So here's the third and final installment of the TWISTED series! It's come a long way from the one-shot it was nearly a year ago! And I have to say, the fact that many of you have followed this story for so long and encouraged me to continue it and to give it the ending it deserves makes me so happy and privileged. As a writer, I feel so proud!
Anyway, this last shot is much shorter than the first two, but I think it's still pretty great. It's probably a different ending to what some of you were thinking, but I wanted to do something that would be short, sweet and satisfying. Needless to say, I hope you guys are thoroughly satisfied with the ending. And even though it's a little sad to say this is the end, it's been a pretty twisted ride, huh?
Thank you guys for the support and encouragement! I couldn't be doing this without you.
Twisted Ever After
June 7, 2003
Hermione takes one last glance around the bedroom to ensure that everything is in its place. Draco is due to be home from work any minute and seeing as how he's been having a rather rough few days at the office, she's taken it upon herself to make him feel better with good ol' fashioned...
Pizza and an iced cold beer. A muggle tradition, of course. But something he's come to enjoy from time to time.
In the middle of their king sized bed is a tray with another lidded tray on top, keeping the pizza warm. Next to it, on the tray, is a bucket of ice with two bottles of beer, while on the floor at the foot of the bed is another, larger bucket, with more ice and more bottles of beer.
The sound of the front door opening and then her husband's voice calling her name pulls her from her thoughts. "I'm upstairs!"
Moments later, he appears in the doorway looking tired and worn out. He doesn't seem to notice the scene before him, slipping his arms around her waist from behind and burying his face into her neck. "Hi," he murmurs, dropping her a kiss.
"You have no idea," he mutters, grazing his nose against her shoulder before pulling away. He blinks at the setting before him, making her giggle. "And this is exactly why I married you," he grins, placing a soft kiss on her temple.
She rolls her eyes teasingly, pushing him playfully towards the bed.
"No seriously," he starts, climbing onto the bed. "This is romantic stuff, Luv."
"Well, I try," she giggles. She crawls onto the bed next to him as he opens both bottles with his bare hands and offers her a slice of pizza.
He leans back against the headboard and she lies back against him, her head on his shoulder as she takes a bite of her slice.
They spend the next ten minutes in silence, eating and drinking while at the same cuddling in bed. When the medium sized pizza has been thoroughly devoured, Draco shifts positions so he's lying across the width of the bed with his head on her lap. She leans back against the headboard, brushing her fingers through his hair softly.
"Run away with me," he tells her suddenly.
She snorts, looking down at him oddly. "What?"
He looks up at her seriously, his grey eyes penetrating hers. "Run away with me," he repeats softly. "Just you and me. Alone. Let's just go somewhere."
She looks thoughtful for a moment before smiling down at him. "Where would we go?"
"Anywhere," he sighs. "Paris. Moscow. New York. Canada."
"What would we do?"
"Absolutely nothing," he grins. "We'll buy a little house or a flat and laze around all day long – unless of course we're making love, which we can also do all day long."
"And what about jobs?"
"We won't have jobs – hence lazing around all day long," he points out.
"And where would we get money?"
"I have loads, remember? We'll be fine."
"Okay, well hypothetically speaking then-"
"When did this become hypothetical?"
"When was it not hypothetical?"
He hesitates. "Always."
She blinks, staring down at him curiously. "You're serious?"
"Well, I was," he mutters. "No, I guess I wasn't."
"Draco we can't just pick up and move. We have lives. We have friends and families. We have jobs-"
"I know," he groans.
She considers him for a moment, biting her lip. "Are you unhappy?"
He stares at her, wide-eyed and shocked as he pushes himself into a sitting position. "Of course not," he replies incredulously. "I've never been unhappy with you, Granger. Unhappy with my job sometimes, yes."
"So you want to move?"
He sighs softly, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "I just...sometimes I just want to go somewhere else, you know? Just you and me, alone, nobody else. No worries, no..." he trails off, looking at her tenderly. He licks his lips, kissing the tip of her nose; she giggles in response. "Perhaps I'm having a midlife crisis," he jokes.
"In your early 20s?" she teases. "I'd hate to be you when you actually reach midlife crisis age."
He chuckles softly, lying back against his pillow as he brings her with him, slipping his arms around her waist. "Hush, you."
She giggles softly before falling silent as she snuggles against his chest. "I'd do it, you know," she whispers after a few minutes.
"Run away with you."
He smiles up at the ceiling. "Yeah?"
She nods against his chest. "I made that decision a long time ago when you asked me to move in with you, remember?"
[Would you trust me if I asked you follow me?]
He smirks, pulling her closer. "That you did."
The second the door closes behind her as she steps out into the hallway with the guard, she wants to run back inside. She wants to run back into his arms and hide there forever. She wants to forget the trial, forget what he's done and forget the whole damn world.
She just wants everything to go back to the way it was.
She glances back through the window, stretching onto the tips of her toes to see inside the room. She watches through the window panes as Draco punches the wall three times with his right fist, seemingly unfazed by any pain shooting through his body, before resting his forehead against it. He brings both fists up, pressing the sides to the wall next to his head. His shoulders begin to shake; he's crying.
Draco Malfoy is crying. She's never seen him cry a day in her life and it breaks her heart a little bit more than before.
She continues to watch, her own tears slipping down her cheeks, as he turns, resting his back against the wall before sliding to the floor one more time. He brings his knees up to his chest, rests his elbows on his knees as he folds his arms in front of him and hangs his head.
He is broken.
And, as though it wasn't already, her mind is made up.
She spins on her heels then, her knees shaking slightly as she runs down the hall toward the lobby. Her legs are threatening to give way beneath her but she pushes herself. What only took minutes to walk down this hallway before seems to be taking hours now. She pushes the double doors separating the hallway from the lobby open, attracting the attention of everybody – her friends, the families. Harry is standing with Ginny in the far corner of the room.
Ignoring the curious glances of those around her, she makes her way through the crowded lobby towards her best friends. She's out of breath by the time she reaches them, tears still shining in her eyes and a fearful, desperate look on her face.
"What's wrong? What happened?" Harry asks her immediately, concerned. "What'd he d-"
"-did he hurt-"
"No, I just – I have to talk to you."
He blinks, confused. "O-Kay," he stutters, taking her elbow in his hand as he pulls her into another, empty courtroom. "What is it? What's-"
"I'm pregnant," she blurts out softly.
He blinks again, opening his mouth to reply only to close it again, unable to find any words to voice his thoughts. "I...I mean, are you sure?"
She nods, playing with her fingers as she walks around him to sit down in one of the audience chairs.
"How far along?"
"About two months..." she whispers. "I found out the day before you and Ron came to get him."
He lets out an impossibly deep breath as he sits next to her. "You told him?"
She nods, staring down at her hands in his lap. "He's happy," she whispers, choking on a fresh batch of tears. "He's on trial and he's happy that I'm... But he's sad. We've wanted this for so long, you know? We've been trying for so long and now it's finally happened and..."
"W-what are you gonna do?" he asks hesitantly. He wants to congratulate her, but he isn't sure how. Not under these circumstances. Not like this.
She shakes her head, taking a deep breath as she looks at him, smiling sadly. "He wants me to keep it," she whispers, her voice breaking. "But I don't...I dunno that I can do it without him," she admits.
"Of course you can," he says encouragingly, taking her hand squeezing it softly. "We're all here for you, we'll get through this-"
"But he's the father, Harry," she replies, pushing herself to her feet. "He's the father of my child, how do I...how do I raise my child without a father?"
"I...I don't know, Hermione."
Silence falls between them. She bites her lip, covering her stomach protectively with her arms. He leans back in his chair, watching her tentatively.
"We have to get him out," she tells him suddenly.
He blinks, taken aback by her. His head jerks back and he looks at her in shock and confusion. "What?"
"I know he's guilty," she whispers, sitting back down next to him, facing him. "I know that he's done these horrible things, I know that what he's done is unforgivable and I know...I know that I shouldn't even be giving him the time of day," she admits softly, shakily. "But he's my husband. He loves me. He loves his unborn child. He...he's different when he's around me. You know that. You know who he is with me, you-"
"That isn't enough, Hermione," Harry tells her, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees.
"We use rehabilitation," she announces as though completely ignoring him. "It's worked before, right? We just have to convince the judge to rehabilitate him, to do whatever spells it is they do-"
"It won't work, Hermione. The judge will never allow it."
"Why not?" she asks, her voice hoarse with tears.
"Because this isn't just any old Death Eater case," he tells her, pushing himself to his feet as he begins to pace. "This isn't just about the war, it's... It's been over five years that he's done this. Five years, Hermione, that he's lied to and tricked everybody."
"But you know him," she protests desperately. "You know him when he's with me, he's the most gentle, loving person in the world-"
"So what are we supposed to do? Lock him away with you somewhere and ensure that he doesn't come into contact with any other muggleborns or muggles?"
She opens her mouth to her respond before deciding against it. She wants to say yes. She wants to say yes, that they'll run away together and nobody will have to know what he's done – except her.
"Could you live with that?" he asks her softly. "Yesterday you could barely look at him because of what he's done and it made you sick to your stomach when he touched you. Today..."
"I'm not saying it makes any sense. I'm just saying he's my husband – he's the father of my baby. If it were Ginny, wouldn't you feel the same way?" she asks him.
He sighs, running a hand through his already messy hair. "Hermione-"
"We have to do something," she pleads, looking at him desperately. "Please Harry."
He sighs softly, looking sideways at her before closing his eyes and rubbing his hand over his face. "We can obliviate him," he tells her finally. She looks at him questioningly so he continues. "We wipe out every memory he has of anything having to do with being a Death Eater. I can use Legilimency and pick and choose – that way he'll have just his memories of you, just as long as he goes along with it-"
"He will," she announces confidently. Draco is probably the best skilled Occlumens of the century, hence the Aurors being unable to penetrate his mind during interrogation. But she knows, without a doubt, that he would let Harry do it now if it meant being with her.
"Just...erase the last month."
"The only thing is...I can't make the rest of the Wizarding World forget," he point out. "So even if Carpenter goes along with this plan - which is a long shot, Hermione...everybody else will still know."
And for the first time in what feels like a lifetime she smiles, truly smiles. "We'll run away together," she tells him simply. "We'll go somewhere where nobody knows us. We'll start over."
"You'll just leave? Just like that? Quit your job and just leave everything behind?"
"If that's what it takes."
A silence falls between them in which they share it comfortably. As if on cue, a bell rings, signaling the jury has come to a verdict.
"I can't make any promises, Hermione."
The verdict doesn't come as a surprise to her, but it still makes her heart sink. It still makes her sick to her stomach. It still makes her want to jump out of her seat and throw herself at her husband – who seems completely unfazed.
Harry's fingers squeezing hers reassuringly reminds her that not all is lost.
He stands up just as Judge Carpenter is about to address the courtroom. "Your Honour," Harry addresses him, earning a number of confused, curious glances. "I'd like to request an audience to talk about Mr. Malfoy's sentence."
The judge considers him for a moment before nodding his head. "Very well. Court is dismissed until further notice."
"And why, Mr. Potter, should I consider this offer of yours? My job is to give justice to the families of Mr. Malfoy's victims."
"With all do respect, your Honour, but your job is also to be fair by taking into consideration all the facts."
"What am I not taking into consideration, then, Mr. Potter?"
On cue, Hermione pushes the door to Judge Carpenter's suite open, gliding inside unannounced. She's been listening outside the room for the last ten minutes while Harry pleaded their new case.
Both look at her, shocked, as she stands before them awkwardly.
"Hermione," Harry whispers scoldingly at her.
"Mrs. Malfoy, to what do I owe the pleasure?" Carpenter asks her suspiciously.
"I...I just want to say that I believe Harry is right," she replies. "Sir."
"Alright. And what am I not considering?"
"Draco was brainwashed," she tells him logically, ignoring the glare Harry sends her as she walks across the room. She stands next to Harry, directly in front of the large desk separating them from the judge.
He looks at her as though telling her to continue.
"He's been brainwashed his entire life. From the minute he was born his parents were teaching him Dark Magic, telling him that muggleborns were beneath him. He...he knew how perform Dark Magic by the time he was nine and could make Dark Potions when he was six years old. His family – his upbringing did nothing but teach him how to be evil, how to kill and torture..." she trails off, taking a moment to gather her thoughts as well as her breath. "He was born, essentially, to become a Death Eater. Voldemort didn't initiate him until he was 16, of course, but it was something that everybody just...knew. His father, his aunt, Voldemort...they made him into this...evil, horrible monster. They convinced him that what he was doing was the right thing – he didn't know any different."
"It doesn't change the facts, Mrs. Malfoy."
"With all due respect, sir, I think it sort of does," she protests, earning yet another glare from Harry – which she ignores. "If he hadn't been brainwashed the way he was, he never would have committed those crimes. Ever."
"And how do you know that?" the judge asks curiously.
"Because he loves me," she replies softly. It seems to catch his attention because he leans forward attentively. "If all you show someone are the bad things that a person has done, then yes, it paints them as a monster and that's all they'll see. It's all anybody sees. But they don't know what he's like when he's with me. Or with my family.
"If he hadn't been brainwashed he never would've done those things. And yet even though he was brainwashed, he managed to fall in love with me: a muggleborn."
"And how do you know, Mrs. Malfoy, that falling in love with you – or making it seem like he had fallen in love with you – wasn't just another one of his lies?" Carpenter asks her.
"Because I know my husband-"
"And yet you never knew, that all this time, your husband was killing innocent people."
Hermione goes to reply only to snap her mouth shut; she's at a loss as to how she's supposed to reply to that. She shifts uncomfortably from foot to foot, biting her lip nervously.
Harry sighs, stepping forward. "Your Honour, those are two completely different things," he protests. Carpenter looks at him questioningly. "As an Auror, I'm very aware of the crimes he's committed and I know that he deserves everything coming to him. But as a man who once considered him a friend...I have to say that I agree with Hermione-Mrs. Malfoy."
"If you take away the things he's done, he's just like any other man in love with a woman. For the last seven years he's doted on her like you wouldn't believe, tried to give her everything she could ever possibly want or need. For the last eight months they've been trying to have a baby, to start a family - he wanted to be a father almost as badly as she wanted to be a mother. And the way he looks at her...anybody, anywhere, would be lucky to have someone look at them that way," Harry admits, sending her a small smile. "All he's ever done is try to make her happy – I was one of his best men at their wedding."
"There are a number of criminals that are just the same, Mr. Potter."
"Perhaps. Except that she's also right about him being brainwashed. He only believed in what he was told by his family and by Voldemort. They fed him lies, they influenced him – they tortured him into believing what he believed. And yet, somehow, a muggleborn figured out how to make him love – and that, to me, shows that he isn't entirely...evil."
Silence falls between all three of them, then, as Carpenter leans back in his chair thoughtfully. Hermione glances sideways at her best friend, mouthing an appreciative "Thank you." He smiles back, reaching for her hand to give it a soft squeeze.
"So you want to Obliviate him of the memories of his crimes, and then what? Let him back into society?" the judge asks skeptically. "He'll be lucky if someone doesn't kill him within the first day."
"Protective custody, of sorts," Harry suggests knowingly.
And for the first time, Judge Carpenter looks as though he truly believes.
April 15, 2004 – Draco Malfoy, missing. • Just two days after his trial, in which he was charged with several hundred muggle and muggleborn murders, Draco Malfoy has disappeared.
April 16, 2004 – Muggleborn murderer on the loose. • Guards at the Azkaban prison, which houses hundreds of known Death Eaters from the first and second wars, have said they haven't seen Draco Malfoy since the trial.
April 17, 2004 – Judge mum on missing Malfoy. • Judge Carpenter, who had listened to the trial against Draco Malfoy, has only one response in the whereabouts of the criminal: "No comment."
April 18, 2004 – Hermione Granger, gone. • The wife of mass murderer Draco Malfoy, Hermione Malfoy nee Granger, is reported to have disappeared. Three days ago it was brought to our attention that Mr. Malfoy had gone missing after his trial on April 13. It is believed, by authorities investigating the whereabouts of both Malfoy's, that the two are together.
April 19, 2004 – Malfoys, armed and dangerous. • Draco and Hermione Malfoy are believed to be on the run. They are armed and dangerous. Should you come across the couple, together or separate, contact your local Aurors.
April 21, 2004 – Murder/suicide mystery. • It is now believed that muggleborn murderer, Draco Malfoy, and his muggleborn wife, Hermione Malfoy nee Granger, are deceased. It was after Mrs. Malfoy visited Mr. Malfoy after the verdict was given that the couple disappeared. There is speculation that a desperate Mr. Malfoy kidnapped his wife before killing her and then himself.
Three years later
July 27, 2007
A private beach on Victoria Island, British Columbia.
A wailing sound wakes her from her sleep. She groans out loud, rolling onto her back as she reaches across the bed to wake her companion. Her hand hits the empty space next to her, her fingers brushing against the warm cotton sheets. She opens her eyes curiously, wiping the sleep away with her fingers. She looks around the room to find it empty - except for the clothing strewn across the hardwood floor from the previous night's events.
Smiling at the memory, she pushes herself into a sitting position as she swings her legs over the edge of the bed. Naked, she basks in the calm silence as she walks across the master bedroom towards the large walk-in closet the couple shares to fetch a bra and a pair of knickers. She then grabs her house coat and pulls it over her shoulders, tying it around her waist; it falls to the middle of her thighs.
She walks back into the bedroom and towards the large floor-to-ceiling windows to pull back the curtains. The sun is still rising, the orange rays spilling into the room and warming her skin. She pauses for a moment, taking in the view she's come accustomed to over the last few years; it still takes her breath away, seeing the ocean view from her bedroom window.
The house is silent as she makes her way down the hall, barefoot, in the dim light coming in from the cracks in the blinds from the widow at the end of the hall. She stops at the first door on the opposite side of the hall from the bedroom she shares with her husband. In an arch, upon the off-white door, are plastic green letters – S C O R P I U S. She turns the knob carefully before pushing the door open, taking care not to make any noises. Poking her head into the child-decorated bedroom, she grins at the sight before her: her two and a half year old son, sleeping soundly. The small figure is laying sprawled across his bed, a small Quidditch pitch crafted by his father, his bright blue and green sheets half on-half off.
She closes the door carefully before continuing down the hall to the next door. Bright pink letters spell the name ROSE. She opens the door quietly, pushing it all the way open as she leans against the doorframe. Next to the dark brown crib, in the soft overhead light, is her blond-haired, grey-eyed husband, coddling their seventh-month old daughter.
He's holding her upright, his right arm supporting her from underneath her bum while he holds her bottle to her lips with his left hand. Her head is resting – facing the middle of his chest – on his right shoulder, her bare chest flush against his own skin. Her short, dark blond hair contracts against his pale skin.
It is a perfect father/daughter moment; one of her favourites. It is moments like this when she loves him, and their little family, even more.
She catches his gaze when he looks up. The amount of love and absolute adoration in his eyes makes her heart swoon as he smiles at her. He turns to the side slightly, so that Rose is facing her, her big brown eyes only half open.
"Who's that?" he murmurs. "Is that mummy? Huh Rosie, is that mummy?" His voice is hoarse and tired, like he hasn't had very much sleep. But then, the look on his face and in his body language proves he doesn't care.
She smiles, walking into the room. "Hi, baby," she whispers softly. "How's the little girl?" She brushes her fingers across the back of Rose's head, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead.
Rose seems unfazed, too tired to respond, as her eyelids flutter closed.
"How's daddy?" she asks softly, brushing her fingers through his hair as he stifles a yawn.
"Exhausted," he mutters, carefully placing the baby back into the crib before pulling back the bottle.
"I could've gotten her."
Her smiles, shaking his head as he pulls her into his side and places a kiss to the top of her head. She hums softly, slipping her arms around his waist as they both take a couple minutes to observe their sleeping daughter. "We did pretty great, didn't we?" he whispers softly.
"We did," she agrees.
The bad memories are gone, replaced by the ones they've vowed to always remember.
And it is because of this that they are living in a completely different country under completely different names.
It is because of this that they are living happily ever after -