IT'S FINALLY HERE! ! ! ! NOW, WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ADO, WE PRESENT TO YOU THE LONG AWAITED 'OBLIVIATE'! ! !
(Please don't be mad at us if you're unhappy with her decision!)
"And you say my games are cruel." Draco hissed, standing just inches from her. "Well, Granger, as much as I'd like to thank you for making my younger self's dream come true, it's decision time. I can't go around with two memories of that night swimming around in my head."
Hermione swallowed hard, unsure of what he was asking her to do. "Go ahead." He seethed, gripping her wand hand and pressing it to his head. "Since you want to toil with the past, you can decide my fate!"
Hermione blinked incoherently. He wanted her to choose which memory to keep. Without a second's more consideration she pointed the tip of her wand to his temple and whispered. "Obliviate"
A beam of light immediately emitted from the tip of her wand, striking the blonde haired boy standing before her with a resonating force.
Hermione's vision began fading in and out as Draco's pending memories flashed before her eyes. She could feel herself rewinding time to forever alter his fate, and as if she were watching an age old movie, she could see with distinct awareness, the very memory that she was threatening to take. It was wrong, and she knew it, but as soon as she recited that well practiced spell, his fate was irreversibly sealed.
With a twinge of guilt, and teaspoon of remorse, Draco's night with Pansy crumbled into a million different pieces. It cracked at the base of their kiss like a stained glass window, and then shattered as he went to remove the young Slytherin girl's clothes. Draco's once, past memory, was now officially a moment in time that never occurred. Reality crashed back down onto them along with a rain of new emotions. As soon as Hermione's wand fell at her side, she knew she had made a selfish decision. It was all because she had wanted to go back in time to prove that his love was nothing more than a false-silly-charade, only, come to find out, it wasn't. Somewhere along the line she lost her focus, forgetting her will as well as her reasons. In her sudden loss of hindsight she made a very fearful discovery. Draco Malfoy, Prince of Slytherin, leader of the Muggle haters, destroyer of everything she believed in, was in love her. It was a harrowing, mind-blowing, fearful fact.
With those agonizing thoughts in mind, and with the feeling of the Magic's affect wearing off, Hermione's eyes shot open. Just as she was about to open her mouth to beg for some form of forgiveness she felt Draco's hands come into contact with her warm, tearstained skin. He cupped her face into a hug between his palms as he brought her lips up to meet his into what promised to be a soothing, everlasting pardon of a kiss. However, when her lips broke apart from his in search of fresh air, she forgot his unspoken resolve. Through an endless stream of apologies laced with turbulent regret, which readied to spew forth from her trembling lips, Hermione sputtered the veracities of what she had just willed him to forget.
"I-I'm sorry… I'm so sorry… I just went back for answers," she stuttered, looking away from the blazing cerulean shards of his narrowed eyes. Her countless tears crashed into his palms, running down his wrists and along the length of his arms. "But everything just happened so fast, and before I knew it, I-I was in his- your arms… and I could have stopped it…" She rambled on frantically, trying to rationalize her actions. "I should have stopped it!" She corrected. "But I didn't… and now… and now I can't take it back" She shook her head as her words finished tumbling out.
Hermione dared a look up at him through her overflowing brown orbs, and in that moment she was more surprised by what she didn't find there. His normally cold, pale expression was warmer than she expected. He seemed at ease as he stared down at her, still caressing her face with his calming touch, while a blend of soothing, gentle, and thoughtful emotions swirled in the depths of his brilliant silvers. The look in his eyes almost made her feel as if she could be exonerated for her reckless inflections. Almost.
"I'm sorry, I had no right." Hermione whispered brokenly, her unrelenting tears proceeded to fall as she dared to steal another look up at him through her tear-sodden lashes.
"It's okay." He whispered, tucking a loose russet curl behind her right ear.
'But it wasn't, it isn't okay,' she thought, with a painful swell of her throat. She had tainted, no…stolen a vital piece of his history, one that she could never give back! And for what? He knew full well that she didn't love him.
"I know." He quieted her thoughts. Hermione looked up at him with a guilty expression. 'What does he know?' She wondered curiously, she had just bloody made him forget everything about that night with Pansy.
"I know that you think too loud when you're upset," Draco smiled into her hairline, while taking the hourglass necklace from her shaking hand and planting a gentle kiss just above her forehead.
Damn that Aunt of his…Bellatrix Lestrange. Just thinking about that vile, deranged wench caused knots to form in the pit of her stomach. Damn that Witch to bloody hell and back for teaching him the skills of Legilimency and Occlumency. At the moment, Hermione fervently wished that she too were an equally skilled Occlumens.
Hermione tried swallowing the lump in her throat, remembering the guilt trodden consequences of her outlandish actions. "Pansy-,"
"Don't ruin this moment with a filthy word like that." Draco interrupted her, pressing a single tearstained finger to her lips, quieting her confessions.
"Listen," Draco whispered, staring as far into her brown speckled eyes as he could. "I don't care about what should have happened that night, or what was supposed to have happened! The fact of the matter is, nothing you could have taken from me, could ever replace what you've actually given me."
"How could you possibly know that if you can't remember?" Hermione begged the question through her tears.
"I know enough to tell you with complete confidence, that if it hadn't been you that night– the one you can't seem to get out of your mind, then it would have been her." Draco replied, his tone citing fact, with a slightly noticeable distaste for the last word.
Hermione closed her eyes tight, warding off her tears. So this Draco knew that she went back in time, back to that specific moment in time. He was aware that the girl that came to him during his fourth year and shagged his brains out was the future Hermione, the very one standing in front of him now; something he probably couldn't have wrapped his mind around all those years ago. However, the memory of his first time with Pansy was gone, shattered, altered; stolen. To him, his first time with Pansy was nothing more than a fact-less thought, a mindless 'what if'.
"Let it go." He whispered his encouragement through a smile, one Hermione was sure she'd never seen before.
Hermione nodded her head in affirmation as the tears continuously leaked from her eyes. The difference between hearing the truth and knowing the truth was a vast comparison. In his case, he merely knew a version of the truth, and it would probably break his heart to hear it in volumes, only to shatter.
Looking through blurry eyes, she saw a look of refinement spread through his porcelain features, and with a slight tilt of his head, his mouth once again found hers. After a few moments of shameless rebuttal, his kisses became a symbol of forgotten regret and marred history, her tears a pool of redemption.
Pulling her further into him, Draco threatened to meld their bodies into one. His arms were wrapped so tightly around her, she feared the thought of him letting go, and was afraid that if he actually did, her limbs would surly fail her.
Hermione needed him in that moment, much like a life form needs warmth and oxygen to sustain primordial life.
She still could not figure out why she chose to erase his old memory. She didn't love him… she wouldn't- couldn't love him. Kisses and a mess of tangled limbs didn't signify love. This-, this was something else; desire, frenzy, passion, obsession. It was everything, every feeling, but love.
Her sudden thoughts filtered from her brain and into his mind causing a choked off moan- or was it a whimper to escape from the "Pureblood Prince" himself.
Draco deepened their kiss, igniting the fire in her gut, forcing it to rise to the apex of her heart. Nothing seemed to make sense. Her guilt-ridden mind was blurring. The only thing her body was capable of comprehending as he held her, was desire, fueled by the trick of heat emitting from their union; or, perhaps, it was the residual effect of the bond.
When she felt as if she were slowly starting to lose herself in him, her actions became more rushed. She pulled and tugged at his body, urging him closer, as if there was room left between them needing to be filled. However, they were already chest to chest, pelvis to pelvis, with not a breath of air left to divide their bodies, and yet, despite this truth, he still seemed light-years away. While Hermione sucked on the swell of his bottom lip, she became aware of the fact that she needed him closer, his tongue delving deeper, strong arms holding her tighter and wanton hands griping her rougher.
Draco moaned into her mouth as her hands slid beneath the fabric of his shirt. Her blood began to boil upon their skin-to-skin contact. She needed him; she craved him. Her mouth was practically watering, and as if she lacked any restraint whatsoever, her teeth met his flesh and she bit down on him as if he were a tasty score of meat.
Draco stilled and pulled away from her, bewildered. Hermione shook her head to clear her mind, pressing her fingers to her lips in shame. She had just bit him, why did she keep biting him?
After a moment apart, Draco continued to stare after her in worry.
"Are you okay?" he questioned; instinctively licking and nursing the puncture wound on his lip with the tip of his tongue.
They had bitten each other out of passion, out of duty and desire, but this time was different. The sheer need to sink her teeth into him could only be described as a carnal craving, one that bordered the lines of a frenzied blood lust.
"I'm-I'm sorry…I…I don't know what came over me," she fumbled over her words.
"It's okay," the blonde boy smirked, "I like it when you're rough." he smiled at her encouragingly. "It's the lack of control I'm concerned about." He gently kissed her on the forehead before continuing. "But, don't worry; we'll visit Snape in the morning. I'm sure he can tell us what's going on." He reassured her, as he absentmindedly rubbed light circles, soothingly, along the flushed heat of her back.
Hermione nodded her head in agreement.
Yes, that's what they needed. Answers.
She felt her eyes automatically flutter closed on their own accord as he planted a lingering kiss on her forehead, as if he were savoring the sweetness of such simple contact.
"Let's get you to bed." He murmured against her temple, and with a slight tug of her wrist, he urged her to follow him.
Hermione made a few mental notes as Draco gently pulled her over to the bed, strong hand entwined with hers. This Draco was different than the one she just left, the one she just altered, although they were one in the same. This Draco was careful, sweet, yet strong. He warranted respect instead of demanding it. This Draco was in control of his emotions; but, despite the fact that he possessed a great deal of strength and fortitude, it was she who wielded his power.
As they settled into the large bed, Malfoy summoned the coverlet with a bit of wandless Magic, from where it lay tossed aside in a heap of ruffled fabric at their feet. He pulled it up around their bodies, incasing them in its warmth.
Hermione may not have wanted to believe it, but the Snake that had been her unwavering tormentor throughout the years, her reoccurring nightmare – in the realms of sleep or otherwise, had changed in ways she never would have thought possible, maybe even evolved in some aspect.
Hermione reluctantly looked over to marvel at the man Draco had become, only to see him lying there smiling down at her. A smile was a rarity for him, for any Malfoy; but, beyond that, this one met his cerulean-laced greys. 'Another real smile, not a smirk.' She contemplated silently.
Hermione laid there, eyes transfixed, determined to learn ever feature – every subtle change from the Malfoy he once was. He seemed to be regarding her with much of the same intensity in response. Her eyes settled on the curtain of fine hair that fell and rested on the satin pillow in a splay of platinum feathers. With an uncertain, slightly shaky hand, Hermione threaded her fingers through the delicate strands of his hair before quickly realizing her actions, and withdrawing her limb, where it retreated to her side.
Without hesitation, he reached out and tucked a loose ringlet behind her ear before pulling her into his arms, drawing her tightly to his chest.
After a long night of forged realization and altered perceptions, Hermione felt relief in the fact that all Draco had in mind as he laid there holding her in his arms were sweet caresses and an assembly of cooing hushes.
She still felt wrong, dirty even. There was purpose, in the past being the past; and when she went back in time, she had consequently defied the laws of moral science and reason.
"What were you thinking?" Hermione asked into the crevice of his neck. She felt comforted in the fact that he was holding her instead of being angry with her for what she had done. "When I barged into the room like that." She clarified her question.
"Well, considering you were already on my mind, I thought I was dreaming." Draco chuckled, burying his head into her hair.
"And when you realized you weren't?" Hermione continued, not entirely sure why it was so important that she know.
"Well, my next thought was, 'where had your clothes gone?'. Bloody hell, Granger, you were walking around in green and black knickers for Merlin's sake." Draco reminded her coolly.
Hermione smiled and began absentmindedly fingering the lace of her Slytherin-like undergarment.
She saw Draco peer down at her out of the corner of her eye, and she shifted as he noticed the claw marks on her right hip. His previous smile quickly faded into a frown.
"It's okay." she smiled weakly up at him.
Draco traced the cuts his nails had made with the tips of his fingers, and she shivered at the feel of his lingering caress.
Hermione couldn't believe how much he had really changed. She faintly remembered how the Draco of the past, the fourth year Slytherin, had recoiled when she went to touch his face, and as if the here-and-now-Draco could read her mind, he gently grabbed her hand, without hesitation, and firmly pressed it against his perfectly chiseled cheek.
His face was warm and inviting. She felt him embrace the contact of her skin as if it were a welcomed means of nourishment.
"You need sleep." Draco cooed, turning his face to kiss the palm of her hand.
She had wanted to say this doesn't change anything, that she was still a Lion, and he was still a Snake; however, he had already heard her before she could think to open her mouth.
"I know." he whispered, kissing both of her eyes closed, tempting her to sleep. It was a battle easily won.
It didn't take long for Hermione to find peace in his arms as she drifted off into what could only promise to be a dreamless slumber, but before she managed to make it all the way there, she heard him whisper one last sentiment into her ear.
"I know that you don't want to love me," he breathed, pausing momentarily to brush her hair out of her face, before continuing with his assertion. "And that if you ever did, it would make a lifetime of respite seem meaningless, but life is about letting go." His voice trailed off into an inaudible whisper.
Hermione's breathing began to deepen as she neared the crest of the dream world; his softly spoken words had been taken for a lullaby.
"The Sorting Hat placed me in Salazar's House for a reason, and while I'll always be a Slytherin at heart, I no longer take pride in being a Snake." His lulled claim was one that she would no doubt sleep on, and dream about, probably in riddle form, only then, to be deciphered at dawn with the rising of the sun, when the images of subconscious thoughts are freshest in one's mind.
Something Malfoy had said during the aftermath of viewing his confessional memories came back to her in that moment. "I want you to think better of me, because I'd rather die now than have you shed another tear at my expense."
Did he really want to change, to prove himself, for a lack of a better word, worthy?
"I've never been one to beg," He concluded with a defeated exhale, squeezing her in his arms a bit tighter. "So just please… Let go…" and with a soft press of lips to her temple, the churning wheels in her mind slowed, and she submitted to his words, in some aspect; she let go and allowed the allure of sleep to wash over her.
Without surprise, Hermione was correct in her assumption, as usual. She found that her dreams were filled with visions of a Snake coiling and writhing in pain, as it transformed into a fearsome Dragon.
A/N: Please try not to think too far into who has what memories, all will be revealed in later chapters.
At this point, all that you need to know is that Draco's only memory of what happened after the Yule Ball is the memory he now shares with Hermione. He can only see pieces of the 'what if memory' with Pansy, because of what Hermione has stored in her own mind.
SHE SAW THE MEMORY OF HIM AND PANSY WHEN SHE OBLIVIATED IT FROM HIS MIND. (He no longer has memories of that night with Pansy; he only sees flashes of that night through Hermione's thoughts, because of Legilimency.)
Because Hermione has chosen to erase Draco and Pansy's first night together after the Yule Ball celebration, something else was bound to change…. Which we'll find out in a later chapter. ;)
We just want to take a moment to thank all of you wonderful readers who've stuck with the story. As always, please review and let us know what you think and what you're silently hoping for.
AGAIN, REVIEWS = THE DESIRE TO WRITE! ;)