A/N: I would like to once again thank poor sapphyredragon-rn , who not only had to slave over this chapter, but deal with my... apparently ATROCIOUS Grammar... not to mention the fact that I used 'Admitted' in this chapter over two dozen times. ^^; which I didn't realize I had done.
Everyone give a round of applause to sapphyredragon-rn or suffer my wrath! Because honestly, she's amazing! (look Sapphyre! No '…' I AM learning!)
A/N2: I know, I know this is a day late but I had a gods awful migraine yesterday and even looking at the computer just about killed me. It's here now though! Make sure to Read and Review!
Heir to the Throne
Losses and Peace
Harry was sitting in his room, fiddling with his robes. They were jet black lined with red: traditional funeral robes. Black to symbolize the pain of those left after the deceased has passed through the veil, and red to symbolize the now still blood and the lifeless heart of the dearly departed. The robes made Harry uncomfortable, not because they fit imperfectly, but because it meant that Hermione was really dead. He just couldn't accept it, it hurt so deeply inside of himself to know that she was never going to pressure him to study three months before tests, never going to roll her eyes at him over a stupid discussion about something he didn't understand, never going to give him silly books for his birthday and Christmas... he was never going to see her again.
He cupped his hands over his face, withholding the sobs that wanted to spill out. He couldn't cry, not yet, there where too many others that needed him. Ron was practically catatonic, only Blaise's constant companionship kept Ron functioning. Draco was keeping up a stoic facade, but Harry could feel his Soul Bonded's pain over loosing someone who could have been a wonderful sister. Harry could hear the underlying questions in his lovers mind, 'wondering about all the wonderful debate} they could have had about whether Grindelwald's accomplishments in life were good for the wizarding world, even if the mad man had been finding them in all the wrong ways. Harry additionally knew, if he could have gotten her away from Dumbledore, that Tom would have also adored driving Hermione insane. Now she was gone, no one was going to enjoy her stiff attitudes and bookish intelligence ever again.
The Granger's had insisted—and Dumbledore had agreed—that the funeral should be at Hogwarts. Mrs. Granger said that Hogwarts was where her daughter had been the happiest. Helena Granger was making sure that Hermione was pretty in her... coffin, while Ted Granger was comforting the woman as best as he could.
"Harry," Draco called softly, walking into the room with only a brief hesitation.
"Is it time?" Harry asked softly, blinking at Draco, swallowing thickly to keep the tears away as Draco nodded, offering Harry his hand. Harry took the hand, feeling the ebb and flow of their magic mingling more strongly than ever. It was comforting to feel the constant tug of Draco on his heart and soul. It was like they were always holding hands, a constant calming presence close to Harry so that he would never feel alone, even if they were half a world apart. It was exactly what Harry needed to keep control, Draco siphoned a large part of Harry's sorrow into himself through their bond and replaced it with a calming, soothing sensation that Harry didn't fully understand.
"I love you Dray." Harry muttered, kissing the other. "I know we were supposed to get married today but..."
"It's alright Harry, Hermione was more important than some silly wedding." Draco stated, smiling at Harry. "We can get married any old time, This is a day for Hermione." Draco kissed Harry's forehead as the brunette swallowed thickly again, closing his eyes as he took a deep breath and stepped out into the hall and down to the massive lawn where most of the castle had gathered. Harry felt furious when he saw Rita Skeeter in the crowd, but was soothed when Draco pointed out she didn't have her camera man with her, or her Quick Quotes Quill. Was she really just there to see Hermione's funeral? Harry doubted it, but he had bigger things to worry about, mostly comforting the sobbing Granger's.
The funeral service was led by Professor McGonagall who called for everyone to sit. The Granger's cried as Harry held their hands and handed them tissues, muttering comforting things while Professor McGonagall spoke about what a wonderful woman Hermione had been. Draco was crying silently next to Harry, pouring out both of his and Harry's grief as Professor McGonagall asked for people to come up and speak. To everyone's amazement, Draco stood up first, and moved to the podium, giving McGonagall a small nod.
"Hermione Granger, was one of the most intelligent witches I have ever known." Draco stated softly. "She was proud, powerful and determined. I've never known anyone more invested in saving the magical creatures of our world than her," he smiled sadly. "I know that she used to make the House Elves furious by knitting them clothes... those stupid socks were found everywhere, even in the Slytherin rooms!" Draco shook his head. "No matter how late I stayed up, I could never figure out how she was getting in there!" He wrinkled his nose. "I still don't know how she managed it..." Harry knew how, she'd borrowed his cloak and map almost constantly during third year between fighting for House Elves and studying to save Buckbeak.
"Harry told me that she used to plan months ahead for tests and I think the only person more obsessed with books than her, was me."
"There was nothing more amazing than the day she gave Harry and I her blessing. I was so happy when she finally accepted my bond with Harry. I thought she just might become the sister that I'd always wanted. She was someone who was as smart as me, someone I could discuss linear developmental theories with, someone who wouldn't give me funny looks when I talked about Slatebeard the Pirate..." he turned to the clear glass where Hermione was laying, perfect and peaceful. Her hair was done up in A French Twist, her body was covered in her favorite flowers, she was clad in her favorite muggle dress with her favorite book under her crossed hands.
"We will forever miss you Hermione." Draco whispered, leaning foreword and gently kissing Hermione's forehead. "Forever will you be known as the smartest in our time and forever will you be one of Harry's closest friends. We will all miss you." he turned away, tears glistening in his eyesas he took his seat, holding Harry's hand tightly as he struggled to maintain his composure. It wouldn't do to have someone seeing him cry.
Harry couldn't hold back his tears anymore, sobbing almost inconsolably and holding Draco and the Granger's tightly as they cried through the rest of the service. Harry could hear Ron sobbing, nearly wailing, and he could almost hear Blaise's calming mantra as he tried to soothe the redhead. He shuddered and pressed his face into Draco's chest, taking a deep breath, calming himself with Draco's scent of fire and smoke.
Teacher and student walked up and spoke of Hermione. As Hermione was lowered into the ground, Harry felt a desperate need to speak to her one last time... but that just wasn't possible. He kissed Draco's cheek, took the Granger's hands and muttered something comforting, moving them over to where Hermione was now at rest in the earth, settling onto his knees and pressing his hand to the damp earth.
"Goodbye Hermione," he muttered softly, closing his eyes and shaking his head. "I'll forever love you," he whispered, looking up at Draco who had settled his hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Harry? Are you going to be alright?" Draco asked softly, looking worried as Harry shook his head.
"I don't know..." Harry mumbled, leaning against Draco's legs, just wanting to touch someone warm, someone living. He closed his eyes, feeling despair well up inside as he nuzzled his lovers knee.
"Harry... you're not going to try and, I don't know, bring her back or something, are you?" Draco asked hesitantly.
Harry laughed, he had to. He had thought about it, briefly... but he knew better. Even if he succeeded in bringing Hermione back, both of them would be horribly disfigured and both would be cursed for the rest of their mortal lives and beyond. No, he would not take that course of action.
"No, Draco. I'm not going to try Necromancy, nor try to turn her into an inferus. Merlin strike me down himself should I ever delve into a madness deep enough to try something as... as stupid as that," he muttered with a violent shiver. He felt Draco shudder next to him, but his lover had relaxed and let out a relieved sigh.
"I just had to make sure Harry. People do very... unfortunate things when they are lost in their grief," he stated softly, turning to look at Ron who was still sitting in a chair, sobbing, ignoring any and all attempts Blaise made to console him. Hermione had been a very close friend to Ron At one time. Ron had fancied himself in love with her 'before he had realized he was gay; and this tragedy on top of Ginny's death — Harry wasn't sure that Ron was going to be able to recover from this. Blaise led Ron back inside, he was practically carrying the redhead who couldn't seem to get his legs to support him.
"Mister Potter." Harry blinked at the new Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour. The man was a weak-minded idiot, being manipulated by both sides of the War. Harry knew this was a perfect chance to sway him to the third side, but he couldn't bring himself to really care about the war just then.
"Minister, It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm sorry I'm in such a dreadful state I-I just..." he swallowed thickly and fought back his tears. He couldn't speak for a long moment and Draco gently wrapped his arms around Harry's shoulders, hugging him tightly, comforting him as Scrimgeor shook his head.
"No, no. Don't worry about it Harry," the Minister ordered. From the rumors he had heard about the boy, he had expected a spoiled Brat. "There is a beetle in your hair." Scrimgeor warned, leaning forward to brush it off, but Harry shook his head.
"Leave it be. This is a day of too much pain as it is and a beetle can't do me harm," although this beetle, Harry was very certain could. It was Rita Skeeter, he knew it was, but he couldn't bring himself to care about that either. "Was there something you needed Minister? I-I'm afraid I'm not feeling well today..." Harry managed to mutter, the Minister smiling sadly.
"You're a brave boy, aren't you Harry? I just wanted to give you this. Miss Hermione Granger said that you where to get it in her Will. I wanted to make sure you, and only you, set eyes upon it's contents. She was writing books about you." Harry looked stunned and both the Minister and Draco raised their eyebrows, amused that Harry would be so shocked that someone would take the time to write about him. He opened the large box that the Minister presented to him and took out the letter that was inside.
"Harry, I know I should have asked you before I started to write about your life, but I thought it might be nice for people to know who you really are instead of the face people make you out to be. The books are, so far, unfinished. They need your personal touch, since I wasn't there for most of the events. You shouldn't have to hide who you really are. With love, H- Herm..." Harry couldn't say her name. He dropped the box, pressed his face into his hands and began to sob, finally giving in, letting the pain take him, letting the guilt take him. He dimly felt Draco pulling him up off the ground, doing nothing to resist him as he was picked up. The box of unfinished transcripts were shrunk and placed into Draco's pocket as the blond apologized to the minister and carried Harry into the castle and up to their rooms where harry could sob—and rest—in peace.
When Harry woke in the morning he knew that Rita had been there because there was a transcript of a newspaper article waiting for him on his bedside table, something which startled him. Since when did she care what people thought of her work? He picked it up, rubbed his eyes to get rid of the tears that had gathered as soon as he'd woken up and looked the scroll of the first draft over. Harry realized very quickly why Rita had left him the copy: she wanted his opinion and didn't want him to start blackmailing her as well. She was a clever little bitch, he had to admit that.
Harry added his own opinions and left the paper for Rita to collect. With his new ability to see Magic, he knew she was sitting on top of the wall to his left. He didn't care, let her look while he stripped and got dressed. Not much mattered anymore. He was blank inside, barren, not calm just... empty. Like there was nothing inside of him anymore. He imagined that this was what a person felt when a Dementor sucked out your soul... simple nonexistence, there was simply nothing there left to feel anything. He was just too emotionally exhausted from having the Bond between him and Draco broken and then having Hermione die on top of everything else. He just couldn't handle anything more. He desperately needed another vacation. Maybe he'd take Draco, Blaise and Ron to Tom's house in Russia. Draco and Ron loved the cold, they'd enjoy it, he'd enjoy it. Tom would like having the company. Devlin and Terrance would of course have to go with...
"Harry?" Draco asked as he poked his head in, blinking a little[,] "what are you thinking so hard about?" he asked, studying his lover.
"Russia. I think I'd like to go to Russia. Mott has a house there. We could take the whole group and just go on vacation. Lucius can come with us, we'll get married in Russia and have a nice long holiday there," he decided with a nod.
"I think that's a great idea. School is canceled for mourning, Dumbledore won't stop you." Draco agreed, "After something like this, I think it's a good idea to get you and Ron out of here. Blaise had a hard time comforting Ron last night it was... it was bad." Harry nodded as he looked at Draco.
"That's to be expected. Ron was in love with Hermione," he admitted, "although he never had the courage to tell her. He probably never would have realized he was gay if not for Blaise. If all of this hadn't happened, Hermione and Ron would be dating right now, of that I have no doubt..."
Draco nodded, not all surprised by that news. the way the two had danced around each other he was certain that the whole school knew. Ron had thought he was straight for so long, how long would he and Hermione have been together before Ron ultimately realized his preference for the same sex? Draco could feel the tentative bonds forming between Ron and Blaise. He knew Ron was, without question, gay. Would he and Hermione have had children? Would Ron have ever have realized?
"Ron once said that Hermione was the only woman he would ever love. I doubt he would ever have known he was gay unless Hermione had pushed him away the way she did." Harry murmured, leaning into Draco as he closed his eyes. "Things are coming to a head Dray. The war is getting closer with every passing day. I think that it is time." Draco tensed, swallowed thickly and nodded.
"Yes, we've put it off for too long. We'll take a few weeks off and get some more things done," he agreed, stroking his lovers hair. "We'll go to Russia, Mott won't mind. Who will we take with us?"
"Everyone." Harry stated firmly, biting his lip. "We'll take everyone."
Draco nodded. Now was the time to really set things in motion. Draco knew who was ultimately responsible for Hermione's death. Pansy would never have gotten that potion without help from Dumbledore. He knew it was Dumbledore who had driven Pansy to such lengths. It was the only explanation that Draco could think of. Soon that bearded bastard would pay.
Ron shifted on the bed turning to face Blaise, blinking a little and nibbled on his lip, studying his dark skinned lover. Ron wondered what he had ever done to deserve Blaise. He was a little ashamed of how he had reacted to Hermione's death. It was like his mind had just shut down. He was still a little fuzzy-headed, his thinking was sluggish, but it was starting to clear up. He wasn't sure how long he laid there, simply staring at his lover, but he couldn't help but smile as Blaise shifted and opened his dark eyes to blink at Ron. He felt so guilty, looking at Blaise, so guilty and he swallowed thickly as Blaise smiled at him and reached over, stroking red hair out of his face.
"Morning. How are you feeling? Any better?" Blaise asked softly, dark eyes filled with worry that only made Ron feel even worse. He didn't understand really, why he was acting like it came to Blaise—and Hermione, too—nothing seemed to make any sense at all.
"I-I'm sorry Blaise... I..." he swallowed thickly as panic flooded Blaise's eyes and the dark skinned boy sat up, his head tilted.
"What are you sorry for? Did you do something Ron?" he asked, clearly worried about his lovers mental capabilities.
"No. No, I just... feel badly... I..." Ron hesitated and Blaise smiled at him, leaning forward, gently kissing Ron to make the poor emotionally constipated boy shut up.
"Is this about how you reacted?" Blaise asked, his head tilted. "It's alright you know. You loved her, very much."
Ron had almost forgotten that he had confessed his deep love for Hermione to Blaise. Hermione who was so witty, and sharp, and smart and just... perfect. But Blaise was perfect too, so bloody perfect. Guilt swamped him again and suddenly he felt cheap, like a whore, what kind of man was he? Loving two people at the same time...
"Ron, what's wrong?" Blaise asked, frowning a little. "You can talk to me, you know you can."
"Am I a whore Blaise?" Ron asked softly. "I love... loved Hermione very much and I love you, too. A lot, just as much as I loved Hermione. So, does that mean I'm a whore? Or just fickle?" Ron asked, looking up at Blaise with those pretty, tormented and ashamed eyes.
"Oh Ron, of course not. Everyone loves more than one person." Blaise stroked his lovers hair, smiling at Ron. "After all, Harry was actively dating three—or was it four—people at the same time. Is he a whore?"
Ron was gobsmacked for a moment as he pondered Blaise's words. He'd forgotten about that. Blaise, Mott—A.K.A. Voldemort—and Draco had all been vying for Harry's hand and for a while there, Ron knew, that Harry had loved them all. Until the pain had struck and Draco had been the only one to fix it.
"No, Harry's not a whore. I'm sorry Blaise, I guess I just felt like I was... cheating on you. Or cheating on Hermione. I don't know... both maybe?" Ron mumbled, Blaise chuckling as he shook his head.
"You will always love Hermione, I know that Ron. You two would have been happy together if all of this crap hadn't started up. You might have been happy together even now if..." if she hadn't died, "and that's alright. I understand that Ron and it doesn't hurt me, or my feelings, in the least." Blaise promised with a small smile. "I know that part of your heart will always be with her, but I also know that there is room in your heart for me as well," he acknowledged, smiling at Ron. "We do have a chance to be happy together. I know your hesitant, and that's alright as well. I can wait an eternity for you Ron." Blaise murmured gently, kissing the back of Ron's hand, smirking when Ron's ears turned a little red.
"I love you very much. The only thing I want is for you to be happy," he leaned down kissing Ron again. The redhead smiled a little as he scooted closer and curled into Blaise like he was a cat. Blaise had noticed how Ron craved affection; true, Ron had loving parents, however, he still had to share their loving attention with six other children—eight if you included Harry and Hermione. Ron had never had individualized attention, someone who focused only on him, and he soaked up every little bit of affection that Blaise gave to him.
"I love you too Blaise." Ron murmured softly, sighing as he closed his eyes, simply resting there for a long moment. Ron knew right then and there what he truly wanted to do."Blaise?" Ron asked softly, getting a hum in response. "What's it like, being a vampire?"
Blaise lifted an eyebrow and pondered that for a moment. "I don't know. What's it like being a human?"
"I... don't understand." Ron looked adorable baffled and Blaise chuckled.
"Ron I've been a vampire since I was eight years old." Ron was stunned. It was against Vampiric Law to change anyone younger than thirteen and then only if the human or wizard in question had been raised around vampires. If an outsider wanted to be a vampire, they had to wait to be of' legal age, seventeen in English wizarding cases.
"All laws are broken Ron, I was one of those cases. I was pretty, as a child."
"You're pretty now." Ron interjected, looking confused. "Do you mean to say that you were changed unwillingly?"
"Yes. My mother had met a man through her husband at the time." Blaise growled simply. "The man, Archimedes, was a vampire. He saw me, and he wanted me for himself. He kidnapped me and changed me. I fought, I screamed, I did everything I could, but I was changed," he sighed, "I was Feral. Not all humans can be changed into vampires and I was too young to handle the transformation. I attacked too many people, because my Sire had no desire to control me. The Vampire High Lord Marquis located me, killed my Sire and fixed me." Blaise stated nervously, "The panic was what had driven me mad and my Sire did not wish to fix it. Gabriel, my Patriarch—or adopted father if you will—took me in, taught me how to control myself and groomed me for his eventual retirement."
"So, someday you're going to have to return to the Vampire Realms?" Ron asked curiously.
Blaise nodded "Yes, but not for many years yet. Gabriel will not be ready to step down as the High Lord Marquise for a very long time, a few hundred years at least. In that time I will train and learn all that I need to know," he smiled at Ron. "In the vampire community, the only person who outranks me is my Patri," he paused. "Many of the vampire clans have expressed interest in Lord Fox. They wish to fight for him. They are coming to me for permission," he smirked. "Harry's going to be annoyed that I haven't told him yet."
Ron had to chuckle as he rested his head on Blaise's chest, pondering for a moment, gathering his courage. "I was never very good at being human, I'm going to be seventeen in March," Blaise tensed underneath him as he realized where Ron's train of thought was taking him. "If I wait until the end of the year, I'll be a graduate and I can focus on learning the laws and customs, By the time I'm nineteen or twenty, I'll know everything I need to know and I'll know for certain if I want to... become a vampire."
"Ron," Blaise smiled, cupping his lovers chin and tipping the others face up. "You've been thinking about this for a while now."
Ron nodded and offered Blaise a small, hesitant smile. "I have. It was one of many options. It is the best course for me right now. Maybe in a matter of months that might change, but I want to try. And by the time I'm twenty I will know for very certain if this is the right path for me. I want to be with you. I want... I want to be somebody for you," he leaned up to give Blaise yet another kiss. "I want to be someone with you,"he grinned a little as Blaise laughed and nodded.
"If you're still certain on your birthday. I will start teaching you our laws," running his fingers through red hair. "You will have to meet my Patri, I will have to have his permission before I start to teach you," Blaise admitted chuckling a little as he shook his head. "Come on, before Harry starts to worry about us. It's time for breakfast anyway and I think Rita Skeeter wanted an interview with us."
Ron hissed through his teeth, sounding almost like Harry when he was speaking Parseltongue."I am NOT talking to that no good, rotten, stinking, vile, BITCH of a woman!" Ron snapped, making Blaise snicker at Ron's annoyance.