.'
Ron stood and started to leave the room, when he got to the door Hermione called him back.
He turned to face her.
'If you want me to turn up somewhere in something other than my jeans and trainers, you will give me more than,' she looked at her alarm clock, 'thirty five minutes to get ready won't you?'
Ron laughed, 'yes Hermione, you'll have plenty of time!'
Hermione and Ron spent the day with Charles and Jan. Ron was the perfect boyfriend, he was polite to Hermione's parents, laughed with Charles at Hermione's slightly annoying habits – but not too much that it offended his girlfriend – and was charming towards Jan.
Charles drove them to the park that had been Hermione's favourite as she was growing up, and they walked round for a couple of hours before eating the picnic that Jan had prepared for them. The September sun was pleasant to sit in but the four of them still needed their jackets to keep the light breeze from making them shiver.
Ron entertained Charles and Jan with anecdotes from their time at Hogwarts, and loved telling the story of how Hermione had made small birds attack him out of jealousy, something Charles found hysterically funny.
They finished the afternoon with Charles bringing down the photograph albums of Hermione growing up to show Ron, much to Ron's delight and Hermione's dismay. But as much as Hermione cringed over the occasional photograph she felt so happy that afternoon. Her family and the man she loved surrounded her, and everyone was happy, smiling and laughing and enjoying each other's company.
At four o'clock Ron said it was time for them to go, as he had promised Hermione plenty of time to get ready for tonight. Jan agreed, she also had to get ready and wanted plenty of time to do it in.
'It's six o'clock tonight isn't it Ron?' Jan asked.
'Yes it is, if it's all right with you Harry and Ginny will come by at around ten to and take you…there.'
'What?' Hermione asked.
'That's fine Ron. We'll see you both later,' Charles replied, ignoring Hermione's question.
'No one's going to tell me anything are they?' Hermione asked.
'No!' Ron replied as he held out Hermione's jacket for her to take and put on.
Charles and Jan smiled.
'Well mum, dad, apparently I'll be seeing you later.'
'Yes you will Hermione,' Charles replied, 'be careful apparating home.'
'We will dad. Bye.'
Hermione and Ron apparated back to their lounge.
'I can't believe you're depriving me of all but one birthday present until tonight. That's just mean!'
'Yes it is, but think of all the unwrapping you have to look forward to! Now I don't want to deprive you of precious 'getting ready' time so why don't you go upstairs and start.'
'And how am I supposed to know what to wear?'
'Well if Ginny has kept her word she'll have sorted that out for you, you should find what she thinks would be appropriate attire-' Hermione raised her eyebrow's at his choice of words, 'hung on the back of your bedroom door.'
'Seriously. Now go!'
Hermione went upstairs and walked into her room. Hung up on the back of the door were her scarlet dress robes. A piece of parchment was balanced on the door handle. She unfolded it and read it.
Ron will love you in these, he doesn't know what you're wearing, and he doesn't want to know until he collects you later on. Don't worry about being overdressed, everyone has been told to wear dress robes.
See you later, oh, and happy birthday!
'As if they've only given me two hours warning that I need to get ready for something that needs dress robes to go to! Now that's mean!' she said aloud.
As much as she was now slightly panicking about getting herself ready, she was starting to get excited. She had a feeling tonight was going to be a lot of fun.
It was five to six and Hermione was finished getting ready and was surveying herself in her full-length mirror. She smiled at what she saw. Her hair was pinned up with the odd curl falling down her back. Her make up was subtle, but made her eyes look big and bright.
She heard a crack downstairs.
'Hermione?' Ron called from the hallway.
'Yes?' she replied.
'Are you ready?'
'Yes I am, I'm coming down now.'
She walked out of her room and carefully made her way down the stairs in her heels. At the bottom Ron stood waiting for her, he was wearing plain black dress robes and looked very smart, he had even had his hair cut to the length Hermione liked best on him. As he watched her walk down the stairs his jaw dropped. She giggled when she saw his reaction and stopped when she reached the bottom of the stairs.
'I take it you like what you see,' she asked him.
'Er…yeah…yeah I do…a lot. You look…amazing.'
'Well thank you. I must say you're looking extremely sexy yourself!'
'If you think I'm sexy, you should take a look at yourself!'
Hermione laughed, 'so, are you going to tell me where we're going?'
'Nope, you'll find out soon enough. Now if you would care to take my arm, I'll take you to our destination.'
Hermione took Ron's arm and a second later was stood outside the gates to Hogwarts, Harry was stood waiting on the other side of the gates and smiled when they appeared in front of his eyes. He tapped the gates and the heavy chains wrapped around them unravelled and let the guests into the grounds. Harry relocked the gates and gave Hermione a hug.
'Happy birthday Hermione, you look stunning!'
'Why thank you Saviour Boy. You look quite smart yourself!'
Ron chuckled, he thought Hermione's name for Harry was hysterical.
'Has everyone arrived? Ron asked Harry.
'Yes, the lasts guests were arriving as I came down to let you in.'
'Oh God!' Hermione said, 'Who have you left my parents with?'
Harry laughed, 'Don't worry Hermione, your mum and dad were talking to Arthur when I left them.'
'Good, now do either of you want to tell me what's going on?'
'No!' Harry and Ron replied in unison.
Ron took Hermione's hand and started to lead her up the path to the school.
'It's beautiful isn't it?' she said, looking at the castle. 'Sometimes I wish we could have stayed school age for a long time so we got to spend more time here. We had fun didn't we? When we weren't worrying about Voldemort bursting through the door on occasions.'
Harry and Ron smiled.
'Yeah we did,' Harry replied.
'That's why I chose here for tonight,' Ron said, 'and for another reason which I won't go into now.'
He gave Hermione a mischievous smile, knowing his comments were winding her up.
'Er…won't the students notice something's going on?' Hermione asked.
'Nah, they've been locked in their common rooms since quarter to.'
'Oh they haven't!'
'Yeah they have, but don't worry they'll be let out at quarter past. Now stop asking questions, all will be revealed in a minute.'
They carried on walking up the grounds and entered the castle through the big oak doors. Ron led Hermione up the stairs to the seventh floor and as they walked along a very familiar corridor Hermione finally realised where they were going.'
'The Room of Requirement, I should have known,' she said, beaming.
Harry opened the door and walked into it. Ron led Hermione into the room and directed her to the left as she walked through the door. Hermione gasped at what she saw. The ceiling had been enchanted to look like the night sky, which was full of stars; she immediately found Orion and smiled. She looked at the far end of the room and saw a long table covered with every type of party food you could imagine. Above the table was a banner that said 'Happy Birthday Hermione' in glittery red writing. Red and gold balloons covered most of the floor and the tables that were dotted around the edge of the room. She looked to her right and noticed a large table stocked full of various types of alcohol.
'I'm guessing that was your doing!' she said with a laugh, pointing at the table.
Ron laughed but she heard people snigger behind her. She turned round and her jaw dropped, there was all her friends and close family stood behind her beaming.
'Happy birthday!' they all said at various times.
'Oh my-, Merlin above! Everyone's here!'
Ginny rushed forward and enveloped Hermione in a hug, closely followed by Charles and Jan, and Arthur and Molly.
It took a full twenty minutes for Hermione to make her way through the crowd. By which time Harry had started the music playing and Ron had taken it upon himself to make sure everyone had a drink in their hand. When she had finally made her way through the crowd, which consisted of friends from school, she had been particularly glad to see Neville, Luna and Colin there, a few of the teachers who had come to wish her happy birthday, including of course Headmistress McGonagal, and members of the Order who they still saw from time to time, Hermione was faced with a table of her birthday presents.
She was in awe at how many there were and was obviously very grateful for them all. The small pile of four at the front caught her eye; she looked at the labels on them and saw they were from Harry and Ginny, her mum and dad, Arthur and Molly and finally Ron.
'You don't have to just look at them you know, you can open them!' Ron said as he rested his chin on her shoulder.
'I think I'll wait until later, it would be rude to ignore everyone and I'd make a huge mess with all this paper!'
Ron laughed, 'ok then, would you like some food? And before you say anything, the House Elves didn't have to do it all, a few people brought some of it.'
Hermione smiled, 'don't worry I wasn't going to say anything about the House Elves. But you didn't have to go to this much trouble though. I told you I had everything I wanted.'
'You do like it don't you?' Ron asked looking slightly crest fallen.
'Oh Ron I love it, of course I do, it's all beautiful and the fact that it's here means a lot too.'
'Well then, stop worrying about the trouble I went to and just enjoy yourself. Now, would you like to dance?'
Hermione beamed, 'I would love to.'
That's how most of the night was spent, dancing to songs both wizard and muggle, and chatting to everyone who was there. The food was delicious and brought a typically 'Ron' moment which Hermione had to laugh at. He was stood looking at the plate of mini sausages on sticks with a puzzled look on his face.
'What?' Hermione asked him whilst piling food on to her plate.
He picked up one of the cocktail sticks and peered closely at it.
'I just don't understand why they're on sticks! I mean…why not just have them on the plate? It doesn't make sense, it's pointless! Muggles do some very strange things!'
Hermione laughed, nearly choking on the crisps she had just put in her mouth.
'Yes Ron, they do, just don't stab yourself with the stick when you've eaten the sausage!
At ten o' clock after a particularly energeticsong had finished Harry switched the music off and shouted 'speech' towards Hermione. She glared at him; silently hoping no one else had heard the request, but soon enough the word was echoing around the room. After a minute everyone was looking expectantly at Hermione and she had turned the colour of her dress robes.
'Well…er…thank you Harry, for warning me in advance you were going to do that!' The crowd chuckled.
'You're welcome,' Harry replied.
'Er…I don't know what to say really. Thank you all for coming, I'm so glad you all did, it's wonderful having everyone here with me to celebrate my birthday.'
She found Ron in the crowd.
'I need to thank Ron too,' she held out her hand and Ron walked toward her out of the crowd and took it, 'as you probably all know it was him that organised this, although I have a feeling he had help from certain people. Seeing as though I wasn't allowed to know any detail about tonight I'm not sure who you are but, thank you.' She paused and looked up at Ron.
'There's a few people who aren't here, who we all sadly miss, who should be around us laughing and having fun. I'm sure wherever they are they're stood with a drink in their hand…and…there's someone else who played a part in Ron being here with us today, hopefully he's off starting a new life somewhere, and I thank him too. All I wanted for my birthday was to have Ron stood beside me, well, I got that and I got all this as well so I'm feeling exceptionally privileged and unbelievably happy. Well…I think that satisfies the criteria for a speech so everyone can get back to their drinks, their food and their dancing…thanks!'
The crowd around her smiled. Harry shouted 'three cheers for the birthday girl. Hip hip!'
At this Hermione turned scarlet again. The crowd separated and went back to what they had been doing before. Harry turned the music on and Hermione dragged Ron back to the dance floor.
At half past eleven Ron pulled Hermione away from the dancing group and out of the room.
'Ron what are you doing?' she whispered, slightly giggly from what she'd drunk in the past five hours.
'I want to take you somewhere.'
'Where?' she asked, still whispering.
'Like I'm going to tell you, now come on.' He took her hand and walked her through the school, both of them giggling as they walked. After five minutes they emerged at the top of the Astronomy Tower slightly out of breath from the climb.
'Why have you brought me here?' Hermione asked Ron.
'Well…this place is special to me.'
'Because…because it's the place where I realised…where I realised I had fallen in love with you.'
Hermione went to say something but Ron placed a finger on her lips.
'Shh, let me talk for a minute.' He took both her hands in his, 'I realised it after we'd been in the library one day. We'd been researching…something, I can't remember what, we did that much of it…anyway, you were just sat there and I was just looking at you. You were concentrating so hard on what you were reading, and it was as I was looking at you then that I realised I never wanted to…not be with you. It scared me so much that I think I upped and left straight away, uttering some excuse or other at your shocked face. I came here and paced for a bit, wondering what this would mean for us, but I couldn't ignore the fact that I'd fallen in love with you, nothing could change that.
'I wanted to just hide my feelings and pretend nothing had changed, but then I remembered that people were being killed nearly every day by then and if I didn't tell you, I might never get the chance. And besides, that wouldn't have been very Gryffindor of me would it?'
He looked into Hermione's eyes and saw that she was crying.'
'Hey, what are the tears for?'
'I just…that was…I just love you so much Ron.'
'I know you do, I'm just sorry I didn't tell you there and then. I made you wait months for me to say the actual words. All I managed to say that night was that I thought I liked you 'more than friends should like each other'! Hardly the most romantic thing in the world to say. I guess I was just scared that you didn't feel the same, or that you didn't want things to change between us.'
'But I did.'
'Yes you did, and you have no idea how relieved I was!'
'I think I have a pretty good idea, I was so happy to hear you say what you said. I don't think I stopped smiling once I'd gone to bed!'
'So, that's why I brought you here, it's one of my favourite places, even though I won't get to visit it much anymore.'
'I'm sure Professor McGonagal will let you visit it from time to time. Especially if both of us ask as it's now one of my favourite places too!'
'Hermione, I can't promise you that our relationship will be perfect but I'll try to make you the happiest witch alive. I have a feeling we'll still bicker occasionally, now things are as back to normal as they can be, but then again I think I'd be concerned if we didn't!'
'But I think we're owed some 'normal living' so I think we should start doing just that, don't you?'
'I think that would be perfect.'
'Just like you!'
Hermione laughed again, 'Ron that was a really cheesy thing to say!'
He laughed with her, 'I know, but I don't care.'
He wiped away the tear tracks on Hermione's cheeks with his thumb then pulled her towards him.
'I love you Hermione, so much.'
'I love you too Ron.'
He leant in and kissed her and as she kissed him back thoughts flooded her mind. She didn't care if it wasn't going to be perfect; she knew life was never perfect. All she cared about was being with the man she loved and living her life to the fullest. She pulled Ron closer to her and kissed him harder.
Yes, she would live life to the fullest. Starting now.
Well, that was the final chapter of 'Losing Sight of a Falling Star' by me, The Steppy One. I know it's longer than any of the other chapters but I didn't think you'd mind much! A few people have asked if there will be a sequel and there most likely will be one, but before that there will be a seven chapter fic posted called 'The Seven Ways I Cry' so watch out for that one!
Thank you to those people who have reviewed throughout, it really does give me motivation to carry on writing, and if you haven't reviewed before, now would be a really good time to do so :)
Cheers and ta muchly
Sarah XxXxX ;)