Hermione sighed and closed her Potions book, rolling up the parchment and setting it carefully inside her bag. She had finally finished her foot long essay, but time seemed to drag on even more slowly than usual. She huffed in frustration and looked at the clock hanging on the opposite wall of the Library. It was only eight 'o clock, and Harry and Ron wouldn't be done with Quidditch practice for another hour or so. Hermione didn't particularly feel like heading up for bed just yet, so she pulled her therapy journal, as she liked to call it, out of her bag and opened it to a fresh page.
Following the death of Sirius last year, Hermione found herself under a lot of grief that she didn't quite know how to handle. She had never lost anyone close to her before, and she was especially troubled that it should happen at such a terrible time. Still, Hermione knew that there would be a lot more troublesome times ahead of her, with a plethora of other deaths. Hermione shuddered. While she disliked all forms of death, she truly hoped the imminent ones weren't going to be any of her loved ones.
Which brought her back to the dilemma at hand. Harry has been quite vicious when it came to the topic of Sirius, blaming himself severely and biting off the heads of anyone around him who tried to give any comfort. Ron was just as reticent about his feelings, but then he and Sirius didn't have quite the same bond as Hermione had with the man. She decided he was much like an older brother, as she had always turned to him for advice after their fateful first meeting in her Third Year. They worried over Harry together, argued Elfish welfare against one another, but overall had more laughs and good memories than she had with anyone other than Harry and Ron. So she was quite devastated when he had…moved on…last June.
Hermione poised her quill over the page, a little drop of ink splattering the first line. She struggled with her thought for a moment before she put them down, her quill flowing across the page with easy eloquence and tiny, neat script.
Dear Sirius,Why did you leave us? I don't understand the sacrifice. It's so much harder without you. I can't talk to anyone about this. Harry's still grieving, but he's trying, I know. Ron doesn't know what to do either. I'm trying best I can, but it hurts so much. I'm tired of listening...I want someone to listen instead. I want to do the talking. You were always there for that.We had wonderful memories. Did I ever tell you I was sorry for accusing you back in third year? Was it that short of a time ago? It seems like only yesterday. I still can't believe you would eat rats. That was absolutely disgusting. You know, you never did listen to reason. Harry told you not to come and live in that cave, you were told not to leave Grimmauld Place to see us off, and most especially not to leave the house the night that we went to the Department of Mysteries. I suppose that your reckless behavior wasn't all bad, though. It made you…you. It was your rash behavior that was most helpful; it got Harry through the bad times. And, well, it got me through the bad as well.
Sirius, I miss you every day. All of us do. And I think we always will. But it's okay. Because I got to know you for as long as I did. And I know that I'll never forget you.
Hermione frowned slightly when a shadow interrupted her light. Looking up she was just on the verge of telling the person off when she caught sight of who it was. "Malfoy," she hissed. He grinned back at her sarcastically.
"Writing a love letter in your diary, Granger?" Draco asked snidely.
Hermione flushed and felt tears sting her eyes. Sirius was a sensitive subject. "Go to hell," Hermione shot back as she began fumbling around with her things on the desk, trying to force them all into her over-packed bag so that she could escape before she let Malfoy see her cry. She pushed past him and nearly ran out of the library, without turning back.
Hermione didn't see a very curious Draco Malfoy lean down and pick up the black, leather-bound book that had fallen out of her stuffed bag in Hermione's haste to make an exit.
Malfoy grinned and cracked open the book, skimming the contents until he landed on the most recent one. Curiosity clawed at Draco as he slowly read the letter, moving to lean on the table next to him.
Draco's eyes widened more and more as he continued reading the letter. He smirked in a particular way--the word particular here meaning an evil, cruel, and malicious kind of smirk that would bring trouble for Hermione. "So the mudblood misses the murderer." Draco stuffed the book in his pocket, a smirk finding its way to his face. "At least it'll give me some new material to work with."
The next morning, Draco hurriedly finished his breakfast and left the Great Hall, ignoring his cronies' calls. He was more than excited to find some way to torment Granger. Luckily he had his first class with the Gryffindors, Potions. He checked his watch. Ten minutes till class began. Granger would be there soon; she always was early. Draco lurked partially behind one of the suits of armor, hearing a soft pattering of footsteps echoing off the dungeon walls. When he popped out at Hermione, she clutched her heart, her books spilling to the ground, and another grasping wildly for the wall. Hermione narrowed her eyes at the man before her, and Draco grinned in that particular way of his.
"What do you want?" she said calmly, at least for the moment.
"Why, I've just been waiting for you, Granger." Her eyes glared daggers at him. "Are you missing your little dog friend?" Hermione's eyes grew wide and she thought wildly if he had by chance seen her journal. "That's what I thought," Draco replied, smirking at her bewilderment. "I never knew you had a crush on the old man...Never would have thought it from a bookworm like you." He held up the little black book, and Hermione felt her heart skip a beat.
Furious, Hermione turned away and started walking quickly into the classroom but not before muttering, "Accio!" Her therapy journal flew out of Draco's hand, a stunned look on his face. He slowly recovered and smirked, enjoying his moment of victory. He slowly walked into the classroom behind her, his fellow classmates arriving behind him. Oh this was going to be fun.
[The story skips here to several months later. The characters find themselves in a battle against some of Voldemort's Death Eaters, and Hermione arrives in time to see one of the Order being stunned, and Draco being revealed from behind the Order member. Lucius is the prominent Death Eater at the fight, and his rage is clear to be seen at having discovered his own son being the traitor of the Death Eaters' secrets.]
Hermione froze. She watched in horror as Lucius' face contorted as he realized who it was that was spilling the Death Eaters' secrets. She glanced at Draco, who was looking the opposite way, distracted by a loud bang on the opposite end of the street. Time spanned into forever, and Hermione turned back to look at Lucius. There was bloodlust in his eyes, and Hermione knew that he was going to kill his son. Hermione couldn't find her voice, and yet, she didn't want Draco to be killed. Something inside her told her it was wrong to let her enemy die. He had been helping the Order, and therefore Harry, after all. Hermione's decision came in a moment, and she ran forward.
"CRUCIO!" Hermione screamed in pain. It was indescribable. So were the words that were coming out of her mouth. A blond haired boy turned around. He watched in horror as the brunette fell to the ground. And standing behind her was his father.
"You little bastard!" Lucius hissed. "You betrayed us. You sold us out. You will die for your treachery!"
Draco looked on in horror, complete and utter horror that froze him, and only had time to mutter "Protegro" as his father yelled the worst of the three forbidden curses. A pain greater than no other pierced his body. He was made deaf and blind, and he fell to the ground, clutching at his palipitating heart. As soon as it stopped, it seemed as though a knife was pressed through his body and reached into his soul. He felt rather than saw someone come over to him.
"Malfoy," the voice coughed. "Are you alive?" He reached up for the person, still blinded. He grabbed their hair. It was soft, yet bushy. Bushy...Granger. It came to him now...now that he had time to think. Granger had saved him. Granger had taken the curse. He owed Granger his life practically. "Get up," she said, her voice rough and haggard. Draco couldn't move. He felt as though there were a Hippogriff sitting on him. He felt Hermione grab his arm and start tugging him up.
The next thing Draco comprehended was that Hermione had fallen upon him and new voices screamed their names. He heard a muttered spell, and everything became crystal clear, his hearing, and his eyesight. But then so did the pain and reality of the situation. His father was dead. He had killed him.