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The October Hollow by Darkwing73181
Chapter 20 : Love Conquered All
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6


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 Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and any of the awesome characters relating to the name or world.

 

But I do own Troy Malfoy and that Polish girl Cassidy Valeska.

 

Also, I don't know what the hell is going on with the formatting of this chapter and the recent few. I don't understand. sorrys!
 

All right, let us continue with our story here peoples!  

 

 

The October Hollow

By Darkwing731

-

((--Chapter Twenty--))

Love Conquered All

 

 

October 31

Day 14

Halloween

 

The ebb and flow of Hermione Granger's breathing would imply to an observer that she was meditating, or perhaps might be sleeping in the awkward crouching position she had placed herself in. Regardless, it could be understood that she was calm, and certainly nothing about her could be in an uproar.

 

But of course, there was; Hermione was only crouched in such an uncomfortable squat because she was trying to distract herself. Her steady, concentrated breathing was to help her clear her mind. Yet nothing was working; every moment she closed her eyes, the same fiery, carnal images flashed before her, squeezing her heart.

 

Three days had gone by without the contact of another human being. Draco Malfoy had all but vanished, as Hermione had not seen him in several days to begin with. She would have though the same as Troy, but she knew he was around because food and water mysterious appeared each morning. For these things she was grateful, but they too were unable to distract her. The indelible images of Draco Malfoy, the irrevocable touches that sent shivers up her spine, were remembered with each flickering eyelid.

 

There was no escaping the memories, and there was no escaping Malfoy. Hermione knew in the depths of her frustrated mind that her defiance was futile; one must accept the notion of being fond of (perhaps in love with) another person or the heart would tear itself to bits and pieces. But love was something Hermione would not admit to herself when considering Draco Malfoy. His name in the same sentence as something to pure and holy was sacrilegious and evil, but it was undeniable. No matter how much she tried to deny it, she missed him, craved him, and wanted him back to fill the void he had suddenly created. She missed his adroit hands, his fierce tongue dominating her mouth; she missed his sharp silver eyes and the attractive smile that matched it. She missed the terrible, furious flood that rose up inside of her when she initially saw him, a flood provoked by hate and disgust, by passion and heat.

 

The nights without him were an eternity, though. She could not close her eyes without seeing his face, and her dreams were haunted by their previous escapades. Memories that were replayed far too easily, memories that she knew far too well; his colds hands had left a trail of fire across her torso, her shirt hanging open, revealing her breasts and stomach. All the buttons had flown off as he tore off her shirt. And as these images began to weld together, succumbing to the heat produced by their bodies, Hermione had to suppress a groan. What had she gotten herself into?

 

Each day progressed like this, and each minute blended into one another until there was no concept of time. There were only shadows, sunlight, and darkness, and a constant hum of her blood pulsing through her veins. Hermione kept herself from boredom by concentrating on all those things she knew aside from Draco Malfoy; she focused on spells she remembered and had perfected, she focused on Harry and Ron and Ginny, and she focused on the congenital trait that had brought her here.

 

Over and over again, Hermione reiterated to herself those traits of being a Lumerous witch, all of which were very few. Draco was always careful to never fully explain himself, only giving her clues and vague answers. This always frustrated her; whatever questions she asked were never quite met and he had always managed to distract her away from that pressing down on her mind.

 

Furious with herself as she relived the countless opportunities she had to squeeze questions from him, Hermione flung herself over to the window, pressing her forehead up against the steely, rusty bars. Staring out over the trees, she could see the splash of color against the horizon as the sun began to set. Voice from the valley below echoed up, loud and boisterous, and Hermione ignored the trapped feeling that was beginning to creep over her.

 

Just as she was about to turn away from the voices below, a terrified scream reverberated through her room, shattering the silence of her room.

  

"Hello?" Hermione called out, fear hidden in her voice, hoping she was loud enough to capture the victim's attention. Another scream was her reply, along with jeering laughter and an angry shout. The screaming continued. Horrified, Hermione backed away from the window, her gaping mouth covered by a shaking hand.

 

As terrified thoughts began to race wildly through her mind, the door behind her began to click. Jumping around, Hermione was met with the sight of Troy, who looked pale and grim.

 

 "Who was screaming?" she asked at once. Troy merely looked at her. "What's going on?" Hermione demanded, her voice several pitches higher, marked with fear. "Troy, answer me!"

"Do you know what the date it tonight, Hermione?" he asked her quietly, his silver eyes pinned to her. Troy Malfoy's body was rigid and unmoving, almost as if he were made of stone.

 

"N-No, I don't, and I—" but she remembered suddenly as Troy slowly drew his wand from his pocket. "It's Halloween, isn’t it?" she uttered in a broken whisper.  He gave her a sharp nod before taking a step forward, advancing on her.

 

"You have to come with me," he said in a low, cold voice, his wand raised higher.

 

"NO!" screamed Hermione, backing away from him.

 

"You don't have a choice, Granger," Troy growled, closer than ever.

 

"Please no, please don't—"

 

"Petrificus Totalus!" Troy bellowed, missing Hermione by inches as she dived to the floor. He was quick to stand over her as she rolled upright.

 

"Don't do this, Troy!" she cried, tears welling up in her eyes, cowering beneath him. He said nothing, his silver eyes cold and impenetrable. In a single movement, his wand was jabbing into her throat, and his fingers were latched onto her elbow like a steel clamp, dragging her upwards.

 

This was not at all how Troy acted; he seemed to be acting under the Imperius Curse, for Hermione had never imagined he could be so dark and foreboding. As he dragged her out of the room and down the black, endless hollowed hallway, her quiet sobs could be heard reverberating through the silence, accompanied by the occasional whimper.

 

Ignoring the painful grip on her bones, Hermione whispered, "Where are you taking me? Why are you doing this?"

 

"I'm following orders," he clipped shortly, his voice gruff.

 

"This isn't you," she protested, her voice cracking beneath the weight of her own fear.

 

"Just shut up," he hissed, squeezing her arm tighter. "Neither one of us can back out of this now, so just shut— up."

 

Up ahead, the end of the tunnel could be seen, and the flickering orange light revealed the monstrous fire they would soon be meeting. Hermione, her heart now racing with fear, began to squirm and revolt against her captor, her pleas growing increasingly louder and more desperate. Only once was she very still, but it was in terror and not regard for the rules. While she was being dragged forth, there was a very sudden, blood curdling scream that erupted, causing Hermione to flinch. But a moment later, when the shock was still jolting through her, Troy dragged her onwards.

 

Darkness was behind them now, gradually fading as they grew closer and closer to the fire. As Troy dragged Hermione out of the mountain, she could clearly see a wide circle of Death Eaters standing obediently despite the flood of tears leaking out of her eyes. Terrified, confused, Hermione stared around with huge eyes as Troy yanked her forward. She could not focus on anything in particular except the fact that her breathing was becoming jagged and fleeting, and her hammering heart was louder than anything she had ever heard in her life. Even as Troy pushed her to the ground, shackling her hands to the earth beneath her, she could not hold onto the reality happening in front of her.

 

It isn't real this isn’t real stop it stop it stop it go away it isn't real it isn’t—

 

And then, all at once, everything she ever knew was erased from her, like a slate suddenly wiped clean. All the fear, all the worry and grief and confusion was pulled from her, stolen, and thrown away as she was overcome by something powerful, something glorious, something pure and innocuous and wonderful.

 

Unable to speak, unable to think, Hermione's body began to convulse and twitch, and her skin ceased to exist, her body dissolving away, becoming nothing and becoming everything. Head jerked upward, her eyes were large and bulging at the sight of the full moon, opaque and luminescent, strong and beautiful and omnipresent in the night sky. The moonlight seemed to scorch her, but it was seeping through her veins, touching each and every crevice within her, healing her and soothing her, lulling her body to sleep with its gentle light.

 

Closing her eyes, giving into the only peaceful moment she had seen in two weeks, Hermione basked in the light, tears sliding down her face not from pain or misery, but from a disbelieving relief. There was no more pain, no more hunger, nothing. A weak smile was hinged on her face as well, a rarity as well during her sojourn. The moon above her was the All Mother, taking away her pain, cradling her, protecting her, warming the depths of her which had been frozen and forgotten. There was nothing more Hermione needed.

 

She was invincible now, unbreakable and unbeatable and unfathomably strong. With the moonlight etched in her very bones, there was nothing that could stop her, and nothing that would stand in her way. This heavenly orb was her shield, her armor, her protection, and she was untouchable. The scars on her hands gleamed the brightest, as if all the moon's power gathered there, ready to surge forward. The ring around her shoulders, a once thin and shallow wound, pulsed with energy, faintly so, but enough for her to recognize the power there. She breathed in deeply, feeling the energy course through her, feeling the moonlight boost eradicating all those weaknesses within her, and fortifying all those strengths she reveled in. She felt infallible.

 

"With each second, you grow stronger," said a quiet, sibilant voice, startling Hermione from the reverie she was caught in. She did not have to look, but could sense that Lord Voldemort was standing before her. "This is the moment we've all been waiting for, Mudblood. Your moment of truth."

 

"I won't do your bidding," Hermione hissed, a maniacal grin breaking out onto her face. She was hunched over on all fours, her fingers kneading the dirt, her body absorbing the celestial power that was surging through her, eyes still squeezed shut. Heat was gathering fast at her hands, her skin prickling, her blood boiling; her power was augmenting.

 

"Well, of course not," Voldemort replied, a cold chuckle in tow, his voice a spine tingling hiss. "Assuming that you would give in easily would be very foolish of me." Glaring at her with cat slit eyes, he now turned his attention to the loyal dark army that surrounded them. "Tonight's events have been carefully sought after and planned for a number of years. You all are aware of my desire to kill Harry Potter, but it is not a goal easily accomplished. This is why I have prepared for this ceremony for so long. With the useful aid of this Mudblood, one who possesses powers I know not, defeating Potter will be a much easier task."

 

Finally opening her eyes, a jolt of terror ran through her as she stared at Lord Voldemort; tall and skeletally thin, he was paler than a ghost, and yet more menacing than she had ever seen. Even in the darkness his cat slit eyes glowed ominously, a red more powerful than the blood running through her. The flickering firelight only heightened the sense of unease within her, for his thin face was thrown into sharp relief, and he looked deadlier than ever. In addition to this, he was standing at a stone pillar that rose a few feet above her, and she felt tiny and small and helpless below him. Eyes narrowed dangerously, with a spiteful, twisted smile on his face, Lord Voldemort turned back to Hermione.

 

"In a few moments, Mudblood, everything will be in place. The planets will be aligned, and the portal to the Underworld will be opened. You will go in and retrieve my immortality," he hissed, the cold smile bearing sharp, threatening teeth.

 

"I won't," Hermione spat, but her trembling body gave her away. She was terrified now, despite the moon's power radiating through her. For two weeks she had been held captive, secluded and alone and with little contact. And now… and now… everything was on her. Voldemort was threatening her, and what did she have left to fight for? If she refused, she would surely be killed… but then…

 

Voldemort would be mortal, she realized. And Harry would have a better chance of defeating him.

 

"You will do this for me," Voldemort snarled. "If not, someone will die tonight."

 

"Kill me, then!" Hermione screamed, bearing her own teeth at him, fighting the tears that were threatening to spill over. "I don't care if I die!"

 

The way the Dark Lord began to chuckle was unnerving; an unctuous sound, a laugh bereft of humor, Voldemort's cackle ripped through any armor she had left, and his insidious derision ruined her.

 

"Bring him out!" Voldemort called suddenly, a devilish grin still hitched on his face. As Hermione hunted for whatever persuasion that was to be used against her, terrified that it would be Harry or Ron, Voldemort continued his maniacal laughter. "Your defiance won't last long, Mudblood. I see into the very depths of your soul, I see the longing in your mind. Why would you allow an innocent to die?"

 

Hermione turned back to the Dark Lord with a sharp glare. "Nothing will change my mind."

 

Another cruel smile appeared on his upturned lips. "Not even Draco Malfoy?"

 

Her head snapped to the left, her gaping mouth horrified as she witnessed Malfoy's body dragged forth by a Death Eater. He appeared unconscious, as his body was rolling about and giving in to whatever way the Death Eater jerked him. A glow of red light from the nearest wand awakened him, however. With blinking, groggy eyes, Draco Malfoy came to.

 

"No," Hermione whispered, eyes wide. "No, I won't save him. He is not my responsibility—"

 

Malfoy began to mutter, "What the hell is going—" but gave a howl of pain when the Death Eater holding him hostage delivered a swift kick to the ribs.

 

"He may not be your responsibility, Mudblood, but he haunts your very thoughts, doesn't he?" Voldemort jeered, watching as Hermione gazed at Malfoy with horrified eyes. The blonde boy was sitting upright now, panting slightly and clutching his side. Unlike Hermione, his eyes were narrowed, but stared back at her.

 

"No—no, he doesn't," she replied, tearing her eyes from him and looking towards Lord Voldemort. "I don't care whether he lives or not!" she cried suddenly, sounding fearful. "I-I have to worry about myself, and Harry, and—"

 

"Potter will be destroyed regardless of your fighting!" Voldemort spat. "You cannot save him!"

 

"I will try my hardest, then!" shouted Hermione angrily. The Dark Lord stared her down, his infuriated silence tangible, his silhouette sharpened by the firelight.

 

"Fine," he clipped, red eyes narrowed. He turned to the Death Eaters, a single, spidery finger pointed at Malfoy. "Kill him."

 

Malfoy began to scream in protest as Hermione clapped her hands to her mouth, aghast as several Death Eaters scrambled to pin him down. His terrified shouting sent waves of guilt through her, and she had to turn away as a dagger suddenly appeared, hovering over Malfoy. The screams reached a new level, and she could hear him thrashing about on the ground, trying as desperately as he could to escape his fate.

 

"Granger, help me!" Malfoy screamed, crying out as the blade swooped down and pierced him.

 

"No, no, no…" Hermione moaned, hands around her eyes, looking at anything but Malfoy. There was a sickening noise as the blade struck him again, along with the fierce cries from the victim.

 

"Won’t you help him? Just a little?" Voldemort sneered at her, watching Malfoy's murder complacently.

 

"N-No," Hermione uttered, trying to quell the tears that began to leak. "N-No, I can't, it isn't my fault—"

 

"Just one word would save him!" Voldemort lashed out. "One word, and you can't do it? Then his death is entirely your fault. If you love him, you will save him."

 

"I don’t love him!" Hermione screeched, furious now. "This is absurd, how dare you accuse me of that!"

 

"You may not love him, but you love things about him, don’t you?" he sneered, grinning again. Hermione began to shake her head, but Voldemort continued. "You love the way he looks at you, the way he touches you, the way his hands feel on you, how he—"

 

"Stop it!" Hermione screamed. "That is nothing in comparison to love! Nothing!"

 

"If it is nothing, then why do you hesitate? Why do you turn away from his torture?" inquired Voldemort, lip curled. "You feel for him, you want to save him, I can see it in your worthless heart."

 

"Pity does not equal love," Hermione snarled, trembling in anger.

 

"Then face him! Look into his eyes as he calls your name! Watch as we destroy him, and then tell me you feel nothing!" Voldemort spat.

 

"I will not give into you!" Hermione shouted.

 

With an irate, furious growl, Voldemort withdrew his wand, faster than the speed of light. "Crucio!"

 

Hermione's insides now screamed in terrible anguish. Her body keeled over, her nerves on fire, her bones feeling molten hot, an angry flame licking at her soul made her wither in pain. She screamed, twitching and feeling furious, unbearable pain. Everything with her cried in protest, and she felt as if she was going to break into a million tiny pieces.

 

When it stopped, laughter was ringing in her ears. Trembling, Hermione uncurled herself and struggled to sit up, her arms weak and feeble. Tears were mingled with sweat and fright on her face, and once more, shaking with fear, she turned to face Voldemort.

 

He stood taller, a smirk on his face, with a vicious look to his darkly gleeful eyes. Voldemort raised his wand slowly, pointing it at her once more, and she felt herself tremble against the cold earth.

 

"Now, Granger," he said softly, a malevolent smile to match his horrific eyes. "You will do this for me. Do it, or Draco will die."

 

"No." Her voice was oddly hoarse and cracked, and tears were brimming in her eyes.

 

With an angry snarl, Voldemort commanded, "Finish him!"

 

But whatever murder was about to take place was suddenly halted; a terrible, deep and unearthly sound showered down upon them from above, and all those present looked skyward, mesmerized.  Out of the millions of twinkling stars, there seemed to be an illuminated line in the heavens, brighter and stronger than the light of the full harvest moon.

 

And without warning, her eyes were filled with a blinding white light that overpowered every space and every particle around her. The meadows were suddenly lit up as if it was noontime; the masked faces of all the Death Eaters were glowing as they all stared in awe at the incredible light, their faces lit with an unearthly color, gleaming onto their skin.  Next, there was an incredibly strong surge of wind and Hermione shrieked as her body was pressed down into the ground. The wind pulled her backwards and she was rolling uncontrollably over the ground as if the crashing sea was pushing her.

 

Screaming wind pounded against her eardrums, and shouting in fear at the monstrous sound, Hermione fell on her stomach and pulled her hands over her head and buried her face in the earth. There was a deafening roar, and other's screaming was added to the terrifying cacophony. Her hair whipped around in her face, and the wind was threatening to pull her off of the face of the earth. She let out a bloodcurdling scream as her body lifted into the air and was forced many feet in a different direction. She begged for unanswered help, trying to cling to whatever she could despite what little strength she had left.

 

For several minutes, the blinding white light pushed consumed her, while screaming and a sharp whistling filled her ears, force of the wind blowing into her and trying forcefully to push her over. Tears flooded down her cheeks, her body tumbling over as she clawed desperately to the stone pillar so she wouldn't be flung off the ledge of the mountain.

 

And then, just as suddenly, it stopped.

 

Face buried in her shoulder, Hermione was sobbing. Her hands clung to the few gaps in the rock, desperate for a crack in which to hold herself safely. Many of the Death Eaters were now rising to their feet, some still wearing their masks, others not, as if the wind had claimed them.

 

Hermione's body was shaking dangerously; she hadn't taken a beating as vicious as that for a long time. All of her strength was now gone, and if handed a wand she feared she would collapse rather than fight. Through her tears, she evaluated the Death Eaters, wondering whether or not she could outrun any of them, and then saw, to her great shock, that the Death Eater holding Draco's body was none other than Lucius Malfoy himself.

 

And then Voldemort rose eerily from behind his stone pillar, looking triumphant. He gazed past Hermione to the blazing fire. Several Death Eaters were murmuring among themselves, gazing wildly over Hermione also. Afraid of what she would see, she braced herself before turning around. And there was the most astonishing thing she had ever seen.

 

The bonfire, which had been huge to begin with, had augmented significantly to make room for what it was now holding. Out of the fire rose an old, cracked archway, with fluttering, tattered curtains, swaying as if someone had just touched them. A ghostly pale light was pulsing from the arch itself as it rose higher and higher. Flames were pouring from the stone steps that now rested in the embers. All at once, the blazing fire escaped its containment and surged towards Hermione, creating a trail that surrounded her, trapping her in, sealing her fiery fate.

 

As the old arch finally settled in midair, there came a great, deep rumbling from some unknown source. Hermione felt the earth shaking under her hands, and flung her arms over her head for protection as the earthquake began. Numerous Death Eaters were stumbling wildly and falling over, and then, fierce and falling boulders descended on the mountain in great thunderous roars. Boulders were collapsing atop the mountainside, falling dangerously, and as they fell near the circle, some magical force field reacted and sent the massive boulders skywards with an incredible burst of light.

 

And then, quite suddenly, she heard screaming from above her as the boulders stopped falling. She stared up towards the sky, and a sudden surge of hope rushed through her. A faint smile touched her lips, for Hermione knew she was saved.

 

"Do not think for a second, mudblood, that your friends are here to save you!" Voldemort snarled, quivering with anger. "You two!" he barked at the two closest Death Eaters. "Find them, and destroy them!"

 

"No!" Hermione screeched.

 

Whipping back to face her, Voldemort shouted to Lucius, "Now kill him! Finish this!"

 

Hermione watched in a slow, suspended horror as Lucius Malfoy lifted the dagger high into the air, and plunged it down into Draco's shoulder. Hermione looked away a split second afterwards, but she could not ignore the scream that broke through the night. Even if she was on the ground, she felt as if her body would give way beneath her.

 

Lucius lifted the dagger again—a few seconds later, a half-conscious Draco Malfoy screamed in utter anguish as he was stabbed brutally once more. Hermione covered her face with her hands and buried her head in her knees, trying her hardest to ignore the screaming.

 

But his desperate cries clawed at every single string in her heart. Hearing his voice brought back all the memories of their brief time together, the passion that blazed up between them, the heated moments she could never get rid of. It was true, Hermione Granger did not love him, but she needed him. There was a void in her that he had come to recognize, and it was a void that only he could fill. Yet, if she saved him… all was lost. She wouldn't let Voldemort become immortal because the world would be damned.

 

But it was love… or death.

 

She could not let him die, but she could not let Voldemort win. This was the bridge she had to cross, the fate she had to meet head on, for otherwise it would tear her apart. Hermione Granger was not meant to live, that she understood all too well. But she would not bring others down with her; if she was going to die, then so be it. But not Draco. Not anyone else.

 

Two other Death Eaters were restraining Draco as Lucius Malfoy stood over him, holding a bloody dagger high in the air. Draco's normally silver-blonde hair was stained crimson, as was his face and neck. His head hung limply from the cruel stabbings. Just as the dagger started down to emit the fatal blow, and Hermione screamed in protest.

 

"Stop!"

 

She was suddenly aware that she was struggling against the shackles holding her down. "Don't kill him," she whispered, defeated. Almost as if she was forced to, she looked at Voldemort, cowering beneath his triumphant gaze. She tried to remind herself that she was giving in not because she was in love with Draco Malfoy, but because there had to be another way to defeat Voldemort.

 

"Very wise, Granger," Voldemort said quietly.

 

An angry noise, like a sob, escaped her lips, her breath catching in her throat. She had fallen; she was disgusted with herself. Faintly grateful for his survival, Hermione watched briefly as his father dropped the boy to the ground, who was bleeding profusely.

 

"Now get up," Voldemort command, vanishing the shackles with a swish of his wand.

 

Seeing as there was nothing else she could do, Hermione stood on feeble legs, sniffing. Sickened and miserable, Hermione tried to think as fast as she could, desperate wracking her mind for an alternate solution. She had made her decision in saving Draco, and there was no turning back now.

 

"Through that doorway is the portal. Go forth, and retreat my immortality. If you return empty handed, Draco Malfoy will die, and whoever was here upon the mountain will perish alongside him. Now go," Voldemort hissed, his thin arm directing her towards the fire.

 

Lowering her eyes to the ground in shame, she began to walk into the fire. Several people laughed malevolently; Hermione Granger had been broken, at last. Her legs threatening to collapse beneath her, she noted how fierce the roaring flames were, and how they singed her very skin despite her distance.  With each step, her whole entire life flashed before her eyes. Her parents, Harry and Ron, Ginny, Hogwarts, learning how to ride a bike, how to read, and her letter to Hogwarts all flew by in a vivid blur. These people, these events, these things that had changed her, had shaped her, had made her, were all going to be without her soon. There was nothing left for them, and there was nothing left for her.

 

But I'm not giving up, Hermione told herself firmly as a bare foot ascended the first stone step. It was very cold, and seemed to sap all her energy away from her. But if she wasn't giving up, what was she doing, then? Was it love that drove her to act insanely, impulsively? What passionate, intense feeling made her brain cloud over, her heart flutter and all sense of logic wash out of her in moments? Was it love?

 

Hermione believed in love, and she had thought she had found it in Ron. He was always there for her, whether they were bickering or snogging, laughing or shouting, doing homework or eating dinner. In some ways, Ron was there more often than Ginny or Harry; somehow, he knew everything about her, he had a key to her soul.

 

But the key only opened the door halfway. Because whenever she was kissing Draco, running her hands through his hair or over his body, something opened up in her heart. All doors were open, all possibilities rendered promising, all logic washed away. Because somehow, with Draco Malfoy, her doors were open. Malfoy had the key. He had taken over her soul, giving her something to live for, to fight for. And the philosophers were right, weren't they?

 

Love conquered all.

 

Hermione stood still on the first step of the ancient archway, swaying on the spot, surrounded by fire. The curtains before her looked unreal, ethereal even, gleaming its ghostly color. This was the doorway to Hell, and she felt ice cold, frozen to the spot, even though the flames were licking at her heels, scarring her, burning her.

 

Holding her breath, she began her ascent up the first of many steps into the glowing portal of the archway. The blazing flames threatened to lick her feet, but did not. The beginning steps were old, cracked, decrepit. The next step was just as cold, through smoother, and the next, nearly the same, but it seemed younger. And so it went; every step up she took, the steps were freezing cold, yet smoother and newer each time. She was going towards Death, towards a new beginning. The flames pouring from the frame touched her feet, wrapping around her ankles like snakes, pulling her in, beckoning her.

 

At last, she stood on the top step before the portal. Up close, it was a swirling mist of colors. The portal seemed to be a translucent sheet of water; colors unlike those of earth swirled eagerly from this side to that, mixing and bonding, spreading out in fans and patterns. Hermione reached forth and touched it; it was cold on her fingertips, and yet fire spread through her fingers.

 

Taking a deep breath to expunge the terror within her, she plunged her entire arm into the surface of the watery portal. She gasped as freezing cold water instantly sunk through the heavy material and onto her skin, and then mewed in pain as fire consumed her arms. As she eased her body slowly through, she knew she had one chance to do this right, to atone her mistakes, to make everything alright.

 

Voldemort could not win, she wouldn't allow it.

 

With one final look at the scene before she, she noted how tense Voldemort seemed, and how rigid all of his Death Eaters appeared. The firelight illuminated all of their faces in the bleak night, and they all were holding their breath, waiting for her to disappear. Hermione looked up at the moon, and its promising, heavenly light filled her very core.

 

She knew what she had to do now. There was only one chance, and it was for Harry, for Ron, for everyone that she loved. With that thought in mind, and with the image of Draco in her mind, bleeding and nearing the brink of death, Hermione forced herself through the portal, promising herself right then and there that the people that meant everything to her would survive.

 

And as she sunk through the icy surface, she knew that somehow, she would be victorious.

 

-

-x-x-x-

-

Author's Note: hey so I hope you enjoyed that! The chapter when she's in the Underworld is sort of freaky! I'm going to enjoy editing that bad boy, aww yeah.

 

A huge thanks to all of those who continue to read this, I apologize for the terrible waiting in between chapters! And a huge thank you to Chrysta who is my main impetus to finish this!

 

Please review!


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