Chapter 14

A/N: I've never written an action scene before, so this is my first attempt. This is also the last chapter. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, etc! I'll be posting one of the four stories I've started soon, so keep an eye out for it!

I was going to wait to post this, but I was excited to have three completed stories... And I've never been one for patience anyway. Enjoy!


"I always knew you were soft, but I never thought you'd let mudbloods literally walk all over you boy," an annoyed sounding voice said. I glanced up to see Lucius Malfoy standing in the conjoining doorway between our two rooms. This is what I meant about the prepared – it would do me some good to take my own advice sometimes; my wand was still sitting on the counter beside the sink.

Malfoy immediately grabbed my knees and pulled me down on top of him, just in time for the curse Lucius had thrown at me to miss and take a good chunk out of the wall. I dove off of him and threw myself in the direction of my wand, ducking as another curse made the bidet explode – it was no huge loss, those things always disturbed me a little anyway.

My wand was sitting right where I had stupidly left it; I scowled at it as I snatched it up – how could I have been so stupid to just leave it there?

Wand safely in my grasp, I whipped around to jump back into the fray and all that Gryffindor stuff. Lucius seemed determined to destroy the entire room when I peeked around the doorway. It seemed that I was out of sight and mind at the moment, so I used the opportunity to edge behind him while he was distracted trying to murder his son.

Malfoy was doing a surprisingly good job duelling his father; it appeared that he had improved significantly since I had last seen him in action. I watched in horror as Lucius gained the upper hand and managed to hit his son with a particularly nasty curse that cut deeply into Malfoy's wand arm, causing a considerably large amount of blood to spray the wall behind him. These action things were a lot scarier than I remembered - probably because when you're seventeen you're still invincible, it's only later in life that you realize how fragile you really are in your mortality.

"You always were too soft," he snarled at his wounded son as he advanced menacingly towards him to finish him off.

I finally managed to get in position behind Lucius, raising my wand to strike. Malfoy's eyes flicked to me and then back to his father in an involuntary reaction as he noticed me standing there.

Unfortunatly for me, Lucius also noticed this eye movement and whipped around to face me, flinging a curse before I could react. I was less lucky than Malfoy, and the same curse that had injured him ripped across my chest, cutting deeply and causing me to fall to the ground in agonizing pain.

I lost track of what was happening after that, but I was in too much pain to be overly concerned with my surroundings. Someone shouted Avada Kedavera, but the two men in the room had similar voices and it was impossible for me to discern which one of them was the one that had survived. Unless the unforgiveable had missed... I was in too much pain to think of all the possible outcomes; if someone came to kill me, then Malfoy was dead; if someone came to see if I was alive, then his father was dead.

"Granger? Are you all right?" Ah, it must be Lucius that was dead. Good. I'd never liked the snobby bastard; he'd had it coming for a while.

"Granger?" Malfoy said again, starting to sound concerned, which was probably a good thing; the edges of my vision were starting to go dark.

"Hermione, don't you dare die," he tried. Had I been in a right state of mind, I might have been surprised that he'd deigned to use my first name. As it was, I just blinked a few times; maybe he knew Morse code – even if he didn't, my eyelids were the only thing I seemed able to move. I felt someone lift me up before everything went black.

When I woke up, Harry and Ginny's faces were all I could see. I loved them and all, but sometimes a girl needs her personal space. "Why're you hovering?" I mumbled, surprised when my voice came out small and scratchy like I hadn't used it in a long time.

"You've been unconscious for days. What were you thinking taking on Lucius Malfoy?" Ginny demanded. I was tempted to remind her that her husband had taken on Voldemort when he was much younger, but she already knew that – scolding was one of the ways she showed he worry, so I tuned her out and left her to it.

While she was lecturing me about irresponsibility and not waiting for a squad of aurors as backup before acting, I looked over at Harry sitting beside her. "What happened?" I asked him, interrupting Ginny.

"Percy Weasley happened. He paid me a visit at home, hoping I could protect him from Lucius, but I wasn't home so he snooped. He found the video and he found the hotel you circled in the phonebook so I would know where you were. He put them together and thought that notifying Lucius of Draco's location would get him back into his good books and keep him safe," Harry explained. Ginny was looking murderous.

"Don't worry, Percy's in Azkaban for a while for everything he's done and Lucius Malfoy is dead," she said. I took a minute to process all of this.

"How long have I been out?" I asked.

"Three days, we've been worried sick about you!" Ginny slapped me lightly on the knee as she informed me. "The mediwitch healed the cut, but they didn't know what curse Lucius had used, so it kept reopening, it was really dark magic, whatever he used."

I lifted up the scratchy sheet that was covering me and found a hospital gown, underneath that my chest was wound free. There was a barely visible scar where the pain had been the worst, so it must have been deepest there, but there was no lasting damage other than that. "If the mediwitch couldn't heal me, then how am I healed?" I asked.

"That was Malfoy. I've never seen him look that worried, he showed up at the ministry with you ghost pale and dripping blood everywhere, and then he refused to leave your side. When they couldn't heal you, he disappeared for a while and came back with a scary looking book and he fixed you," Harry said. A scary looking book? He must have gone home and found the counter curse for me.

"Was he all right?" I asked, a little bit worried about the blond nuisance.

"He was fine, they were able to heal him because he was only grazed by the curse; you were hit dead on." I breathed a sigh of relief; everything had turned out all right then.

"He hasn't come to visit me, has he?" I asked, doing my best not to blush. We'd been through quite a lot together, it would be kind of rude of him if he didn't even come to thank me for everything I'd done.

"He actually kind of disappeared after he knew you were going to be okay, no one's seen him since. The ministry's been looking for him, they want to give him a medal for his bravery against his father," Harry said, looking conflicted about the ministry having anything good to say about a Malfoy.

Huh. That was strange; why would he just disappear? I made a mental not to find him once I was out of the hospital, it seemed that I needed to thank him for saving my life.

My attempts to find Malfoy had been unsuccessful. Considering his fondness for attention, you'd think it would be easy to find the wizard. I was down to the last place on the short list of places I thought he might be: Blaise's house. I knocked on the door and entered when someone from inside called that the door was open.

"Um, Luna? Zabini? What are you two doing?" I asked as I walked into the room, not sure I really wanted the answer.

"We're filing, why do you ask?" Luna said dreamily. I watched her chase down the paper ducks, unfold them, and carefully file them away in orderly folders while Zabini pulled up the paper lily pads and did the same – come to think of it, the swamp did look considerably smaller than it had when I'd last been here. The two worked well together, I was pretty sure they lived in the same alternate reality.

"Okay... Well, Zabini, I'm looking for Malfoy, do you know where he is?" I asked him, wanting to get to the point and get out of there before I was roped into rounding up the ducklings or something.

He looked up at me from the swamp. "I haven't seen him. Don't worry though, he'll come see you when he's done whatever needed to be done," I blushed a little; who said I was looking for Malfoy because I wanted to talk to him? It was possible I was trying to find him for the ministry...

"Thanks," I mumbled, turning around and leaving. That was that; Malfoy had disappeared and would have to come find me if he wanted his thanks. I went home annoyed; when I went looking for answers, I liked to find them!

I almost had a heart attack when I came back home to find the prat sitting on my couch. "Where have you been hiding?" I asked him, looking him up and down, he didn't seem to be deathly ill or anything, so why had he been hiding from everyone?

"I haven't been hiding, I've been hunting. I wanted to know why and how the hell Pansy was involved in this whole mess; she was the only part that didn't really make sense, so I went to find her and hunt down some answers." I waited for him to elaborate, but it seemed he was done with his explanation. That didn't actually tell me anything; it just made me more curious!

"And?" I prompted.

"And she never intended for either of us to actually use the portkey she slipped you; she wanted you to be caught carrying it and have you charged with helping me escape and have me charged with trying to escape."

"Why would she want to do that? I thought she was your friend?"

Malfoy curled his lip with contempt. "She wasn't my friend, she was my fiancé, our parents arranged our marriage when we were toddlers and she's been practically stalking me ever since. I'd been looking for an excuse to break the engagement since I was told it existed, and being arrested allowed me to do that; there was a clause in the contract that allowed a cancellation of the contract in the event that either party was arrested." I nodded; that made sense. I was a little surprised that he was being so free with all of this information, but I wasn't going to question it; I always did love getting answers.

The silence as I processed this new information started to stretch into awkward territory, so I asked him something I had been wondering since I walked in to find him in my living room. "Malfoy, what are you doing here?"

"Thin line between love and hate and all that shite," he muttered, facing away from me like he didn't actually want me to hear it but had to say it. Wait. What was he saying? Because I really didn't think he was trying to confess his secret love for me.

I raised a skeptical eyebrow at the blond. "Are you saying you love me?"

"No! I'm just saying that maybe I don't hate you as much as I did before." Well that just cleared everything up nicely; the man was a regular wordsmith.

It suddenly occurred to me that he was starting to get a little close for a normal conversation. "What are you doing?" I asked him wearily as I took a step back to put him at a more comfortable distance.

He didn't answer me, just continued to advance until I was trapped against the wall and he had an arm on either side of my head, keeping me there. I knew then that wherever this was headed, it probably wouldn't be good in the long run, but it would be a hell of a lot of fun on the way to no good.

He confirmed my suspicions on both accounts when he closed the rest of the distance between us, pressing me against the wall as he kissed me. I was still a little stunned when he pulled away and took a step back.

"Come talk to me when the divorce goes through," he told me, turning and leaving before I could get over my surprise and form a coherent thought after that kiss.

When I could think again, my first thought was: 'I have to catch him'. I shook my head to clear it – why couldn't anything be easy with him? But maybe that was what made it fun.

A grin spread across my face, if only Ron could see me now. I made a split second decision and ran out of the door after Malfoy.

He was just getting to the apparition point around the block from my flat when I caught up to him. I grabbed his arm and turned him around to face me. "The divorce was finalised last week," I told him. A slow smirk made its way onto his face.

"In that case, I have a Gryffindor to corrupt."