Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, would I really be writing this?
Notes: Oh my God, it's good to be back! Like my slightly altered pseudonym? Pata's switched from standing for Patamon to standing for Pataphysics and back to standing for Patamon – finally I just got bored and decided I'd change it to patafzx (but you can still refer to me as simply Pata). Violet saw it on a license plate. :)
Well, the final chapter. I'm kind of sad to see it come to an end…by the third chapter it was really writing itself. But at least with its completion I'll be able to devote full attention to Damsontongue. Which has gotten a dismally small amount of reviews. *glares*
I do plan on e-mail this to a select number of my loyal reviewers, to make sure you get it. I hate it when things get finished and I don't know about it.
Please, review and e-mail me with feedback if you wish. I love making new online friends. ^-^ You can reach me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, take your pick. And do me a favor – visit habatapa.veryweird.com. It's the civilization myself and a bunch of my crazy friends including Janaz Yasa, Beck, Jyrni, and Ryuuko Megami created. Enjoy yourselves!
For Earth is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
Part XIII: Kiss
This strange and very unexpected revelation brought nothing but an awed silence over the entire courtroom. Lucius' anger seemed to have evaporated almost entirely, and he sat staring vapidly at his wife. After a few seconds of being scrutinized, he got to his feet and took his seat next to Narcissa, who threaded an arm around him.
The head judge broke the silence quite abruptly by clearing his throat in a curt and rude manner. "Well then, thank you for sharing, Lucius." His cold eyes shifted from my broken father to Hermione, but when he spoke he addressed me. "We shall now see the truth of the treasonous murder you committed, shan't we, Draco?"
I responded with disdain, "We shall, Justice."
No doubt he caught the underhanded sarcasm, but he paid no heed, as I felt him shifting through memories and considering each in due respect.
Morning found Hermione alone on the couch. Hurriedly, she got dressed and scanned the room for signs of her absent lover. Her eyes fell on the clock.
Early. Too early.
The emotions flashed across the inside of her mind like pictures on a projector. She bit her lip and cocked her head slightly as half-hallucinated voices wafted from the upper dormitories.
"So I guess accusing you of kissing her was kind of an understatement, eh?" Ron's voice. Hermione placed a foot on the bottom step.
"It won the award for Understatement of the Year."
She climbed a stair.
"You're such a bloody liar! I refuse to believe she'd ever sleep with you, you nasty po-faced pig."
Climbed another. Speeding up now.
"You don't have to believe me. All that matters is that I know it."
"Filthy dirty bloody liar."
"And you know what else, Weasley? I deflowered her. I was her first!"
Faster, faster, afraid for what might become of two of her best friends –
--she burst through the door, wand in hand, to see Ron and I facing each other like rival alpha wolves. Ron turned, seafoam eyes staring in confusion and betrayal, at the beautiful face so contorted by fear.
"What do you want?" I demanded.
This hit Hermione exactly as if she'd been stuck in the face.
"Sorry, sorry," I slurred, pacing, slicking back my hair with a clammy hand. "It's just your jealous friend here is threatening to kill me and all…"
"Damn right I'll kill you," snarled Ron in the background.
"No he won't!" Hermione yelled, placing herself between Ron and I. "No one will be killing anyone!" She put her wand in her robes to illustrate her pacifism.
"Step aside. It'd be a pity if you died too." Ron pointed his wand at me behind her.
She stayed exactly as she was.
"No?" he cocked his head it mock-sadness. It was clear that he was deranged. "Well, it's a waste, but I suppose you'll just have to die too."
But Hermione had already made up her mind about who was going to do the dying here and she whipped out her wand faster than Ron's eyes could follow and she had already shouted the words: "Avada Kedavra!"
We held our breath but exhaled when Ron started to laugh. Laugh and laugh like it was the funniest thing in the world.
"Avada Kedavra? Surely you jest! You don't think that I've drank every potion, performed every spell, to prevent that very charm from working? Malfoy wouldn't know the spell I was going to use."
"Well," said Hermione, wringing her hands, "that's the thing, you know, it's kind of funny really--" weak laughter --"you see, I kind of, well, I kind of told Draco about your Death Charm."
"That's not funny," Ron said dryly.
She laughed pathetically and forced a very weak smile, then stopped entirely and hung her head in submission.
"Really," said Ron, "it's not." And with a flash of his wand and a murmur of quick words from his mouth Hermione was on the floor, eyes glossed over and lips parted in a silent scream.
I sprang forth to get my hands around his throat for killing her when he seemed to read my mind and said, "Relax. She's not dead. Just Petrified. Remember the basilisk? The Chamber of Secrets? Well, I found a spell in Moste Potente Potions for the exact same effect."
I was not pacified and I was on him in seconds choking and shaking and he was coughing and trying to get his wand up to perform the spell but I wouldn't let him. I was yelling things and even now I don't remember what they were, maybe nothing, maybe just yelling and screaming and then there was a flash of light and I was thrown back against the wall.
It looked even more painful as a memory than it had been, the crack of bones and the scream and the laughter. I'd let my guard down and in my screaming he'd managed to get a spell in, and I was writhing in pain on the floor and trying desperately to get up.
I'd thought they were asleep but by now I realized that all the others in the dormitory were Petrified too. Like the dead, they lay in silent rows and dreamt hazily on, while Ron smiled and I got to my feet and put my wand over my head and started to whisper the four words necessary to send death into him when I stopped.
It was dumb.
That thought crept in.
It was dumb as all hell that we were going to kill each other for this. Over practically nothing. A love affair. It was absurd.
But I'd gone this far and I was too proud and Ron was already preparing himself to kill me, and I had no choice, his lips were moving, I could feel my chest compacting—
I shouted something, nothing yet something, something that sounded like a very dark spell and he stopped and stared at me and waited for something to happen and that was all I needed.
"Nisyl da edt soma!"
Both our voices sounded at once and for a moment we both stood, panting like wolves on the hunt, staring spitefully at one another, waiting for the other to drop dead.
Not for several seconds.
And then Ron got tired of waiting and figured that the spells must have canceled each other out and he was preparing to say it again when, desperate and unable to think of a spell, I picked up a vase and hurled it at him.
He ducked and it hit the wall behind him and shattered, sending kiln-hardened clay in all directions, and a piece of it struck him the small of the back.
It was cowardly of me, in retrospect. But I took the blood and the scream in all at once and I cried again,
"Nisyl da edt soma!"
He stood and looked at me, not a hateful glare, just a look. The look a rabbit must give a fox when its knows it been caught. A dignified surrender. And then he smiled and opened his mouth and just like that he was dead.
Dead and gone, like a doornail. Like a tree, standing one moment and fallen the next. Like something lost and beautiful like the Titanic must have been. And I couldn't take it anymore so I revived Hermione and took her hand and we ran.
We left him there silent.
Somehow he did not die then and he still does not die in my mind. He just lies there in Limbo and smiles and tries to talk but is always silent.
I stared at my shoes while the judges conferred, if only for a moment. They turned to look at my father, and at Hermione, and at the Weasleys. All seven pairs of eyes came to rest on me.
"Well," said the head justice, "you have supported a very strong case, Mr. Malfoy. And while your motives are somewhat justified--"
A hopeful intake of breath—
"—the fact remains that a life was taken. The court finds you guilty. And you will be given the Dementor's Kiss."
A muffled sob from Hermione broke the ice first, and then pandemonium. All of the yelling stopped at once, however, when a cold wind like the hand of winter encircled the room and a black, robed figure enveloped me in its embrace.
My father was getting to his feet.
"Wait. He's my son. And I want to say something to him."
"Very well, Lucius, but be brief," said the judge exasperatedly.
He walked up to me, just as composed as ever, and said simply. "I love you. I loved you when you tugged my robes when you were little and I love you now. And I just want to say…that…I'm sorry."
He turned away from me quickly and I knew he was crying but I didn't say anything except, "I love you too."
Hermione was sobbing outright. I loved her more than anyone and I longed for the chance to run over there and tell her but I knew it was impossible.
Don't cry for me, Hermione, for Earth is hollow and I…
I have touched the sky.
And I cried a single, pearl tear and lifted my chin for the Kiss.
~ f i n i ~