Disclaimer: If wishes were horses... I'd have to build a stable, but I still wouldn't own Harry Potter.
Chapter 10 (Epilogue)
Hermione held her breath, clawing her way towards the light. Her fingers clenched as she broke the surface, head swimming. She shut her eyes, concentrating on breathing in the salty air and listening to the seagulls shriek. Beside her, she heard someone else gasp and groan.
Finally, she opened her eyes. The room spun, then settled, and she frowned in confusion. She was in a bed, with stiff white sheets. Light flooded in through the open windows at the back of the room, ricocheting off the white tile until it was blinding. The room was lined with beds identical to the one she lay in, except for one walled-off area, with a plaque that read 'Matron's Office.'
Draco was in a bed next to her, looking as bewildered as she.
Finally her mind caught up to her senses. "We're back?"
He blinked at her, then shook his head, as if to clear it. "So it appears." He paused, frowning. "So, wait, what happened?"
"I think Beesting blew up the ship."
A door opened and they both jumped slightly.
"Oh! You're awake then? About time! You two gave us quite a scare you know," Madam Pomfrey said. "Unconscious, yet not a thing wrong with you," she tsked at them, then began to check them over.
The door to the Hospital wing opened, admitting Dumbledore and Snape to the room.
"And how are our mysterious patients today, Poppy?" Dumbledore asked
"Oh, Headmaster. I was about to send for you – they've just woken up," the nurse responded.
Snape immediately swooped up to Draco, peering into his eyes and testing his pulse.
"Really, Severus…" Pomfrey began.
Snape inclined his head slightly to the woman and took a step back. "It's good to see you awake, Mr. Malfoy."
"Come now," Dumbledore said, eyes twinkling down at Hermione. He pulled something out of his pocket and opened it, pulling out a lemon drop. Then he glanced up at her again. "May I offer you a lemon drop?" he asked, holding out a miniature treasure chest.
Her eyes widened. "Ahh, no, thank you, sir."
He smiled at her kindly. "Of course. Now then, would you care to explain what happened to cause all this? You have been unconscious for just over two days."
She hung her head. "I was experimenting with someone else's charm, and there was an accident."
Dumbledore chuckled, "I see. That explains the broken Weasley twin product we found nearby." She nodded, and he continued. "I believe that this will prove to be a useful lesson to you, Miss Granger. Assuming there are no lasting side-effects, I believe you may return to classes tomorrow morning."
She nodded again, "Thank you, sir."
He twinkled down at her for a moment longer. "Is there anything you would like to share with me, Miss Granger?"
She frowned, confused. "No, sir."
"Very good," he nodded and left. Snape hesitated, then followed him out.
Madam Pomfrey bustled back to her office, muttering to herself.
Shaking her head and deciding that the weirdness was just a leftover from the charm, she glanced at Draco. "So… what happens now?"
"I don't know what you mean," he responded, not meeting her gaze.
"Draco…" she began, but then Madam Pomfrey was back.
After a couple magical scans, she said, "Alright then, you lot. You're free to go. But if you experience anything odd, come see me at once. Understood?"
"Yes, Madam Pomfrey," she said. Draco nodded.
Once they exited the Hospital Wing, she tried again. "Draco?"
He turned. "Look, Granger. We can't be friends – not here. It would get us completely cast out… or, actually, I'm quite certain it would be something far worse. What do you think the people we know would have to say about it?"
Friends. Is that what they were?
Her brows knit into an angry frown. "I don't care. We don't have to go skipping 'round together; we can keep this a secret. Unless you'd rather just end it now?"
"I –" he started, eyes wide and staring blankly. "No – I don't –" his jaw clenched, and he focused those amazing eyes on her. He nodded, once, as he turned to go. "See you later, Granger."
Harry and Ron turned the corner at that moment, and they scowled at Draco, who knocked shoulders with Harry in passing.
Her friends spotted her, and came running up. "Hermione! You're alright!"
She grinned at her friends – all three of them, though the third was still walking away. He turned to meet her eyes again, and he nodded once more before turning the corner.
"Oi, what's with the ferret?" Ron asked.
She rolled her eyes. "Honestly, I've just woken up from a coma, and you're worried about him of all people?"
Harry laughed as they started for the Great Hall. "Sorry, 'Mione."
Later at dinner, she looked up to find him watching her. Never taking his eyes off her, he raised a goblet to his lips. She echoed the move.
A toast to their new relationship, and whatever future it would bring.
Seagulls and pelicans roosted and squawked on the roof of Hogwarts, filling the salty sea air with noise. A ship's bell rang in the distance, somewhere on the Black Lake. Strange things were beginning to happen at the school, but no one was noticing – yet.
A/N: I apologize for the shortness, but that, my friends, is the end. Do not mourn, for before long, a new adventure will begin, and more ridiculousness shall be had!
I'm still working on the plot for the sequel, but never fear it is coming.
I'd like to thank all of my lovely reviews once more... well, I suppose it isn't just "once more" since I'll continue to say it in every chapter of every story I ever post. But! I really do appreciate you guys! -Passes out candies to all of you- (don't worry, they aren't cursed.)
I should get the first chapter of the sequel up within a week or so.
Until next time, guys 'n' gals!