Title: Grave Side
Pairing: Draco/Hermione implied Draco/Harry/Hermione
Rating: PG for subject matter.
Warnings: Dark, Character Death
Word Count: 2083 according to Word.
Summary: Draco and Hermione share a moment of loss and pain and find comfort in each other.
Notes: Feedback and concrit are much appreciated, but never required. There is always room for improvement. This didn't turn out the way I had planned it – but then again when does it ever?
Hermione was crouched down in front of a gravestone. Tears were falling from her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. She sniffed back her sadness and let her hands trail over the rough etching of the name adorning the gravestone. It was a precious thing - the solitary reminder of a short life and a spectacular death.
Hermione felt a strong hand gently squeeze her shoulder. "Come on, love. It's not good to sit here all day and cry for him. He'd hate it and you know it," said a soft comforting voice.
"He'd hate a lot of things I've done with my life since he's died," she said with a breathy laugh that was punctuated by a sniffle.
"He'd want you to be happy not making your skin blotchy and your eyes all puffy. He knew perfection when he saw it and he'd hate to be the reason it was spoiled."
"You're right, Draco. As much as I hate to admit it, you're right. Be a gentleman and help me up," she said, still crying. She reached out her left hand to Draco for help getting up and touched the smooth rounded edge of the gravestone once more. "Love you, Harry."
Hermione pulled on Draco's arm to lift herself up from the ground. She stood up and wiped the stray tears from her cheeks. She gave Draco a smile before she looked back at the gravestone once again. "I'll be back, Harry," she whispered into the darkness.
"I can't possibly compete with a dead man," Draco said lightly as he took Hermione's chin in the curve between his forefinger and thumb. He bent down over Hermione and kissed her cheek while his free hand rubbed small circles into her back.
"You don't have to compete with him. I just miss him this time of year, that's all," she said.
"I know you do. Now let's get you home before you freeze to death. It's not good for you to spend so much time out in the cold in your condition."
Hermione leaned into Draco as he wrapped an arm around her. "I did cast a warming charm you know. And I'm just pregnant, I'm not dying or anything," she said, her tone annoyed. "I'm not made of glass and neither is this baby."
"Spare me the litany of clichés please," he said, rolling his eyes. "I've got them memorized. Now have you done all you need to do here because I'm not coming back again until July."
"Quit being a prat," she said smacking him lightly on the chest. "We can go home now."
"Good. Then I can have you all to myself again. I hate sharing you," he said as the moved away from the small cemetery and toward the nearest Apparation point. "Be a good witch and hold on tight," his voice alight with a mock condescending air.
"I can still Apparate on my own until the third trimester, Draco. Stop babying me," she snapped.
"Quit blubbering like a baby and I'll treat you like an adult," he said with a trace of venom in his voice - but the malice didn't reach his eyes.
"Why you vile loathsome..."
"Evil little cockroach," he tone indicating his boredom. "After all these years you can't come up with anything new? I'm disappointed in you, Granger."
Hermione sputtered for a moment before she sank to the ground in a mess of tears and strangled sobs. Draco instantly rushed to her side and brushed her hair out of her face. "Love, come on, I was just teasing. You're perfectly capable of Apparating under your own powers."
Hermione sniffled and spoke down at the ground. "It's nothing to do with Apparation, Draco. It's just all of this. I can't ... it's too hard. I should be in that grave next to his or instead of him," she said as she gathered a clump of snow in her fist.
"He loved you too much to let you die. I'd have done the same thing he did if I had been in his place."
"And I'd be in the same place I'm in now," she whispered. She looked at him with eyes bright with tears, "How am I supposed to move forward without him?"
Draco enveloped her in his arms. "You don't have to. He'll always be with you in that space between us that never closes," the bitterness barely concealed in his voice.
"It's not that I don't love you Draco. You know I do - but he was part of us."
"I know. I do miss him, Hermione. But we have to move on. It's been two years. We have two other children and a third on the way and he's dead and buried and he's moved on. I've moved on. Even his bloody sidekick's moved on. It's your turn now." Draco quickly changed his tone of voice to be more consoling, "Remember him but don't live your life as a shrine to his memory. Just because you're the mother of his only child doesn't mean you can't move on and be happy. We can be happy without him if you'd just give us a chance."
"I know, Draco. I know. I just ... I miss the way the three of us were. Even if it had been you ... or me in that grave the situation would be the same."
"No. If it had been you, Harry and I," Draco stopped to clear his throat. The thought of losing Hermione was enough choke the breath from his body. "If it had been you," he began again, "both of us would have died instantly of a broken heart. Without you we had nothing."
Hermione got up from her spot on the ground and walked back over the marble edifice pinning Harry into his grave. She sat down before it and ran her hands over the frozen marble. She beckoned for Draco to come and sit next to her by patting the ground at her side. "You never come here, Draco. If I didn't know better I'd think you hated him all along."
Draco sat down with a frustrated gasp. He ran his gloved fingers through his shoulder length blond hair. "We had an agreement, Hermione. Plans in case this sort of thing happened. We knew - the both of us - that as long as we were breathing we were in danger." He paused to take up her gloved hand in his own and gently stroked it as he spoke to her. He forced himself to look into her eyes - which he noted were still glassy with tears. "We're still in danger. You, me, the kids. Especially James because of who his father is. I guess I'm going to tell you the same thing he told me, because..." Draco had to clear his throat again. It was constricting with impending tears. He took two deep breaths and fidgeted on the ground. His silver eyes flicked over to the gravestone. Loving husband, father, and friend. It said nothing about being a hero; and yet to all, especially to Draco that is what Harry had been more than anything else listed on his tomb.
"Love, are you going to tell me or am I going to have to dig up my books on Legilimency to find out what it is you're thinking," she asked gently nudging him.
Draco gave a grave smile. He nodded toward Harry's grave as he spoke, "He warned me you'd try to do that so I brushed up on my Occlumency. This here," he said tapping his finger to his forehead," is sealed up nice and tight."
"So?" asked Hermione growing impatient and visibly uncomfortable sitting on the ground.
"No matter what happens, you have to be the one that lives. You're stronger than I am or Harry ever could have been. If you die, I'll die and our children will be alone. If any threat of danger comes to you I am going to sacrifice myself for you life." He paused and looked away from her. "Even if it means becoming very familiar with necromancy."
Hermione gasped. "Draco ... I wouldn't allow it," she was horrified at the thought.
"You'd be dead. You'd have no way of stopping me." He put up a hand to stop her protests. "And by the time you were living once more, I'd be dead having traded in my worthless existence for your precious life."
"Draco," she yelled. "You and Harry are the stupidest men I've ever had the misfortune of loving. What is wrong with you?" She kept up her barrage of questions without giving him a moment to answer. "Who would be taking care of the children while you dabbled in Dark Arts? Who would be there to help you with your ritual sacrifice? Who would console me when I was living a life alone? Hmm? You are so selfish!"
Draco said nothing. It was the truth he was selfish. He'd rather leave her to deal with the loss of himself and Harry than have to take one breath without her in his life. Who knew the annoying know-it-all of his youth would be the one woman he could never live with out?
"And you Harry ... the Dark Arts, honestly. After all you did to destroy it you would employ such horrific means. And if it had been me to go first how would you two have chosen?" she yelled at the gravestone. She was frustrated when she didn't get a reply from it.
"Well, we were to duel for the honor of living to share another day with you. Not to the death mind, that would have defeated the purpose. But we were both willing to die for you. That day ... when Bellatrix ... when she came to the house I saw her first. I told Harry to stay with you and let me go." Draco stopped to blink back the tears that were stinging his eyes. "Bloody Gryffindor courage and his over confidence," he scoffed. "Just because he defeated a Dark Lord he was destined to kill didn't mean he could take care of all of them. And I'm so sorry, Hermione ... I'm so sorry I let him go. I should have fought him to be the one to die for you. I should have let you have him. You'd have been happier. I see the way you pine for him and mourn him. And I know you would have been able to forget me. I was so horrible for you to so long that all you would have had to do is remember the bad things and you could have gone on pretending you never loved me and you could have been happy," Draco said in a grave voice.
There was no hesitation from Hermione. She leaned forward and slapped Draco across the face. He looked at her wide-eyed and rubbed the spot on his cheek that he was sure was red. "Are you mad? I'm telling you I love you and you slap me?"
"No you stupid selfish arrogant arse. You're sitting here telling me that I don't love you. If you were dead and Harry was alive I'd be in the same state - probably worse considering we didn't have any children together until after Harry died. Don't presume that your love means less to me. Don't sit there and make Harry out to be more important. I love you the same; perhaps I even love you more because ... I just do."
Draco said nothing as he got himself to his knees and crawled over to Hermione. He wrapped her in his arms. He only pulled away to kiss her on the lips gently. "I love you, Hermione. I loved him, too. I'm sorry I let it happen and I'm sorry I didn't make losing him easier for you. I was ready to lose him because we prepared ourselves - had our goodbyes said. It was selfish of us to keep you in the dark over it, but ... we knew --"
"I'd never approve," she sighed. "I should consider myself lucky to have had that kind of love in my lifetime. I love you; the both of you. I miss him, I always will. But I'm lucky to have you, Draco. Just know I'd do the same for you."
"I won't let you die for me. I'm not worth it," Draco whispered as he pulled her closer to him.
"You are worth it, Draco," she said strongly. Draco couldn't help but smile.
"Let's go home. It's getting cold," he whispered.
Hermione nodded her head against his chest. Draco reached for the emergency portkey he kept on a pendant around his neck. He put Hermione's hand on the lightening bolt charm and in an instant they were gone. It was a new beginning.