"He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."

~Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

To Die A Slow Death

"This needs to end. This had to end. Tonight. Right. Now." Hermione repeated to herself for the thousandth time that night as he looked at her. His entire body was poised and primed for the game that was about to commence between them. It was one that she would lose, she always did.

"This can't go on. It's killing me. Every. Single. Time." Her mind screamed as he made his first move. His sinful lips began the first round by kissing along her neck, slowly and sensually, making his way down to the sensitive skin of her shoulder before capturing her lips in a bruising kiss that seared her to the core.

With each nip of his teeth as they ghosted over her skin, her stomach clenched in self-hatred while her heart hammered wildly in her chest, threatening to explode. It was wrong, so unbelievably wrong. Her blood though, raced through her veins at blinding speeds, only increasing her craving for this man that she wanted and detested all at the same time.

His hands, no longer content with letting his mouth explore her body, began slowly tracing scalding trails across her hypersensitive skin causing her to whimper and murmur his name with desire.

She could feel his smile of triumph against the taught skin of her abdomen and knew that he loved this part the most. There was nothing more precious and sacred to him than watching her succumb fully to him. He reveled in the power of knowing that her thirst for him won out over her disdain for everything that he was, for everything that they were together. She quickly brought her hands to mask her eyes so that he couldn't see the raw self loathing that was forming in her eyes.

"None of that, my sweet love." He mumbled, his strong hands reaching up and gathering her hands above her head where he held them captive in his iron grip. "Open your eyes," he commanded, his voice bordering on anger while lace with unbridled passion, "when we are together, I want you to know who you are with and exactly what I'm doing to you."

The thought of refusing him never even entered him mind as soon as he said those words. Hermione knew that she was unable to ever deny him because if she did she would only deny herself. Her eyes opened slowly and heaven help her, she loved what she saw. He was all flashing eyes and a cruel mouth, a strong mind and a dangerous body. She didn't know if she wanted him so much because of the fact that he was off limits to her or the fact that he challenged her in ways that no one else ever had. He set off her balance and she hungered for the foreign feelings that he evoked in her. What she did know was that he was the personification of lust and power and he was intoxicating

Gods, she hated him so much. She loved him even more.

With a determined grin, he whispered to the air around them and silken ropes coiled around her hands, binding them together, leaving him completely free to torture her body and heart further. He loved to see her stretched out before him, her soft flesh completely and utterly at his disposal- unable to leave him. He could do anything to her that he wanted and she would fucking love it.

"As much as you hate me, my darling, you know that I despise you just as much." He whispered huskily as he continued to unleash his ardor on her body, bringing her just to the edge of completion before pulling her back, only to begin again with increased intensity. She was raw, she was alive "You hate everything what we do here just as you despise everything about me. But you crave this. You. Crave. Me." He cried out as he worked out his hatred and love on her sweet accommodating body, eventually bringing them to shattering heights of ecstasy.

It was always this way with him. The yearning would build between them daily until neither could stand the longing any longer. It wouldn't matter the obligations they had or all the reasons that they had for not doing this, the need to be linked to slake their desires on each other would cancel out it all out. They were addicted to one another in the most primal and elemental of ways.

She turned away from him, hugging her arms about her middle tightly as soon as he rolled away from her, his breath coming in short, ragged spurts. She was eager to hide her shame at what she had done, while he closed his eyes trying desperately to hold onto every single detail to sustain him until they met again which he knew wouldn't be very long but further away than he would like. He wouldn't allow her to retreat from him though, he would have none of that. It wouldn't be complete cycle until he made her hate herself just as much as he did. Theodore Nott was a cruel bastard but, like her, he loved her with wild and reckless abandon.

His hands reached for her, desperately pulling her back into his embrace and she let him because no matter how much she wanted to flee from him, she would rather be with him, having these stolen moments- as wrong as they were.

Unable to stop herself, heaving sobs racked through her body as his fingers stroked lightly down her side, bringing her guilt to the surface as her conscience decided to make a reappearance.

"This has to stop, Theo. I can't do this anymore." She whimpered, pleading with him to end her misery as his arms tightened about her further.

"You can and you will." He said gruffly, although unsure of why those words came out of his mouth. He was equally hopeful and terrified that this would be it, that this would be the moment that she finally came to her senses and saved them both from this endless pattern.

"I can't. This is tearing me apart and consuming my whole life." She sobbed, feeling the bile in her throat rise as she thought of the nights, days and hours that she had spent with him in this bed. It was her prison, soft and as passionate as it could be, but it was still a prison because he owned her. Her heart, body and soul were all his to do with as he pleased.

"Good," He said through clenched teeth. "I want this to kill you inside, just as it is killing me. I hope you feel just as much abhorrence and longing for this as I do. "

She felt her resolve strengthen and dissolve simultaneously at his words. "This... this thing between us... it's poison."

She said the same thing every time, but he knew that tonight, for the first time since this had all started, that she was closer to ending it than him so he reacted the only way he knew how- he made her crave him. Again and again, he worshiped her body, making sure that she knew who had caused that sweet painful ache within her body and her mind. He ensured with his body and passionate promises that she would never be able to leave him behind.

Hermione waited until he settled himself into an exhausted sleep before finally pulling away from him. Slowly, she began to cover up her shame with her clothes, hoping that with each article of clothing she would feel more like herself or at least who she used to be before he came into her life. She wanted to be the good and truthful woman that her friends thought she was. She wanted to be the straight laced and dutiful daughter that her parents claimed she was. She wanted to the faithful and honest wife that her husband believed her to be. But, no matter how many layers of clothes she wore or how many showers she took, she knew that she would never be any of those things as long as the man beside her laid claim to everything that she was.

She slipped out the door quietly, taking one last look at the room before her. His toned body was sprawled across the bed while his body gently rose and fell with each breath. He looked innocent like that. In his slumber, he wasn't a cruel and manipulative man whose prejudices blinded him to the rest of the world. Like this he was just a man. A man who had just loved his woman thoroughly and was sleeping restfully without a care in the world.

She closed her eyes, searing this image of him into her mind. Tonight was the last time, she vowed. Never again would she spend another moment in his arms. Never again would she succumb to him because all they could bring each other was reminders of a painful past. She had a chance to move on from all of that and she needed to take it, no matter how much she might regret it.

Not looking back, she turned from the room, running down the stairs and out the door as fast as her feet could carry her, afraid that her resolve would falter and she would run back into his embrace, content to live on borrowed time. A single tear slid down her cheek as she apparated home, a quick lie already forming on her lips.

She barely heard a word that her husband said as she sat across from him eating dinner. She was sure that he was telling her about his day at work, but it could have been about his work-out at the gym for all she knew. Her mind, as per usual, was somewhere else. Somewhere that should be forbidden to her.

Her husband was a good man, too good for her truth be told. Tommy was solid. He always had a shoulder to lean on, a kind word to make the day better and was devoted to her and his work. Her family loved him, her friends fawned over him and a nation looked at him like he was the future.

He was a muggle politician, happily serving his people, government and queen. He was likeable, trustworthy and didn't care one way or another that his darling wife was a witch, in fact, he loved her all the more for it. She was amazing and mystifying in his eyes. To him, she was perfection and the saints forgive her, she let him think that she was.

She met him at a charity function that Kingsley had sponsored to give earlier education to muggleborn children and their families to prepare them for entry into the wizarding world. The Honorable Thomas Campbell had been there, representing the Prime Minister as technically muggleborn children were considered to be the responsibility of Her Majesty's government until they entered Hogwarts. He had seen her right off the bat out of the corner of his eye and quickly brought over a glass of champagne, introducing himself with a brilliant smile. He made her laugh within a few minutes of meeting him, his easy going presence enveloping her like a balm, making her feel as if she hadn't gone through horror and torture during a war that she was too young to fight in. They had danced the night away, chatting and laughing like old friends and as the evening drew to an end, they had made plans to see each other again.

Two years into their relationship he proposed with his family ring and she quickly accepted, positive that she was ready to make the next step in life. Hermione loved the man that was to be her husband and was happy but there was always just something missing, something she just couldn't put her finger on. She didn't know just what it was until Theodore Nott waltzed into her life less than a year after her wedding with his fierce hazel green eyes, dark brown hair and air of authority that she found impossible to resist.

"Hermione?" Tommy called, attempting to grab her attention so that she could answer or comment on whatever he had just said.

"I'm sorry. I was wool gathering, work has really been on my mind lately." She laughed, hoping that he wouldn't be offended by her lack of attention. She knew that he deserved it as her husband and the man who loved her. "Forgive me."

His clear blue eyes expressed the hurt that she was sure she caused and she regretted, again, how she was treating this man who loved and respected her so much. She reached across the expanse of their table and rested her hand on his, tilting her head to the side to really look at him while giving him a small smile of apology.

He seemed to relax slightly and went about rubbing his thumb over the soft skin of her hand, making it clear that he understood and had forgiven her. She hated herself for it. She didn't deserve him or his forgiveness one bit.

"That was actually what I wanted to speak with you about." He started, his voice holding a note of concern. Getting up from the table and making his way around to her, he gently pulled her up, taking her seat for himself before settling her on his lap. His hand began rubbing a comfortable and relaxing stroke along her thigh, it was relaxing and she found herself leaning into his chest, his clean scent calming her. "I've been thinking that maybe it's time for you to take a bit of a break. I know that you've been overworking the past few months and have been under quite a bit of stress."

She processed the information slowly and carefully. She loved her job as head of Wizard-Muggle Relations. She had worked for years to prove that she could handle the responsibility that came with successfully handling such a large and involved department. It was a challenging position, one that required her to work with not only wizarding government, but also Her Majesty's government as well. It was how they had met for heavens sake. It was a demanding job that she relished as she was also called in on several occasions to consult on wizarding businesses who were looking to branch out into the Muggle world and vice-a-avers. Her job was fulfilling and she could see no reason to leave it.

"A break?" Hermione asked with an air of incredulity, she was truly shocked that he would ask something like that of her, even if he thought it was in her best interest. He knew her. "You have got to be kidding me."

Frustrated, she stood up, pushing away from him and began pacing around the room while Tommy looked on, smiling softly at her. He loved to see her in this state, she was passionate about her job and it thrilled him to see that she cared so much. She was magnificent to him, even in her rage.

"I love my job, Tommy, you know that." She exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air as her magic energized the room. "Just look at what I have done to improve relations between our governments and people. Under my time as Head, revenues and profits have increased, not only for our businesses but for yours as well. We are working together to create new, exciting common ground and other dealings that will benefit both our worlds."

Hermione could feel her heart racing as annoyance pounded through her veins. She couldn't leave her job, she couldn't. If she did... no, she couldn't leave her job, it was out of the question. She would never see... no, she couldn't quit, not just yet.

"Hermione, love. Please calm down." Her husband said quietly from his position of watching her stride from one side of the room to the other.

"Calm down?" She asked him, her tone cold and firm while her whiskey colored eyes narrowed at him. "How can you expect me to calm down? You just asked me to stop doing something that I love, something that I believe in with my whole heart. What in the world do you think I would leave that for? What could have possibly possessed you to even think to ask me that?"

He stood up and walked over to her, she didn't want his affection or soothing tones. She was angry and rightfully so. When he was close enough to touch her, she turned her back to him hoping it would deter him. Her body was rigid and unforgiving as he placed his arms around her. The feel of his chest against her back helped calm her breathing enough that he felt encouraged and pressed a small, lingering kiss to the sensitive skin that made up the side of her neck.

"Would ten tiny fingers and toes be enough to tempt you from your job? Or maybe slow down and delegate more responsibility to your staff?" He murmured sweetly into her ear, catching her attention and causing her to turn around to stare at him in disbelief.

They had never really discussed children. She had never been sure if she wanted them or not. She obviously enjoyed being godmother to Harry and Ron's children, but had never given any thought to having any of her own. She was sure that her husband was on the same page. They had both been committed to their careers and she couldn't imagine what had gotten Tommy on this new path.

"A baby?" She asked, her brow furrowed. Feeling her face growing warm, she turned from his embrace and sank down, rather unceremoniously, into the nearest chair. "As in getting pregnant, bringing a child into this world and raising it?"

He chuckled at her confusion and knelt down in front of her. "That is pretty much the way of having a baby, Hermione."

"Well, yes, but..." She trailed off, still a bit off center on the news. "What brought this on, Tommy?"

He clasped her hands in his own much larger ones. "From the moment I met you, I've known that I wanted to spend my life with you. I want the whole package and I don't want to wait for our life to be perfect to start actually living it because to me, our life is perfect."

Bringing her hands to his lips, he pressed feather light kisses onto the skin there as he looked at her, his eyes clear and truthful as he grinned at her. "Please, darling, let's make something that is ours. I want a daughter that looks just like her beautiful mother. I want a son with all the braveness and spirit that you have. I want a family."

She pulled her eyes from his, letting his words sink in as she focused on nothing in particular, her heart and mind completely at war. She wanted nothing more than to tell him yes, in fact, her brain was screaming at her to not leave him hanging, to jump into his arms and knock him over with her excitement. But her heart... it weighed a ton as she realized what she would give up by saying yes.

Searching his face and seeing the hope that was there, she smiled at him and slowly nodded her head.

That night as she lay in her husbands safe and familiar arms, she cried. Hot, scalding tears of loss rolling down her cheeks until she finally fell asleep.

"You have been avoiding me." A throaty voice sounded in her ear as she perused the dusty shelves of a hidden rare book shop in Mayfair. She knew who it was immediately, there was only one man on the planet that could raise such an awareness of herself in so little time.

"I wouldn't say that I've been avoiding you." Hermione said tartly, refusing to acknowledge his presence by turning to look at him. "I've merely been keeping up on my promise to not see you any longer."

"Is that so?" Theo queried, his eyebrow raising slightly as she did her best to ignore him.

"Yes." She replied simply, placing the dusty tome that she had been looking at back into it's placed and quickly moving away from him, knowing that if she stayed for too long, the vicious cycle would begin again and this time she wasn't sure if she would have the ability to stop it.

Not liking her quick dismissal of him, he grabbed her arm as she was walking away and pulled her further into the stacks, moving her backwards until her back hit the shelving. Her shoulder blades felt the blunt sting of the hardwood and she gave a small gasp which only seemed to fuel him further . He maneuvered his body until they were touching from toe to chest, his arms resting close to her body on the shelves, creating a prison around her with his body. She was sure that if someone were to walk by, they wouldn't be able to see where he ended and she began.

They didn't speak for several long minutes, they simply stood like that, hearts beating out frantic rhythms while breathing became shallow and harsh. She wished that she had the ability to stop taking in air because every slight movement he made caused his unique scent to invade her senses and send her mind reeling with wishful yearning. Her knees buckled as he leaned his head in closer to her face, running his nose from her temple down to her neck, inhaling the essence that was wholly her.

"Please stop." She pleaded, begging for a lifeline that would stop this insanity. "Please."

"No." Theo said roughly. It had been over three months since he had seen her and in those months, his hatred and love for her had only grown. He longed to see her but dreaded it as well. He wanted to be done with her, to never hear her name or see her face but as the weeks dragged on he prayed everyday that her name would come up in conversation in a meeting or that he would get even just a glimpse of her on the streets. But, it never happened. He had neither seen or heard hide nor hair of her until he chanced to see her entering this shop from his position in the pub across the street where he was taking lunch with a few colleagues.

"I can't be with you like this, not anymore." Her voice was trembling fiercely as his body heat began to seep in through the layers of clothes separating them. "I won't live a life that only promises a slow death. That's not how I want to live."

She watched his face harden and eyes flash in the dim lighting and she knew that things had just taken a turn for the worse. She had known him for long enough to know that she had just presented him with the greatest challenge ever- and this was one that he would not, could not back down from. Before she could react, he grasped her to him tightly, vanishing them to the wind with an angry pop.

She knew without having to even open her eyes where they were. Everything was exactly the same as it was the last time she was here. The room was just as immaculate and imposing as it had ever been with its great carved mahogany bed and deep silk gray wallpaper. It was a dark, foreboding room, but one that she had been craving like water for a dying man everyday since they had been apart.

In just the moment that she had opened her eyes, he had her pressed against the wall, her hands clutching at him for support, knowing the moment had come.

His teeth were cruel as he bit, nibbled and sucked at her lips. His tongue clashed with hers, battling for dominance and power while his hands reached into her hair scratching and pulling on chocolate strands. She accepted his passion and met him at every turn. She needed this. She needed him and the fight between them.

Stepping back from her for only a second he took in her bruised, swollen mouth and flushed cheeks. Her chest was rising and falling heavily and he realized that he had to possess her now. His hands were bordering on violence as he ripped the delicate silk blouse straight down the middle, exposing her lace clad breasts.

"Theo," She whispered, barely enough for him to hear it, but he did. Like a snake about to strike he was back at her, completely undone, forcing her skirt down her hips to lay in a puddle at her feet.

His hands were unrelenting moving callously over her curves as his mouth branded her heated skin until he reached her knickers. Having no patience for anything barring her from his sight and touch he tore the offending garments from her body, knowing that she would have the bruises to show for it later. He was glad for it. He wanted his marks all over her exquisite body for all the world to see.

"Hate you. Fucking hate you. Love you. So filthy... so beautiful..." He growled in broken tones as his mouth closed around the tight bud that crowned her rosy breast, making her cry out with sheer ecstasy. Her hands found their way into his rich hair and pulled, hoping to hurt him as much as he was hurting her but ultimately only propelling their desire further and with that, she was lost.

She allowed everything he wanted and relished in the power she had over him. She was helpless to stop herself, however, from begging for him as his powerful body overtook hers, creating feelings so overwhelming that she was sure she was dying. No single woman could withstand such an onslaught of pure carnal pleasure and emotion. It was just too much and she felt herself falling apart as he raged on.

With each thrust he made into her willing body, she met with fevered abandon. With each harsh whisper of love, she fell further into the maddening spiral that the two of them had together created. And it went on and on until she no longer cared nor knew who she was. She was simply his and that was all that mattered.

When the storm died down and he slipped away from her, she slumped against the wall, her knees hitting the wood floor as she tried to stop the guilt that was threatening to stop the breath that she was, in vain, trying to catch. Not able to handle it any longer, she screamed, pushed over the threshold of what she could handle.

Every moment of her life flashed before her and she broke, her lips moving quickly as she hysterically repeated, "I can't do this, I can't do this."

Theo looked at the woman breaking before him and laughed bitterly. It wasn't fair that she could fall to pieces when he couldn't and deserved to because she was truly his own personal hell. She made him question himself and his beliefs every single time that he was with her or even thought of her. Being with her made him want to be a better man because she herself was just so intrinsically good and he hated her for it. He liked who he was. The faults that she saw in him were strengths in his eyes and he reveled in them, but each encounter with her he felt himself changing just a little bit more. Because deep down inside of him, in places that he didn't even knew existed, there was a part of him that wanted to be good enough for her so that maybe she would stay.

Not moving from her spot, Hermione watched a torrent of emotions cross her lover's face as he ran his fingers through his hair, looking for all the world like a man lost at sea. He loved her, she knew that and didn't question it, but she also knew that they could never be more than this and for her, this was just no longer enough. As her heart shattered into pieces her resolve remained. She wiped the tears off of her skin and began to repair her destroyed clothing as he watched on, his eyes following every move that she made.

She thought he would try to stop her as she left, but he didn't, he just let her go. Maybe, like her, he knew that this madness had come to an end. She needed to live her life, just as he needed to live his. If they continued, it would destroy them both.

Hermione closed her eyes and disappeared so quickly, not hearing his quietly spoken, honest declaration of love as she finally left him.

Many would say that she lived the perfect life. Hermione Campbell nee Granger had it all, a loving and doting husband, two brilliant and beautiful children who were everything that she could have ever wanted and two worlds at her feet. She was adored by witches and wizards everywhere for her drive to make their world a better place and later by the people of England as her husband became Prime Minister.

She worked tirelessly to promote the needs of all people, muggle and magical through her charities and influence. She was always on the path of the good and steady, never giving anyone a reason to dislike or speak against her. Hermione Campbell nee Granger was the epitome of good, a pure and selfless woman who was the rock at the center of her family and friends.

No one ever questioned her or believed that she could be anything less than she was, but she knew and never forgot. In her heart, she held her secrets and never told a soul that she missed him with every fiber of her being. Every single day, her mind would drift to him. Even after all the time that she had been apart from him, she could still feel her heart race if she happened to catch a glimpse of rich dark hair or the timbre of a deep voice. She would lay awake almost every night, hours upon hours after her household had gone to bed and think about him. His image was the last thing she saw each time she closed her eyes.

She still dreamed about him, wonderful dreams in which everything that she had secretly wanted had come true. She had envisioned her life with him, each day would have been full of passion and love, children and a real life- one without the never ending hate and distrust that was always between them. With her dreams held close to her, she had the strength to never let on that she was anything less than happy.

When her husband passed at the age of ninety-four after giving her a lifetime of friendship and love, she retreated from public life, content to sit in her home and think of the days gone bye. Her children and grandchildren would visit regularly because they loved her and were concerned that their fathers death would lead to hers. But the majority of times she wasn't really there with them even though she loved and wanted nothing more than happiness for them. Her heart and mind were now living in the past, although her memory of him was beginning to fade as she aged and the years progressed.

Hermione knew that he had eventually married and had three children, all boys who she knew be the spitting image of him. She was sure that with time he had forgotten about her or locked the memory of them together away in box, sealed shut with the key thrown away, never to be thought of again.

She hoped that he had forgotten, she truly did. She didn't wish for him to bleed for her forever simply because they had made the mistake of meeting at the wrong time and loving each other when they had no right to. The hate that she had felt towards him for so long had eventually vanished and became clearer as she realized it had been directed the wrong way. The only person she had really hated had been herself. She should have recognized her feelings for him from the start and should have made the decision to try for happiness or leave it alone.

On the morning of her hundred and twelfth she was reading the Prophet while slowly sipping on her favorite lavender tea. There, in black print, was his name. She slowly sat the delicate china in her hands down on the table as her heart constricted. She read the article through three times and when it had finally sunk in she raised herself from the table and retreated into her room, weeping for the past.

There wasn't many people gathered on that beautiful Saturday morning as they finally laid Theodore Nott to rest. He had never been a popular man. He was a man with a will of steel who ran his family and company with an iron fist. However, the small group of people seemed to genuinely mourn the man who was now gone from their lives.

She stood a ways off, dressed completely in black, under the shade of weeping wisteria tree. She dared not come any closer to the assembled group for fear that someone would question why she was there and at her age, she didn't want any gossip to taint the lives of her children and grandchildren. No, she was content where she was.

The service was short and when he was finally lowered into the ground and the people gone, she made her way over to his fresh grave and knelt beside it, her hands resting on the loose soil that now covered him.

She grieved for him, weeping quietly at his side until her emotions were spent and she was ready to leave. She stood up slowly, her bones creaking and her soul heavy with the heartache of years before.

"Are you Hermione Granger?" A voice so reminiscent of the past spoke to her.

She turned around and lifted the black veil that covered her face. For a moment she was taken back and young again. Before her he stood in all his glory. His body lithe and toned, all too intimidating in a jet black suit and crisp white shirt. He was so unnaturally beautiful that her eyes stung just looking at him.

"Theo?" She questioned, searching for the man that she had known so long ago in that face.

"No, ma'am, Theodore was my father. I'm Henry, Henry Nott." He said, extending his hand out to her in greeting.

Gingerly, she shook it. "Hermione Campbell. Well, Granger." She smiled.

"My father left this for you." Henry replied, holding out a sealed piece of parchment. "I don't know when he wrote it or what it's about, but it appeared this morning as I was leaving to come here."

She looked at the heavy parchment in her hand as tears welled again in her eyes.

"Thank you," she whispered, holding the note tightly to her chest, clutching it as if it was the rarest possession on Earth. And it was, to her, it really was.

The man nodded and began to walk away. She stopped him, desperately yearning for just a few more minutes with a part of him. "Henry..."

He turned on his heel and smiled softly at her. "You know, one night many, many years ago, my father told me a story about a woman. He told me that she had been the oxygen that he breathed and the blood that flowed through his veins. He said that she was the shining jewel in his life and that he loved her with every beat of his heart."

Her chest was pounding as he wove his tale. The man before her reminding her so much of the man and the life that she could have had if circumstances had been different.

"He said that she was so good and pure and that she had made him a better man just being in his life."

"What happened to her?" She asked, her voice trembling. She already knew the outcome of the story, but just for once, she allowed herself to acknowledge in a veiled way that she did know Theodore Nott and knew him well. She knew that the man in front of her would never tell.

"She left him." Henry said, his words sad. "He told me that it was the hardest thing he ever did, letting her go. He didn't try and stop her, even though he wanted to He said that he knew that no matter how much he loved her, he would destroy her because of who he was and who he had been. He wanted more for her than he could give her. He told me that she deserved that much after all that she had been through. She deserved to live a happy life- one free of the past and the grudges between them."

"He must have been a remarkable man." She replied, reaching a hand out and touching his sleeve for only a moment. "You remind me very much of him, Henry Nott."

He stayed only a moment later, kissing her gently on the cheek before leaving her alone at last.

When she arrived home many hours later she pulled out her pensieve and several small vials that swirled with silver spun memories. Placing her face at the edge, she allowed herself one last look at his face. She was youthful again, her face free of the lines that now graced her face and her heart free of a life lived without him.

She looked on fondly as the fights, passion, hatred and love flashed before her. She wanted to remember one last time. After this, she would take their secrets with her and hopefully one day she would see him again.

As she emerged from her vanilla painted memories, she sank into her favorite chair in front of the fire, his note in her hand ready to be opened. With a bleeding heart she read his last words to her, allowing them to wash over her heart and soul.

"I have loved you and you alone. Always. ~Theo"