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Chapter 15 : Chapter Fourteen - Reflection of Anguish
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Reflection of Anguish
Draco tapped his feet nervously as he stood waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
What was taking her so long?
When she eventually made her way down the stairs, he forgot about the wait, forgot his nerves, and even for a moment forgot what the purpose of the whole evening was.
She was in a blue dress, any woman would have described it as an a-line, sleeveless, v-neck ruched chiffon cocktail dress with crystal detailing around the waist. Draco knew no such things about dresses, it was blue and it sparkled, but she looked amazing.
“Are you ready to go?” he asked nervously, the box feeling like it was burning a hole in the chest pocket of his suit jacket.
“Are you ready for you first experience of dinner in a muggle restaurant followed by a west end show?” she countered with a grin.
“As I’ll ever be.” She reached the bottom of the stairs and he offered her his arm, which she took. They walked up the drive to meet the car that was waiting to take them into London, Draco had decided that a standard taxi simply wasn’t good enough for tonight. Luckily a wizarding firm specialised in such things, so Draco had been able to pay in a currency he understood.
They pulled up to the restaurant and were helped out by the chauffeur who then left to find somewhere to park the car, he would be back at seven to take them to the Theatre.
Draco led Hermione inside, struggling to keep his exclamations about muggles and their crazy ideas in check, Hermione had spent weeks preparing him for this outing and he wasn’t going to let her down. He’d learnt about electricity and phones, mobile phones particularly seemed like a wonderful idea to him, and he had decided he would have to look into getting one.
They were shown through to a private booth where Champagne was already chilled and waiting for them, as their server introduced himself before pouring them glasses, giving them menus and leaving them to make a decision.
“You’re doing well.” She whispered with a smile as she picked up the Champagne flute. “Here’s to…”
“Here’s to us, and our first public date.”
“To us.” She echoed with a smile.
They both drank and set down their glasses before beginning to peruse the menu.
“It only took us another nine months.” Said Draco with a cheeky smile.
“You are such a tease.” She said “I think I’ll have the lamb cutlets with dauphinoise and mint gravy.”
“I’m thinking a medium rare steak.” Said Draco as he finished scanning the menu, “Venison steak.”
“Sounds good.” She said with a smile.
“Are you ready to order?” said their server as he approached the table once more.
Two hours later, after dessert, profiteroles for Draco and Mango sorbet for Hermione they walked out of the restaurant to find their car waiting for them.
On the way to the Theatre they didn’t talk much, compared to their almost non-stop conversation over dinner. The Chauffeur let them out of the car once again as they found themselves having to fight through crowds of people to get to the front doors.
Once inside, they ordered interval drinks, bought programmes and other merchandise and went to find their seats.
They held hands and smiled at each other as the lights dimmed and the overture started, ready for them to watch the action from the best seats money could buy.
Draco had never considered muggle entertainment worth anything up till now, but these muggles onstage held sway over a magic all their own. Lights highlighted their features as they talked and sang their way through a story that captured his attention as well, if not better than the Quidditch world cup final.
When one of the characters died in the second act, he found himself crying more than he had at the character that died in the first act, watching as her best friend held her, the subject of her unrequited love holding her as she slipped into oblivion and he sang the last word of the song alone.
At the end, he stood and applauded with the rest of audience as the cast took their bows, tears still falling down his face as the orchestra played reprises of the songs that had already tugged at his heartstrings once.
If someone had approached him a year and a half ago and told him he would be doing this, standing next to Hermione Granger in a muggle theatre, he would have had them admitted to St Mungos, yet here he was.
And he was happy, the happiest he had ever been in his life.
He looked across at Hermione, who was like him cheering and smiling through tears.
Eventually the actors left the stage and the lights in the auditorium came up. Hermione handed him a tissue, which he took and dried his eyes before following her out.
The throng of people moved steadily towards the exit, and they followed hands clasped, in the direction the car. Once outside, Hermione rubbed her shoulders against the cold. Draco spotted the car and started leading her towards it.
Suddenly loud bangs started to rip apart the night as people began to scream. Draco ducked, pulling Hermione down with him as he started to run towards the car. The Chauffeur ducked behind the car and opened the door for them. Draco jumped in and pulled Hermione after him as what he now realised were gunshots continued to echo through the night.
Hermione pulled the door shut and the driver entered through the passenger door and climbed over to the driver’s seat, professionalism forgotten.
“Drive!” shouted Draco as the man fumbled with the keys. Spurred on by his passenger the car roared into life and the driver sped away, luckily this car was like the Knight-bus with its traffic weaving abilities and they were soon away from the theatre and gunshots.
“Draco…” Came an almost unrecognisable voice from beside him. He looked across at Hermione, who was white as a sheet and sweating. Her voice was weak and quiet, and her hand was pressed on her stomach.
“Hermione, what’s wrong?” he asked suddenly panicked.
“I got shot.” She said glancing down at her hand and Draco saw the blood seeping out from between her fingers.
“St Mungos!” He shouted at the driver, “Take us to St Mungos now!”
“Oh, Merlin.” Said the driver, glancing at Hermione through his rear view mirror.
“Hurry!” Draco shouted before turning his attention back to Hermione. “Look at me Hermione, don’t close your eyes.” He stared at her face intently holding her unfocused gaze.
“Draco I’m scared.” She whispered. “I don’t think…”
“No, don’t you dare, we’ll get you to St Mungos and you’ll be fine, you’ll see.” He interrupted, taking his handkerchief out of his breast pocket and placing it over her hand as he struggled not to cry. “Move your hand.” She did so and he applied pressure to the wound as blood throbbed out of the hole left by the bullet. She put her hand back and he placed his over the top.
“I love you Draco.”
“Shhh you’re going to be fine.”
“You’re supposed to say it back.” She grimaced in pain as the car turned a corner.
“I love you too.” He forced the words out of his mouth as he and the driver shared a look via the rear view mirror.
“I can’t feel my legs.”
Draco too could feel his body starting to go numb with shock, this couldn’t be happening, this was not how this evening was supposed to end, they were supposed to be happy and live together forever.
He couldn’t lose her, this wasn’t supposed to happen. Was this his final punishment for all the wrong in his life?
Her eyelids started to droop.
“Hermione, listen to me, don’t go to sleep.” He begged.
“Talk to me.” She whispered.
“Well, this wasn’t how tonight was supposed to go.” He glanced at the driver who was looking determined at the road sweat beading on his forehead as he concentrated. “My plan didn’t exactly include all this blood and a trip to St Mungos.”
“What did it include?” she asked. He let out a feeble laugh as tears began to fall down his cheeks and onto their hands. He reached into his chest pocket and pulled out the black velvet box.
“This,” he opened the box to show a flawlessly clear 2 carat diamond set in a yellow and white gold double helix. “I was going to ask you to marry me.”
“You still can.” He looked into her eyes.
“It can wait.” She shook her head and he understood, she needed this something to hold on to, “Hermione Jane Granger, will you marry me?” fresh tears flowed down his cheeks as her eyelids fluttered. “Hermione, answer me!”
Her eyes opened again.
“Yes.” He took the ring out of the box and slid it onto her finger.
“Now you’ve got to stay with me, ‘cause we’ve got to have the best wedding ever followed by the cutest kids and grandkids on the planet.”
“Tell me about it?”
“The wedding?” she nodded, “Well you know the dress you didn’t try on in front of your mother, but went back later to try, I paid for it, as your wedding present, even if you didn’t marry Ron I wanted you to have it because one day I’s hoped you might wear it walking down the aisle towards me.”
“It was you…” she muttered.
“Yes it was me you saw through the shop window, and I’m so glad I went back, because you are going to have the dress of your dreams. We’ll get married somewhere nice, and we’ll have the cutest kids. If we have a boy we’ll call him Scorpius, and you can chose our first girls’ name.”
“Rose…” she whispered.
“Rose it is, and we’ll plant new Roses in the garden for each of our children and for each of their graduations, and our wedding anniversaries and our children’s weddings and you’ll be here for all of them.” He sobbed as the thought of not sharing these things with her made his heart break.
“We’re here Mr Malfoy, I’ll get the door and then run in for a healer.”
The door was opened and the man disappeared.
“You keep the pressure on that now, you hear?” he said as he got out of the car and bent back to pick her up.
She cried out in pain as he moved her.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” He said
He felt his knees give way and he knelt on the floor holding her in his arms.
A drop of rain hit her on the forehead, and he could hear it all around him.
“Don’t you fret Messieur Malfoy…” she said almost managing a smile.
“Don’t say that, you know how that song ends.” He pleaded with her as she continued.
“I don’t feel any pain…” she grimaced as she said it.
“Hermione please, you’re going to be fine.” She had to be.
“a little fall of rain…”
“You can’t leave me, I can’t lose you! Not now!” he cried desperately as he held her closer.
“can hardly hurt me now…” Everything else had faded to silence around him, all he could see was her face as the rain ran down it, mixing with his tears and hers.
“you’re here, that’s all I need to know…”
“Don’t make me do this without you.” He begged, barely able to see her though his tears
“and you will keep me safe…”
“I will always love you.” She put her left hand on his face and wiped some of his tears away. Her engagement ring glinting in the light as the blood began to dry around it.
“and you will keep me close…”
“Always.” He vowed
“and rain…” he replied, barely able to get the words out as he felt his throat constrict with emotion.
“will make the flowers…” She smiled softly as her eyes slid closed
“Will make the flowers grow.” He finished as her hand fell from his face, hitting the rain and blood soaked pavement with a soft thud.
“Hermione?” he sobbed, she didn’t reply and Draco felt the world crumble around him, he pulled her lifeless body into his chest and rocked as though rocking her to sleep.
He closed his eyes as tears poured down his face, healers ran out of the invisible door in front of him and stopped in their tracks. No one approached Draco as he cradled his dead fiancée in his arms. Cameras started to flash as daily prophet photographers and reporters arrived.
Harry and Ginny appeared with a crack out of nowhere, and stood still in shock for a moment until Ron and George appeared beside them. Ron leapt for Draco but Harry and George held him back, Ginny moved over to Draco and wrapped her arms around him, moving with him as they both cried and rocked.
A healer came over and checked the pulse at Hermione’s wrist, and started waving his wand, a look of determination on his face as he muttered spells and incantations, trying everything he could to save her. Another healer came over and put a hand on his shoulder before checking his watch and announcing her time of death.
Ginny cried harder and held them both tighter, Ron stopped struggling and sank to the pavement, his eyes wide and disbelieving. Harry moved away from him to kneel at Ginny’s side, placing his hand on her back he rubbed soft circles of comfort over her rain soaked robes at he too began to cry.
Draco was oblivious to it all.
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