7 Horcruxes part 2
When Harry was close to his eleventh birthday he suddenly woke up one morning, knowing subconscious that something big was about to happen. Something that would change his life forever. He had no idea what it was and why he felt that way, but he just knew that he was waiting for something. And then, the first letter of Hogwarts reached Privet Drive number 4.
Every time when he'd fought Voldemort in the last years, this feeling had accompanied him, giving him courage and hope and warning him when he was in danger.
Harry had known that someone close to him would die in his fifth year. He had just suddenly been able to feel it. And when this vision of Voldemort torturing Sirius broke into his mind, he had been sure that this feeling had been about Sirius and that he would be killed. The fact that Harry was after all the real reason for Sirius death had bothered him nearly every day since then.
Now, almost 1 year later, that strange and indescribable feeling suddenly returned. But this time he didn't only know that something big would happen. This time it was far more than that.
While Harry was taking care of Umbridge in her office, he suddenly knew for sure that he would die tonight. He couldn't tell why he was so sure about it, but he didn't doubt that this feeling was true. And suddenly Harry wanted to run away and hide. No matter how hard his life had been until now, he still didn't want to die. There were still so many things he wanted to do. And he noticed just now that the biggest part of him had always believed he would somehow survive this battle. That he would somehow be able to really kill Voldemort. To know now that he had probably been wrong, made Harry feel very lost.
He took a deep breath, said "Enervate" and left Umbriges office even before she could really open her eyes.
"Let's go." He whispered towards Malfoy, who nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard Harry's disembodied voice next to him.
"Fuck, Potter, couldn't you give me a damn warning?" Malfoy hissed in that high voice of his.
Harry would have laughed if that strange feeling hadn't eliminated his sense of humour.
"Sorry." he whispered instead and got a surprised glance from Malfoy in response.
Fortunately they didn't have much time to talk as Dumbledore suddenly appeared in front of them.
"Ready?" he asked smiling.
Harry nodded and even though he was hidden under his invisibility cloak, he had the strange feeling that Dumbledore could nevertheless see it.
He took off the cloak and nodded once again.
"Ok, then let's go." Dumbledore said and they followed him to the elevator.
It took them only ten minutes to leave the Ministry again and Harry was waiting all the time for some kind of attack or some obstacle they would have to overcome. But surprisingly all went well. Harry couldn't help thinking that this had been far too easy.
The Polyjuice Potion finally started to lose its effect and Harry and Malfoy both transformed back into their usual selfs.
To see Malfoy in female muggle cloths should have been the highlight of this day, but Harry couldn't even smile about it. And before he could think twice, Malfoy had already put on his normal cloths. Well, as far as designer jeans were called normal.
The dark foreboding made his stomach clench in fear. Malfoy frowned while watching him and Harry turned around, looking at Dumbledore.
Dumbledore had always been a symbol of power and hope for Harry. As long as Dumbledore was close by, he would be safe, right? But the dark voice in his head said: it's you who has to kill Voldemort. You and not Dumbledore. So it's naturally you who will die if you can't do it.
But Harry would not have survived so many times if he had been a coward, paralysed by fear. So he clenched his fists and complied and from the moment he accepted his fate, Harry just relaxed and the terrible fear in his stomach disappeared to make place for a fierce determination. If he would die tonight, then he would at least take care that his death would not be in vain.
As if Malfoy had sensed this change of mood, he gave Harry another frown and a much too knowing glance. This was actually the thing Harry had always hated most about Malfoy. Even though he was an arrogant ferret, there was something about him that could see right into someone's soul. As if those silvery eyes were a blade, made to tear down all inner walls.
"Well then, let's return to Hogwarts." Dumbledore said serious and put his long fingers around Harry's and Malfoy's wrist.
They vanished and Harry's last thought was that if he really had to die tonight, he would at least return home once again.
Hermione, Ginny and Draco apparated on a meadow close to Hogsmeade. It was already noon and the sun was shining down on them. Everything looked peaceful and safe and it was kind of strange that the feeling that hit Hermione suddely offhand was so dark and fearful. She couldn't hold back a gasp of surprise and both, Ginny and Draco looked at her frowning.
"You ok?" Ginny whispered as if she was afraid they might be heard.
Hermione nodded and placed a little smile on her face, but she couldn't make Draco's frown disappear. Her stomach clenched and she took a deep breath. Things were getting serious now. She could feel it. Literally. A shiver ran through her body and Hermione tried to get a grip of herself. She'd done so much these past months. She'd witnessed love, fear, pain, happiness, pure bliss and also hurt. She could definitely handle this. She just had to.
"Let's go." Draco finally said and they started walking towards the castle.
They had hardly reached Hogsmeade when they were nearly scared to death by three persons suddenly appearing right in front of them. Dracos wand was ready to curse whoever might want to harm them, but then they realized that it was actually Dumbledore, holding Harry and Draco. Hermiones heart had started beating in fear but now it was beating because she was so glad to see Draco unharmed. And Harry of course.
Draco's eyes met hers and before she could even move, he had already approached her relieved and put his arms around her. This didn't calm her heartbeat at all.
"If we survive tonight, I want you in my bed." he whispered so low that nobody besides her could hear him.
Hermione flushed and she was sure that her eyes were gleaming at the simple thought of it. And suddenly a sad feeling of regret hit her. If they wouldn't make it tonight, she would never find out how it feels. Hermione hadn't thought much about sex the last days, but she'd thought about it before. And now she wished they hadn't waited so long but simply done it.
Draco squeezed her hand as if he knew what she was thinking and she smiled at him, a bit sadly. Harry had taken Ginny's hand and now that Hermione looked at him, she knew that he had made a decision. And she couldn't help thinking that she wouldn't like it.
"We got the cup out of Gringotts, but they saw us. It won't take long until Voldemort knows." future Draco explained and Dumbledore nodded.
"So we have the locket and the cup and I bet Severus already took care of the tiara. The only thing left is Nagini. But we won't have to look for her. Voldemort will definitely come."
Before someone could reply to that statement, Harry suddenly let out a scream, his face pale as a sheet. His eyes were closed and Hermione knew exactly what he was doing. Harry was back in Voldemorts mind.
"He knows... He just killed some Goblins and he's hopping mad. He thinks about all the Horcruxes and decided to look for every single one to make sure they're safe. He will start with the ring..." Harry whispered.
He opened his green eyes and looked at nobody else but Dumbledore.
"We have a couple of hours time, but then he will come to Hogwarts. We have to get everybody out of there."
Pansy and Weasley were waiting at the entrance of the Chamber of Secrets. They didn't talk anymore and Weasley had brought a certain distance between them. Pansy knew what he was trying. He wanted to keep up the walls that separated Gryffindors and Slytherins. Especially after what they had witnessed a while ago, both knew that affection between these two houses was just destined to go wrong. But Pansy couldn't help thinking that Draco and Granger seemed to get along pretty well...
"Why do you think did Snape fall in love with Potter's Mum? I mean, they were completely different, weren't they?" Pansy suddenly said, much too curious for his answer.
Weasley gave her a long glance, his hands in his pockets, his hair falling in his eyes. Why did he suddenly look so cute to her?
"Maybe that's what attracted him. Maybe he wanted her because she was unreachable in the first place."
Pansy nodded, lost in her thoughts.
"Do you think such a love will last? If you have nothing in common, if you live in different worlds, do you think there is a chance that it still works?"
"I have no idea. But I guess you won't find out if you don't try. If it doesn't work, you can at least say that you tried. I think that's better than giving up and asking yourself forever what would have been if you gave it a chance."
Pansy couldn't help being surprised. Such wise words from Weasley? She finally nodded.
"I guess you're right. I wouldn't want to ask myself all the time what could have been. Better find out yourself even if it breaks your heart."
"Hermione and Malfoy are not like Snape and Harry's Mum." Weasley suddenly said softly, his warm gaze set on her.
Pansy shouldn't have been surprised that he'd known which couple she'd been actually talking about.
"I know." she replied, a little smile on her lips. "When they are together, the air around them seems to be filled with electricity. But it's not only that, they just seem to have this special something. It made me crazy for a while." she admitted and blushed.
"And now?" he suddenly whispered and Pansy blushed even more.
"Now I think that I would love to have such a relationship myself one day – with the right person." she replied slowly and didn't dare to look at him.
"Me too." he finally said softly.
Pansy looked up and met his gaze and for one short moment, the earth stopped moving and time stood still, while she was lost in his eyes.
"Why didn't you two go back to your dormitories like I told you?" a sharp voice suddenly interrupted them and they both turned around to face a pale Snape.
"We want to help. We won't just go to bed and pretend nothing happened." Pansy said stubborn, her arms crossed over her chest.
There was a seldom sparkle in Snapes eyes, before they returned to their usual black again.
"Follow me." he just replied and Pansy couldn't help rising her eyebrows in surprise. She glanced at Weasley who shrugged, a little smile on his lips.
Snape left the bathroom and Pansy and Weasley followed. When they reached the door, their arms touched and Pansy's heart started pounding. Seems as if Gryffindors are not that bad after all... she thought with a smile. She had no idea that Weasley had actually come to the same conclusion concerning Slytherins.
Draco couldn't help thinking that something was wrong with Potter. And Hermione seemed to sense it as well. Normally he wouldn't have cared, but he somehow didn't like the stony expression on Potters face. This expression only softened when he looked at the little redhead.
Dumbledore was just about to divide them into groups again.
"I will take care of the evacuation of the students and I will gather all teachers to ask them if they want to stay and fight or leave. Draco, you will inform the order of the Phoenix. You know how. Harry, here is Gryffindors sword. You and the others will have to destroy the Horcruxes. I am sure you can do it."
Dumbledores blue eyes were set on Potter, trust and pride in his gaze while he gave him both Horcruxes and the mean to destroy them – Gryffindor's golden sword.
Potter nodded grimly, one of his hands clasped around the golden hilt, the other one holding locket and cup.
Draco saw his future self gazing at Hermione. She glanced back, a worried smile on her face.
"Take care." she formed with her lips, not saying the words aloud. He nodded and disapparated, his gaze holding hers until he vanished.
Draco knew that it was stupid, but he felt jealous. There was so much between his future self and Hermione that he sometimes felt betrayed by their closeness. Which was of course totally dumb. But he couldn't help feeling like that.
They were now right in front of the castle. Dumbledore put his hand on Potters shoulder and smiled.
"We will meet in the Great Hall. Be careful. Evil is not always dark." he said cryptical before finally going into the castle.
"Let's go to the Forbidden Forest." Potter eventually suggested, but Hermione had suddenly taken his arm, a terrified expression on her face.
"No, you can't!" she nearly screamed before she realized that all of them were now staring at her surprised.
Hermione started to bite her lip and Draco knew that this was a certain sign that she regretted having said something before thinking. Potter and the redhead knew as well of course and now everyone was waiting for an explanation.
"I mean, I think it would be better not to do it in such a dangerous place. What if the Horcrux attracts dark creatures?"
Draco had to admit that she was good, but none of them believed that this was the real reason for her fierce reaction.
But Potter surprisingly shrugged.
"And where should we go then?"
Hermione kept biting her lip, obviously holding back a relieved sigh.
"Let's do it in the greenhouse." she finally proposed but Ginny snorted.
"And what if the Horcrux attracts the devil's snare?" she said angry, glaring at Hermione.
Both girls were now looking at each other, the brunette one surprised, the redheaded one still furious.
Draco glanced at Potter who seemed to be as confused as himself.
"Mione, I need to talk to you." The redhead suddenly said and Hermione just nodded, a frown placed between her brows.
"We'll be back in a minute." she said and followed her best friend in the direction of the lake.
"Will they be ok?" Draco asked frowning, looking at the two girls.
Potter shrugged again.
"They will talk it out. And we don't have time for this kind of games right now. Come, on, we'll take care of the Horcruxes."
Draco gave him a worried glance.
"What's wrong, Potter? What the hell happened in Umbridge's office?"
Normally this would have been a great chance to make some joke, but Draco didn't feel like it. He really wanted to know what was going on with the "Chosen One". Especially because he counted on Potter to make them all survive tonight.
"Nothing. You can come with me or stay to wait for the girls." Potter just said and turned around to go to the Forbidden Forest.
"Hey, didn't you hear that Hermione doesn't want you to enter that damned forest? Whatever she's so worried about, you shouldn't just ignore it." Draco said angry, not sure if he wanted to follow Potter to help him or to beat him up.
"I know why she doesn't want me to go the to forest. But it's safe for now." Potter said sneering, that same stony expression on his face.
Draco cursed but followed him. He just hoped that Hermiones dark-creature-theory was just that – a theory.
Hermione followed Ginny to the lake, not really knowing what to say. Ginny had never been that angry and Hermione didn't understand what she'd actually done to her. Not to mention that this was not the time to start some bloody fight.
"Gin, what's wrong?" she finally asked softly, not sure what to expect.
"Mione, what is Draco to you? I mean, what do you feel for him?" Ginny suddenly asked and Hermione frowned confused.
„I love him." she replied without hesitating, not sure what would come next.
„And you would do anything to protect him, right?" Ginny asked matter-of-factly.
„Yes, sure..." Hermione started but was interrupted by Ginny's next question.
„And if he was in danger of dying, you would do anything to make sure he'd be safe, right?"
Hermione started to guess where this converstaion would eventually lead.
„Yes, Gin, I would." she replied devoted.
„Ok, it's great we understand each other so well. And now tell me what the hell you're hiding or I'm going to make you tell me and you won't like it. I know I'm not yet as good as you with my wand, but I don't need one to beat you up and believe me I would do it if I was sure that it could possibly protect Harry."
Hermione looked at her best friend surprised and she knew that Ginny was serious. And for the first time Hermione suddenly understood what it must feel like to be the girlfriend of the „Chosen One". Tonight it was life or death for Harry. There was nothing in between and Ginny knew it. And it wasn't only Harry's life. If he failed, a whole world would break down. This was not the kind of pressure a 16 year old guy should have to manage. This was not the life her best friend was supposed to lead. If Harry would really die, a part of Hermione would die, too. But for Ginny it would be half of her soul. And it was just natural that she would do anything to prevent this – even if she had to choose between her best friend and her love. Ginny had made her decision and Hermione knew that she would have done the same, even though it hurt her.
„Gin, I'm sorry. I didn't see it like that. You're right. I really didn't mean to hurt you."
Ginny's hard expression softened and now she finally showed her true feelings. Hermione nearly gasped when she saw the fear and panic in those usually strong eyes and the desperation in her best friends expression.
"Mione, he's ready to die. I can see it in his eyes. I can see it in his face, in the way he looks at me. He doesn't think of surviving. He's sure that he'll lose and I can't stand it. If you know something, I beg you, please tell me. I can't live without him."
Hermiones heart broke into pieces. She couldn't tell. If she did, Ginny would not be able to hold back. But she had to. They all had to. Harry had to die tonight to be able to live. But how should she explain?
"Gin, I didn't hold back because I don't trust you. I didn't tell because I'm afraid you won't be able to handle it." Hermione finally said slowly, her voice hardly more than a trembling whisper.
And suddenly Hermione could feel the tears running down her cheeks and she saw Ginny's face turning pale. And then the redhead broke down and for the first time in years she started crying so hard as if part of her soul had already died.
Draco followed Potter into the Forbidden Forest and soon they found a nice little meadow where they could even see some rays of sunlight. It was much too silent to Draco's taste and he couldn't help feeling nervous. What would it be like to shatter a piece of Voldemorts soul?
"You wanna try first?" Potter suddenly asked as if he'd guessed his thoughts.
Draco shook his head automatically and grimaced at Potters smile.
"I'll take the cup." Potter said more to himself, his expression cold again.
He placed the golden cup on the grass and took the sword. It didn't seem too complicated. How hard could it be to destroy a simple cup with such a mighty sword?
That was until they heard that high and cold voice suddenly talking as if Voldemort himself was standing right next to them.
Draco couldn't help cringing and Potter's hands clasped the sword even harder.
"You don't really want to do that, Potter. You know that you were never destined to destroy me. You just can't do it. I killed your parents, your godfather, your friend and now I am going to kill everybody who is important to you. And you can't stop me. You are not the Chosen One, Harry. You are just a little boy who is scared. It doesn't have to be like this. I can fix everything. Put down that sword and give me back my Horcruxes. I won't harm your friends and nobody will have to die. Just obey Harry Potter and you can be alive and safe and happy. It doesn't have to end like this."
Draco watched Potter closely. He was trembling. Pictures started to appear like shadows. Hagrid, Hermione ,Weasley and Ginny who suddenly started talking in a soft voice.
"We can be together Harry. Just the two of us. Don't risk our lives unnecessary. Let's just be happy. I want to be with you forever. You don't have to play the hero."
"Come on mate, don't hesitate. It's best for all of us. And I know that you go out with Ginny. It's great, really. There is nobody else I would want her to go out with." Weasley said with a stupid smile that made Draco want to beat him.
A shadowy Hermione suddenly started speaking, her voice not as warm as the real Hermione's and Draco felt stupid because he nevertheless reacted even though he knew that it was just a bloody illusion.
"Harry, just give it up already. If you really want to save us, you will have to obey. Nobody will have to suffer if you just give in. We understand. Nobody will be disappointed with you. We all know that you did your best. It's time to let go, Harry."
Potter was pale as a sheet, his green eyes a bit too bright.
Draco went in between and made the shadows back away.
"Hermione would have never said something that stupid and you know that Potter! And your girlfriend would rather date a blast-ended skrewt than obey to the Dark Lord! They would all prefer dying tonight than living under his reign. Fuck Potter, destroy that bloody cup!"
Draco didn't know which of his words had made Potter move, but the blade of Gryffindors sword suddenly broke the golden cup in two pieces and a high scream sounded into the silence. It gave Draco goose-bumps.
Potter was breathing hard, his eyes big and empty and Draco suddenly felt really sorry for him. His own life had already been a mess in the last months, but it was nothing compared to what Potter had to go through.
"Thanks." he finally managed to say and Draco just nodded. He wouldn't have wanted Potters sympathy in such a situation and he guessed that the boy who still lived would feel the same way.
"The locket is yours." Potter said exhausted and Draco snorted.
"Thanks." he replied ironical and got a dry laugh in response.
Ginny had calmed down pretty soon and to Hermiones surprise, she really seemed to be ok. Her eyes were still red and swollen, but she was far from breaking into tears again. Her face had now the same stony expression that Harry had shown before and Hermione felt so sorry that she could hardly breathe. But she couldn't give her any hope. It was better Ginny would expect the worst. If there was no hope then there was no expectation. And if finally everything went good, Ginny would be even more happy. It was better than being devastated because one's hope didn't come true. And truth was that Hermione didn't know if Harry would make it. The simple thought made her heart skip a beat. She bit her lip until she tasted blood.
"Mione? I have a favour to ask." Ginny suddenly said slowly and Hermione shook her head in response.
"Don't even think of it Ginevra."
Ginny laughed humourless but nodded.
"Ok, so let's destroy those bloody Horcruxes."
Hermione nodded agreeing and took her best friends hand but Ginny suddenly froze.
"Where are the guys?" she asked terrified and Hermione noticed only now that there was no trace of Harry and Draco around.
"Forbidden Forest. Hurry." she said and both girls started running.
Draco wished he could send Potter away. He wished he could ask him to just leave and come back when he was done, but he knew that it wouldn't have been fair. He had witnessed Potter's fears and now it was his turn to reveal his greatest nightmare. Draco grimaced. He put the golden locket on the floor and was waiting for Voldemorts reaction. But nothing happened. He frowned and glanced at Potter who shrugged confused.
"Just destroy it, don't wait." Potter instructed tensed and Draco nodded. The absence of any dark activity made him more nervous than what had happened before to Potter.
Draco took the sword and was ready to pierce the locket, when Hermione suddenly stood in front of him, her feet floating over the locket.
"Come on, just do it. Kill me." she said sadly, her big eyes watery.
Draco hesitated. He knew this was just an illusion, but he was nevertheless paralyzed. How typical of Voldemort to use the only real weakness Draco had.
"It's not as if you didn't kill me before." she continued and Draco frowned in surprise.
"What?" he couldn't help asking.
"Oh come on, Draco, don't pretend you don't know. How many times have you broken my heart? How many times did I cry because of you? If I didn't fall in love with you, then nothing of this would have happened."
Her voice was clear and filled with emotion and Draco put down the sword, not sure what to say.
Images suddenly appeared in front of him. Hermione when she saw him kissing Pansy, Potter and Weasley not talking to her because of him, his mother threatening her, the moment he'd told her he wouldn't leave Malfoy Manor with her, the way he'd talked about her in front of her parents – as if she was only a friend, the countless times he'd called her mudblood before. All of these images showed a crying or sad Hermione and every single time it had been his fault.
"You think you can just switch sides and pretend to be one of the good guys? You can't Draco. We live in different worlds and you have done nothing but made my life harder. We can't be together Draco. We would just hurt each other. I don't want to be hurt anymore."
Tears ran down her cheeks and Draco couldn't move, he couldn't think. He'd expected everything but not this. This was not an illusion he could just overlook. This was the truth. Everything she'd said was true.
"Malfoy! Didn't you tell me before that Hermione would never say such a shit? Voldemort plays a perverted game with our minds so don't you dare to give in! I never thought I'd say something like this, but Hermione loves you." Potter suddenly shouted and was thrown back by an invisible force. His head slammed against a nearby tree and Draco wanted to check if he was ok, but he literally couldn't move.
He turned around to face that crying Hermione again and suddenly he stood in front of Voldemort, who had his one arm around Hermione's waist while the other one was holding his wand. Those dark, lifeless eyes and his pale face seemed just too real. A cruel smile was on his lips.
"You think just because you didn't get the Dark Mark that you can still be saved. Let me tell you that you're wrong Draco. You don't have to wear the Mark to be a Death Eater."
"No!" Draco shouted and noticed that he was wearing a dark cloak and a silvery mask. On his forearm was a big, black skull.
Voldemort smiled cruel and pointed his wand at Hermione.
"Avada Kedavra." he said nearly bored and Draco screamed in pain when he saw Hermiones lifeless body fall on the ground.
"It doesn't have to be like this, Draco. I can protect her. I am the only one who can truly protect her. Not Potter, not yourself, not even Dumbledore. I am the only one who can guarantee her safety. I can even make her forget. She would be happy, Draco. She could live the life she was meant to live – if you obey."
Pictures started to appear again. Hermione laughing with friends, Hermione in a wedding dress, Hermione holding a baby, Hermione getting older. Draco felt a strong pain in his chest. He wanted her to live. He wanted her to be happy. So badly that he was tempted to give in. Tempted to sacrifice his soul if necessary. Tempted, but not ready.
Draco eventually took the sword and gave the illusion of Voldemort one of his devilish smiles.
"You forgot that I'm a Slytherin. And Slytherins are egoistic bastards. I want her to live and to be happy – but I want it to be with me." He said determined and pierced the locket with
one strong flourish of the sword. Voldemorts surprised face vanished with another terrifying scream and left Draco standing alone on the little meadow. He was breathing hard and finally he turned around and looked at Potter who was rubbing his hurting head.
"Damn, Malfoy, I really thought for one moment you'd give in."
"I have some other plans tonight, Potter."
Potter smiled and Draco offered his hand to help him stand up.
"What the hell happened in Umbridge's office?" Draco suddenly asked again, his hand still holding Potters.
"I realized that I will die tonight." Potter simply said, his green eyes fearless.
"Let's call it Intuition."
"Will you take care of the girls? Can I trust in you?" Potter asked as if it was hard for him to say the words.
"You can." Draco replied slowly, his hand letting go of Potter's.
Grey eyes met green ones and for a short moment both guys knew that under different circumstances they probably could have been friends.
"I still can't stand you." Draco clarified and Potter laughed.
Hermione and Ginny reached the meadow breathless just in time to see Draco and Harry holding hands.
Both girls looked at each other confused. Draco let go of Harry's hand and said something that made him laugh. Hermione couldn't help frowning. Since when did those two get along?
"Harry!" Ginny finally shouted and he turned around to face her with a smile.
"We're ok. We destroyed the Horcruxes." he said and Ginny hugged him as if she never wanted to let him go.
Something in Hermione's gaze had obviously alarmed Draco because he was next to her in a second, his silvery eyes piercing hers.
"Stop it." he whispered and Hermione looked at him surprised.
"Stop? What?" she asked confused.
"Stop looking as if we already lost. Stop looking as if you want to already cry for them. It's not over yet, so please stop." Draco said determined, his gaze holding hers.
"We won't die tonight. No matter what you think to know and no matter What Potter feels. We won't."
Hermione wanted to smile, she wanted to say that he was right, but instead she put her hands around his neck and kissed him like she'd always wanted to kiss him. She didn't care that her friends were looking. She just tried to express all of her feelings with this kiss. Draco was surprised for one moment, but then he put his arms around her with a moan and held her firm. His lips were soft and warm and he started playing with her, started to take over the control. Hermione felt breathless, her heart pounding, her body tingling. She wanted him now and she didn't care if anybody was watching.
Draco seemed to sense her mood, because he took her arms and broke the kiss. Hermione moaned disappointed.
"Uhm, if you two are finished, we could go back to the castle." Harry said amused. Was there something like envy in his gaze? Hermione felt immediately sorry and blushed ashamed.
Draco just smirked and Ginny grinned and then the four of them left the Forbidden Forest – maybe for the last time.
Pansy was standing in the Room of Requirements, watching all the confused students leaving Hogwarts. The room had transformed into something similar to a magical station. There were lots of fireplaces where people disappeared, using flea powder, there were brooms and also special places where people could apparate and disapparate even though the protective shields of Hogwarts were still active.
It was a continual coming and going. Students were going, Aurors and other fighters were coming.
Pansy helped the smaller children to leave. A lot of them never used flea powder and all were confused and wanted to know what was going on. She sighed tired and felt a glance from the other side of the room. She turned around and met Wealsey's warm eyes. He could have given her an encouraging smile, but instead he rolled his eyes at the little children and poked out his tongue. Pansy started laughing and he grinned satisfied.
A sudden feeling of regret stopped Pansy's laughing. Weasley frowned at her expression but didn't move. She managed a little smile and turned back to work.
If things were different, maybe she could have asked Weasley to go out with her. They could have tried to find out if it would work. Get to know each other better, have a couple of dates and see if it felt right. But if things had been different then she would have never allowed herself to even think of dating Weasley. So maybe after all, it wasn't so bad that all of this had happened. She was not caught in Draco's spell anymore and even if she would die tonight, she would know that she was free. When she looked at Weasley, Pansy felt young and crazy and alive. As if there was nothing that could ever stop her and as if she could just be herself. She wished she could enjoy this feeling forever. Draco had never made her feel like that.
She took a deep breath and smiled at a little Slytherin boy who was just about to return home.
"Are you not coming with us?" he asked curious and Pansy just shook her head.
The little boy nodded and disappeared into the green flames.
Future Draco suddenly apparated next to her and Pansy shrieked surprised. He was dressed in black, his silvery eyes reminding her of diamonds – beautiful and harder than stone. Draco appeared actually dangerous and for the first time, Pansy felt as if he was capable of killing. He looked like an auror and he was sexy as hell.
Before she could say something, other aurors apparated next to them, all dressed in a similar way.
"Where's Dumbledore?" Draco asked her softly.
"He told us to evacuate the school. He disappeared with Snape in his office." Pansy replied a bit breathless.
"Thanks." Draco said and turned around to leave with the other aurors.
As if he'd felt her gaze in his back, he turned around and gave her a smile.
"I can't convince you to leave Hogwarts, can I?"
Pansy shook her head smiling sadly.
Draco nodded and left the Room of Requirements.
Pansy met Weasley's gaze and there was no smile and no grimace this time. He just watched her serious, turned around and took care of the children next to him.
Pansy felt hurt and couldn't even tell why. And she felt guilty, even though she knew she hadn't done something wrong. If you loved someone for so many years, you couldn't just eliminate all feelings towards that person. Weasley should know that. But why did he even care? Could he possibly like her a bit?
Suddenly there was a smile on Pansy's face while she showed a little girl how to use the flea powder.
Harry entered the Great Hall, holding Ginny's hand. Behind him were Hermione and Malfoy. Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick were both murmuring protective spells and stopped when the four of them entered.
"Potter, thank God... Professor Dumbledore is waiting for you in his office. It's important." Professor McGonagall said relieved.
"I'll go immediately." he said and she nodded. And for the first time since he was in Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall put a hand on his shoulder and gave him an encouraging smile.
"You can do it, Harry. I know that you can."
Harry felt a lump in his throat and nodded.
"Miss Weasley, Miss Granger, Mr. Malfoy, the three of you can go up to the Room of Requirements. They will need as much help as they can get. We evacuate the school."
Harry saw Hermione nodding and had to smile. She would never ignore a teacher's instruction.
He looked down at Ginny who didn't seem to be happy.
"Will we meet afterwards?" she asked hopeful. Harry sighed.
"If I would ask you to leave..." he started and was interrupted by Ginny.
"...then I would say thanks, but no thanks." she replied with a little smile and he smiled back.
"Take care of yourself." he asked her slowly, his hand holding hers as if it would hurt him to let go – which was actually true.
"The same for you." she whispered, squeezing his hand before she let go to follow Hermione.
"Malfoy." Harry whispered, so that the girls couldn't hear it.
The blonde Slytherin turned around, his grey eyes set on Harry as if he knew what he wanted to say.
"If things are getting serious, can you take care that Ginny and Hermione are safe?" he whispered nearly pleading.
"I promise." Malfoy replied and Harry sighed relieved as if a huge burden had been taken off his shoulders.
Malfoy nodded and followed Hermione and Ginny out of the Great Hall.
Harry stood in front of Dumbledore's office, when the pain suddenly hit him. He was so furious that he wanted to kill somebody. He wanted to destroy everything around him, wanted to destroy the whole world because somebody had found out his secret.
The ring was gone. The cottage was empty and the ring was gone and he knew that it was impossible. He had protected his Horcrux with all kinds of spells, but the ring was nevertheless gone. And if the ring was gone then there was also a chance that they had been able to find the other Horcruxes. Dumbledore. Only Dumbledore was strong enough to find out his secret. And only Dumbledore knew about his connection to the Gaunts. He had to check the locket. And with a soft swing of his wand he was up in the air, flying towards a little cave at the coast.
Harry woke up in Dumbledore's arms, surrounded by aurors. He knew some of them like Tonks, Moody and Kingsley but there were also some he'd never seen. And future Malfoy was also there, watching him worried with those grey eyes that seemed so familiar.
"He knows that the ring is gone. He'll check the locket and then he'll come to Hogwarts. We don't have much time left." Harry whispered exhausted and tried to stand up. He felt ashamed that he had broken down in a room full of aurors.
Dumbledore put his hand on Harry's shoulder and he relaxed a bit.
"You all know what to do. We shouldn't waist time." Dumbledore said serious and the aurors nodded and left his office together with Malfoy who had given Harry a little nod.
Harry noticed only now that they were not alone. Snape was standing in front of the window as if he didn't really belong there. His eyes were motionless and he looked tired. Harry thought that it was probably the first time that he had ever seen Snape tired.
"Severus..." Dumbledore started and Snape nodded, a sneering expression on his face.
"I know." he just said and turned around to leave.
"Take care. And don't forget your promise." Dumbledore said friendly, but there was a certain sharpness in his voice.
Snape turned around and his gaze was now set on Harry. He didn't say a word though and simply disappeared like a shadow. Harry frowned confused.
"Where is he going?" he asked slowly, not sure if he really wanted to hear the answer.
"I think you know where he's going." Dumbledore replied tired, his blue eyes set on Harry's pale face.
"Harry, all of this happens sooner than expected. I thought we had more time. I was hoping I had more time to prepare you..."
"I don't think anyone could have ever prepared me for this."
"No, you're probably right."
Harry took a deep breath.
"What's the plan?"
Dumbledore shrugged and it looked strange on him.
"We will all fight. And you should concentrate on destroying the last Horcrux."
"Nagini." Harry whispered and Dumbledore nodded.
"You are not alone, Harry. You should never forget that. No matter what the prophecy is telling – you don't have to do it on your own."
Harry nodded but the dumb feeling in his chest told him that it didn't matter.
"I will go and check how many of the older students are willing to stay. Do you want to come with me?" Dumbledore asked worried.
Harry could only imagine how his face looked like.
"Can I stay here for a while?" he finally whispered and Dumbledore nodded, a frown placed between his brows before he finally left.
Harry was standing there and looked out of the window. He could see the black lake, the greenhouse, the Astronomy Tower and even Hagrids cabin. This was his home. He would do everything to protect it.
The door suddenly opened and Harry turned around to face future Malfoy.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked surprised.
Malfoy took a deep breath.
"Harry, I have to show you something. Something that will probably shock you."
"Take a number." Harry replied dryly. His head started hurting and for one short moment he imagined he could go to his dormitory and sleep for a while. And then he would wake up and his biggest problem would be that he was afraid what Ron would think about his feelings for Ginny.
Future Malfoy looked at him sympathetic.
"To understand you will have to watch this." he said softly, his hand holding a vial with a silvery liquid.
"What's that?" Harry asked curious and Malfoy smiled sadly.
"This is the explanation of all of your questions. These are Snape's memories. Well, I mean the Severus Snape of my future. I have taken them with me because I knew that this would explain everything better than I could ever do it."
Harry felt a strange tingle in his hand when he took the vial. And suddenly there was that same feeling again, the feeling that something big was about to happen. Something that would change his life forever.
"Whatever you think, please don't forget that I came back to safe your future. And I don't mean only Hermiones or mine, I mean also yours. If you can trust me, I promise that everything will work out." Malfoy said honest and Harry could't help believing him. There was something about this guy that made him forget that they were actually enemies.
Malfoy left the office as silent as he'd entered and Harry was alone with the vial. He felt a strange reluctance but he nevertheless poured the silvery liquid into Dumbledores pensieve.
Hermione entered the Room of Requirements together with Ginny and Draco and they all looked surprised at the strange scenario in front of them. The room had practically transformed into a station.
"Mione! Ginny!" Ron suddenly shouted and Hermione hugged him firm. She noticed Draco's glance and made a step back, still smiling.
Ginny hugged her brother as well, relieved that he was ok.
"Where's Harry?" Ron asked worried and Hermione explained that he was with Dumbledore.
Ron nodded and his gaze was suddenly set on the other side of the room. Hermione followed his eyes and found Pansy standing there. She was alone and looked very lost and there was something in her dark eyes that made Hermione frown.
Ron suddenly waved with his hand, as if he wanted to tell her that she should come and Pansy didn't hesitate. Soon she was standing next to him and Hermione noticed that they both kept a certain distance. She glanced at Draco who smirked at her as if he knew what she was thinking. So he'd noticed as well.
"Did you evacuate all the students?" Ginny asked curious as the room was now empty.
"There are about 20 older students who decided to stay and fight. But all the others are gone. Dumbledore said we normally had to go as well. We are not 17 yet and therefore not allowed to fight. We can only stay if we promise not to leave this room."
Hermione and Ginny both snorted and Draco grinned.
Suddenly Seven more wizards apparated in front of them and Ginny shrieked surprised when she recognized the rest of her family and Lupin.
"Oh thank God you're all safe." Mrs. Weasley started worried and hugged Ron, Ginny and even Hermione.
"Where's Harry?" she asked frowning and Ron explained.
"If he's with Dumbledore then he'll be safe." Mr. Weasley said smiling tensed.
"Harry is probably already training some cool spells to kick You-Know-Who's ass." Fred said grinning and got a smack on the back of his head from his mother.
Hermione was glad that they were all here, but she was also worried. The sun was close to setting and she knew that there was not much time left.
Ginny and Ron were now fighting with their parents because they didn't want to stay in the Room of Requirements.
"We'll be back soon." Hermione suddenly said and took Draco's hand to disappear with him. Nobody seemed to notice besides Ron who only managed to shout a furious: "Hey!"
Draco smiled amused when Hermione led him to an empty classroom.
"What do you intend to do?" he asked husky, his mind obviously occupied with some dirty fantasy.
"Not what you think." Hermione replied dryly and Draco shrugged regretful.
"Draco, I have to tell you something." Hermione started and noticed that this was probably not the best choice of words because Draco was frowning suspicious now.
"I didn't tell you everything about the Horcruxes."
Dracos frown got even deeper.
"What are you talking about?"
"There are actually seven Horcruxes and not only six."
Draco turned pale.
But before he could start yelling, Hermione had already started to explain.
"It's Harry. The last and seventh Horcrux is Harry. And to be able to destroy it, Harry will have to let Voldemort kill him. Without defending himself. Draco, if we want to survive tonight, then we will have to let Harry die."
If possible, Draco turned even paler.
"Draco?" Hermione started worried and was surprised about this strong reaction. Was Harry not one of the persons Draco hated most in the world? Ok she hadn't expected him to be happy, but to see him like this was actually a surprise.
Hermione looked at her boyfriend confused.
"Huh?" she asked not very brilliant and Draco gave her a small smile.
"Potter knows. If you wanted me to hold his hands so that he can get killed, then forget it because he already knows. He won't defend himself." Draco said in a bitter voice.
"This bothers you far more than I thought." Hermione admitted and got a sharp glance from Draco that made her freeze.
"And it doesn't seem to bother you the way it should." he said frowning and Hermione blushed ashamed.
"It does! Harry is my best friend after all. If he really dies then a part of me will die, too."
Draco suddenly stood up and approached her. Hermione went some steps back until she was pressed against the cold wall. She couldn't take her eyes of Draco's cold expression while he was so close. Her back was cold from the stonewall while her front was burning from the warmth of his body. This was not the time to feel like that.
"Draco..." she whispered, not sure what she actually wanted to say.
"You are still hiding something. I can see it. If there was no hope then you would be devastated. You would never allow Harry to sacrifice himself if there wasn't any hope. Tell me, Hermione." he commanded and Hermione felt reminded of former conversations when they hadn't been a couple. His hypnotic eyes and his commanding voice had made her furious and aroused at the same time.
"If Harry doesn't defend himself when Voldemort kills him, then there is a chance that only the Horcrux inside of him will be destroyed and nothing else. But this is just a theory. A theory I have to believe in because if I don't then I'd go crazy." Hermione whispered and saw Dracos expression soften.
He buried his hands in her hair and took her lips in a hungry kiss. She didn't want to miss this feeling. Ever. Hermione put her arms around his waist and pressed her body against him which made him moan. She just wanted to be with him. Why did everything have to be so complicated? Why were there so many more important things when this kiss felt as if it was the world to her?
A sudden tremble broke their kiss and Hermione looked at Draco terrified. He took her hand and they both ran towards the window. And then they saw it. An army of dark shadows made its way towards Hogwarts. Giants caused the strange tremble with every of their huge steps. Death Eaters with dark cloaks and silver masks were on their way towards the castle, not to mention the floating shadows of the Dementors from Azkaban.
Hermione had been hoping that Voldemort wouldn't be able to gather such an army in such a short time, but she had obviously been wrong. The protective spells of Hogwarts were too strong to be broken, though. With Dumbledore alive, no Death Eater would ever set foot on the grounds of Hogwarts, right?
Hermione and Draco left the empty classroom.
"We have to find Harry." she said and Draco nodded. She wanted to turn around and hurry down the stairs, but he stopped her, holding her hand in his.
Hermione turned around and watched him surprised when Draco bent down and kissed her hand.
"Don't forget that I love you. You're the only one who ever touched my heart."
Hermione was close to crying.
"This is not the end Draco Malfoy. I will tell you that I love you when this is over." she said squeezing his hand.
He smiled and followed her down the stairs.
They met Ginny, Ron and Pansy who were of course not waiting in the Room of Requirements as instructed.
"Harry." Ginny, Ron and Hermione said at the same time and all nodded and hurried towards Dumbledores office.
Another loud tremble shook the castle and Hermione bit her lip.
"They try to break the protective spells." she murmured to herself.
They hurried up the stairs to Dumbledores office and before they even opened the door, Hermione already knew that Harry was gone.
Harry looked at Snapes memories for what felt like ages. When he was thrown back into Dumbledore's office, he felt as if someone had beaten him up.
No, this couldn't be true. This was just a stupid mistake, some silly mix-up.
He was a Horcrux. Harry's stomach clenched and he wanted to puke, but he hadn't eaten all day, so he only choked. To have a piece of Voldemorts soul inside of him made him feel sick. So that was why he was so different. That was why he could break into Voldemorts mind whenever he felt like it. Because he was actually part of him.
Harry sobbed disgusted. He was no hero. He was a monster. He saw Ginny in front of him, Ron, Hermione and even Snape. Snape who had always hated him. Hated him because he had loved his mother. Harry still couldn't really believe it. All those years, Snape had actually sworn to protect him. Whenever he'd thought that Snape loathed him, he'd actually done everything to keep him safe. Snape was the one who didn't want Harry to sacrifice himself. Who had told Dumbledore that it wasn't right, wasn't fair...
And with this Harry thought of Dumbledore and a pain sharp like razors went through his heart. Dumbledore had betrayed him. Betrayed him like he would have expected it from Snape. In the future Malfoy had shown him, Dumbledore had been ready to sell him.
No, he wanted to sacrifice one life for thousands – can you really hold it against him? If he has to choose between one life and the whole world, how could he choose to protect you?
Harry let out a painful scream and held his head. He was 16 years old for God's sake. He wanted to live. He wanted to survive – so badly that it hurt. Harry took a deep breath. But he wouldn't. Who was he to sacrifice all those lives when everything Voldemort wanted was actually him? And future Malfoy knew it . He knew that Harry would stop this nightmare now that he knew how to end it.
Ron and Hermione knew how to go on. If he would sacrifice himself, they would know how to finish Voldemort off. They had Dumbledores help and Malfoys. They would definitely bring it to an end. Nobody had to actually suffer. Nobody had to die – if he was ready to give his life.
Harry snorted. He'd always thought he'd die fighting. Like his father and like Sirius. Like every auror would. But Harry was condemned to die unresisting. He shook his head and now that the had accepted his fate he relaxed again and felt a bit better.
How would it feel to die? What would Ginny feel and Ron and Mione? Would they cry? Would he meet his parents again? And Sirius? He shook his head. No need to imagine such things.
He just wished he could say goodbye. He wanted to tell Ginny that he loved her and that he wanted her to be happy. He wanted to tell Ron and Hermione that it wasn't their fault and that they'd been the best friends ever. He even wished he could talk to Snape. He wished he could tell him that he understood. And he wanted to ask Dumbledore why. But there was no time left. He felt another tremble shaking the floor of Dumbledores office and he decided that it was time to go.
Harry didn't put Snape's memories back into the vial. He didn't write a note. The only thing he did was fondle Fawkes for a short while before he closed the door of Dumbledores office behind him.
Thank you so much for all of your reviews! I am so amazed when I see how many have chosen my story as one of their favourites and to read all those kind reviews. Thanks a thousand times for your support and please continue reviewing because it makes me really happy!
I am so sorry that it took again so long to update. :-( I really don't know how to manage my time so that it won't take so long. A huge sorry also to angelsbabystarr. I had promised her to update really soon and then I just couldn't keep it. I simply didn't know how to continue with the story. And now I didn't even finish it but wrote another chapter. But the next one will definitely be the last one (except the epilogue :-)). I hope you are not getting bored, but there were many things I wanted to mention and to put all in one chapter would have been just too much.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and keep reading. :-)
PS: By the way, I am looking for someone who is keen on video making. I would love to have a fanfiction trailer of my story on youtube. If anyone of you feels like doing it, I would be really happy. Just send me a message or write it in your review. I would be very grateful as I unfortunately have no idea of videos.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you. :-)