Chapter Twenty-Eight: The End
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling.
She rolled the vial of potion between her fingers staring vacantly at the blue liquid inside. Would this really change everything? Completely alter her life as if she never knew magic? Would it happen right away? Or take some time before it worked?
She wanted to get out of here and get this over with. Staying in this hard lumpy bed wasn't helping time fly. She was getting tired of all the medi-nurses constantly coming in here checking on her and looking at her with sympathy, thinking she was in pain or something because she hasn't been able to stop crying since Draco left.
A small part of her wished he would escape McGonagall and come back to be with her. But no, she couldn't think like that. It was for the best and it would be much easier to leave everyone behind, if they weren't around to say goodbye to.
"Ms. Granger, you have some visitors here to see you." And medi-nurse informed her.
For a second she hoped that maybe Draco came back after all, but of course this time of day he would still be a cat and it would be almost near to impossible for him to get through security, much less getting through downtown without being noticed.
A few seconds later Ginny and Harry walked through the door. Ginny rushed to her side once she noticed that she was awake and hugged her tight.
"Oh Hermione, I'm so glad your awake. I'm so sorry. I had no idea that would happen if you apparated. It's all my fault." She patted Ginny on the shoulder awkwardly giving her position on the bed.
"It's okay Ginny, you didn't know. And I wasn't thinking clearly at the time. I forgot I couldn't apparate anymore."
Ginny pulled back slightly, "Wait, you knew you couldn't apparate?"
"Uh, yeah I just found out last night. McGonagall sent me a letter. She talked to some wizards and they think they found a cure, but the longer we stay like this the more muggle I become, which is why I can't apparate anymore."
"Then how did Draco get you to the party last night?"
"You flew?" Harry asked astonished. "You mean Malfoy actually got you to fly…on a broom?"
"Oh don't look so shocked I've flown before."
"Yeah, but never because you wanted too."
"Well I didn't. Not at first, but I really didn't have a choice in the matter."
"Okay whatever. Speaking of Malfoy, where is he?" Harry asked looking around the room.
"He left." Was all she said.
"Really? Last night he seemed pretty determined to never leave your side."
"He was here last night?" she asked a little surprised. She thought he came here earlier this morning, before he turned into a cat for the day.
"Yeah he arrived shortly after we brought you here."
"How long was that after you came and got me from the party?" she asked Ginny.
Ginny shrugged, "A little less than two hours after we left."
She looked away for a second, thinking things through. "He didn't bring Astoria with him, did he?"
"Why would he bring Ast…he didn't tell you did he?" Harry paused and looked at Ginny. "It was Lucius."
"What do you mean? Lucius Malfoy came here last night?
"No, it was Lucius. He gave Astoria Greengrass a love potion, which she than gave to Draco. The whole idea I guess was so that you would catch them together and then break up with him." Harry explained.
"What?" she sat up in bed almost yanking the IV tubes out of her arms.
"He said Pansy and Blaise found out about it and gave him the antidote, but by then you already left and was brought here."
"You mean it wasn't real?" she asked mainly to herself. Now she felt sick.
"He didn't tell you any of this when you woke up this morning?"
She shook her head. "He had already turned into a cat when I woke up…" she trailed off.
"So where did he go than?" Ginny asked.
"I don't know. I told him to leave and never talk to me again because I thought he was only here about the curse. And then McGonagall came by and gave me the potion that's supposed to break the spell, but I can't take it until midnight and she said we had to be separated when it happened. So she took him with her when she left." She buried her face in her hands. "What have I done? I didn't even tell him goodbye." She started to cry again.
"Hey now, Hermione. It's okay, you'll see him again tomorrow when it's all over." Harry said awkwardly patting her ankle, which only made her cry harder.
She didn't want to explain to them that she would never see him again once the curse was broken. Just then Healer Charles walked in the room.
"Good evening Ms. Granger. I took a look at your charts and it looks like your good to go on home."
Harry and Ginny stayed and helped her get home…the muggle way.
McGonagall apparated him to his loft and after having a word with his house elf, left him there with instructions not to go back to Hermione until after midnight, otherwise the potion wouldn't work. That's all she told him. Even though he knew for a fact that there was more she wasn't telling him.
When she talked to Hermione in the hospital, she didn't use a silencing charm to silence the room when she shut him in the water-closet. He couldn't hear every word, but they were definitely talking about the potion and what Hermione had to do. All this, he already knew, but at the end Hermione said something that caught his attention. "Wait he doesn't know about the decision I made. All he knows is that he'll change back to normal. And I like to keep it that way. It will just be easier for both of us."
What did Hermione not want him to know? What were they keeping from him? Apparently he would be cured, but what about her? Was she not going to get her magic returned? Was she going to get in trouble with the Ministry? If so, then he would fight with everything in him to see that she didn't get blamed for this.
He paced around his living room. He hated this. He felt trapped in his own home. Hermione looked like she was in so much pain when he left. Not just physically but emotionally as well. And he knew it was all his doing. He was the one to blame for her pain. He screwed up so badly. His claws retracted from his paws and the next thing he knew he was scratching up his leather sofa, ripping up pillows, tearing up his curtains, anything he could get his claws through. Before he knew it, he was standing in the middle of his living room with destroyed furniture and stuffing hanging out of his pillows and sofa cushions.
He felt the anger subside, but it still wasn't enough. He huffed a sigh and laid down among the mess. All he could do was wait until he changed back and then he was going to go wherever Hermione was despite what McGonagall said about them being separated.
Harry and Ginny made sure Hermione got home nice and safe. Then they made a comfortable setup on the sofa for her. She wanted to tell them not to worry about it. She felt better once she started moving around. It was being still that would cause the aches and pains to bother her again.
Ginny made them dinner in her tiny kitchen. She already spent the day cooped up in a hospital bed and she was already going stir crazy. She wanted to go down and checked on the shop, anything to get her mind of the potion that was currently in her pocket and Draco. It felt like it had been forever since she last stepped foot into her bookshop. She told them her plans, but they refused to let her go down there. Instead Ginny grabbed her keys and told her that they would check it out for her, all she needed to do was rest. She gave up and did as she was told.
After a while they called and said everything looked fine and that they put a new sign in the front window saying she would be back Wednesday, giving her an extra day to heal. She was too tired to argue, so she just let it slide. It didn't even occur to her that, that was probably the last time she would ever see them again.
She pulled the vial out of her pocket and rolled it between her fingers. One little vial could change so many things. She put it on the coffee table. It was eight o'clock, which meant Draco was already changed back. But he hasn't tried to come over to check on her or contact her…anything. She tried to push that out of her mind. It was for the best, she kept telling herself.
She set some food out for Crookshanks who was still hiding from her, then when to take a bath. She figured it would help ease the aches she still felt throughout her body. She filled the bath with hot water and her favorite bubble bath, than sank into the warmth and closed her eyes.
She was immediately swamped with memories of the night when Draco came home from dinner with his mother and walked in on her taking a bath. And how he pulled her out and carried her to the bedroom and made love to her all night. She opened her eyes shivering at the memory. There was no chance of him walking in on her tonight. She looked over and saw his toiletries, like his toothbrush, razor, shaving crème and cologne sitting on the counter next to hers. Everywhere she looked there were memories of him.
She gave up and pulled the drain in the tub and decided it would be easier to just take a shower instead. Once she was dried off she walked into her bedroom to put on some soft comfortable pajamas. She pulled open one of the drawers and found one of Draco's t-shirts. He was only with her for a week, but yet it was as if he was already living with her and because of that her tiny apartment felt so empty. She pulled it out and couldn't resist holding it up to her nose and taking in his scent that still lingered on the shirt. She knew she was acting like a love struck teenager, but she didn't care at the moment. And since no one was around t to see her, she put it on over her head and wore it. Then paired it with her own pajama bottoms.
She was tired even though she pretty much slept on and off all day, but she didn't want to go to bed. Again there were just too many memories of her and Draco in her bedroom. So she went out to the living room and laid out on the sofa. She set an alarm for 10 till midnight, so she wouldn't miss it even though she really didn't plan on sleeping; she probably couldn't even if she tried. Only a couple more hours to go before her life would change forever.
When three o'clock came around Draco immediately through on some clothes, grabbed his wand and tried to apparate to wherever Hermione was. But nothing happened. He tried again, but still nothing. Surely he didn't lose his magic either?
He quickly pointed his towards the living room which was still a mess and in an instant everything repaired itself. Okay, he thought he still has magic, but he couldn't apparate. Surely by now Hermione would be out of the hospital. He should just stop wasting time and just walk to her apartment instead of trying to get there by magic.
He went to the front door of his flat and tried to open it, it wouldn't open. He checked to make sure it wasn't locked. And tried again, but it still wouldn't budge. What the bloody hell was going on? Why couldn't he leave? Fine, he thought I'll do this the hard way. He went to the coat closet and pulled out his old broom that he used back in Hogwarts and went to the largest window to open it. But just like the door it wouldn't open. He tried unlocking it by hand, and when that didn't work he tried unlocking it with magic, but still nothing worked. He even tried to break the glass with magic but it wouldn't even crack. He took the end of his broom and tried breaking the glass. He tried over and over again until his hands and arms hurt.
He was doing more damage to the broom then to the window. He finally gave up on the window and went over to the fireplace. It was his last option. He grabbed a handful of what little floo powder he had and stepped inside and shouted 'Hermione's Apartment'. Nothing happened; no green flame erupted around him. All that he was from that was floo powder all over his jeans and shoes. He stepped out and raked a hand through his hair. He was trapped in his own home and couldn't leave.
Out of nowhere an envelope came shooting out of the fireplace and landed at his feet. He bent down and picked it up and ripped it open with more force than was necessary. It was from McGonagall.
As you've probably noticed by now you cannot leave your home. It's crucial that you and Ms. Granger are separated until the potion is taken and the spell is complete. I've put a ward around your building to make sure you stay in place. I've also placed a ward around Ms. Grangers building as well. But don't fret, the ward will lift at midnight, then you are free to come and go as you please. I understand it must be frustrating having to deal with this and all you can do is wait. But I assure you it's for the best.
He read the rest then crumpled up the letter and threw it in no particular direction. He threw himself down on the sofa. He was stuck here. Now what was he supposed to do? He couldn't go to Hermione and talk to her. He had to see her, he was going crazy just staying here all day. He could understand being separated at midnight for the spell to work, but did they really have to be separated all day long?
He needed to apologize to her, tell her what really happened last night. Would she forgive him once he told her the truth? Would she tell him she loved him too if he told her he loved her?
Six hours passed and he still couldn't leave, even though McGonagall said he couldn't leave until midnight he still checked every hour just to make sure. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Smitty cleaning in a corner.
Smitty, of course! Why didn't he think of that before? He called Smitty over and told him to go over to Hermione's and check to see how she was doing.
He winked out of sight once he gave him the message he wanted him to deliver to her. He was gone for at least five minutes, which seemed like eternity. Once he came back he told him that he couldn't get her attention. She was there by herself, but she wouldn't acknowledge his presence, which probably meant she really couldn't see him because Smitty was a magical being. He asked Smitty how she was doing, whether or not she was alone, was she awake or sleeping? All Smitty told him was that she looked sad.
He ran a hand over his face and thought for a minute, she couldn't see or hear Smitty, but he needed answers. What were the consequences she would be facing with this potion she had to take? What was the part she didn't tell him? He felt awful for snooping, but he felt like he didn't have a choice. He told Smitty to go back to her place and look for anything he could find that gave any clues as to what this spell was going to do to her if he got turned back into himself.
Again Smitty winked out of sight. He returned 20 minutes later with a letter in his hand. For second he hoped that maybe Hermione saw Smitty and sent a letter to him. But when he looked at it, it was addressed to Hermione from McGonagall. It was the letter she received last night. The more he read the more sick he felt. He couldn't believe it. This was not a potion to break the curse; it was one to destroy someone's life. No wonder she looked like she was crying when he ran into her outside the loo at the Manor. How could she go through with something like this? Why was she choosing to save him and give up hers? She didn't deserve this, she never did anything wrong.
Why was she even saving him, she should have chosen to keep her life. He would make do living as a cat, it would be horrible, but at least she would be happy and that's all he cared about. McGonagall described it as if her entire existence would be erased from the magical world. That's why McGonagall was so melancholy when they left Hermione's side at the hospital. Because she knew that was what Hermione choose and that she would never see her again.
He felt as if his heart was bleeding. He needed to see her, talk to her, and beg her to change her mind. He couldn't stand the thought of never seeing her again or talking to her again. No matter what McGonagall told her in the letter and no matter what happened in the end he knew in his heart he would never forget her and he wouldn't stop looking for her ever until her could be with her again.
He had to get out of here and talk to her, make her change her mind. He tried to leave but nothing would budge. He grabbed his wand and tried throwing every spell he could think of at the door and windows, but still they wouldn't open and he was trapped.
She had been staring at the clock for the past two hours, any second the alarm she set would go off and then she would have to wait an extra 10 minutes. She hated this, but she was ready and just wanted to get this over with. She looked at the vial on the coffee table, taking in the blue liquid.
The beeping of her alarm went off. She reached out to turn it off. It wasn't until then that she noticed how badly she was shaking. She clenched her hand shut and grabbed the vial. She stood up and began pacing, trying to work off the nervous energy. She read the letter a million times to make sure she knew what to do when the time came. But she needed to read it again, one last time just to double check. She set it on one of the end tables by her sofa. She reached out to get it, but it wasn't there. Maybe it fell on the ground, but when she looked it wasn't there either. Where could it have gotten to? She wondered.
She glanced at the clock, five minutes til. She had five minutes left until she had to drink the potion. She gave up looking; she knew what she was supposed to do. She hated this, two minutes til midnight. She was shaking so badly now and she wished somebody was here with her. She wished Draco was here with her. She didn't want to go through with this by herself. She never felt so alone in the world until this moment.
She had no idea what her life was going to be like tomorrow. One minute til. She gripped the back of the sofa to steady herself. All she had to do was drink the vial and repeat the words McGonagall wrote down and then it would be over.
10 seconds left. She looked at a picture of her, Ginny, Harry and Ron; silently telling them goodbye. And sent a silent farewell to McGonagall, Lily, the Weasley's, everyone she knew in the magical world. And last she said goodbye to Draco, she pictured him in her mind and brought the vial to her lips, but before she took a sip she whispered "I love you," to the image of him in her head, then shot the vial back emptying all the contents into her mouth.
Draco watched the clock closely he had one minute until the wards would lift. He had his wand in one hand and his other on the door knob, ready to leave in case he still couldn't apparate. He waited for an agonizing 60 seconds and as soon as the clock struck 12 he apparated. But instead of apparating inside her kitchen like he normally would have, it brought him outside her apartment door.
Without a second thought he started pounding on the door.
"Hermione! Open up!" He was about to bang down the door when he heard her.
She swallowed the potion just when someone started banging on her door. It startled her so much the empty via fell from her hands and shattered on her living room floor. It took her less than a second to realize it was Draco. She ran to the door.
"Draco! What are you doing here?" She yelled through the door as she tried to open it.
"Don't do it Hermione! Don't choose your life over mine."
"It's too late, I already drank the potion." Tears were choking up her words.
She heard him curse, "Open the door."
"I can't its stuck."
"Stand back," he shouted through the door.
She did as he asked and heard lots of commotion on the other side of the door but nothing budged.
"Damn-it the wards must still be in place." He said.
"McGonagall put wards around your building and mine so we couldn't escape and see each other. She said they would life at midnight. That's why I haven't been able to get to you until now. I'm so sorry baby, about last night I never…"
"It's okay, Ginny and Harry told me what happened. I'm sorry I didn't trust you like I should have."
"Why did you do it?" he asked through the door.
She rested her forehead against the door anything to get as close to him as possible.
"Because I couldn't stand the thought of you living the rest of your life as a cat. If it meant giving up my magic then so be it."
"It's not worth giving up your entire life for."
"It wasn't your decision to make; besides it's too late now it's already done."
She heard a thump on the other side of the door like he hit the wall or something.
"If it's already done why hasn't anything happened yet?"
"I don't know maybe it takes sometime before it takes effect…oh no! I never said the spell, I was about to, then you came and I got distracted and never said the words."
"Wait don't say them! Maybe it won't work if you don't say the words."
"I can't do that Draco; if I don't complete the spell then our lives could both be in trouble."
"Whatever happens…" she heard him say through the door. "Just know that I will always love you. And I won't stop loving you. And if the potion does work, then I won't stop searching for you until I find you again."
Tears welled up in her eyes. He loved her. Despite everything she did to him.
"I love you too Draco." She was crying so hard now she hoped he could understand her through the door that was still locked. "I'm so sorry for everything." She could hardly keep her eyes open, for some reason she was becoming extremely tired.
"Shh, don't worry about it love. I'm right here, I'm not going anywhere." His voice sounded faint as if he was far away. She could hardly think straight. Soon the room instantly faded away into darkness.
Draco was leaning against Hermione's door. Her voice was muffled but he heard every word as clear as day. She loved him back. He smiled to himself as he slumped against her door. He didn't realize how exhausted he was, he slid down her door until he was sitting on the floor after trying to open her door one last time. Then everything faded away.
He woke up to something poking him in the arm. He cracked one eye open and came face to face with the end of a cane. He sat up and immediately regretting it. His back and neck were extremely sore and no wonder, he realized that he just spent the night on the floor outside Hermione's apartment. He became alert, Hermione! What happened to her, one minute they were talking through the door the next everything went black.
He glanced at the stairs and saw the daylight shining through the entrance. He got poked with the cane again.
"Oi! We have rules here about loitering." Ms. Moffit said as she was about to poke him again.
He stood up quickly to avoid getting poked again. "Sorry…" he looked at the door. "I got locked out."
She slammed her cane down and squinted her eyes at him, which she probably though was a menacing glare, but to him it just looked like she was having trouble seeing clearly.
"Last I checked you don't live here or pay rent." She put her free hand on her hip.
"My girlfriend lives here."
"Hmmm, well if she locked you out then it probably means she didn't want you around anymore."
"No it wasn't like that. There was something wrong with her lock, it got stuck." She eyed him with her lips pursed in a thin line.
"I don't want no hooligans in my building. If you're not out of this hallway in 20 minutes I'm calling the authorities."
He nodded, even though he had no idea what hooligan meant. "You don't have to worry about that." She started to turn away but he stopped her. "You don't happen to have the time?"
She glared at him. "It's a quarter after 10."
"In the morning? It's 10:15 in the morning?"
"Are you daft? That's what I just said."
He shouted out with joy and went to her and threw his arms around her and started spinning her around in a circle.
"Oi, you bloody oaf put me down. I think I heard something crack."
He sat her down and kissed her leathery cheek. "Thank you Ms. Moffit you just made me the happiest man alive."
She stared at him as if he'd gone mental then pointed her finger at him. "You have 20 minutes then I'm calling the authorities."
He watched her go back into her apartment while she shook her head muttering "Kids these days, their all nutters, every last one of them."
As soon as her door shut he went to Hermione's door and pulled out his want and unlocked the door. The door clicked open, which was music to his ears and stepped inside. All the lights were still on in her living room. As soon as he stepped through the door he saw her lying on the floor. Crookshanks sat by her head watching her carefully.
He shut the door quietly and crouched to her. He caught a piece of her hair that fell into her face and placed it behind her ear. She was sound asleep, but he had to wake her up, make sure the spell didn't work the way it was supposed to.
"Hermione...Hermione love, wake up." He ran a hand lightly over her hair as she started to stir.
She opened her eyes and saw Draco silver eyes staring down at her. For a second she forgot where she was, but then it all came back.
"Draco?" When he smiled down at her she sat up and laughed. "Draco!" she threw her arms around his neck and pulled him tight.
His arms automatically wound around her and pulled her tight against his body. He stood up taking her with him. She wrapped her legs around his waist and pulled back slightly to kiss him which he to her relief returned. When they both pulled away she was left breathless. She laid her forehead against his.
"What happened? It must have not worked."
"Yes it did, look at the clock." He told her.
She turned to look at the time. It was 10:30am now. She looked back at him.
"You're not a cat." She giggled and hugged him tighter. "But how? How did that work?"
"It was because you told me you loved me. It must have broken the curse before the potion took place."
She smiled at him. "Do you think my magic is back?"
"I don't know? Why don't you try it?"
She unwrapped her legs from his waist as he sat her down on the floor. She turned and headed to her bedroom to grab her wand from her nightstand. Draco followed close behind her. She reached in the drawer to pull it out, she immediately felt the warm soothing strength she felt the first time she pick out her wand when she was eleven. It no longer felt like an ordinary stick or wood. She bit her lip, turning around to face Draco.
"Well, go ahead try something."
She took a deep breath, "Lumos," the tip of her wand lit up like a torch. She shrieked with happiness and ran back into his arms. "It worked! The curse is broken." She kissed him soundly.
He picked her up and spun her around then dropped her on the bed and climbed on top of her. "I love you," He said and kissed her lips, nose, and eyes.
"I love you too."
He smiled down at her. "Good, so I was wondering if you still wanted to keep this thing between us still based on sex."
She looked at him and smiled, "No actually I was thinking we should move forward with this relationship and take it to the next level."
He smiled at her and kissed her again, "Good I was hoping you would say that." He kissed her again until she was left breathless and squirming underneath him. "Can I ask you something?" He kissed her one last time.
"Anything." She smiled up at him.
Her eyes grew wide and her voice got caught in her throat. "What?" she asked breathless, making sure she heard him correctly.
He climbed off her and pulled out a ring out of his pocket and got down on one knee. She couldn't breathe, this was really happening.
"Will you marry me?"
She sat up and tears welled up in her eyes. "Are you sure?" she still couldn't believe it why would he want to marry her?
He got up and pulled her to him, "Of course I'm sure. I love you and I want to be with you forever. I want to fall asleep every night with you in my arms and wake up every morning with you next to me. I want to have the chance to make love to you every day…or at least whenever you let me." She snorted at that and swatted his arm playfully. "I want to grow old with you, make babies with you, and spend the rest of my life with you. This week I've learned so much about myself and you and I know for a fact that I can't live another day without you in my life."
She couldn't stop the tears from falling. "Oh Draco." She smiled and kissed him.
He cupped her cheek and brushed away her tears with his thumb. "So what do you say?"
She nodded, "Yes…Yes, yes, yes!" she kissed him between each yes.
He took her hand and slipped the ring on her ring finger. "It's beautiful."
"You're beautiful." He told her.
She looked up at him, "I love you Draco."
"I love you too Hermione."
She smiled up at him and reached up and grabbed the collar of his shirt and yanked him forward onto the bed. "You know Ginny put a sign on the bookshop telling customers I wouldn't be in until tomorrow, so I happen to have the whole day free."
He grinned down at her. "That's funny I made Smitty send a letter to the Ministry requesting the day off as well. What in Merlin's name should we do with all this free time?"
"Oh I'm sure we can think of a few things." She smiled wickedly at him and pulled him close kissing him until he was the one left breathless.
AN: Well that's it. I hope you liked my story and continue to read more of my stories that I post up. If you haven't already check out my other story Playing House with Malfoy, It's a Dramione as well where Draco and Hermione are paired up for a Muggle Studies project together and things take a turn for the worst and they find themselves six years into the future married with a little baby girl. It's still a work in progess but I have 13 chapters up so far. So check it out if you haven't already. And even though this is the last chapter I would still love to get your reviews on what you thought of my story.