Chapter 2 : Of Heat and Apples and Falling in Love
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It had been three months since he’d seen her last and it was now in the dead of winter.
At first, Draco thought he could get used to the cold, but when the wind from the North wreaked its havoc against the prison walls, the cold seemed to creep through every crack and tiny miniscule space. The sea’s waves were constantly moving and crashing, preventing it from freezing, which only caused the wet air to make Azkaban a frozen icebox of unbearable temperatures.
It was worse at night when his body would tense up so badly, every muscle would ache. His fingers would go numb and there would be no sleep or escape from the pain of such bitter cold.
He thought of her every single day since she left. Every night. Every meal. Every time he closed his eyes. And every time he opened them, he was hating the final piece of his sentence.
He was torn really. He wanted her to be there with him. But he didn’t want her to be there visiting a prisoner in Azkaban.
He loved and hated the thought.
One treacherously cold day, he gave up hope and came to the conclusion that he would never see her again as he pressed his forehead into the cold metal bars of his cell, trying to get her out of his head and failing miserably.
That same night, he was so cold he wondered if he would survive to see morning or if he would succumb to the cruel elements. It seemed as though Death was lurking the cell blocks searching for someone to snatch from the living.
He knew that for many prisoners, Death would be welcomed as a friend. But not him. Not yet.
Draco opened his eyes and looked at the man in the cell across from him to see if he was still alive. The only way to tell without waking him was to watch for the vapors of breath coming from his face as proof that he was still breathing.
He closed his eyes again, seeing Hermione’s concerned face and wishing she were there.
He was so cold, his body began shaking from being so tense that he thought if someone kicked him, he would shatter and break into pieces.
He whispered to her as if she was there, “I’m so cold, love. I’m so cold.”
Hermione really didn’t have to go back to that nasty horrible place ever again and felt with their last meeting, he really didn’t want her there.
Except that one of last things he said was that he would kiss her if he could. That didn’t exactly sound like someone who did not want her company.
Still, even if she wanted to see him, the place was filth beyond filth and had an air about it that was so dark and depressing that it took her awhile to recover from it each time she went.
She was perfectly fine with never going back except that every time she looked at her calendar, she would see Draco’s face, see him in shackles and wonder how long his hair had grown out. But more importantly, looking at a calendar always made her wonder how much time he had left.
It eventually got to the point where all that she could see was him. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw the tears that ran down his face at seeing his parents die.
One day, she decided that she was going to visit him. She decided that she couldn’t stand not knowing how he was doing or if he was alright. She thought she would just stop in for a minute and not stay long.
But that very morning, the Daily Prophet had published an article about his controversial sentencing… Obliviation. And at the end of reading it, she sunk sadly into her cozy couch and decided against seeing him again.
It would be a bad idea, right? After all, he wouldn’t remember it. He would go right back to hating her and insulting her… that is if they ever saw each other after he got out.
No. She would not go see him. She had fallen for him. Even Narcissa had picked up on the truth.
And seeing him would only make her pain worse, knowing she would never really have him.
With Obliviation, it would be impossible.
And so, with aching in her heart, she decided what was best.
She decided to never return to Azkaban.
But that very night, the North winds blew with a fury and Hermione woke up shaking and freezing.
She swore she had just heard Draco’s voice say that he was cold. But it was probably just her mind playing tricks on her in some half-dream, half-conscious state.
He was constantly on her mind and she wasn’t sleeping well.
She would toss and turn and somehow manage to kick her bed covers to the floor, leaving her now frigid body with no warmth.
She stretched out her arm to the floor, grabbed at the flannel sheets and downy comforter, and pulled them back onto the bed. She snuggled into her pillow as his face flashed into her mind yet again.
“Are you cold where you are?” she whispered to her memory of him.
But just then a most alarming and worrisome thought came to her.
Azkaban! Did it have heat? What if he really were freezing to death in that horrible place?
Sleep would not come until she made a vow to go see him the next day. Only then did she have some peace… just enough to doze off and stay there for awhile.
The next day, Hermione bundled herself up in several layers of clothing and went on her way to Azkaban.
Draco woke at dawn and counted the unevenly spaced mismatched stones that made up the floor of his cell for what must’ve been the one hundredth time. It puzzled him to find that each time he counted them, he came up with a different number.
Was the floor moving? Had he become delusional from hypothermia? Was the cold affecting his ability to count properly or was it the lack of sleep?
He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he could no longer feel his frozen fingers that now appeared to be blistering.
For the first time, he was glad that he had long hair as it had protected his ears enough to not be effected.
He looked through his cell bars to see if the man across from him was still breathing.
Draco fully expected to see the man’s chest rising and falling, but he was not moving and there was no vaporized breaths coming out of the prisoner’s mouth or nose.
“Grilden.” Draco called to him. “Grilden, get up. It’s almost time for breakfast,” he said a bit louder through his cell bars.
But there was no response.
“Grilden!” he yelled repeatedly, to no avail. “Grilden!”
Everyone who was asleep was now awake with his shouting.
“What of Grilden?” he heard an inmate yell from down the row of cells.
“Dead!” he cried out as the guards finally came running. “He’s dead!”
Draco was extremely distraught.
He backed away from the scene as far away as his cell would allow.
Must he always be around death? He’d had enough of death during the war.
Voldemort killed so many it was hard to keep track. Sometimes Draco would have to walk amongst the dead sprawled out in the living room of his own home… No longer a living room as it had become a death room.
Grilden’s death was a reminder that made him feel ill with overbearing sickness. It brought back memories of the faces of death and took him to the darkest parts of the war.
By the time Hermione arrived, Grilden’s body had already been removed and the cell had been scoured.
Draco sat haunted by a hundred dark memories… depressed and unresponsive, stuck and stagnant in a world he wanted to forget.
But when he saw Hermione in front of him, his heart nearly leaped from his chest. It got his blood pumping and the air turned ten degrees warmer.
Her presence abruptly pulled him out of the darkness and into the light, nearly forgetting that someone had just died across from him in the middle of the night.
He was elated, but trying his best not to show the thrill at seeing her standing in front of him like an angel.
“You need to get out of here! Our agreement is at an end,” the prisoner growled.
“I came here because I wanted to,” she replied matter-of-factly.
“You are mental.”
“So are you.”
He gave a deep raspy laugh for the mere fact that she had not denied it. The sound of it surprised him. He hadn’t laughed in a very long time. But then he felt guilty. Was he allowed to laugh when someone just died in the night?
“It’s freezing in here,” she commented, but then realized that the cell across from him was empty and dare she say… cleaned?
“Where’s Grilden?” she asked out of curiosity, but not really caring too much.
“Found dead this morning.”
“Oh my God!” she whispered her shock, trying to keep their conversation private. But just then she noticed his blistered hands.
“What happened to your hands?” she asked, now horrified.
He scolded himself. It was too late to hide them from her.
“Don’t worry. It’s not contagious. It’s just frostbite. They’ll be okay, I think,” he replied, examining them briefly before tucking them under his arms.
“Just frostbite?” she repeated in disbelief. “Is there no heat in this place?”
“Not really, no. Azkaban isn’t meant to be comfortable.”
“But you were sentenced to spend time here, not die of extreme weather. This is inhumane.”
“No one cares about the prisoners here,” he said bitterly.
“I care about you. And the people here must have families or friends somewhere that would care,” she argued.
“Why do you care what happens to me? You’d be the only one,” he paced like the frustrated and caged wild animal that he'd become.
“Trust me, I have no idea,” she shot back. “I came here to see how you were doing and the first thing out of your mouth is you telling me to leave.”
He really didn’t want her to leave. Oh, how he wanted her to stay!
“Fine. I will leave,” she fretted heatedly. “But I brought you something that I thought you might enjoy. But forget it,” she said taking out the most lovely green apple he’d ever seen in his entire life.
“What? Wait. What is that?” he demanded as his eyes grew wide and hopeful at seeing the fruit in her hand.
She had brought him not just any fruit… it was his favorite. And she knew it. She had lived with him long enough at Hogwarts to know precisely what would be his favorite.
“Oh, this?” she teased, fully seeing his eyes turn all lustful at what she had. “It’s just a wonderful, sweet, juicy, delicious, green apple. You used to eat one every single day when we were at school. Do you remember?” she asked as the corners of her lips moved into an adorable crooked smile.
She held the apple out in front of her as to show it off and tease him with it.
He stared at it for a moment. His taste buds recalling the memory of it as his craving soared to the highest height.
“You little temptress. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden.”
“Ah, if I am Eve, are you Adam or are you the serpent?” she giggled sweetly. “You were a Slytherin, after all.”
This put a smile on his face that she hadn’t seen since they were Third Years.
“Right now, I’ll be whoever you want me to be, so long as you give me that apple.”
“If I had my choice, you would most definitely be Adam,” she flirted.
“If I am Adam, then you have to obey me, right? Give me the apple,” he flirted in return, his grand smile not leaving his face.
“Obey? Never,” she disagreed light-heartedly. “But I will give it to you because God gave Eve to Adam as a helpmate for him. And I should like to help you, if I can,” Hermione admitted a bit more serious.
“You’re an angel for thinking of me at all,” he commented thankfully as she handed it to him.
She wondered if it would ever occur to him that she’d rather be his Eve than his angel.
He held onto the apple as if it was the most precious and delicate thing he’d ever held.
He wanted to wait until she was gone to eat it for fear that he’d devour it in front of her like a starved dog. He wanted to be a gentleman in her presence even if he had become lowly Azkaban scum.
“If you only knew what they fed us here, you just might be able to comprehend what this means to me.”
“What do they feed you here?”
“Tasteless gray slop twice a day with water. I’m actually thankful that it truly has no taste. It could be much worse, I suppose. It’s a real treat when we get bland bread slices to go with it.”
While holding the apple cupped in his hands, Hermione listened as he spoke of his home… how it had an apple orchard that he loved. It was his favorite place on the Manor grounds.
“The house elves would make apple pie, carmel apples, apples with peanut butter, apples and cinnamon, baked apples over vanilla ice cream..."
"Stop. You're making me hungry," she smiled at him... a most adorable smile.
"I could pick apples all day long, but Mother would make me come in to eat. Otherwise I’d stay until dark, high in the trees watching the sunset. It was quiet and peaceful. Except for one time I remember there must’ve been a million squawking blackbirds that decided to land on the manor grounds to rest for about ten minutes on their way South. I ran through them on my hike back to the manor… a fun and interesting experience to say the least.”
She imagined a blond child in black robes running in a meadow through a black cloud of birds, arms outstretched to the sky.
“You are probably surprised that I would do such a thing,” he wondered.
“Draco Malfoy… loving the outdoors? No. I never would’ve imagined it, until now.”
They talked for a long while, but in the end, he told her not to return.
“Hermione, as much as I have loved our conversation and am so very thankful for the gift you smuggled in for me… I must ask that you not return. This is no place for you. It is hell frozen over here. The expression is real and you don’t belong in it.”
“It isn’t your decision. It is mine,” she announced about to leave, knowing that she had work to do. Witnessing the state of things, she would now be on a mission… a mission to get heat into Azkaban.
“Don’t come back.”
“I’ll do as I please.”
After several harshly written letters to members of the Wizengamot and three Headline articles in the Daily Prophet, the wizarding community made their opinions known. The vast majority demanding basic heat be provided to all of Azkaban at a minimum temperature at ‘above deadly.’
And as an added bonus to help maintain health, there would be a shipment of fruit twice a month.
When she stepped foot on Azkaban again, she expected the Warden to be furious with her for mettling in his affairs.
“Are you kidding?” he bellowed happily. “Heat in Azkaban means heat for me. And if you are helping to keep Death away from my prison, then you are my friend, Hermione Granger,” he told to her.
She smiled up at the half giant who seemed genuinely happy.
“Friends then,” she agreed as they shook hands.
"Just so's you know... I take care of my friends," he nodded to her.
Her heart soared in anticipation of Draco’s reaction. She couldn’t wait to see him.
She missed him.
And he missed her.
Every time he felt the warm air fill his small space, it was as if she was there with him, wrapping him in warmth. “Thank you, love,” he would whisper to the air.
No one had to tell him who was responsible.
It was a miracle that only his angel could pull off. She was brilliant.
When Hermione came to his cell she couldn’t help but notice the gift left for her by the Warden… a chair. How lovely.
“I knew you would show up soon. Heat and apples? That has your name written all over it,” he greeted unwelcomingly.
“I’m so glad to see you too,” she replied with due sarcasm, a bit hurt. She thought he would show some form of gratitude and was disappointed to find out that she was mistaken.
Why did his words always come out harsh when spoken to her? He scolded himself and breathed out a huge sigh of regret.
“Look. I’m sorry to come across as ungrateful, but I told you not to come back.”
“And I told you that I will do as I please,” she reminded, taking a mental note of how long his hair had grown.
“You don’t belong here!” he growled, pacing, pacing, pacing the tiny space.
“Can I get a genuine thank you from you or will you not lower your pride long enough to say it?”
“I don’t have to speak another word to you.”
“Fine. I’ll just sit here and catch up on a bit of light reading,” she said as she sat down in her new chair.
“Fine. But just so you know, I can go years without talking to anyone. It might get lonely on your part.”
She began silently reading, while he lied down on his concrete bed, torn over whether he was elated that she came back for him or hating the fact that she was seeing him in his current state.
The only sounds were of her flipping open the paper and the little noises of her intrigue.
“Hmm...” she let out as she read.
“Oh, my gosh,” she amused a bit later.
And then she would start giggling at something funny, followed by a long drawn out verbal sigh.
“I didn’t know that,” she commented to herself, now purposefully trying to irritate him into speaking. She knew it wouldn’t be long.
Draco was getting irritated by the minute. Not at her annoying little sounds, he quite enjoyed them. But he was beginning to want to know what she was reading that sparked her cute little girly noises.
He just didn’t want to admit it.
“What?! They got married?” she gasped as if the air was suddenly removed from Azkaban completely.
Draco was now downright restless.
“Bloody hell, Granger. Who got married?”
“I don’t think you really want to know,” she replied, worried about what reaction he might have to the news.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean? I asked, didn’t I?”
“Pansy Parkinson to Blaise Zabini,” she finally answered, knowing that he wouldn't take it well.
There was a silent pause between the two as Draco took a moment for it to sink in.
“My best friend and my…” He couldn’t think of a word that was appropriate. He couldn’t call her his girlfriend. Not after her complete and utter neglect and disregard for him after he turned himself in to Ministry authorities. “Married?”
Draco felt the backstab of betrayal. For a moment, he thought he might hate them. But his mind quickly changed when he realized that it was not their fault that was locked away out of sight and out of mind.
Life had indeed gone on without him… outside the walls of Azkaban. It hadn’t stopped just because he was there.
He’d always hoped to be the best man at his friend’s wedding. He was sure that he missed a most excellent party.
After a few long quiet moments, Draco finally spoke.
“Start from the front page and read to me?” he asked. “I won’t remember any of it when I get out of here, but I’d like you to do it.”
“Say, please,” she said teasingly, making an attempt at light-heartedness.
He let out an impossibly long sigh. It wasn’t a time to protest over such a petty thing as saying, ‘Please.’ He almost said it, but decided he'd rather die.
So instead, he sent her a glare that could melt a glacier... which somehow made her all tingly inside.
“Alright. You don't have to say, please,” she conceded.
Draco would’ve read it himself if he were permitted to have the paper. But apparently the Warden didn’t want prisoners paper-cutting themselves to death.
Such a basic thing to be taken away… the ability to read anything.
“Okay,” she began, happy that he had some interest in the outside world. It would give him something to think about long after she left.
“Help for Diagon Alley Recovery,” the headliner read. “The Ministry of Magic is to appoint a taskforce to assist the business owners and those wishing to invest in Diagon Alley to help bring it back to its pre-war status…”
She read to him while other Azkaban inmates began to listen as well. Apparently the sound of her lovely feminine voice was most welcome amongst them. Some of them hadn’t heard a female voice in a while and having her read of familiar places brought back memories and made them feel human again.
Some of the grown men and hardest of criminals got a bit teary-eyed that day… her sweet voice mixed with memories of more innocent days.
And halfway through the paper, Hermione realized that Draco had fallen asleep.
“Asleep?” she whispered softly, but in disbelief.
“Miss,” she heard a voice from the cell behind her. She didn’t realize there was anyone there, but apparently Grilden had been replaced with another inmate who had been sitting in the shadows.
“You’ve lulled him to sleep like a litt’l baby, Miss. He hasn’t slept that soundly since I took this cell. Light sleeper, that one. If you wouldn’t mind… please keep reading. I’d like to hear of the happenings at home.”
Draco began stirring a little and so she started her reading up again and took peeks at him between paragraphs, noticing his peaceful slumber.
When she was finished, she quietly folded the Daily Prophet and silently walked down the hall and passed the cells.
“Thanks, Miss,” a shadow said.
“Can you read it again?” another commented with hope in his gruff voice.
“Yes. Again. The part about the wand shop returning,” said another man holding onto his bars.
She didn’t make any promises to the voices. But she decided she would return with more.
“Some other time perhaps,” she replied quietly.
“And, Lady…” someone called out. “The heat. That was you, wasn’t it?”
“I only wrote a few letters and made the situation known. The magical community made it happen.”
“Bless you woman!” One of them said in awe as she made her exit. “Bless you!”
Hermione would return from time to time with a new newspaper and fresh conversation.
He loved her for it. But at the same time, hated that she was there… a nasty prison.
He wasn’t sure exactly when it happened, but he had fallen in love with her at some point.
Perhaps it was when she brushed through his hair and showed him what selfless care and concern was.
Perhaps it was before that, but he wasn’t ready to admit it to himself quite yet. Maybe it was because no one else in the world seemed to care about him. Maybe it was because of all that she had done for him. Perhaps it was her eyes that lit up when she saw him, even when his didn’t return the sentiment. Maybe it was her voice that could lull him to sleep where he would have the most wonderful dreams of a future life with her… always with her.
Whatever the reasons, truly a complex combination of a thousand things, he knew that just under the surface of his pale skin, grew a love for her that would end eventually, on his last day in prison.
Such a sick and twisted sentence… Obliviation taking away the only beautiful and pure emotion that he’d ever felt in his entire life.
He knew Hermione loved him. Why else would anyone come back to Azkaban willingly?
She didn’t have to say it, but somewhere along the line, she had fallen in love with him.
That thought alone tortured him day and night wondering what he should do about it.
“Hermione,” he interrupted her reading one day, listening to her sweet voice, but not listening to what she was really saying.
“Yes,” she thought for a second that he wanted her to re-read something, but as soon as she saw his distant eyes, deep in thought, she knew she had been wrong.
“I want you to stop coming here. And I really mean it this time. Don’t come back.”
“What do you think is going to happen at the end of my sentence? You know what’s coming. Obliviation. I won’t remember you being here at all. Doesn’t that bother you?”
“Of course it bothers me, but it doesn’t keep me from coming back.”
“What then? What keeps you coming back to this wretched hell on earth?” he growled. “Do you enjoy seeing me, a Death Eater, behind bars? Isn’t that what your articles are all about… witnessing justice being done? Is it not sweet revenge to see me, the one that couldn’t stop calling you a filthy little Mudblood, wasting away in true, real, disgusting filth? A proud Pureblood transforming into Azkaban scum?”
“Did it ever occur to you that maybe I care about you and what happens to you in this place?”
“You need to stop caring.”
“Is that what I need? Or is that what you need?”
Their eyes held for a moment.
The anger in his met the love in hers.
After what seemed like an eternity in time, he slowly allowed his fury to subside, then spoke his heart. What would it matter? He wouldn’t remember doing it.
His heart was so heavy, he could hardly bare it. How did she bring with her such highs and lows? How did someone, especially her, bring so many emotions to his soul, both wonderful and terrifying?
“Hermione, what is going to happen to us… when I get out of here and I no longer remember that I’m madly in love with you?”
Hermione wasn’t sure that a heart could melt and break at the same time, but she felt both sensations within her being.
“I don’t know what is going to happen. But my love for you… is why I come back. And I’ll continue coming back until the end, knowing that I was loved by you for a thousand days.”
She tried to be strong. She didn’t want to break down as she held her breath trying not to cry.
He wanted so desperately to kiss her, to hold her tight, and feel her warmth against him. He wanted to reach through the God-forsaken bars and touch her… to feel her there with him, not by sight only.
But he dare not. He was a wretched mess, he knew. He was repulsive to be near and he didn’t want her to be too close to him because of it.
“I don’t want you to leave. But when you do, I don’t want you to come back. This is my sentence, not yours. Forget about me… because that is exactly what is going to happen when I am finally freed from this place. I’m going to forget about you. And please, understand that for me... it is hell and torture knowing it to be true.”
Since he began with, “I don’t want you to leave,” Hermione ignored the rest and began reading again, fighting tears that threatened to fall. She blinked them away and started once again, her voice trembling.
“Diagon Alley booms with people as entrepreneurs opened for business yesterday with the help of Post War Recovery funds from the Ministry…”
Draco sat there bewildered. Was she really continuing to read the paper?
His heart was glad she stayed. And as she read, Draco lied down once more on his concrete bed listening to the sweetest voice.
When she thought he was asleep, she gathered her things and stood. She paused to look at his sleeping form, all curled up like a cold child in a man’s body.
“Perhaps I won’t be back, Draco,” she said in a whisper. “Perhaps I won’t.”
She turned then and walked away while Draco, certainly not sleeping, began missing her terribly already and worrying.
What if she really didn’t come back?
But she did... once a month. She couldn't stay away. But then after some time, it became twice a month, then once per week, and when he only had a week or so remaining, she visited every day.
In many ways, the visits became an addiction to them both. Each time, each visit brought with it extreme highs and extreme lows.
As they drew closer together, learning about each other, surprising themselves on how much they agreed and had things in common, the more their love for each other grew. And when they were apart, they missed each other and ached until the time when they would meet again.
And each day brought a reality that neither of them wanted to discuss. As the days agonizingly passed, the closer to the day that he would be free from all the good and bad that happened in the place. Each day closer to the day when he would be Obliviated and not remember that he loved her.
Sometimes they would discuss what she was going to do after his sentence was carried out and her answer was always the same.
“I don’t know,” she would say sadly.
But time was up. It was finally the day that he was to be released.
It was his twentieth birthday.
They let him shower and then took him to a room where he could dress. Except instead of a prison uniform, his old clothing from three years earlier lay folded on a table, along with his shoes, his wallet that held whatever money he had at the time of his sentencing, and a pocket watch that still held the time.
He was very happy to see his old tailored suit as he ran his fingers across the black fabric. Draco took that as a sign that he could get dressed. And so he spared no time in doing so.
The clothes fit him well, except they were a bit loose from the weight he’d lost.
After a few moments, guards escorted him to the very room where he had watched his parent’s die with the use of a penseive… the place where Hermione so lovingly had brushed out his hair.
They put him in the mirrored holding cell as he anxiously awaited what would happen next. He would be free soon.
He walked in looking very good in his old suit.
Her hands went to her mouth when she saw him walk in.
His hair was long and blond and beautiful, tied in a low pony tail at the base of his neck.
She was happy to see him and be with him without bars. Even though she knew they were being watched, she didn’t care. She just wanted to be close to him.
She reached out and cupped one of his hands into hers.
“Happy Birthday, Draco. I’m so happy for you.” She gave him a bittersweet smile. “Truly, I am.”
He looked at her and felt the ocean of tears well up in his eyes, threatening to spill over. They were both tears of joy to finally be free and tears of sorrow for the short time they had left.
He wasted no time in pulling her to him in a tight lover’s hug as she melted into his arms.
The two stayed that way for a long time. He kissed the top of her head while running his fingers through her hair.
She wrapped her arms around him and didn’t want to let go.
How long had it been since they both wanted this? Both wanting to be held and loved by the other?
It felt like an eternity of waiting, but in a breath it would all be over.
“I want you to know, that it was worth it,” she said to him, through her tears. “The feelings that I have for you ... were worth it. But I know what I must do now.”
He looked down at her, wondering what she was going to say.
“If your memory is to be erased, then I want mine erased as well. It's what's best.”
“No,” he protested with a wave of worry quickly filling his senses. “You know the dangers of Obliviation and your friends won’t do it, no matter the reason. They care about you too much to allow it.”
“I know. Which is why I went to Knockturn Alley and found a witch there that will alter my memory for a price.”
“No!” He demanded gritting his teeth. “You’d trust a back-alley witch with your mind? She could easily kill you. Or worse, wipe your memory out so much that you won’t even know your name and sell you as a slave to the highest bidder!”
“I trust her enough.”
“Hermione, please. I beg you not to do it. When I get out of here, I want you to come to the Manor. I want you to try. I want you to be there for me because I know no one else will. Convince me that I love you. Bring a penseive and show me our conversations.”
“Draco, you and I both know that you will not fall for me just because I showed you memories of things you don’t remember ever happening. You are not going to fall for me just because you saw me reading the Daily Prophet to you. Love is much more complicated than that. You know it to be true.”
“Come for me anyway. And I shall fall in love with you all over again. I will.”
“You will look at me with disdain and loathing as you once did. And you will say the most hurtful and insulting words to me as you once did. And quite frankly, I am brave, but not that brave as to go looking for the hatred in your eyes... knowing that your love for me is completely gone.”
She cried then… catastrophic tears. “I can’t do it!” she cried out.
“Please try, Hermione. I love you. And I will love you again.”
“No. I have to do what I can live with. And right now, I can't live with losing you.”
“What ever happened to living knowing that you were loved for a thousand days? What happened to that?”
“Now that we’ve come to the end of it, I find it too painful. Your mother…”
She stopped herself. She didn’t want to mention her, but it just slipped out.
“What of my mother?” he asked with urgency and confusion. "Did she say something to hurt you?"
“She only spoke what was true. Just before I left her she told me what would happen. She told me that you wouldn’t remember my visits and that you’d only remember me as a filthy little Mudblood that you knew in school. She said…” Hermione swallowed hard. “She said that you would only break my heart. And Draco… I can’t give you the chance.”
The same henchman that presided over his parent’s deaths came into the room.
The two looked at each other, knowing what was about to happen.
Their eyes held. And for a moment, no words were spoken.
“I will not be a witness to your Obliviation,” she cried as she stood abruptly to leave.
But he was able to grab her arm and pull her into him one last time.
Their lips crashed together as the two embraced. He poured out all of the love that was in him into that kiss. He wanted her to remember it in the hopes that she would change her mind.
They stopped kissing when the Warden came in.
“I do love you,” he whispered with sorrow and love in his gray eyes.
“And I love you,” she replied as she was finally able to run her fingers through his long beautiful white-blond hair.
Her touch made him feel more alive than he’d ever felt before… like he was being raised from the dead.
“Give them five minutes and you won’t remember,” she said with a shaky voice and tears still streaming. “And in an hour or so, neither will I.”
“No. Find me,” he pleaded.
She broke free from him then and walked out to the Apparition room where she would be taken back to the Ministry.
She would collect her wand and head to her office at the Daily Prophet where she would take down her articles from the walls and pack her personal things so that someone else wouldn’t have to do it for her.
She would then take out fresh parchment and her Quick Notes Quill that would write her resignation.
And when she felt ready, she would re-count the money to pay the witch to make sure there was enough. And then she would proceed to Knockturn Alley so that she would not remember loving him.
But most importantly, she wouldn’t remember losing him and he would never have the chance to look at her and shatter her fragile heart into a million and one pieces.
As soon as Hermione left, a wand was drawn and pointed at Draco Malfoy’s head.
He sat there, unmoving, lost in the recent memory of her lips locked to his.
His eyes saw through the walls of the room as the past came to life before him. His mind went back to each and every time she visited. He saw her face again and again and again.
He saw her holding out that first green apple and her crooked smile as she teased him with it.
He saw her sit on the chair given to her by the Warden as she read to him.
He closed his eyes and was holding her again.
He didn’t hear the man’s words as he was too busy kissing her in his mind.
He wanted his last memory before being Obliviated to be kissing the person he loved most in this world… Hermione Granger.
“Draco Malfoy, you were sentenced to be Obliviated at the time of your release on your twentieth birthday. I am here on official Ministry business to carry out such sentence deemed fit under the instructions of Ministry law at the strike of the noon hour.”
The seconds were ticking to noon.
Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven.
But Draco was nowhere near his body. His mind was somewhere else.
He had taken her out of Azkaban to a most beautiful garden so that he could lay with his Eve… to a place somewhere with his love, to be with her as long as possible before they would take her away.
But suddenly there was a light that seemed to bounce around the two lovers.
He thought that it might be the spell that would take her away from him.
His heart lurched as he thought it might beat right out of his chest.
Tears sprang to his eyes. He was losing her.
Oh, the sorrow!
But then his mind came back to his body as he sat in the room. The light was springing about and finally came to a halt on the table in front of Draco.
It was a Patronus… a swiftly moving light shaped in the form of a bearded, horned ram. It spoke.
“I am Ramses Fortnight, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. It has been argued and voted by the court that Draco Malfoy’s sentence be revised. The Obliviation clause has been removed at his request. Therefore, he is to be released with his memory intact. The high court of the Wizengamot has spoken.”
A gavel was not seen, but it most certainly was heard as the Patronus leaped from the room, seemingly ramming its horns into the wall and disappearing into nothing; the sound of it being a loud crack.
It was after the noon strike and Draco sat in shock and disbelief at what had just happened.
No Obliviation!? He couldn't believe it. Someone must've been fighting for him... going to trial so that the high court could vote on his controversial sentence.
Thoughts immediately rushed to Hermione.
Draco’s wide, fearful eyes darted to the Warden.
“Get me out of here!” he pleaded.
Adam and his Eve with her apple... Tell me what you think! I'd love to hear from you!
Reviews for this story would mean the world to me.
Thanks so much,
P.S. Ring Felton... the Angst was for you. ; )
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