The final chapter of 'The Slytherin Half': I hope you all enjoy it, and, to all of you who have stuck with me from the beginning, that it meets your expectations. Special thanks to mae513 for being such a wonderful reviewer and support throughout – they kept me writing. Seriously.
Disclaimer: It's still not mine, and, by the looks of it, never will be. How sad.
Hushed voices buzzed in the distant reaches of Hermione's mind as if they were miles away from her. She felt numb and couldn't seem to open her eyes, causing her pulse to quicken with the ensuing sense of panic. The voices became clearer when a high pitched beeping sounded as a result of the change in heart beat.
It was Blaise; his deep, smooth voice dripping like honey over her woozy senses.
"Are you awake, cara?"
She felt the Italian place his hand in hers, and she managed to flex her fingers ever so slightly to let him know that she was, indeed, awake.
"Oh, thank Merlin." He whispered in response and she felt him kiss her forehead, the tiniest amount of stubble scratching against her skin.
"Someone find the head healer." Blaise called out to one of the other people in the vicinity. He stroked her hair back lovingly, and Hermione struggled against her heavy eyelids until she was able to see through a miniscule slit.
Blaise sat on the edge of bed, looking tired but as handsome as ever, although worry and relief were in conflict to be the dominant expression on his face. She could see, just past her mate, Draco's platinum blond mop tilted forward in slumber as he sat in a chair, his left arm in a magical cast, by the neighbouring bed. Pansy's, Hermione guessed.
She desperately wanted to seek out Harry, and Ron, too, but was unable to lift her head off the pillow, so she resigned herself to waiting and let her lids fall closed, hoping to Merlin that Harry had been victorious and come out of it alive.
Momentarily, the healer arrived, bustling her way to Hermione's bedside and shooed Blaise to the foot of the bed, out of her way.
"Miss Nott, I'm going to remove the numbing charm, now." She forewarned the petite witch. Hermione would have frowned at the unexpected use of her true last name, but for said charm which was restricting her actions. She felt a strange trickle over all her limbs and her eyes fluttered open as her fingers flexed instinctively with their freedom.
She looked at Blaise – his chiselled face alight with an ecstatic smile – and let a small grin light up her own features as the healer ran several tests in complete silence with her wand. When she left to collect some bits and pieces, Blaise returned to his former position.
"How do you feel?" He asked, sounding concerned.
"Fine, physically. A bit stiff, maybe. But psychologically I'm going insane. What happened?" Blaise knew to what she referred; despite not having been in the forest, he had heard the tale told repeatedly since the Final Battle had ended. He smiled, knowing that she would be tearing herself up inside trying to figure out the answers, as he replied.
"Potter won. The Dark Lord is dead. Apparently, his magic imploded. That was when you passed out." There was a sliver of intrigue in Blaise's voice. His curiosity was getting the better of him as he spoke of the Dark Lord's demise.
"Merlin, Hermione, you scared us all so much! I arrived here with Lavender and Mr Malfoy, and I saw you being brought in and nobody had any idea what happened-just that you were unconscious- and they wouldn't let me see you until-" He paused, looking at her lovingly thought his eyes showed the distress he had suffered during her extended fainting episode. "You were practically in a coma, and all cut up from the uncontained magic. It's been three days, Hermione."
He didn't let her finish, pressing his lips to hers softly.
"It's okay. You're alive." He whispered, letting his forehead touch hers gently. She didn't want to disrupt the moment but she had to know:
"Where's Harry? And the others? Are-are they…tell me everyone's okay?" She pleaded, feeling that she couldn't bear any bad news.
"Relax, cara. Harry's in a stable condition in a private room, although he hasn't woken up yet, all his signs are good. He took the brunt of the explosion." Blaise explained. "Theo was protected by some of the trees, and he managed to take out Bellatrix during it all, but Ron wasn't so lucky- Don't worry, Hermione, he's alive." He corrected her morbid train of thought when he heard her take a strangled gasp of air.
"He took a piece of wood in the chest, and one of that mad woman's hexes damaged his left arm pretty seriously. He's been awake for a while now. Chirpy, that one." Blaise told her amusedly. "He was very worried for you, Hermione. We all were."
Hermione nodded, understanding. She let Blaise continue informing her.
"Lavender's fine, she's back home actually. Apparently my medi-wizardy was good enough that she only needed a check up here and was allowed to leave." He said smugly. "Her parents were so relieved to have her back."
Hermione smiled, feeling happy for their Gryffindor friend -the first one to know about her and Theo's heritage. Thinking about their House brought Harry and Ron back to the forefront of her mind.
"Do you think I can see Ron? And Harry, too, even if he isn't awake." She questioned, just as the healer returned carrying a strengthening potion and a number of other vitamins for her general health.
"I'd prefer you didn't walk just yet, but Mr Weasley is allowed to travel a little at the current time. He may visit you, however Mr Potter is off limits until you are completely stable and I deem you fit to move about." The woman answered sternly, handing her the potions. They weren't too disgusting, and worked efficiently through her body taking effect almost immediately.
"I'll go and get Mr Weasley." The healer said as she vanished the empty vials to the room where they were sterilised.
"Thank you." Hermione said gratefully.
Pansy, who was lying in the next bed, stirred, causing Draco to wake (he seemed particularly attune to his fiancée) and stood at her side within a few seconds, although she remained asleep. The injuries Hermione had last seen her with were healed, and Pansy looked much better, highly relaxed in her natural slumber.
"Aren't you a good almost-husband? That's a right old bedside vigil you've got going." Hermione said loudly, reaching her intention as Draco spun violently to face her, shocked.
"Hermione!" He blurted, hugging her. "You're okay!" Hermione laughed at his genuine excitement – something that had been quite rare throughout the year.
"I am. How are you?" She asked with genuine interest. After all, his father and fiancée were in the hospital for injuries.
"I'm great health-wise – I got lucky – just a few not-so-worrisome injuries that were easily fixed. But Pansy had some trouble with her healing. They managed to work out the problem, but she's been exhausted and sleeps most of the time…" He trailed off and sent a fond look to his girl, still resting peacefully.
"I heard about your father, too." Hermione added cautiously. She knew that parents were an awkward topic with certain Slytherins.
"The curse he was hit with – in his own home, by the way – was a leeching spell. It ate most of his magic, so he's pretty weak, and he can't do any difficult spells now." Draco told her, eyes flashing with anger at those who had done this to his father. "Although, I think the Ministry will be happy about that aspect."
Hermione snorted indelicately.
"The Ministry. What useless lumps they turned out to be." She was about to add something else when Ron's gruff 'hello' interrupted her.
Hermione almost squealed, but remembered that Pansy was still asleep. She didn't hear Blaise excuse himself, or notice Draco turn his focus back to Pansy.
"Ron! Oh, you poor thing!" She cried out, seeing his left arm. Blaise had avoided telling her that the injury had been so severe that the St Mungo's healers had found it necessary to amputate his arm from mid-way up his forearm in order to save his life. Other than that, he seemed perfectly alright.
"S'alright 'Mione. I don't need that hand anyway, I'm right-handed."
He seemed happy, so Hermione returned his smile shakily and let him kiss her hairline.
"We're lucky to be alive." Ron added more seriously. "I'm happy to trade in a hand instead of my life. Others weren't so lucky."
Hermione nodded, remembering the corpses from the Entrance Hall and feeling sick in the pit of her stomach. She had seen some of them die, students – mere children – and professors alike.
"How many…?HaH" She croaked out, finding it a challenge to hold in the tears this time and instead letting them seep out past her lashes.
"Not as many as you'd think. But still…" Ron took a breath. "Twenty three."
Hermione looked at her lap.
"Twenty three too many." She said quietly, before turning her gaze back to her ginger friend. "Are-were…?" She couldn't finish, but Ron understood and began listing some of the dead.
"Justin Finch-Fletchley, Susan Bones, Padma Patil, Terry Boot, Wayne Hopkins-" Hermione was crying openly now, thinking of each of the students who were now gone "-Professors Sprout, Snape and Trelawny, Remus and Tonks…"
Hermione hiccoughed, letting out a sob at the last two names Ron mentioned sadly. They had just had a baby boy, Teddy, named for Tonk's father. Life wasn't fair at all, she thought to herself, leaving an innocent baby an orphan like that, and so many parents without their children coming home to them.
"They were mostly Sixth Years and some of the citizens of Hogsmeade who came to help."
Ron's voice was quiet and melancholy and he gave her a one armed hug, squeezing her shoulder lightly before whispering into her hair.
"It's over now. All over."
Hermione wrapped her arms around him and cried in cathartic release.
The relative quiet of the hospital room was disrupted when Theo and his – their – father entered. Hermione wiped the tears tracks away quickly and Ron stood, saying goodbye and heading back to his room as the younger Slytherin let out a yell and ran to her side, the elder Nott taking a more sedate route. Hermione noticed Theo carried a pale scar down the side of his right cheek.
"Oh, you're awake, you're fine. Thank Merlin!" Theo babbled as he hugged his sister. "I'm never letting you do anything like that ever again." He stated when he pulled away, letting her turn to their father.
The older man's eyes were bright with unshed tears for his daughter.
"I concur with your brother – never again, my daughter." He smiled and grasped one of her slender hands in his larger, calloused one as the other brushed her hair from her eyes.
Hermione smiled happily at her family, all together – properly – for the first time, without fear of war ripping them apart. She fought not to cry and ruin the happy moment.
"We've come too far to lose you now – you've found your inner Slytherin." Theo murmured cheekily.
"Whatever would I do without my Slytherin half?" She retorted, smiling at her family.
Later that night…
The medi-witch was back again with a selection of potions for the third time that day and Hermione couldn't hold in her questions anymore. She was sure she recognised the pinkish coloured one, but was unsure as to why she was required to take it.
"Healer Chilworth, why am I taking these?"
The healer glanced her way, her brow furrowed but was prevented from responding as Theo came charging into the room and yelled out rather loudly, 'Potter's awake!' startling all the room's inhabitants.
Pansy kicked Draco in the back of the head as she sat up violently, and the healer almost knocked over Hermione's potions before steadying herself. Having been granted permission only recently, Hermione was carefully helped into an upright position by her brother as the other three individuals tailed them to Harry's room.
The Boy-Who-Lived was propped up by pillows and smiling widely at the Weasley's who were gathered around his bed, a wilting pot plant sitting on his bedside table beside his glasses.
Mrs Weasley was by Hermione's side in an instant and hugging the girl warmly.
"Hermione, I'm so happy you're safe." The family offered their agreements, and allowed her a seat by Harry who beamed at her.
"We did it."
Hermione shook her head, still smiling.
"No, Harry. You did it." He clearly didn't concur, but accepted her compliments with a light blush as Ginny agreed vehemently.
It was then that Hermione spotted Lavender slipping inside the door. She waved at the blonde, who smiled back before Theo absorbed all of her attention at the back of the room.
Looking around, Hermione noticed that they were all there – even Greg and Daphne, who stayed back in the shadows away from the troop of Weasleys. She smiled to herself and just let her thoughts wander, feeling safe and content as Blaise stood behind her chair.
Every now and then the group were disturbed by a healer who had to do some tests on Harry or one of the others, and Hermione only remembered her initial question for her personal healer when the woman dashed in to collect Harry's medical sheet.
She stopped her before the woman could escape once more.
"I'm sorry, but could you tell why I was taking those potions now?"
The woman smiled.
"For the twins, of course."
This time, it wasn't Hermione who collapsed in a dead faint.
And Theo was the only one who noticed the wilting plant raise its leaves proudly as a large white flower grew in its centre and blossomed, releasing a soft humming song into the shocked silence. He smirked as the healer revived Blaise.
A new start after the war, indeed.
Well, that's all folks. That's the end of 'The Slytherin Half', at least on my part. I hope you've enjoyed it, and, if you feel like it, have a browse of my other fics. =D I had a good time. Thanks for that.
Love always. =D