Hermione watched Draco all day for any signs of what was going to come, but he gave none away, except for the fact that he was close to tears all day.
Harry was going with Dumbledore to find a Horcrux tonight, which had Hermione even more worried than need be.
He had told her and Ron to watch for Draco's name on the Marauder's Map, and to give everyone a swig of the Felix Felicis, just in case. So, Harry knew that Draco was up to something as well.
Hermione and Luna were standing guard outside of Professor Snape's office, just as Harry had instructed, when Draco quickly walked passed them. Hermione could see even from this distance that he was shaking.
"Luna, I'm going to go tail Draco. Stay here alright?" Hermione whispered. Luna nodded, and she ran after Draco.
He led her up to the tallest tower of Hogwarts, directly underneath Professor Dumbledore's office, and Hermione finally realized what it was that Draco was meant to do.
"Draco," she called out.
He spun around and whipped out his wand, pointing it directly at her.
"Hermione? What are you doing here? Why aren't you in the Common Room? It's not safe for you here!" he shouted, his voice shaking.
"Draco, you don't have to do this," she whispered.
"This was never supposed to happen. It shouldn't be like this. You shouldn't have followed me!" he cried.
"Draco, please, please let me help you," she pleaded.
"Hermione, there is nothing you can do to help me. I have to do this! He'll kill me if I don't, Hermione. He'll kill my family," Draco told her, begging her to understand that there was no other way.
"All I ever wanted to do was to protect you, which is why I told you to stay in the Common Room. But it doesn't matter. You will never be safe around me!" He pulled up the sleeve of his left arm, revealing again to her the Dark Mark.
"I've already told you, it doesn't matter that you're a Deatheater. I don't care, Draco! I love you, that's what really matters. And there are ways for you to be protected. Dumbledore can help you!"
At that moment, Bellatrix Lestrange and her Deatheaters walked slowly up the stairs, wands drawn.
"No, no, no," Draco moaned.
Bellatrix looked back and forth between Draco and Hermione and smiled her wicked smile.
"What is this I see?" she cooed as she walked over to Draco. "An unarmed Mudblood?"
Draco was close to tears now. He did not mean for this to happen. Hermione was never supposed to be in the middle of this.
"Kill her, Draco," Bellatrix growled.
Hermione stared at Draco and all she could manage to do was just shake her head.
Her breath came in short gasps. She was truly afraid for her life now. When it was just she and Draco, she knew that he would never harm her. But with Bellatrix and the other Deatheaters around, who knew what Draco was going to choose to do.
"Do it, Draco! She means nothing to us, nothing to you. She is just a lowly Mudblood," Bellatrix said.
That's not true! His brain screamed at her. Hermione meant everything to him, and she was not just a lowly Mudblood. She was a brilliant Muggleborn, who was smarter and more courageous than Draco could ever be.
The tears were falling freely now, for both Draco and Hermione.
He raised his wand at her, and Hermione squeezed her eyes shut tight.
"Draco, please," she could barely manage to whisper.
"I'll deal with her later. First, I have a task at hand," she heard him say. Both of them were surprised at the sound of authority in his voice.
She opened her eyes and saw that he had lowered his wand, and was walking towards the staircase.
Bellatrix smiled an evil grin, and said, "Very well, Draco. We shall watch over her as you finish the task that was given to you."
They watched Draco walk up the stairs, and as they turned their back on Hermione, she felt a hand cover her mouth, and she was pulled underneath Harry's invisibility cloak.
He pulled her away from the Deatheaters and safe from harm, for now. They watched the confrontation between Draco and Dumbledore from below.
Just when it seemed that all hope for Dumbledore was lost, Severus Snape walked up the stairs, passed Harry and Hermione, signaling them to stay quiet.
Hermione was in tears throughout the entire thing.
But, she had faith in Draco. She knew that he would never go through with his plan of killing Dumbledore. He was lowering his wand when Snape came up, and finished the deed himself.
Harry screamed, "NO!" and Hermione's hands rose to her mouth. Dumbledore was dead. Snape had killed him.
Snape led Draco and the groups of Deatheaters swiftly down the staircase.
Hermione and Draco made eye contact. He was crying, and she could feel the tears streaming down her cheeks as well. "I love you," he whispered. "I love you too," she whispered back.
It was over between them. Nothing would ever be the same, and all hope of being with him for the rest of her life slipped away from her.
It seemed as if the events of what happened next all were in slow motion. Harry ran after Snape, shouting his name.
"Harry, no!" She screamed, and made a grab for his arm, but it was too late.
She followed him down the staircase, and saw a raging battle throughout the halls and grounds of Hogwarts.
Right away she hopped into a fight against one of the many Deatheaters, trying to distract her mind from Draco, and what had just happened.
Harry was still chasing after Snape. The battle raged on, until all of the Deatheaters had fled the Hogwarts grounds.
It was a long night for everyone.
The loss of Dumbledore left a feeling of no hope throughout the students and staff of Hogwarts, along with the rest of the Wizarding World.
Hermione was curled up on the couch in the Gryffindor Common Room, staring into the dying flames of the fire.
Draco was gone. Dumbledore was gone. Hermione felt utterly alone.
"Why?" she moaned, her voice hoarse from crying.
"I'm asking myself the same question, Hermione," Harry said as he walked towards her from the stairs that led to the dormitories.
Hermione made room for him on the couch and he sat down next to her, leaning against her for support. She molded herself against him and he slung his arm over her shoulders, pulling her close.
"It was a fake, Hermione. The Horcrux was a fake. Dumbledore weakened himself for nothing. If only I had drunk the water," Harry began.
"Harry, there was nothing you could do. Don't blame yourself, Harry. Dumbledore wouldn't want that," Hermione whispered to him.
"I know, but I just can't help but think about it. I keep replaying his death over and over in my mind. Malfoy wouldn't have done it. He was lowering his wand, but then Snape…" Harry said.
"Malfoy, and Snape, I'll kill them both," he growled.
"Harry, Draco was a good kid. I know you don't want to believe that, but please trust me, Harry. He didn't want to do it. He didn't want to have any part in this," she told him without even a thought.
"Hermione, you and Malfoy…" he started, not knowing where he was going with this.
Hermione looked away from him and stared back into the fire. But she didn't see the flames; all she could see was Draco's face.
"No, Harry. There is nothing going on between me and Draco Malfoy," she told him with a sob.
She rested her head against Harry's shoulder and closed her eyes.
Draco was gone. And she knew that nothing would ever be the same between them. She wasn't sure if she would ever see him again, or if the world would be kind enough to bring them back together.
One thing she was sure of, however, was that she was completely and undeniably in love with Draco Malfoy, and that he was completely and undeniably in love with her, and that would always remain true. She would never stop loving him. And she knew that even though they had parted ways, Draco would never stop loving her either.Fin
Author's Note: Well, we've made it! We've come to the end of the story, and I just want to say thank you all for reading, and reviewing, and commenting, and everything else that you've been doing. It means a lot to me. Hopefully, you all liked it, and thank you again!
P.S. Every character and setting belongs to the lovely JK Rowling. I wish they all belonged to me, but obviously, that can't happen. Oh well.