A/N: I have one word: WOW! I never thought that this story would be so well received. It was just something I threw together to get out of my head. I'm glad that everyone is enjoying it. Thank you to everyone that has reviewed and put this on their favorites. So here it is, the conclusion to over and over. I made this chapter extra long. I hope you enjoy this.
Over and Over Chapter 3
Months had passed since the night we made the vow. School had ended and I was currently a prisoner at Number 12 Grimmauld Place, the former home of the most ancient and noble house of Black, otherwise known as the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix.
It was the only place that was truly safe for my mother and I. The Dark Lord was furious when he learned of my betrayal. He had summoned me repeatedly in the weeks following my defection. Thank Merlin for Dumbledore's charm. I would have been in constant agony otherwise.
But even Dumbledore's magic couldn't keep pain from eating away at my insides. Hermione had left with Potter and Weasel to destroy the Dark Lord's horcruxes. It was a struggle everyday to be without her. I worried incessantly. So many terrible things could happen to her. It bothered me immensely that wasn't allowed to go with her to protect her. I suppose that Potter was competent enough, but he wasn't me.
Then, when I heard the Weasel had returned home, I flew into a rage. How could he leave them all alone? How could he desert them when they were supposed to be his two best friends? He was a bloody coward and he disgusted me.
Those were the hardest months of my life. Not knowing where she was. If she was hungry, or cold, or if she was safe. It made me feel as if a piece of me had gone missing, as if a piece of me had died.
Then, when they got captured, my heart all but stopped. I just knew that they were going to kill her. I wanted to go to the Manor, to rescue her along with Potter and the Weasel even though I hated him. I knew Hermione would never forgive me if I left him there. But Dumbledore stopped me before I could go. He said that they were trying to lure me there. Snape said that Bellatrix wasn't sure if they had caught the right people. He said that Hermione had cast an extremely powerful glamour that had hidden their identities. Bellatrix wanted my confirmation before she went to the Dark Lord. So, I sent Dobby in my stead. I had to do something and it was the best that I could do.
Dobby succeeded. He freed them but it wasn't without a heavy price. It cost him his life. I've never been so humbled in my life as I was when I realized a house elf, one that had suffered abuse at the hands of my own family, had rescued my fiancé.
I felt murderous when I saw the extent of Hermione's injuries. My insane aunt had tortured to the very brink of insanity with the crutiatus curse trying to get her to admit that they had captured Harry Potter and to admit why they wanted the cup from her Gringott's vault. I couldn't be more proud of her though. A lesser person would have cracked. She never wavered in her resolve even as Bellatrix nearly slice her from ear to ear with the sectumsempra curse. I knew all too well what that felt like.
It took several months for her to recover from her injuries. But once she had, she began training with a single minded determination. She trained with Potter extensively practicing hexes, curses, and defense. At first, I merely watched. She was good, better than Potter himself it seemed. But it had to be him. According to the prophesy, he had to be the one to kill the Dark Lord.
She was an amazing duelist. I could watch her for hours. Eventually, I joined in these training sessions. I wanted to fight alongside her. I wanted to fight against the darkness that threatened the world. I wanted to be there to protect her when the time came.
Sometimes we dueled each other. As much as I hate to admit it, I couldn't beat her. She won every time. She was smart and reflexes were quick, a deadly combination. The only ones I ever saw that beat her were Severus Snape and Remus Lupin. I'm convinced the only reason she lost was because she dueled them both at the same time.
She dueled Potter relentlessly. It was truly something special to watch them battle. It was an event that usually drew the entire order to the training room to watch. The power wielded between the two of them was incredible. You could feel it physically manifest in the room. It was after one of these duels, that had resulted in a draw, that Dumbledore had declared, "You are ready, Harry. You are ready."
The final battle was finally upon us. The horcruxes were gone, save for the Dark Lord's snake, Nagini. We all had our own specific assignments. Longbottom was to kill the snake at all costs. The adult members of the Order were going to take out as many Death Eaters as they could. The Weasel, Hermione, and I were to get Potter to the front to face Voldemort as quickly as possible.
It was pure pandemonium as we advanced through the ranks. Curses and hexes were bouncing left and right. Everywhere you looked, there were witches and wizards fighting for their lives. We ran together towards the Forbidden Forrest, where we knew that Voldemort was waiting for Potter. We tried to keep as close to Potter as we could. It was essential for him to reach Voldemort before he expended all of his magical energy. He wouldn't be able to fight of every Death Eater he came across and still be able to face the Dark Lord and win.
The first one we lost was the Weasel. He became embroiled in a battle with Dolohov. I recognized his voice. Instead of stopping and wasting precious time, he urged us to leave him behind. I gained a little respect for the red head in that moment. He recognized that what happened to him was incidental.
We hurried onward with Potter leading the way. It got harder and harder to move forward, especially when we started encountering those that had fallen. Dennis Creevey, or what was left of him, was particularly horrific. I recognized the handiwork of my aunt as we passed him. She was rather fond of using a blade, which was ironic considering that it was a muggle weapon and she abhorred anything that was muggle. We had to be increasingly cautious if she was nearby.
Minutes passed as we stealthily made our way through the trees. There were many other creatures in the forest besides Death Eaters that could harm us. Nothing was said as we moved forward, it was silent except for our panting breaths. We stilled as we heard a twig break to our left. We assumed our defensive position, placing our backs together in a circle, Hermione on my left and Potter on my right. Whatever it was, they couldn't sneak up on us now.
We were tense and waiting for them to show themselves. I heard a few footsteps and my aunt suddenly twirled from behind a tree , my father following gracefully behind her. I felt Hermione stiffen slightly next to me. I glanced at her and saw that her face was the picture of calm. I was anything but calm. I knew exactly what those two were capable of.
"Ahh… How sweet. If it isn't my favorite nephew with Potter and the mudblood," my aunt declared gleefully.
I saw Hermione turn slightly and lock eyes with Potter. Something passed between them and Potter took off as fast as he could. I realized that he must have used Legilimency to read her mind and she told him to go.
I felt a brief stab of jealousy at the thought that she allowed him access to her mind. It was very fleeting as my aunt brought my entire attention back to what was at hand.
"What?" my aunt challenged. "Is wittle, bitty Potter afraid to fight? Too big of a coward to face us?"
She threw her first curse aimed at Hermione, which she deflected easily. "No, Bella. It's all part of the plan. Your lord is going to die tonight. If you don't surrender, you'll die too," Hermione replied calmly.
She cast her first curse silently and wandlessly, throwing my aunt backwards. My aunt got to her feet laughing madly, evil glinting in her dark eyes. "So… itsy, bitsy mudblood bitch wants to play, does she? Crucio!"
Once again, Hermione impressed me with her power. She raised a shield and sent the curse rebounding on Bellatrix. She screamed obscenities as the curse found its mark. The Unforgiveables were something that you shouldn't be able to block. Ever.
My father, who had been strangely silent thus far, made his presence known. "Enough!" he said forcefully. Turning his steel colored eyes on me he said, "Draco, son, it's not too late. The Dark Lord will forgive you for your mistakes. Bring the mudblood to him and he will be most pleased. He will welcome you back with the highest of honors." He stepped towards us and I raised my wand.
"Stop!" I commanded, surprised by the strength in my voice. I had been terrified of my father for years but I was tired of living under his thumb. "Don't call me son. You've never really been a father to me. You've lost your right to call me son."
The look on his face was murderous. The cold hatred in his eyes leeched into the air, chilling me to the bone. I repressed a shudder. I refused to show him any weakness. My aunt was getting back to her feet in the background. "You…, you cast your lot with this filth? he thundered in disgust.
I narrowed my eyes in anger. "Hermione is not filth, father. In fact, you are looking at the next Lady Malfoy," I replied smugly.
My father's eyes bulged and the vein in his forehead pulsed as his eyes flitted to her left hand. There, on her finger, proudly sat the Malfoy engagement ring which my mother had given to me and I had given to Hermione.
My father looked back up and locked his chilling grey orbs with mine. "Over my cold, dead body will you taint my bloodline," he declared.
I took my stance at his invitation. "So be it, father."
My father's eyes glinted maniacally in the moonlight as we prepared to fight. This was something that I had envisioned happening the moment that I joined the Order. It was inevitable. I kept my eyes trained on the man in front of me, even as I heard my aunt scream another hex. I couldn't let myself get distracted. Hermione could take care of herself.
I sent a stinging hex that my father blocked. He retaliated with a slicing hex. I deflected it and it hit a tree, slicing it in half. It toppled over with a thunderous crash that echoed through the forest.
"Very good, Draco. I've taught you well," my father drawled arrogantly as we circled each other. "You don't have to do this, you know. You're wasting your time with that mudblood bitch, son. She is beneath you, no better than the scum on the bottom of your shoes. Inferior. You could marry a nice pureblood girl, someone from your station. If you really so attached to the mudblood, you could keep her as a pet if you are so inclined. But I absolutely forbid you to taint our good name with that piece of filth."
My blood was boiling. Was he daft? "You forbid me?!" I bit back angrily, laughing incredulously. "I don't know if you've noticed, but you have no power over me. I'm not afraid of you anymore. You know, father, there was a time in my life when I idolized you. I wanted to be just like you. I was a downright bastard, too. But no matter how hard I tried, I could never get your approval, I could never be good enough for you. I finally realized that I was my own person, that I could do what I wanted and believe in what I wanted. Your belief that the purity of blood is wrong. My fiancé is evidence enough. She is the only one I want, the only one I love. I will settle for no less and you can't stop me."
My father's face was twisted into a vicious mask. Silence reigned around us eerily. The duel between my aunt and my love must have concluded. I didn't dare turn away from my father to look for Hermione or try to see what the outcome was. I was worried. My aunt is very good at what she does.
My father fired a string of curses at me. I dodged and sent a few of my own. My father deflected them easily. I wasn't sure if I could beat him. I sent a slicing hex that managed to just graze his cheek. My triumph was short-lived.
"Reducto," he bellowed into the night.
His curse caught me and the force of the spell blasted me off my feet, sending me crashing into a tree. My body twisted awkwardly as I hit and I felt the familiar pain as my bones splintered within me. I tumbled to the ground. I struggled to stand. I had to move. My leg buckled beneath me as I tried to hold my weight. I could feel the bone as it protruded from my skin beneath my slacks. Wincing, I sat up against the offending tree.
"Stupify," I muttered weakly.
My father blocked it and sent his next move, "Experiallimus!"
My wand zoomed from my hand and into my father's outstretched palm. It was over. I had lost. I gazed fearlessly at the man walking gracefully toward me. Surprisingly, I wasn't ashamed by my defeat. I had given it my all. I had stood for what I believed in and it felt bloody wonderful. For the first time in my life, I felt like a man. I spat out a mouthful of blood, wincing as I did. Whatever happened now, I felt like I was ready.
"I'm sorely disappointed, Draco. No son of mine would sully himself with a mudblood. No son of mine would betray his family for a worthless band of miscreants. I'm afraid that you need to be reminded of who you are and where you come from. Crucio!" he hissed.
I closed my eyes and stiffened in preparation of the agony that resulted from the cruciatus curse but it never came. I opened my eyes to see Hermione standing between my father and I. The energy surrounding her was palpable. Light was literally pouring from her, pulsing as it surrounded her petite form. Her unruly locks blew away from her face as the wind picked up. Ominous clouds rolled overhead, blocking the light of the moon. Lightening snaked amongst their tumultuous forms. My father's eyes were wide as he registered that she had blocked his Unforgiveable.
"You…will…not…hurt…him…anymore," she hissed, her voice quiet and venomous.
Thunder crashed after her declaration, startling me. I looked at my father and for the first time ever, I saw fear in the depths of his cold grey eyes. I felt a surge of pride. My witch had caused that.
"Miss Granger," my father said silkily. "What I do with my son is none of your concern. This is a family matter."
Hermione laughed at this, her magic energizing the air around us. It was literally crackling, like small bursts of what muggles call electricity. "Then you surely realize, Lucius, that this is my business. I am going to be family soon after all," she replied triumphantly.
Anger radiated from my father in waves. He sent a curse that bounced away harmlessly. Hermione didn't even move to block it but it had still been deflected. My eyes widened in shock. How in Merlin's name had no one ever noticed what kind of power she harbored within her?
My father looked at his wand incredulously. Then he looked at Hermione, his eye narrowed in anger. He sent another curse that was again deflected easily. She was incredible. I had goose bumps from just watching her.
"Draco, are you okay? Can you stand?" she asked quietly.
"My leg is in about a thousand pieces, but I'll live," I muttered. She was being so nonchalant, treating this as if it was just another practice duel. It was rather unnerving.
"Very well," she replied, flicking her fingers. A blue wall seemed to erect itself around me, encasing me. I reached out to touch it. It was solid like a wall, yet clear enough that I could see through it. I had never seen such magic and she wielded it effortlessly. Mind you, she was still dueling with my father while she was making this shield around me. It was extremely humbling that a muggleborn was capable of such a feat. She could use magic that I'd never even heard of and I had grown up around magic.
I concentrated on the scene unfolding in front of me. The girl that I loved more than anything was protecting me from my own father. It should have made me feel weak and pathetic. If I was still the old me, it would have made me feel terribly bitter. Instead, it gave me a surge of pleasure. She cared about me. It would be all too easy for her to stand aside and let my father finish me off, releasing her of her obligation to me, releasing her from her vow. Instead, she stood in front of me, defending me.
"You foolish girl!" my father shouted. "Do you believe you really stand a chance against me?"
Hermione stood still, her robes billowing around her. She gestured to the unconscious and bound body of my aunt, "I rather like my chances, Lucius. You have no idea what you are dealing with. Your prejudice has blinded you. Whereas I see you for what you really are¾ a coward. Picking on muggles, people without magic with no way to fight back. It must do wonders for your ego, knowing all the torture and murder you've committed against the defenseless. I've seen into your mind. You are the epitome of evil. I've seen the way you've treated your family. Your wife cowered in fear and your precious son, your heir, was desperate for your attention and approval. He did anything and everything you asked and yet it was never enough. You disgust me."
My father, for his part, held himself rigidly still during her rant. He glared at me and then replied, "Your opinion, my feisty little mudblood, means nothing to me because you mean nothing. You're worthless, dirty blooded and I'm going to enjoy killing you."
He took his stance and Hermione remained still, making no move to defend herself. What was she doing? My father's wand slashed the air as he cast the ultimate Unforgiveable, the jet of green light streaking straight for my love. I struggled to stand and screamed for Hermione to run. I couldn't lose her. Not now. I fell over panting with exertion, my leg erupting into a fireball of pain.
I gritted my teeth and watched absolutely horrified as the curse rushed forward relentlessly. Then, miraculously, it started to slow down as Hermione held up her hand. Then it stopped altogether, hovering a few meters away from her. Then it dropped to the ground harmlessly and disappeared. My father looked at her unbelievingly. She merely smiled and he fell to the ground, clutching his arm in agony. His wand zipped into her hand, along with mine.
I glanced down at my own tingling arm. The ugly disfigurement on it was glowing bright red and blood was running from the eyes and mouth of the skull.
"Do you feel that, Lucius?" Hermione said victoriously. "Your lord has fallen. The pain from your mark is the pain of his defeat and death. Incarcerous!"
She strode over to his bound and quivering form. "I should kill you, Lucius Malfoy, for all the evil you have done. But I don't want to taint myself with your blood. I'm sure the dementers will enjoy seeing you again. I daresay they'll be so pleased as to give you a kiss."
She shot red sparks into the air that in turn formed themselves into a massive phoenix. She turned toward me, lowering the shield as she rushed to my side. She knelt beside me and pushed my dirty hair away from my face. "I'm proud of you, Draco. I know how hard that was for you. Come on. You need help."
"Why?" I rasped out. "Why did you save me? You could have let him finish me." I knew the reason, but I wanted to hear her say it. I needed to hear it.
Her eyes softened as she regarded me. "Because I love you, silly."
Aurors stormed the clearing and took my father and aunt into custody. Hermione grabbed my hand and apparated us away.
We entered St. Mungo's and Hermione sagged under my weight. She was exhausted but refused to rest until I had been treated. I learned that it would take months for me to recover. I had what was called a compound fracture. Magic couldn't heal it. It was rather gruesome looking. The bone poked right out of the skin of my lower leg. It was enough to make me feel nauseous and light-headed. It did make me feel good to know that Hermione had been uninjured. Other than fatigue, she was perfectly fine. She had expended a massive amount of energy, both magical and physical.
They put her in the bed next to me and forced a dreamless sleep potion on her. Potter was on the other side of her. He looked a little worse for wear. Cuts adorned his face and hands. He was extremely pale and every few minutes tremors wracked his body. They said it was nerves and given a little rest he would make a full recovery.
I turned my eyes back to Hermione. She looked so peaceful in her sleep. I couldn't believe that it was finally over. Voldemort was gone. My father was locked up again, awaiting the kiss. I could finally be with the one I love. I couldn't wait to marry her, to give her my name.
My mother came rushing into the room. "Draco! Draco, are you okay?"
Tears were coursing down her dirt-smudged cheeks, leaving watery trails in their wake. I hated to see her cry. "I'm fine, mother," I reassured her. "I'll make a full recovery." I gestured to the cast on my leg, "The healers said that I could get this off in eight weeks."
My mother glanced at Hermione. "Is she okay?" she asked hesitantly. She had come to love her as her own. Once you got to know her, you couldn't help but love her.
"She is merely tired, mother. She saved me, you know. From father. I've never seen anything like it in my whole life. The power she holds is incredible. She stopped the killing curse. Stopped it in mid-air. I was so scared that I was going to lose her. I couldn't stand. She had me trapped in some sort of shield, keeping me safe. She risked herself for me."
"She loves you," she whispered. "Is it true, Draco? Is he really gone?"
I held out my arm, showing her the unblemished skin. "He's gone, mother. Potter did it. We are free."
My mother hugged me, crying tears of joy. "It's over…it's finally over." We held each other for a few quiet moments before my mother spoke again, "So… When's the wedding?"
I laughed at her eagerness. "I'm not sure, mother. It can't be soon enough for me. I'm ready. I want to start a family. I can't wait to make you a grandmother."
My mother looked at me fondly. "Neither can I, Draco. Neither can I.
The wedding was lavish, even by Malfoy standards. I think my mother managed to invite nearly the entire wizarding world and even a good chunk of the muggle world as well. We got married at Hogwarts. Even though it was the scene of the final battle, everything had been repaired. Hermione and I felt that it was rather symbolic that we tied the knot in the same place where the Dark Lord died. We were hoping to show that all prejudice should die with Voldemort as well.
She was absolutely breath-taking in her white dress. She looked like an angel. We danced the customary first dance and then I had to look on jealously as she danced with nearly every other man there.
Finally, I was able to reclaim my bride. We twirled around gracefully, quietly enjoying the moment.
"Did I tell you how beautiful you look today?" I murmured into her ear.
She laughed melodically as she answered, "Yes, I believe a few dozen times. You look very dashing yourself, Mr. Malfoy."
I smirked into her hair, "Yes, I know I'm the very epitome of handsomeness. How does it feel to be Mrs. Malfoy?"
"It's wonderful," she said. "You know, Draco, you didn't have to make me take the unbreakable vow to get me to agree to marry you."
I stepped back a step and looked at her. "I didn't?"
She smirked, my smirk, as I twirled her around. "No, You didn't. I've had a crush on you since the first year, as well. I never acted on it because I thought you hated me. I told myself that it would be better if I settled for someone else, that we would never be. Then you saw me on the stairwell. And you kissed me. I knew then, before you told me, that you liked me."
I was sure that my jaw was resting on the floor by now. What was she saying?
She laughed again as I twirled her around. "I'm not completely unobservant, Draco. And they don't call me the brightest witch of my age for nothing. I overheard you talking to Myrtle one day in the bathroom. I knew you didn't want to be a Death Eater. But I also knew that you had to have some sort of incentive, a little push, to fight for the Order instead."
My eyes widened in realization. That little minx tricked me. She set me up. I didn't know if I should be angry or happy.
"You should have really been in Slytherin, blood be damned," I muttered darkly.
She smiled brightly, lighting up her whole face. "You think that's something, remind me to tell you what I did to Rita Skeeter after the fourth year. I hope you're not angry with me, Draco. I just felt that you should know. I don't want us to have any secrets from each other. I do love you, with all my heart."
She gazed up at me. I brought my lips to hers for a chaste kiss. "I'm not angry," I whispered. "In fact, I think your revelation makes me love you even more. But can we keep this to ourselves? I think I'd die of embarrassment if word got around that I'd been out-Slytherined by a Gryffindor."
She laughed again as we looped gracefully around the dance floor. "I don't know, Draco. After all, everyone thinks that you have caught me when in actuality I was the hunter and you were the prey."
I looked at her dubiously. Surely she wouldn't. Would she? Just when I began to doubt the angelic qualities of the little spitfire that I married she broke out into another round of laughter.
"I'm just kidding, Draco. We can keep this a secret, for now. Just remember, for future reference, that I have some serious blackmail material. You never know when I might accidentally let this precious little bit of information slip."
I gulped as I gazed into her warm, amber eyes. What had I got myself into?
End Note: So, there it is. The end. What did you think? Did you like the twist? I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Again, thanks for all your reviews and remember to review this chapter. I'm satisfied now that this is out of my head. I've already begun chapter 7 of Eternal Nightmare if you are following that story. I hope to have it finished in the next two weeks. I'll see you next time…. This chapter has been edited and all song lyrics removed.