Ch. 17 Back in the Future
Two weeks passed quickly just like a midsummer night's dream; it was sweet and happy, just like what a midsummer night's dream should be. Lucius and Hermione spent every moment possible together, despite the reactions from other students—the Marauders could not hide the horror on their faces when they first encountered the sight of Lucius and Hermione holding hands in front of them. Even after Lily and Hermione's long and detailed explanation of what had happened, they were still suspicious of Lucius' hidden intention; only Lupin seemed to understand it a little. Nevertheless, Hermione decided not to care about what other people thought of them, and so did Lucius. At first his fellow Slytherins thought that he was planning some kind of cruel joke on Hermione; however, later they realised that they couldn't be more wrong. Although the Slytherins stopped talking to Lucius, nobody dared to any harm to a member of the Malfoy family or to his girlfriend. Therefore, surprisingly, Lucius and Hermione faced very little hindrance to their relationship, unlike what they had expected.
And their Polyjuice potion was finally finished and Slughorn gave them the highest mark in the class.
"What an exemplary outcome! I have never seen such perfection from any of the students I had in my entire career!" exclaimed Slughorn, which made Lily pout slightly. (But she was very happy for Hermione.)
After the Potions class, Lucius and Hermione enjoyed the Sun, lying beneath the big tree beside the lake just like they would do on any other fine day. Suddenly, Lily rushed toward them and gave Hermione a piece of parchment folded in half.
"The headmaster told me to give it to you," said Lily.
Hermione opened the parchment, which read,
'Everything is ready, Miss Grandel. Please come to my office at eight o' clock tonight. The password is "Lemon Sherbet."'
Hermione almost stopped breathing. She was finally going home. To the future— to her friends—to her Hogwarts!
However, the excitement soon faded away when she heard the voice of Lucius asking,
"What's the matter, Hermione?"
She realised that going back to the future also meant saying goodbye to Lucius—to Lily and the Marauders—and to this Hogwarts. Lucius saw the expression on her face and hurriedly read the parchment. His face turned paler than usual.
"Does this mean…does this mean you are leaving tonight?" He asked in a low voice, and Hermione nodded silently.
"What do you mean, Hermione? I didn't know that you were leaving so soon!" exclaimed Lily in shock.
"Me neither," replied Hermione, looking confused.
"You still won't tell me where you're going?"
"I'm sorry, Lily. I can't."
Lily sighed in disappointment but she shrugged her shoulders and said,
"Well, I guess I can't force you say it…."
"Lily, you've been such a great friend to me ever since I came here. I will never forget you," said Hermione earnestly.
Lily stared at Hermione for awhile, then suddenly smiled, shaking her head. Hermione and Lucius looked and her curiously.
"You know, Hermione. It's quite funny….I have only known you for about two months. But now I feel like you are inseparable.… I don't know…there is just something about you that makes me feel so close to you…."
"I think I know what that is," replied Hermione, thinking of her best friend who has the exact same green eyes of Lily.
At eight o' clock sharply, Hermione and Lucius were in front of Dumbledore's office. Hermione raised her hand to knock on the door, but suddenly she stopped and chuckled. Lucius asked,
"Is something funny?"
Hermione shook her head, still chuckling, and replied,
"Well, if you think about it, it is kind of funny."
It only made Lucius raise his eyebrows.
"You see, you are the very first person I encountered when I came here…and now, you are here with me on my last day here…."
"I just thought that was kind of interesting," said Hermione. Then she knocked on the door three times.
"Come in," said the voice of Dumbledore behind the door.
When Hermione and Lucius walked into the room, Dumbledore was standing in front of his desk, waiting for them.
"I knew you would come, too," said Dumbledore, staring at Lucius with his twinkling blue eyes.
"I am sorry, sir. I asked him to come with me," said Hermione hurriedly, worrying that Lucius might get into a trouble because of this.
"It is alright, Miss Grandel. He is the one who discovered you on the first day, so it is natural that he should bid farewell to you on the last day."
Dumbledore's words made Hermione realise that it really was her last day in the past, and, the last day with Lucius. She felt her eyes getting hot, but she succeeded in holding back her tears. Lucius put his arm on her shoulder held her close.
Dumbledore took out the familiar gold chain from his pocket and put it on the desk.
"Now, if my future self remembers what he's supposed to do…"
Before he even finished the sentence, a blue glow suddenly surrounded the chain—it had turned into a Portkey.
Hermione let out a short squeal without knowing it herself, and Lucius held her tighter.
"It is time for you to go, Miss Grandel," said Dumbledore.
Hermione nodded her head and stepped forward, but then turned to Lucius.
"I have to go now, Lucius."
"I know," he said quietly. He seemed to be holding back his emotions that might burst out any second.
They locked eyes with each other in silence, and the time seemed to have stopped for a moment, just for them. Hermione broke off the stare at last and whispered to Lucius softly as she held his hand.
"Will you promise me one thing?"
"Anything," replied Lucius, unable to take his eyes off of her.
Hermione bit her lips. Her grip on his hand became tighter. And she finally said,
"Please remember me."
Then she let go of Lucius' hand and grabbed the glowing gold chain—she disappeared without leaving a single trace; only Lucius and Dumbledore were remaining in the room.
Lucius eyed the gold chain, which lost its blue glow now. He touched the chain as if it were a sacred thing, then he murmured to himself,
Hermione felt the familiar unpleasant pulling sensation behind the navel as her feet departed from the floor. As her body swirled around in the pool of time and space, she thought that time traveling through a Portkey was definitely worse than through a Time-turner. When this sensation stopped and her feet landed on the ground, she opened her eyes that she tightly closed. The first thing that caught her eyes was a pair of black shoes. Then she heard,
"Hermione! You're back!"
Hermione looked up; the owner of the voice (and the shoes) was a lean boy with messy black hair wearing glasses. She stared at his face as if she could not believe who was in front of her.
"Harry? You're…you're not James, right?"
"James? You mean my dad? You've met him in the past?" asked Harry eagerly.
"Merlin, you are Harry! It means I'm back? Back to 1998?"
"Yes, you are back, Hermione!" said another voice. When Hermione turned around, she saw the familiar face with flaming red hair; it was Ron.
She hugged Ron and Harry tightly as if she would be taken away to the past again if she didn't. Then Hermione felt a tap on her shoulder. She looked back and found Draco standing there with his usual smirk on his face. However, she could see that the emotion behind that smirk was a different one from what he had toward Hermione before. Hermione, leaving Harry and Ron who were glaring at Draco for interrupting their moment, took his hand and shook it with a big smile on her face.
"I missed you, Draco."
The expression appeared on Harry and Ron's face was priceless.
A dry cough cooled down the excited mood inside the room. It was McGonagall.
"Professor McGonagall!" exclaimed Hermione with joy but then quickly apologised, "I am terribly sorry. I forgot that it was your office now. I've made too much fuss…"
McGonagall smiled and shook her head.
"It is alright, Miss Granger—this addressing assured Hermione that she was indeed back in her time—. I understand how happy you and your friends must be, and personally, I am, too."
Hermione smiled back at McGonagall, and as she did, she noticed that there was another person in the room, behind McGonagall.
"Good to see you again, Miss Granger."
His voice has not changed even after over 20 years. Hermione felt her heart tightening, with both excitement and despair. The person stepped beside McGonagall and revealed himself fully—it was Lucius Malfoy.
"Lu…Mr. Malfoy." Hermione struggled to force her words out of her mouth. She couldn't really hear anything but knew that her voice was trembling.
The tightening sensation in her heart increased. Hermione was worried—Does he remember me? Does he remember the feelings he had for me? What made her worried more was Lucius Malfoy's icy blue eyes, which were exactly same as the last time she saw him in her time.
"Err…" Hermione didn't know what to say but felt like she had to say something. Lucius solved her confusion by saying,
"I believe we needa private conversation, between you and me."
"Yes, we do," said Hermione, almost gasping.
Now the people in McGonagall's office—Harry, Ron, Draco and the previous headmasters in the portraits—were looking at them curiously. Only McGonagall seemed to have sensed that something was going on between the two of them in the past. She nodded her head to them, and upon that, Hermione and Lucius stepped out of the room. They found an empty classroom and went inside. After castingMuffliato charm and making sure that there was no ghost around, they began their long-awaited conversation.
"Err…Mr. Malfoy?" asked Hermione timidly. Lucius looked at her, which made Hermione forget what she was going to say. She felt like she was stupid.
"I've kept my promise, Hermione," said Lucius. "I remember you."
His voice echoed in the empty classroom. Hermione looked at Lucius hopefully, but her hope failed her at his next words.
"But this is the end. This is the end of our past."
Hermione's deep brown eyes met Lucius' blue ones emptily. She was not sure how things were going to unfold when she came back, but she was not prepared for this. Her sentiments about Lucius were still as fresh as when she told him to remember her— which seemed like only a moment ago to her, although it was 21 years in reality. Lucius continued.
"I know it must be hard for you to accept it. I am not the seventeen-year old boy anymore. I have grown old. I have a family—I have a wife and a son."
"It is…" said Hermione, trying to hold back her tears. "It is hard to accept, indeed."
"Of course, I didn't expect to be together with you when I came back…it's impossible…. But it's just that…it seemed like only a moment ago when you were…you were…" — A drop of tear finally ran down her cheek— "…so dear to me…and now it is all over…."
"It was 21 years for me. To me, you are just a memory now," said Lucius. "And perhaps, I—to you."
Hermione was by the lake in the schoolyard. The classes haven't ended yet, so she was all by herself—or so she thought.
She looked back and saw that Draco was standing there.
"Hey," she replied.
"What are you doing here all by yourself? Where's my father?" asked Draco as he sat down beside her.
"What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be back in class now?"
"Well, sometimes people don't do what they are supposed to do."
Hermione smiled lightly at his words but soon returned to her solemn face and said,
"Or sometimes people do things that they know they shouldn't do."
"Such as?" asked Draco with a heightened interest in his voice, but Hermione did not answer to his question. Instead, she put her face on her hands and remained silent for awhile.
"Has something happened in the past between you and my father?"
Hermione turned her face to Draco but with her mouth still closed firmly.
"What happened between you and him?" he urged her for an answer, and she finally gave in with a light sigh.
"I fell in love with him in the past."
"I fell in love with Lucius Malfoy in the past," replied Hermione calmly, disregarding Draco's horrified face; he stared at her with his eyes and mouth wide open, looking as if he had lost how to speak.
"How could you?" asked Draco after struggling for some time to retrieve his sense. "I mean…with my father? That is just…unbelievable!"
"He was not your father," said Hermione, still maintaining her calm attitude; however, there was a hint of gloom in her voice.
"What do you mean?"
"He was Lucius Malfoy—seventeen years old, still so young and inexperienced about many things...needing someone beside him…and had courage to stand for what he believed right no matter what others said about him."
"Well, that certainly isn't my father," snorted Draco. "Lucius Malfoy I know doesn't have the word "courage" in his vocabulary."
"He probably wanted to dance with joy when he saw you came back. No more ruin to the family name—no more talking behind his back—that's the only thing he cares about."
"You're wrong, Draco," said Hermione firmly, which made Draco look at her with curious eyes.
"And why is it so?"
In her effort to answer his question, Hermione had to recall the latter part of the conversation with Lucius she just had now.
"Perhaps you are right," said Hermione, surprised by the fact that what Lucius just had said cleared her head; nonetheless, there were still tears in her eyes. "Perhaps we are just memories to each other. Perhaps…you are not the Lucius Malfoy that I loved anymore…."
"The time I spent with you will remain as the happiest moment in my entire school year," said Lucius with a smile so tiny that Hermione almost didn't notice. "You made me smile. You showed me…"—he seemed to be struggling to let out the next sentence, but he succeeded at last—"…what it was like to be loved."
"It was the first time, Hermione. Not once in my family, not once in my House, and you…showed me that." This time, his smile was more obvious.
Hermione sighed with a smile, but her face was smudged with traces of tears. She put her hand on her forehead and asked,
"How should I end it, then? How should I forget you…no, him…?"
"You are not alone anymore, Hermione," said Lucius as he put his hand on her shoulder; Hermione looked up. "You have friends now—friends that you can talk to."
Hermione's face suddenly lightened up with new hope. Yes, she had friends here now. She was not lost anymore but found. Even if she was separated from her Lucius, she was together with them.
"Yes, I do….Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hagrid…and your son, Draco."
Lucius started a little at her mentioning his son's name, which he didn't seem to expect at all. The dispute he had with Draco over Hermione's missing was still clear in his mind and made him uncomfortable, even after apologizing for his behaviour; he felt as if he did not do it right.
Hermione's voice woke him up from the uncomfortable memories that were swarming into his head again.
"Draco loves you. You know that, right?" said Hermione, but she saw that Lucius was struggling to agree with her. She wrapped her hand around his hand that was still placed on her shoulder; it was cold.
"You just need to show him how much he loves you. You don't want to repeat your history, do you?"
"What if he hates me already?" asked Lucius with uncertainty in his voice.
"No, he doesn't. I know," replied Hermione as she shook her head. "And even if he does, hatred can be conquered by love. Aren't we the proof of that fact?"
Lucius' stiffened face was finally relaxed a little bit at her words, and his hand was warm again. They locked their eyes just as they did before 21 years ago; icy blue and warm brown eyes met and melted in each other. Then they kissed—a goodbye kiss, which confirmed Hermione that their relationship really was finished. A drop of tear fell from her eye, but surprisingly, she was not as sad as before and felt more confident about adapting to her time again.
"Your father loves you very much, Draco," said Hermione, feeling sorry for Draco as she did for Lucius 21 years ago. However, his face showed that he was not convinced by her.
"He's just not good at expressing his feelings," added Hermione. "Believe me."
Draco shrugged his shoulders and laid back on the ground.
"I don't know," said he with his facial expression unchanged.
"But you seem to know him better than I do. So yeah, I guess I will believe you for now."
"That's right, Draco. Believing each other—that's what friends do," said Hermione with a big smile on her face. Draco sat upright suddenly and looked at her. Then he asked,
"Are we still friends?"
"What do you mean 'still'?" asked Hermione although she guessed what Draco was thinking. Draco hung his head and stared at the ground, fidgeting with grass on the ground.
"I mean…now you are back and have Potter and Weasley with you….You don't need to be friends with me anymore."
"That's not true. You are still my friend, Draco," said Hermione, strongly emphasizing her words. But seeing that he was not fully convinced by her words, she added the next sentence: "And I miss a seventeen-year old Malfoy from the past. Maybe you can take his place instead?"
A smile—not a smirk—spread to Draco's face.
"Perhaps I can do that."
Hermione smiled back at him. There were sound of bells ringing in the air; the classes had ended. She knew that Harry and Ron were probably looking for her now, but for some reason, she wanted to extend her moment with Draco just a little longer.
A/N: I am really sorry that I haven't updated the story for so long. I've been lazy. Thank you so much for waiting for it, and I hope it was worth waiting. Once again, thank you everyone who has read and reviewed my story!