A/N: Thank you everyone for going through this journey with me. This was the first time I've actually gotten down and written a piece this long. When I first started this story I was just looking for an outlet. I never thought I would have published something like this and I'm so happy now to have shared it with all of you. So thank you for everything. You have no idea how much it meant to me to see all those reviews, to see all those notifications of a new follower or a person favoriting this story or myself. It made me smile and made me feel happy even during those dark days.
This is the last chapter of this arc and like I've said before I am writing the next one. I'm actually looking for a beta for the next arc. I have no idea how that works but I think it's time for one. So if you are interested review or PM me and I'll let you know my intentions with the next arc and see if you will still be interested.
Once again. Thank you for everything.
My eyes opened lazily to see the blinding white of the sun mixed with the infirmary. Why were hospitals and healing centers always so white? Why not some color for a change? It hurt my eyes but I forced them open.
It was silent in the room. Everyone was still either sleeping of laying in bed as equally silent as I was at the moment. Luna was one of the few that were already up. She was turned to me with her eyes glazed over and open. If I didn't see her chest rise and fall I could have thought she was dead.
The plan was a disaster in some points. It worked hopefully and everything was set up as it should have been. Lucius was free to tell the extended but still incomplete prophecy to Voldemort, and Bellatrix would be punished for failure in her part. At least hopefully that's what would happen.
I looked back at Luna whose eyes were still hazed over. I could see her concentration on her face. Taking in a deep breath I inhaled the excess magic she was creating, so airy and light. She was looking beyond to the Fates. I didn't know how long she had been doing so already. With a push I sat myself up before twisting to plant my feet on the ground. I rolled my shoulders to work out the kinks of having to sleep in the infirmary bed and felt the tension loosen. I walked slowly to Luna, slightly afraid that I would fall from the exhaustion of magic from the night before. I was more or less recovered through the help of Severus but it was still a long way's to go to fully recover my complete reserves and then some.
"Luna?" I whispered to her as I sat down at the edge of her bed. Her head turned to me but her blank expression remained as she kept looking beyond. "Tell me," I said.
"It is done," her voice was empty of the usual calmness to it. Her serenity was gone as she portrayed singularly of seriousness.
"What is done?" I pushed. I knew I shouldn't have. She shouldn't have been looking beyond either. It was much to soon. The fight had just ended and we deserved some bit of normality away from the Fates and the future we decided to help shape. We just couldn't help ourselves. With how much we've invested we needed to know the consequences and what we needed to plan for next. We had to be ready. I only hope the Fates hadn't told her what I had done.
"The war has begun," Luna's eyes came back to life and she looked at me. Her face had returned to its calm and carefree way and I felt relieved at that.
I felt my magic around me, it was noticeably less than what I was used to but the strength was still there. I was still powerful enough. Grabbing Luna's hand I gave it a gentle squeeze. As if knowing what I wanted she looked at me squarely in the eyes. I lost myself in her mind.
The great expanse of her well protected inner thoughts always was beautiful to me. Her protections and various shields were elegant and bright. Without much trouble I pushed and she let her walls crumble so I may step inside. The lengths of ribbon like memories escaped the last wall and I took it by the hand in a gripping hold.
The information she had gathered was a shock in my system. The flurry of images and whispers flowing into my mind made me head ache. The war really would begin now. It was what we knew would happen but we solidified that to a certain extent. With Voldemort finally known to have returned his actions will be less covert. Destruction and mayhem would ensue. The deaths of many would happen by his hand and the hand of others. Blood shall be spilt.
I stepped away from her mind as the last vision came to me. I took a shallow breath as I took in everything she had also seen. She turned away from me lost once again in the beyond. I sat next to her waiting and it was then than Madame Pomfrey finally noticed my displacement from my bed. After refusing fervently from returning she casted her diagnostic spells to ensure my health. Seemingly passing it she turned to Luna who, while still among the Fates, looked as she always had. With both of us passing her little examination we were able to leave at last. We needed to see Severus. I took Luna by the hand and guided her through the empty halls. And thank the Fates for that as we looked haggard in our disheveled clothes.
We slipped into the nearest hidden tunnel to Severus' quarters as quick as I could, making sure the portrait door was warded shut as it closed. The trek to Severus was short enough as we entered the sitting room where Draco laid on a transfigured bed.
"Draco?" I whispered in confusion. He jolted to life and he looked at us with a curious expression spread across his face. His gaze landed on Luna and he bolted up to take hold of her. I could see his arms tightening his embrace as Luna finally stepped away from the beyond to return Draco's hug.
"It is far to early for this," Severus mocked from the hall. I turned to him. He was still indecent with only his pajama pants on with a cloak draped across his shoulders for my coverage. Audience be damned I walked up to him letting his arms wrap around me, holding me close. It felt so safe to be in his arms. His warmth lulled me and his beating heart told me I was alive and well.
We all stood there with our respective partners before our stomachs growled breaking the mood. Draco let out a soft laugh at that and we made our way into the kitchen to get a bite to eat. The elves must have known when we woke as a small feast was prepared on the table, clearly enough for four or more people. We ate in near silence with the occasional passing around of different plates of food as we all took our fill. It was once we were finished that everyone seemed to go through a serious calm. We all needed to talk.
"What's happening next?" Draco questioned.
"The war will begin," Luna said softly to him. Draco frowned at the thought, he knew it was coming but regardless it was a shame. It really was a shame to have so much muggle and wizarding blood spilt. Innocent lives would be lost and that would always be something we thought of.
"How did the Dark Lord take last night?" I directed myself to Severus who had been drinking his morning tea. He set it down before pausing in his movements.
"He is furious as the failure of the mission. He was not able to retrieve to prophecy," he said shortly. I looked at him to expand and his mouth curled up to his amusement. "Lucius has been well received for his, and only his, success at bringing the prophecy to the Dark Lord. He would prefer hearing it from the prophecy itself but the information given by Lucius would be well rewarded." Draco gave a sigh of relief at his father's fortune and I let out one of my own for cementing Lucius as a trusty death eater.
"Right hand man?" I said softly.
"Along with me," he spoke. I looked startled at this. He was tentatively in the inner circle. What had changed? Severus knew what I thought from reading my expression and continued, "Lucius speaks highly of me." The explanation was short and simple. It was the truth. "He also wishes to know if the both of you are safe an unharmed." I ignored his curious gaze.
"What's our next course of action?" Draco asked.
"We wait," I whispered. Luna let go of Draco's hand before extending it to me. I took it gingerly and she snapped her eyes to look at me. Pursing my lips I ignored the others and plunged into her mind once again. The strands of information was already there before me and I took a grasp on it like I always did.
I could see flashes again, so many flashes. Death. The Dark Lord and Draco. Severus. Somehow Elena would join the fray. Dumbledore. Myself. The visions came and went filling myself with countless of new thoughts that needed to be pondered over. We didn't have that much time left together for that.
Pulling away from her I regained my senses.
"Dumbledore will die next year," I spoke as calmly as I could. They already knew he must die but to hear it again after not speaking about it for a certain length of time brought them back on their heels once more.
"At whose hand?"
"I don't know. I suspect either yours of Draco's," I let that thought sink in and they resigned to them to their fates. I could see Severus' hand twitch and knew he wanted to be the one to do it. He needed to punish Dumbledore for all the wrongs he was done. It was only right of course. For Dumbledore created this mess to begin with.
"This summer, how will we be meeting up? It's not like I can just invite you to my house for a spot of tea," Draco tried joking. His voice was a bit rougher but that was only because he might have to kill someone within the year. He would kill when the time was right, but it wasn't something he will ever take pleasure in.
"The rings I had given you should work to send short messages. It is also keyed to portkey to a safe haven location in the middle of a forest under a redesigned fidelius charm," I explained. If things go wrong where they were they needed to be able to flee immediately. Portkeys ensured that. Especially those portkeys. "Turn the stone three times to activate it and say amor fati. To take you to a flat in London you say memento mori," They knew what it meant and gave me a chuckle at my decision.
"Will I be meeting with you separately, Hermione," Luna aired in.
"Yes," I declared after thinking it through. I needed Luna to help me see and she needed the constant release from being burdened by the thoughts in her head.
"If you wish." She extended a hand towards me once more and I plunged into her mind without a second thought. The flashes of red, the image of blood and the sight of Luna's body within a circle of blood runes slammed back into my mind.
"Thank you." I felt myself tear up for a fraction of a second before my attention was drawn away from the smiling witch.
"And of me?" The Slytherin said.
"You will act as a sort of spy when Severus isn't there. Stick with Lucius or your mother whenever the Dark Lord is present but when he is gone, integrate yourself in other's conversations. We need information." I declared, burying my thoughts and emotions within the corners of my mind. He nodded at his job for the summer.
"If I need to see you?" he whispered gently.
"Than go to visit Severus to get away from your family and I will meet you there," I replied back. "There won't be any problems with that would there, Severus?"
"It seems that the wizard supposed to keep an eye on me is dead," he said smugly.
"Who?" Draco probed.
"Wormtail was found delivered to the Malfoy Manor with several birds watching guard over the body. He died before he had even arrived," he explained. Elena really had outdone herself with that. Her and her little birds.
"No one is replacing his place?"
"No. With several death eaters in Azkaban and two others dead, the Dark Lord does not wish to use one of his soldiers to babysit me," He sneered. "To which brings me to my own question. Did you kill the two wizards?" Draco stilled in his seat and even I grew rigid at Severus' words.
"I did." My voice was even and calm despite my tense state.
"And how do you feel?"
"Like nothing ever happened," I spoke softly.
"And at that precise moment?"
"I was enraged."
"Why?" He looked at me curiously. I guess being mad wasn't the emotion he wished for me to have said.
"I needed to protect us so I killed the first one. Luna fell from a hit because of the distraction of the first kill. I lost it. He needed to pay so I killed him," As I said my thoughts I felt a relief enter me. I didn't feel guilty for killing someone. I didn't feel remorse either. I felt proud of what I did. I protected countless of others who would have been hurt by the two wizards. I saved lives. That's all that mattered. "Everything is fine. The plan was a success and we are still alive. Nothing else matters."
"Will you stay by my side after knowing I killed without truly feeling any remorse?" I whispered to them. They looked at each other briefly, as if the need for hesitation was necessary to seem like there was still a part of them that would not descend as far as I. "Will you never leave me?"
They looked at each other in surprise from my bluntness. No matter how many times I have asked them the severity never lessened. There was a flash in all of them. A glimmer of certainty as they looked back at me.