AN: Terribly sorry for taking so long but I have been crazy busy the last two weeks. But I am happy to say this is it, the end, and although it wasn't thrilling to write, I'm so pumped I finished it! And I have some great ideas for another and possibly a cute oneshot. So once again, sorry for taking forever, but here it is, done finally. Tell me what you think, I love reading all your reviews. =) Thanks everyone for sticking with this till the end, it means the world to me.
Light up, light up as if you have a choice. Even if you cannot hear my voice I'll be right beside you dear. Louder louder, and we'll run for our lives. I can hardly speak I understand why you can't raise your voice to say. Slower slower, we don't have time for that. All I want is to find an easier way to get out of our little heads. Have heart my dear, we're bound to be afraid even if it's just for a few days. Making up for all this mess. -Run
Draco lay on the soft grass beside the lake, breathing heavily the air as if he had just gotten his lungs back. There was a clarity to the world now, something in him changed. He realized now how precious life truly was. Without thinking he tried to bring himself to his feet, but as he did he collapsed again on the ground in exhaustion. All his muscles groaned at the force he tried to exert, his whole body felt like rubber. And so he laid back his head, now looking up at a night sky glittering with stars, and thought back on everything. He had to make it back to Hermione, it was vital. But for now, exhaustion was overcoming him, fatigue greater than he had ever felt. Weakly he reached over and grabbed his bag, pulling out his wand and a blanket. He slid the blanket over his tired frame and barely lifted his arm as he preformed a few protective charms around himself, knowing he didn't have the strength to set up his tent. He wanted to leave, he wanted to be back in Hermione's arms, but now his body was fighting back and he was powerless. And then, without warning, he allowed his eyelids to shut and drag him into a deep, welcoming sleep.
His eyes shot open, his mind finally breaking through the deep slumber to bring him back into reality. Hermione. He had to get back to Hermione. How much time had passed? He sat up and looked around, the forest dark and still, the water calm. This wasn't the same day….how long had he slept? Days? Weeks? It felt like forever. And yet he felt completely restored. Alive. He started packing up the few things he had splayed around, shoved a few pieces of bread down his throat because he found himself ravenous with hunger. He had to leave now, he was almost sure he'd been asleep for at least two days. He stood up and went to Disapparate but turned back to the lake, looking into the depths once more. "Thank you….I won't let you down." He said very softly and he swore, right before he popped from where he stood, he saw a pair of icy blue eyes gazing proudly back up at him.
The lake swelled angrily against the rocky cliff in which Hermione stood, gazing out at the setting sun. The sky was ablaze in golden orange and red, but the far off sky held a promise of a storm, the water sensed it. Hermione shut her eyes and listened to the sounds of the forest behind her and the lake beneath her. Not even these things could drown out her own agonizing thoughts. Thoughts that had plagued her head for two days. She never thought mentally she could hurt this much….feel like part of her had disappeared. Life without Draco seemed like it wasn't life at all. Ron and Harry were no help, she avoided them at all costs. They understood but at the same time they truly couldn't. She was alone again. She couldn't sleep, maybe she never would again. And he was gone. He had changed her life…he had changed himself…and now…She wiped back the tears that formed as she gazed back at the horizon, trying to forget. But forgetting was impossible.
"I never should have let you go…I should've tried so much harder…" Hermione whispered into the wind as it carried her voice away. And she meant what she said, always wishing to offer help and life and yet she had failed Draco. A big part of her, an irrational, saddened part, wanted nothing more than to jump from the ledge in which she stood. She knew death wasn't the answer, but she also hated having to deal with another person she loved being taken from her. And that she never would be able to get used to. It was then she realized what she had been trying to deny herself this entire time.
"Is this why you had to die? Because I loved you so much?" She felt tears run like rain down her cheeks but she ignored it, "And we both had to be so stubborn for so long to not see what was right in front of us….I'd go back if I could, change everything. I would've saved you and you're mother before this had gotten bad. We would've won this war, on the same side, together. And perhaps we would've had a happy ending. But heroes make sacrifices don't they? And you were the biggest hero Draco, whether you knew it or not, you were strong. And I saw everything within you, even when you broke my heart. Even as it's breaking now…" She closed her eyes and fought back to urge to burst fully into tears, "Because I know now I loved you, and that alone proves who you really are…."
As she spoke, Draco had appeared behind her, Harry having told him where'd she be. He stood there in shock at her words, at her, and watched her for a moment. His chest was fill to burst, the truth finally out as he stepped silently towards her. She loved him….she truly did…and he knew he was a changed man, he knew now what she had tried so hard to show him, "I loved you too…." He whispered very softly in her ear as he came up behind her, wrapping his arms firmly around her waist as she shut her eyes, her face slightly agonized, "I still love you…" She shook her head slightly at his words of love.
"I want to wake up….this hurts far too much…" Hermione said with her eyes squeezed shut, desperately trying to bring herself out of the dream she now believed she was trapped in. Draco realized this and let out a small, quiet laugh as he pulled her closer to him.
"You don't have to wake up Granger, you were never dreaming," At these words Hermione's eyes shot open in realization and she turned within Draco's arms, finally facing him and staring up into his gray eyes so filled with life and happiness. Her jaw dropped slightly as he brought his hand up to cup her cheek, "Glad to hear you really do fancy me." He grinned as he spoke and Hermione felt tears of joy well and spill over in her eyes as he leaned in to kiss both her cheeks softly.
"But Harry and Blaise…they said you were dead…" She whispered as she stared at him, still in awe and he shook his head slightly.
"It'll take more than that to get rid of me Granger…and to break my promise to you," He leaned in and pressed his forehead against hers, their eyes closing as she smiled, "Want to prove you've missed me?" He pulled back and smirked at her and she made a face at him as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
"You're still a bastard…"
"But I'm your bastard aren't I?" And with his response, Hermione stood on her toes and pressed her lips to Draco's, a kiss filled with love that both of them had waited so long to achieve. A kiss of new beginnings and of new life. Cementing a future in which Hermione had thought was lost forever, but was now found again in the arms of Draco Malfoy.
"You can't make me Harry." Ron said with a frown as he and Harry stood outside of Hermione and Draco's Common Room. Ron's arms were crossed in anger, not willing to be persuaded. Harry simply sighed and looked at him with a slight frown.
"You owe it to her, you've been a git the whole year, you do realize that right?" As Harry said this, Ron averted his eyes, knowing his friend was right, "Besides, he honestly isn't that bad. Sometimes forgiving can be your best friend mate. And it'll make her happy….he makes her happy…"
"Maybe I wanted to make her happy…" Ron said softly as he looked back at Harry who sighed and patted his arm comfortingly.
"If you really care about Hermione you'll stop being so thick. There's someone out there for everyone…"
"Yeah says the guy shagging my little sister." Ron said giving Harry a look and his eyes widened slightly.
"Remember those boundaries we talked about?"
"You've crossed them again." Harry responded dully and Ron nodded in agreement as Harry spoke the password and the portrait moved aside to allow them to enter. Draco and Hermione were sitting on a couch, deep in conversation as he relayed to her everything that had happened. As she wiped tears from her eyes she turned and saw her two best friends and a grin spread across her lips.
"Have you convinced him to be civil?" Hermione asked Harry as her and Draco stood up, moving towards the boys and Harry smiled slightly.
"As civil as a Weasley can be. Which I know isn't saying much…" Harry added the end part quickly as his glance went to Draco whom he knew was only waiting for some reason to verbally attack Ron. Despite everything Draco still had a dislike for the red head across from him, "Still can't believe you pulled it off Malfoy." Harry grinned slightly and Draco returned it.
"What can I say Potter, I'm a stubborn bastard…still, you deserve some credit in all of this. I owe you one, again." Draco said somewhat seriously and Harry nodded as he nudged Ron lightly who frown and shot a glare at Harry before looking to Draco with somewhat distaste.
"I guess we're supposed to be mates now or something…" Ron mumbled and Hermione looked at him with a narrowed gaze as Draco simply shook his head.
"We don't have to be friends Weasley, but we don't have to be enemies either. I'm not saying I like you, because I don't. But I will say I'm sorry for a lot of shit that's happened. And we've all been through hell here…" Draco held out his hand, "So can we at least agree on a truce? For her sake?" He nodded his head towards Hermione who simple watched the whole spectacle. Ron looked at him for a moment in thought before bringing his hand to shake Draco's.
"I don't fancy you either Malfoy…" He said in a low voice, "But I can agree on a truce. Even though the lot of you are mental." At this last thought a grin spread across his lips as they released hands. It seemed as if the mood had lightened somewhat and Hermione's eyes met Ron's in a silent 'thank you.'
"As much as I'd like to prolong the awkwardness here, I really should go see Pansy, Blaise, and Goyle," As Draco said this he turned to Hermione as if looking for the courage he needed to confront them. Hermione had told him about their concern and even how Blaise had helped Harry and Draco knew he had to make up with them, "I've put it off long enough." Hermione pecked him on the cheek before Draco disappeared from the room. Ron sighed as he did.
"Well it's official. I'm a nutter now too." He grinned and Harry returned it as Hermione playfully smacked him in the arm, her thoughts still with Draco as he made his way to the dungeons.
As Draco entered the Slytherin Common room he felt everyone's eyes suddenly on him. Some were filled with curiosity for the boy who once ruled the entire House, others filled with malice towards the choices he had made to go against his House and friends, others were simply indifferent. But three sets of eyes watched him carefully as his gray gaze found each of theirs and he moved to where they sat. Blaise's face was somewhat stoic, not wanting to reveal his utter amazement that Draco now stood before him. He had only told Pansy and Goyle what he had seen, and they had been distraught. Thinking back to holding Pansy as she cried in his arms he glanced at her and saw her mouth slightly open in surprise, tears quickly filling her wide eyes. Goyle even looked surprised, after everything Blaise had told him he was certain Draco had died. They had even begun preparing to deal with the situation themselves. Yet here he was, alive and cured before them.
"I suppose I owe you all an apology…" Draco said with a slight grin, yet before he could say anything else Pansy had flung herself from the couch in which the three friends sat and threw herself into Draco's arms. His eyes widened slightly but he returned her rib crushing hug, tears falling down her cheeks, "I missed you too sis…" He said softly in her ear with a smile but suddenly she moved back slightly and started to smack him on the chest.
"You ruddy…" She began to say angrily, tears still in her eyes as she hit, "Thoughtless…ignorant…mental…thick….blonde…bastard!"
"Ow! Bloody hell Parkinson, do you have to damage the goods?" Draco asked quickly as he grabbed her wrists and suddenly she started to laugh as Blaise got up to gently pull her back. Goyle followed suit as the three boys looked at each other as if she had lost it.
"Brilliant Draco, you've thrown my girlfriend into hysterics. You'd have thought she'd seen a ghost," As Blaise said this a small smile crossed his lips and Draco echoed it, "Potter filled us in on everything….It's good to have you back." The two friends eyes met in a silent conversation both of them were too proud to speak aloud.
"It's good to be back…" Draco said softly as he looked at Goyle who crossed his arms as the smallest of smiles crossed his lips, "I wouldn't put you all through that again." The thought of Crabbe's death all caused them to go silent. It was Pansy who spoke finally.
"And here you said you didn't want to be friends anymore and you wanted to be left alone…you're the one who came back to us Draco. We never left." She smiled up at him and he reached out to mess up her hair.
"I feel like a git if it makes you feel better. Once I got your Christmas presents I knew I couldn't brush you lot off too easily. At least you know why now." Draco said and Blaise nodded.
"Thank Merlin for that Granger than eh?" "Never thought it'd be her." Goyle said in a low voice and Pansy smiled slyly as she remembered their conversation about Hermione all those months ago.
"Maybe those Gryffindors aren't so bad after all…" Pansy said as she wrapped an arm around Blaise's waist and he nodded as he thought about he and Harry's bonding experience.
"We owe them. I wouldn't be here without Potter and Hermione. Now it's like it should've been…we can graduate together. No wars, no curses, no more bullshit." Draco said with a smirk and Pansy crossed her arms and glared at him playfully.
"You still deserve the World's Biggest Git Award."
"I know Pans, I know."
"Are you sure you're ok?" Hermione's soft voice called out and broke the trance Draco was in as they walked out onto the grounds of the Malfoy Manor. It was a week before graduation, his birthday, and all their finals were passed and done. They had decided that this weekend was a good time to get away and properly lay to rest the memories of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Draco's hand squeezed Hermione's as he turned to look at her, a sad smile on his face.
"Yeah…I need to do this." He replied softly as they walked out into the gardens, the sun low in the sky. Hermione smiled at him reassuringly, knowing how much pain he was feeling. His sacrifice had cost him his parents. St. Mungo's had informed him that his mother had disappeared but he knew the truth. It took Hermione's help to explain to the guards at Azkaban what exactly had happened and she had made them swear they wouldn't speak a word of it to anyone. The last thing Draco wanted was the world to know everything. Yet he knew that if he couldn't bury his parents, he had to honor their deaths in some way, no matter how he felt. In his free hand Draco carried his parents wands as he and Hermione stopped in the center of the garden at the fountain. Draco looked down at the two wands, his fathers black, the handle a serpent, and his mothers white and delicate.
"She wanted to save you….she lead you to your dad didn't she? She hoped you'd be able to save yourself. She loved you Draco…" Hermione said softly, knowing he missed his mother the most. He turned to her with tears in his eyes, both now covered in the colors of sunset.
"I know…" he replied as he placed the wands in the top of the fountain beside each other and pulled out his own wand as he waved it intricately around before him as light streamed from the tip of his wand and encased the fountain as it cemented the wands within it permanently, "I just wish I could've done this all the right way. Maybe not for my father, but my mother deserved that at least…" Draco whispered as Hermione wrapped her arms around his shoulders and laid her head against him.
"I'm so proud of you," She said in a near whisper and his eyes shut at his words as they stood there for awhile in silence as the sun disappeared from the sky, remembering back to everything. It was then Draco truly understood that his parents were gone, that they had died to save him, and that alone tormented him. Yet he knew Hermione had been right about his mother, she would have wanted him to live. Eventually Draco took her hand again and lead her back inside and up to the room they shared in silence, "Draco?" She asked softly, hoping he was okay as she saw the unreadable gaze in his dark eyes. But he didn't answer her. Instead his lips came crashing into hers in a deep, longing kiss as he pulled her close. And then she understood. He needed the comfort and she needed him. And he kissed her with all the emotion he couldn't control inside of him anymore, with love. And as they fell onto the bed in passion both knew how right it was, how much they truly did need one another. Two lost souls finally finding peace. Two enemies reconciled. Two lovers finally finding truth. And as they fell away to the pull of skin and burning passion Hermione brought her lips to his ear and whispered, "Happy Birthday Draco Malfoy…." And the significance was evident. The birthday in which he was doomed to die. The nineteenth birthday that was never meant to come. And yet it had….all because Hermione Granger had fallen in love with Draco Malfoy.
A week later it seemed as if they had entered a dream. The entire group of Hogwarts students all sat together as one in the Great Hall, finally having properly finished their seventh year of Hogwarts. Where had the time gone? Hermione sat between Ron and Harry with the Gryffindors, all in robes of crimson while the other Houses donned robes of emerald, navy, and yellow. She clasped Harry and Ron's hands as McGonagall went and stood up at Dumbledore's old phoenix podium. This all seemed like a far off dream….maybe she would wake up at eleven at Platform 9 ¾ or perhaps in her old room in the Gryffindor Tower, or maybe even the day she received her Hogwarts letter and learned she was a witch. So much had happened since then…the boys by her side proved that. They had survived death, pain, love, hate, unspeakable odds, the impossible, and yet they still remained together as friends. The tears began to well as she thought of every memory from the castle which had become her home. And she knew Harry and Ron felt it too. And despite it all she knew they were right where they belonged, graduating together after ridding the world of the most evil wizard alive, they had everything to look forward to.
Draco glanced over at Hermione from across the Hall and saw the strength she was trying so hard to show but knowing it would falter soon. He wished he was there with her…but being there with his friends he felt right again. Normal even. Except he didn't have parents sitting in the back of the Great Hal waiting for him, that thought alone made his chest tighten. Still he didn't believe he would ever make it here. He thought surely he was doomed to die, or suffer some fate under Voldemort and the Death Eaters that would make him never set foot in Hogwarts again after that final battle. But here he was, alive and well, about to graduate. And he couldn't have been more grateful. This second chance had brought him a new life, and Hermione, and it was these things that overwhelmed him. It seemed only yesterday that he had been sorted into Slytherin eight years ago. Had it been that long? Had everything truly happened the way it did? He had survived, and he had found himself again, and better yet, he found love.
"Eight years ago you arrived on the Hogwarts Express as young minds eager to learn whatever Hogwarts wanted to teach. Some of you knew well what you were coming to do, and others were soon to learn. Yet you all came scared, young, and hopeful as to the future's before you," As McGonagall began to speak all eyes were on her, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione couldn't help but notice her eyes lingering on them, "I have seen many classes pass through these halls, but none have faced what you all have faced with such courage and bravery. You all stood divided, yet in the darkest of times you were able to come together as a school for one another. We have seen tragedy and sorrow….you have faced the impossible and yet you have all emerged as such talented and gifted students I would be a fool not to be proud. And I speak with the utmost sincerity when I say Professor Dumbledore would feel the same," At these words McGonagall's eyes filled with tears and Hermione's spilled over as the whole room seemed to hold its breath in memory, "Our losses were great, but our spirit is strong, and despite the different colors you all wear today know that you leave this castle as one class, one school body. You all proven what great hearts each and every one of you have within you, hearts that have led you through these years to emerge as the bright, talented, mature, caring witches and wizards you have all become. And I know, without a doubt, you all will go out into the world and do great and wonderful things. And it is with great honor I present you all with Certificates of Graduation from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," It was then she waved her wand as magically protected pieces of parchment appeared before each student, "Congratulations." McGonagall said softly as everyone grabbed their certificates and burst out in cheers, throwing their Hogwarts caps into the air as seas of crimson, emerald, navy, and yellow all mixed as one.
"We did it!" Hermione whispered into Draco's ear as they found each other, trapping one another tightly together as everyone moved around them. Even Blaise, Pansy, and Goyle were talking with Harry, Ron, and Ginny. Members of the DA all gathered around in remembrance of their past adventures as parents began to make their way towards their graduated children. Hermione's lips met Draco's but she looked over and saw McGonagall moving towards her and Draco and she moved back slightly, "Oh Merlin…"
"I told her everything…." Draco said softy in her ear as he took her hand and McGonagall stopped in front of them, trying not to smile.
"Professor…I'm so sorry for not telling you but it truly wasn't my place and it was all so complicated…" Hermione began to quickly say but the old witch held up her hand.
"I understand Ms. Granger. And may I say I am certainly proud of you for all you have done. Send my regards to the other two as well. And keep a sharp eye on this one." She said as she nodded her head towards Draco with a small smile and Hermione wiped tears from the corners of her eyes with a smile as McGonagall, her favorite teacher and friend disappeared into the crowd. Draco and Hermione looked out at all their classmates, at their school and he squeezed her hand as he took off his dress robe and slung it over his shoulder, his arms now exposed.
"I suppose I'll have to face you're parents now won't I?" Draco asked with a small smirk as he turned to her, Hermione's parents chatting with a few people in the distance. She rolled her eyes at him.
"I thought Malfoy's don't get scared of anything…they'll love you."
"And who says I'm scared, Granger?" He said quickly and she laughed as she leaned up to peck him on the cheek. After a few moments he sighed and turned back to her as their eyes met, gray and brown, "So what do we do now?" His voice was soft, only meant for her ears, a slight fear in his eyes about the future that she quieted with a peaceful, loving smile.
"Whatever we want to do, we have our whole lives don't we?" And with that their lips met for a moment as they cemented the future, stepping into the crowd towards her parents and a new chapter in both their lives. A time to just….live. The pain was behind them at last. And as Draco looked down at his forearm he noticed that the Dark Mark had nearly disappeared on his skin, and he smiled for this as he walked hand in hand with Hermione to greet their future, together.
I hope you all liked it, I had a blast writing it.
I'll be starting another quite soon I think ;)