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The Winds of Azkaban by Dark Whisper

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Format: Short story
Chapters: 3
Word Count: 20,396
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters: Hermione, Draco
Pairings: Draco/Hermione, Lucius/Narcissa

First Published: 02/29/2012
Last Chapter: 10/05/2013
Last Updated: 10/05/2013

Summary:




Beautiful Banner by Saranghae @ TDA.  Thank you!  Written for Ring_Felton97's Dramione Challenge.

It had been a long time since he'd been touched by a woman.  But this... this was something different.  Different because it went beyond the sexual realm to a place where a soul is comforted and given peace.
 
 


Chapter 3: Of Memories to be Saved
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Hermione Granger was in a state of half-sleep with the smell of a sickly smoke stirring her conscience… the kind of smoke that the senses can tell is attached to raging flames.

Was the place on fire?

Her senses screamed at her to get up and to get out, but she was asleep, trying to figure out a way to wake up!

~

After she had cleaned out her office at the Daily Prophet and owled her resignation, Hermione had gone to Knockturn Alley with money in hand.

She had wiped her tears and bravely accepted the events of the day.

In her mind, Draco had been Obliviated and no longer knew that he loved her. He would not remember their time together… how she showed him great care and concern for him when she lovingly brushed through his long white-blond hair.

He would not remember the time she gave him an apple or even heat when he was so desperate for it.

He would not remember how they would have such wonderful deep conversations about anything and everything. He would not remember how they had connected emotionally.

Nor would he recall pulling her close, kissing her fully on the lips, or telling her that he loved her.

And if he couldn’t remember it, neither would she.

So with a brave and heavy heart, she approached the age-old residential flat and swallowed hard before knocking on the solid English oak door.

Her heart had been racing, but she wasn’t exactly sure why.

She had resolved to the fact that this is what she needed to do. She couldn’t bear seeing him look at her with disgust, knowing he had loved her once. And she had lost him.

Obliviation was for the best. It was the only way to avoid such agonizing heartbreak.

But the little hairs on the back of her neck were standing on end. Her heart was pounding and she thought she felt little beads of sweat on her forehead.

Something felt wrong.

She eyed a movement to her right.

Two rather large men were eyeing her every move.

Had Draco been right in his warning? Had the witch sold her already… even before rendering her services? Hermione was well known after all. The witch could’ve commanded a high price for her.

Hermione tried not to panic, but she reached for her wand just in case she needed it.

But the men walked passed her, even excusing themselves as they passed.

“Excuse us, Miss.” One said as they squeezed passed her in the thin pathway.

Now she just felt paranoid. They seemed to be kind to her as they went along their way.

She raised her hand again to knock on the door, but couldn’t bring herself to do it.

“Find me.” She heard him say in her mind. “I want you to be there for me, because I know no one else will.”

His words resonated in her mind. What if no one was there for him? He would have to be told of his parents’ deaths yet again. How would he take being in an empty manor alone?

“I will fall in love with you again.” She remembered his voice trying to convince her.

Her heart raced. Was she doing the right thing?

But just as she was about to turn away, the door opened on its own accord and an old great-grandmotherly looking small witch invited her in.

“I’ve been expecting you. Do come in. Come in.” She greeted with an friendly old voice as she gestured her welcome. “I’ll fix you right up, deary. But I do believe a potion is much safer than being Obliviated. Don’t you agree? Hmm?” The old woman questioned kindly. “I’ve been working on it ever since your first inquiry.”

Hermione stepped in, feeling a bit curious and relieved at the possibility of an alternative solution.

“I could Obliviate you of course, but my specialty is potions.”

Hermione couldn’t help but agree. A potion was much safer and more precise on the timeframe to be erased. Since the woman had been working on it so long, she knew that it was now brewed to maturity and fully ready for her consumption.

Looking in and around the old woman’s living quarters, Hermione felt more and more at ease with her decision.

The place was small and cozy with a rather low ceiling. Behind the woman stood a library of very old and well-used Potion Master Encyclopedias and an entire apothecary of ingredients that went floor to ceiling in small labeled wooden drawers. Hermione took note that the woman was certainly well organized and well-stocked with all sorts of magical herbs and elements.

“Did you decide on how many days you wanted to go back in time, sweetheart? Hmm?” She said as she stirred the contents of what appeared to be in an ancient cauldron.

Hermione knew the answer. She had thought about it at great length.

“I’d like to go back a thousand and one days, Madam.”

“Are you absolutely certain? The dosage depends on it. Hmm?”

Hermione thought about the date. She would remember being a reporter at the Daily Prophet. She would remember seeing him in Azkaban. But she would not remember falling for him or watching his parent’s deaths.

“Yes. I’m sure. And here.” She said as she reached for her money. “For your kind services. It’s all that we agreed.”

“Ah, I’m so very happy that you remembered.” The old woman said meekly as she took the money and stuffed it into a vase as if to hide it.

Using a wooden ladle, she began pouring her custom-made brew into a rather large glass, carefully measuring for the intended result.

“Whenever you are ready, deary.” She said handing Hermione the potion that would have her forgetting that she was ever in love with Draco Malfoy.

“You will fall into a deep sleep.” The witch warned. “My little padded bench will softly catch you and when you wake up, you will go back to being happy once again.”

Hermione looked at the bench that reminded her of a church pew. It had been fitted with a soft homely quilt and a fluffy pillow to match.

Everything was going to be alright. This witch would never sell her… or so she thought.

~

Draco had been to Knockturn Alley searching every underground back-alley potion maker, every creepy magical shop, and dark and dank residential stairway. He visited every known shady acquaintance of his father’s looking for any sign or clue of Hermione’s whereabouts.

The looks of shock and fear of those who recognized him as Lucius’s son were plentiful and obvious and he used their fear to his advantage, getting into places that others would never have access to.

His long white-blond hair served as an effective visual reminder of the proud and ruthless Lucius Malfoy.

They thought Draco was purposefully making his presence known in Knockturn Alley… to send a clear message that he was out of Azkaban and was on a mission. They thought that mission was to find loyal Death Eaters, to redeem favors due, and to exact revenge as he saw fit.

The one thing that Draco still had was his last name and surprisingly enough to him, it had not lost its perception of power or potency.

But no matter… diabolical schemes and revenge were the last things on his mind. In fact, the true reason why he was there would’ve had them all thinking he’d truly lost his mind in prison as well as defiled the noble Malfoy name.

Many would consider him a Blood Traitor of the worst kind, so he never let on as to who he was looking for. But they knew he was searching for someone… and it made them all feel nervous and fearful.


He had started his search for Hermione as soon as he left the Ministry with his wand.

A host of eagerly awaiting Daily Prophet cameramen flashed their cameras as reporters swarmed to him and immediately asked the question everyone was dying to hear the answer to…

“Do you remember serving time in Azkaban?”

He gave them only one searing response. “Get out of my way!”

He took three steps and just before apparating away from them, he heard one of them say…

“Did you see that? He looked just like his father.”

~

Draco searched and searched for her to no success. Exhausted, he was about to give up hope. He had to accept the fact that he was too late to save her memory.  The sun had just set under the horizon and it was getting dark.

He walked slowly down a tiny residential pathway dimly lit by an occasional gas lamp and placed a hand on the old cold brick wall and leaned against it for a moment.

He began to feel sick with worry that someone had altered her memory and sold her. He had heard of such things when he was younger. Things like that did happen and he was now quite worried that he may never see her again.

“Where are you, love?” He whispered to the air. “Tell me where you are.”

He felt some kind of connection to her, but could not pinpoint her whereabouts.  He was so very close, but there were just too many places to look.

But just then the faint sound of breaking glass was heard.

He turned toward the noise and saw two men rush into a low level apartment. They nearly broke the door down, which caused it to bounce open and remain slightly ajar.

Draco silently moved toward the door to find out what was happening. Could this be the place where she went to be Obliviated?

Hermione drank the old woman’s potion and a few seconds later, she dropped the glass to the floor having forgotten that she was holding it.

She saw two men run into the room. They looked vaguely familiar.

But then her heavy eyes closed and she slowly slumped to the bench that was waiting for her.

Another second later and Hermione had fallen unconscious onto the pillow.

“Is she ready yet?” One man said. “Is she ready for the taking?”

“That she is, boys. And she will fetch a high price.” The witch quickly lost her great-grandmotherly-like demeanor.

“How much do you think?”

“For this one… thousands of galleons.”

Wand drawn, Draco’s pulse quickened. Hermione was about to be taken and sold.

He boldly entered the room, making his presence known much to the surprise of the three.

“Who do you think you are?” One of the boys spit out.

But before Draco could say a thing, the witch stepped in front of her sons with her arms outstretched, stopping them.

“This, my boys… is the son of Lucius Malfoy and you will not disrespect him in this house!” The witch spat at the men ready for a fight, but she softened her tone in speaking to the young Malfoy.

“My condolences in the loss of your father… and your mother.” She bowed her respect. “Word has it that you’ve been looking for someone?” She asked curiously.

“And you have found her,” Draco said with a sneer and all of his inherited haughtiness looking at Hermione’s unconscious form. “She is mine.” He commanded with authority.

“What would you want with a Mudblood girl?” She huffed.

“Revenge. And it shall be sweet with this one.” He said grabbing her.

“She came to me wanting to be Obliviated… but smartly took a potion instead.”

“Well I need her to remember. Reverse the potion now,” he said through gritted teeth.

“My potions are powerful for a reason," the witch said with pride. “Her memories won’t come back.”

“Bezoar then.” He spoke of the nasty substance that had the ability to draw potion out and fight its effects. “It will at least stop the progression of the memory loss.”

When the witch hesitated, Draco grew frustrated. “Don’t tell me you don’t have any in this place! Use it now and I’ll take what I can get of her memories!” He growled.

The witch found it with ease. She bent down to Hermione, slipped the substance into her mouth, and clamped Hermione’s teeth down into it. She didn’t want to do it, but would do whatever Draco wished. From past experience, she knew better than to make a Malfoy angry.

“How long will she be out?” Draco asked as if her unconscious state was irritating.

“It’s hard to tell. It would’ve been thirteen hours with the potion, but adding Bezoar will probably extend the time, but not beyond three days.”

Draco reached into his wallet and poured the monetary contents onto the witch’s table.

“For the Bezoar and your silence.”

It was more than generous and the witch bowed her respectful thanks… But her sons had more money in mind.

“That’s not nearly enough for my silence,” the older one stepped up to challenge.

"Or mine," the other son added.

But the witch stepped between them yet again, horrified. “No!”

“Thinking of blackmailing me, are you?!” Draco sneered, ready for a fight.

“No! They didn’t mean it. Forgive them. They do not understand. Please. I beg you.”  She pleaded, clearly fearful of Lucius and hoping that Draco would be more forgiving. “Have mercy. They know not.”

“Well you’d better teach them or I will be sending my condolences to you on the loss of your sons.”

“Of course.” The woman humbly agreed as Draco took hold of Hermione’s arm, seemingly dragging her uncaringly into the alley.

But once out of sight, Draco lovingly picked her up and apparated them both to just outside Malfoy Manor.

~

It had been three long years since he’d seen his ancestral home… now fully and completely owned by him, his parents now long dead. He was carefully carrying in someone they never would’ve accepted.

But as he stood at the very gate holding Hermione carefully in his arms, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to set foot into it, but he really didn’t have anywhere else to go.

He carried her down the walkway flanked by familiar tall shrubs through the magical gate and as he approached the front door, he uttered the age-old password that opened the door to him.

And with much reluctance and hesitation, carried his love through the threshold of his Malfoy Manor.

He laid her on a luxurious bed in the nicest and largest of the many guest rooms.

Thoughts crossed his mind to take her to his bed, but he decided it wouldn’t be proper of him. He had no idea what she would remember when she finally woke and he didn’t want to assume anything.

He stayed by her side, stroking her hand… her forehead… her long brown hair.

For a long time he kept watch and stared at her. She looked so peaceful.

He wondered how much she would remember. His future actions would lie heavily on it.

If she couldn’t remember loving him, then he would try to win her back. With painstaking patience, he would try somehow, someway to slowly build her trust, show her that he was a changed man, and show her how much he had now loved her. However shocking that truth might come to her, he hoped… prayed that in the end that someday she would grow to love him back.

It would be a miracle, he knew. But he would try.

Tomorrow was a new day, his first full day of freedom. He needed to figure out his next move. Do business with Gringott’s Bank. Get his hair cut. Eat something.

His stomach now growled at him with fury. In his frantic search for Hermione, he’d forgotten that he could now eat whatever he wanted. And he knew that there would be no food waiting for him in the grand kitchen. But he was very hungry and went looking anyway.

As soon as he did, he couldn’t help but notice how deathly quiet it was.

There was no sound.

Even the clocks were no longer ticking.

The furniture and mirrors had been covered with huge white dusty sheets.

He took a quiet tour of the place through the many rooms. Draco knew there was no one there but the two of them, but he wanted to survey the place anyway.

The Dark Lord was not in the parlor by the fireplace.

Death Eaters were not lurking around waiting for orders.

Bellatrix was not walking about the place as if it was hers.

His father was not giving him advice on how to murder Dumbledore.

His mother was not filling her water glass, disguising her Firewhiskey.

Hermione wasn’t on his living room floor bleeding from her torturous wounds.

And the High Council was not in the dining room witnessing a murder on the table in front of them.

As he walked passed the dining room and all its horrors, it reminded him of what he wanted to do as soon as he got back home. He wanted to burn the table to ashes. He certainly could never enjoy a meal on it again. It’s past was too far sick and disgusting… the thought of it making him ill.

He took out his wand and used powerful magic to lift the extremely heavy solid mahogany table and proceeded to take it outside to the back yard of the estate.

“Incendio.” Draco cast the spell and the grand antique table that easily sat twenty people was set ablaze with fire raging.

He took a moment’s pause, staring into the beastly flames, wanting his memory of the Death Eater gatherings to incinerate along with it.

“It’s over,” he spoke to the flames. But then he second-guessed that notion. “Is it truly over?”  It was so hard to believe.

Would he be able to truly live free of his past and be able to live in this place… a loveless, heartless place of darkness that threatened to swallow him? Would he be able to live amongst the memories that had become his nightmares?

Walking back into the manor, he could not recall a time when the place had ever been so empty.

Shouldn’t there be friends to celebrate his homecoming?

Blaise wouldn’t come. He married Pansy behind Draco’s back and would only expect an icy welcome.

While in the wine cellar, Draco grabbed two bottles of Malfoy’s finest and brought them to the living room.

It was his birthday and he was now a free man. Shouldn’t he be celebrating?

He thought of Hermione upstairs sleeping off the memory potion, but it quickly changed to the memory of her lying on the living room floor in pain because of his twisted Aunt Bellatrix. Oh, how he despised the woman for carving the word “Mudblood” into Hermione’s flesh.. He hated her for it. 

Draco's thoughts of Hermione changed a bit then, feeling as though he would never deserve to be loved by her. Maybe he should leave her alone so that she could find love with someone else… someone that would not bring her shame or torment.
 
He was, after all, a former Death Eater and now former Azkaban scum. Why would she want to spend five minutes with him?

He lit the grand fireplace with a wave of his wand and lied down on the sheet-covered sofa, no longer concerned with the wine.

He felt the heat radiate in the room… like the heat she’d given to all of Azkaban.

In the silence, Draco wondered if he were to die there, how long it would take before someone would notice. At least if he had died in prison, someone would’ve found him right away.

His thoughts had grown quite dark while waiting for Hermione to wake.

Draco was baffled.  How did everything turn around so unexpectedly?

Suddenly, she was losing her memory and he wasn’t. How did that happen? Why did Fortnight’s Patronus show up at the last second to alter the chain of events that had started three years earlier?

What happened?

~

Draco’s lawyers had received word that their high profile, high-dollar client did not wish to be Obliviated. And so as soon as they heard it from a trusted source, they began working on it immediately, as they knew that time would be running out quickly.

Using Obliviation as part of a prison sentence was highly controversial. There were plenty of members of the Wizengamot who opposed it for a variety of reasons, but there was not enough of them to overturn the sentence. So they would have to go to court and plead his case on his behalf.

It was not an easy task.

The final vote came on the very morning of his release.

His lawyers were desperate. They needed to do something drastic, something convincing. And so with great care, they took an old document with Draco’s signature and magically manipulated a letter that conjured his handwriting.

They knew that there would be no time for the document to be analyzed for fraud. The shortness of time was actually to their client’s advantage at that point. The very hour was at hand.

“Do you have any last statements before final voting commences?” Ramses Fortnight, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot bellowed for all to hear.

But just before Draco’s lawyers could answer, an owl had entered the court through an open window high above everyone.

It startled some in their seats as it silently swooped in and dropped a letter to Malfoy’s lawyers. As soon as it dropped the post, it flew out the same window in which it came.

They quickly opened it and looked completely shocked as if the letter was unexpected.

Ramses Fortnight knew better, knew it was a farce. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. But he allowed the spectacle because he was actually against Obliviation.

But he was against it only because he wanted the young Malfoy to pay for his crimes… and remember it.

“It is a letter from Azkaban and it is signed by the defendant, Draco Malfoy. Permission to read it to the court?”

“Permission granted.” Fortnight looked at his pocketwatch. Time was of the essence.

“To the people of the Wizengamot,
I, Draco Malfoy, am guilty of my crimes and have paid my debt to society by spending the last three years behind bars. Obliviation was to be an act of mercy, but I humbly and sincerely decline such an act and request a revised sentence that removes the Obliviation requirement. I am quite remorseful and I ask that you allow justice to be fully served by allowing me to remember my incarceration as a reminder for the rest of my life.     
With all due respect,
Draco Malfoy”

Ramses Fortnight stood to his feet.  There was no more time for discussion. 

“It is my opinion that should Draco Malfoy want to remember his time in Azkaban, then in the name of Albus Dumbledore… so be it! However, there must be a majority vote to revise a sentence. All in favor of removing Merciful Obliviation, vote now,” Fortnight demanded.

It was obvious that an overwhelming majority voted ‘yes’. So without hesitation or an official vote count, Ramses Fortnight completed one circular motion around his head with his wand, sending his Patronus to Azkaban that would release Draco Malfoy with his memory intact.

With the abrupt exit of the court, he stepped up to Malfoy’s lawyers who were nearly finished gathering their personal effects.

“It’s a good thing that I wanted that little Malfoy git to keep his memory of his time in Azkaban… because I know that letter is about as credible as the Daily Prophet. No Malfoy has ever been remorseful. There must be another reason. Besides, no owl can get passed the Winds of Azkaban. With the exception of an approved Patronus, nothing can. A better lawyer would’ve known that. That letter is as fake as a Malfoy’s remorse.”

The lawyers responded smartly. “That parchment was in fact signed by our client.”

“Ah, but did he pen the rest of it?” He eyed them. “No matter, I suppose. Justice be done.” Fortnight left them then… half-pleased to have been a part of it.

~

Hermione woke to the smell of something burning. Her internal alarms were telling her to wake up and get out.  She struggled to come to consciousness. She was trying to connect dots, find her way out of a labyrinth, and hope for a door that wouldn’t be locked.

There was a fire somewhere… fire like the Battle of Hogwarts. She screamed at herself. “Wake up!”

When she was finally able to open her eyes, she immediately looked for flames.

Hermione didn't know what time it was, but a window revealed that it was pitch black outside except for the glow of a raging fire.  And whatever heap was burning outside, thankfully, it was not connected to the building that she was in.

But where was she? She couldn’t remember how she got there.

She was groggy and her head was pounding slightly. The door to the room was open and she saw no one, which made her believe that she wasn’t being held against her will.

The place seemed cold… not the temperature, but the feel of it. The place seemed oddly familiar. Had she been there before?

“Think, Hermione, think,” she silently told herself.

As she moved through the place, trying to find her way out, she recalled a memory that had her heart racing and her skin crawling.

Malfoy Manor?

She bravely moved down the huge bridal staircase, each step quicker than the last.

She rounded a corner, seeing the flickering glow of a fireplace. Someone was there.

Hermione could see a door that looked very much like an escape route. If she could just get passed the one room without being seen, she could possibly walk to freedom. But who was there? She had to know.

It was dark in the manor, but the glow of the fireplace was drawing her near.

She stepped into the room with grave caution.

The long hair of Lucius Malfoy was seen and she nearly panicked. That was definitely not someone that she wanted to see.

But something told her that was wrong. It couldn’t be Lucius Malfoy.

Lucius Malfoy was dead.

And with that thought, another came to her. So was Narcissa Malfoy.

She saw them die and then she went to Azkaban with a Pensieve to show…

“Draco?” she asked carefully.

His head snapped to her.  He was shocked to see her up and walking. He expected her to be down for many more hours.

“Yes. It is I,” he said quietly. “Are you... feeling alright?”  He abruptly stood from his seat, full of great concern for her that shown in his eyes.

“I smelled something burning and I… that’s what woke me up. It was a struggle.”

She saw his eyes blink and noticed he held hope in them, but she wasn’t sure why.

“My dining room table… I’m burning it in my back yard. I told you why once. Do you remember?” 

Hermione concentrated on finding a memory. She knew it was there somewhere.

“Someone was murdered on it.”  She swallowed hard.

Draco was elated. She remembered.

“Wait.” Hermione recalled that Draco was behind bars. He was convicted and sentenced to three years and then upon his release he was to be Obliviated. It was all coming back to her. All except the last week or so.

Her heart began to race as the memories began surfacing in waves.  They were there, but it was as if the potion re-routed them somehow and she had to concentrate. 

Draco knew that she was connecting more pieces of their puzzle. He hoped beyond hope that she would remember everything. It would be too good to be true.

“You were to be Obliviated, right? How much do you remember?” she finally spoke up and asked him.

“Everything.”

“Everything?” she repeated as if it were incredible. "But how?"

He stepped closer to her then… but still not closing the unwanted gap between them.

“I'm not sure exactly myself.  But that doesn't concern me as much as what you remember.”

Draco thought his heart might jump through his chest. 

Did she love him?

“I remember that I had made arrangements with a witch in Knockturn Alley to wipe out my memory because…” She stopped there. She knew why, but did not want to voice it.

"Because you couldn't stand the thought of me looking at you with hatred and loathing as I once did," he answered for her.
 
"Yes," she acknowledged in a small, fragile voice.

But she wanted to cry for the way he was looking at her now... as a man in love.

"I would make an Unbreakable Vow with you to never look at you like that again."  He said as his desire to pull her to him grew to an overwhelming need.  "Because your visits in that awful prison... were the best things that ever happened to me."

His eyes grew sad as thoughts of being unworthy of her seeped into his core.

"I fell in love with you in that place," he continued.  "And somehow you fell in love with me.  But if you don't remember that part of it, then I want you to leave here so that you can find someone that is worthy of you... because I know that I am not." 

He closed his eyes briefly and when he opened them, he looked into hers once more to ask one final question.

"Do you remember... loving me at all?"

Hermione thought she was going to melt into a puddle of nothing right onto the floor.

A loving smile crept onto her face as she gave her answer.

"I remember," she replied as tears of joy squeezed out of her happy face.

Draco had to restrain himself with all the gentlemanly demeanor that he'd been taught all his life.  He wanted to tackle her to the floor and devour her, but he dare not.  He wanted to take great care with her.  Their relationship was still new and he didn't want to mess it up by going too far, too soon. He would be patient with her and allow her to set the pace. 

They stood there looking at each other out of habit.  There had been bars between them for three long years, keeping them apart.  But no longer.

He remembered kissing her fully that morning while still in Azkaban, but she didn't  For her, the memory would never resurface.  It was gone.
 
"I don't know what is going to happen to us, but I sure would like to try with you.  It won't be easy.  People won't understand."

“I've been waiting a thousand days for you to touch me," she confessed with hope welling in her little heart.  "A thousand days waiting for what I feel inside to become real to me.  And right now, the only person's opinion that I care about is yours and if you feel the same way."

He took a step closer to her.  Then another.  With every step, her heart beat faster and faster.

He held up his hand with outstretched fingers.  She brought hers up as well.  And in the next breath, their hands laced together.

With her free hand, she caressed his face and he leaned into her touch, savoring it.  He thought of the three dreadful years of nothing but a concrete bed, cement walls, and stone floor that he had endured only to come out and be touched by something so warm and soft and tender.  It was the most amazing contrast he'd ever experienced.  It made him nearly cry from the difference.

Soon they practically practically leaped for each other, crashing, wrapping their arms around each other and holding on tight with a passion they had never known before that moment.  

His head bent low as he pressed his lips to hers… a soft sensual kiss full of promise and wanting.

It made her knees buckle underneath her as the feeling of love swelled in her heart and touched her soul. 
 
He caught her up in his arms, never wanting to let go of the most precious thing he’d ever held. Holding her close, he slowly made his way to the sofa and peeled the white sheet from it. 

As he sat down, she wrapped her arms around his neck, wanting to be held by him.

Her hands roamed across his chest to his shoulders and then to the back of his head.  She loved the feel of him... to actually get to touch him finally after years of not being able to do so.  She was only permitted to brush out his hair once.  That was it.  She had felt so deprived.

But that was only a memory now.  Everything had changed.  He was now free and they were allowed to touch and kiss and feel each another.

And oh, how her touch felt so good to him... so delicate but powerful at the same time, binding them together. 

Who knew such wonders existed?

As they sat entwined together, breathing each other in, Draco began to get worried yet again and finally spoke.

“Stay with me?" he asked humbly as he pressed his forehead to hers.  "Give me the chance of a thousand more days to show you how much you mean to me?

She gave him a shy smile. 

"Besides, who will brush through this hideous long hair?" he teased.

She let out a soft giggle, the sound of it melting his heart.

"How will I sleep if you don't read the Daily Prophet to me first?"

He wrapped his arms around her tightly as she nuzzled into his chest.

"Who will pick  apples with me in the orchard so that we can eat baked apples with ice cream?"

"Ice cream?" she repeated as she sat up a bit, her hands lovingly finding his face once more.  "Oh, it's your birthday and you must be hungry."

"I haven't actually tasted anything for three years, Granger.  'Hungry' doesn't quite describe my craving for food at the moment."  He flashed a rare grin.  "How about your place?  Does it have food?  I'm not quite ready to face the Magical world yet."

There would be talk of how it all happened… the Patronus stopping the Obliviation order, how she was nearly sold and her memory wiped out, how he had found her and brought her home. But that would come later in a conversation after he'd had his fill and could eat no more.  It was another heart-felt chat of how he felt when he thought he'd lost her.  And then, the subject moved to his mother.

“Do you recall the message that my mother gave you? About how I was right?” 

“She said something about Love. That the answer was love?” she questioned, unsure of the cryptic message Narcissa Malfoy had told her.

“Yes. Mother and I would talk at length about philosophical things such as what the most important things in life were. I guessed that the greatest thing of all was Love, but she argued with me, saying that it was Family Loyalty. Because even if all of your power and possessions were taken away, the only thing that you would have left is family. But she changed her mind in the end, telling me that I was right.”

Hermione listened intently as he explained the last communication he had with his mother.

“It was not difficult to figure out why she had changed her mind in the last few moments of her life. Because what happens when your family is taken away as well? All you really have left… is your love for them.  In her jail cell, that was all that she had.  It was the one thing that could not be taken away from her.”

Hermione's heart could not help but be a bit broken.  For she knew the woman would've never approved of her. 

But she also knew the man lying beside her, wrapped around her like a vine, was finally and completely free to love her.  And right then, that was all that mattered.  
 
~

Draco’s lawyers made an appointment with him within his first week of freedom.

They couldn’t help but notice his new lady friend that Draco insisted not leave the room.

As they sat together, joined hand in hand, the lawyers informed them of all that had transpired that eventually ended his Obliviation orders.

It had been the Warden that informed them of their client’s wishes.

“Of course,” Hermione gasped with elation remembering something he had said to her when she had brought heat to all of Azkaban.

“If you are helping to keep Death away from my prison, then you are a friend of mine, Hermione Granger. And just so’s you know… I take care of my friends.” 
 

 




Author’s Note:

Well, there you have it… the end of this Dramione spell challenge. I do hope you liked it.
Please tell me your thoughts. My apologies for taking so long, but this one was tough for me to figure out. I didn’t want it to be too predictable. I hope I didn’t disappoint.


Thanks so very much for all that have Reviewed so far.
You were truly the fuel to the fire that held me to finishing it.


Please review…

Humbly yours,
Dark Whisper



** Now... off to write more of Delilah's Black Book of Poems **

Edited for "less fluff" at the end. Although, I do still think it's still a bit fluffy. Oh, well. :)
 


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