Chapter 1 : To Save a Slytherin
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“It’s time, Hermione.” Ronald Weasley gave a gentle knock on her bedroom door that was only open a few inches. With slight effort, he pushed the door open and leaned against the door frame wearing appropriate black funeral attire.
She sat on a small comfy chair that sat low in a tight corner by her window. The natural light lit the small space with a cozy air on the lovely September day, just four months since the end of the war.
She held the only picture of him that she possessed.
Colin Creevy had given it to her just before she left with Harry and Ron to go looking for Horcruxes. She kept it as a bookmark, hidden in one of her favorite books and made sure to take it with her wherever they went.
It was now torn and tattered and so damaged that it had stopped moving, permanently framing the blond haired Slytherin in a sorrowful look of regret and sadness.
The picture had been taken just before Dumbledore’s death and she cherished it.
Especially today… the day of his funeral.
“I’m not going.” She finally said, looking up at him.
“Of the three of us, I’d expect you to be forcing us to go. Not the other way around.”
“He committed suicide, Ron.”
“And that makes it okay for you to not go? To not say a final goodbye?” He paused. “It’s closure, ‘Mione. I know you tried to get close to him, but you need to let him go.”
“I won’t go.” She said adamantly. "And just so you know, I won’t be here when you get back.”
“And where do you think you are going?” He said in protest.
“I’ve had a long time to think about things and… I just want to get away from the magical world for awhile, Ron. And I hope you will support me in this and not try to talk me out of it. The war and so many funerals… and now Draco.” A lump in her throat had her taking pause. “I just want to get away from it all, you understand?”
He did understand. And as much as he didn’t like it, he would let her go.
“I don’t like it, but it seems as though you’ve already made up your mind. And you are a stubborn witch, if I’ve ever met one.”
She gave him a half-laugh and a bittersweet smile.
“Come here.” He said, as he stepped closer to her and took her by the hand. She stood and he pulled her into a much needed hug.
“Just… don’t stay away too long, you hear?” He encouraged.
She nodded her head, about to break into tears, which seemed all too often these days.
“Thank you for understanding. You don’t know what it means to me.”
Ron and Harry both knew the funeral would be hard on her. She had tried to get close to Malfoy… tried to save him from himself.
“I’m worried about him,” she would say to them. But even with her many late night visits and conversations with him, in the end, she just couldn’t reach him.
From their first meeting, a drunken, mumbling Draco Malfoy had told her that he should’ve died at Hogwarts. He didn’t deserve to live.
He asked her, “What kind of life is a life lived in shame, anyway? A Dark Mark forever engraved into my skin as a sick reminder for the rest of my life. And, no matter how sorry I am for everything… what good is an apology when you can’t bring anyone back? They are still dead and I lived… undeservedly so."
He told her that he didn't deserve anyone’s forgiveness.
"I’m done with this life, Granger. And as soon as I figure out a good way to leave it, I’ll be gone within the hour.”
She had stayed with him then… several weeks, refusing to go until she was somewhat convinced that he wouldn’t harm himself.
But if he was anything, he was a good liar. For that same night that she left to return home, Draco Malfoy was found dead by a house elf the next morning lying beside a suicide note.
“Don’t blame yourself, Granger. You’ve done nothing wrong. I should’ve died at Hogwarts. Tell everyone I’m truly sorry for everything… everything that I’ve ever done.”
Ron backed away to leave. “I’ll tell Harry when I get to the funeral. I know he’ll understand.”
She knew Harry would. After all, she had told Harry her secret wishes while they were together… just the two of them in the wilderness.
“Let’s just stay here, Harry and never leave. Let’s just grow old together in this place. Live out our lives in peace.”
If Harry ever really wanted to figure out where she was, she knew he would think of that time and find her.
“Thanks, Ron. For everything.” Her voice caught in her throat as she held back an ocean of tears.
When they got to the fireplace, she hugged him one last time… a long, drawn out embrace. The embrace of two friends that had been through far too much.
He had no idea that she was leaving and probably not coming back… not for a long, long time anyway.
When the green flames transported him from her flat, she went back into her bedroom and began packing her things. Packing the things that she wanted to remember and leaving the rest behind.
Her leaving wasn’t a quick decision. She had analyzed it in every way possible and weighed everything. And the more she thought about it, the more she wanted it, until she was so ready that she was looking forward to it and craving the day when it was time to say farewell.
A beautiful September morning was just that day. There was a certain freedom in the air that welcomed her quiet soul, however sad the day was.
When she was ready, she closed her trunk and looked at his picture yet again… the Slytherin that she had tried to save.
She picked up her favorite book from the nightstand and carefully tucked the picture back into its place, just before putting it in her bag to take it along.
She wouldn’t dare leave it behind. She couldn’t. It had become precious to her.
With one last look at the place, Hermione Jean Granger closed her eyes and Apparated far, far away.
Once she was in the Forest of Dean, she dropped her trunk and started running.
His face lit up as he turned to see her practically jump into his arms and begin crying.
He caught her up into a loving embrace and swung her around tightly, not wanting to ever let go.
“Why are you crying, Love?” He said with his heart full of adoration and delight that she actually showed up.
When she was finally able to speak, she whispered. “They are at your funeral… and I can’t help but think. What if it was real? What if I’d really lost you forever?” She cried as she buried her head into his shoulder. “I couldn’t bear it if you were really dead.”
“I’m here, Love. Living and breathing… and loving you. And I’m not going anywhere unless it is with you.”
“Don’t you ever leave me.” She said, clinging to him tighter.
“I’d rather die.” He said light-heartedly.
“Don’t make jokes. That’s not funny.” She half-scolded him.
He held her for as long as she wanted, until she was able to finally let him go. And even then she held onto his hand.
“Are you still sure that you want to do this?” He asked with love in his heart and a hope for a beautiful future with her.
“Yes. I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life.”
“And you understand… I won’t be Draco Malfoy anymore?”
She nodded her head and gave him a look of love... the look that he decided was worth living for.
“Yes. I’m ready.” She said with a smile and full on anticipation for the adventure that lie ahead of them in a cabin hidden in the trees. Ready to grow old together in peace… and love.
True magical love.
“Then welcome home, my pretty bride. Welcome home.” He said as he picked her up and walked her through all of the protection charms of their new home… levitating her trunk behind them.
Did I trick you? I couldn't really let my favorite character die. That would've been way too sad!
Instead... they made plans!
I hope you liked it.
I was told by a reviewer (on another site) that they wished there was more of how these two began loving each other. And well... I've been working on it. If it makes sense, I may post it here some time.
Please Review. I'd love to hear from you.