A/N: Sorry for the delay with this chapter... I haven't been feeling very well lately. I've been sick and I've been sad (with any particular reason) and I've been having some troubles with finishing this chapter... But here it is now...
Chapter 39 – Reunions
“Face it Hermione… it’s over…” Mike sneered.
She turned her head to look up at him; he wasn’t smiling or smirking at her. Just staring.
Everything happened very quickly. Hermione closed her eyes and the worst thought ever struck her… she’d never ever see Becky’s beautiful face again. She pictured her precious girl in front of her, the fiery red hair, the chocolate brown eyes and the adorable freckles on her nose. She could almost hear Becky’s laughter echo in her mind… the laughter that usually made her feel all warm inside, now made her feel completely numb. She’d never hear it again… Who would tuck her little princess into bed at night? Who’d tell her stories about silver ponies?
“Too bad that our relationship has to end like this,” he said and pointed the wand at Hermione. “Asesin-”
It seemed like eternity from when Mike started to say the word, but it wasn’t even a second until Hermione heard a familiar voice shout, “Expelliarmus!”
She didn’t dare open her eyes to see what was going on and who the voice belonged to. She was shaking like a leaf in the wind, because she was so scared; she fell to the floor and couldn’t move. She heard people screaming, there were more then two voices… They were fighting, shouting at each other and casting spells. She opened her eyes and saw nothing but flashes in red and green fly across the room; she closed her eyes again.
Suddenly a loud crack was heard and soon Hermione felt a hand on her shoulder…
“Hermione, are you alright?” The first familiar voice she had heard asked; she slowly opened her eyes again and saw the face of Neville Longbottom in front of her. Behind him, she saw Tonks and Alicia Spinnet. among others.
“Neville,” she whispered and broke out crying again. She sat up and let him take her in his arms; she was still shaking in shock. He held her with his arms tightly wrapped around her for a while; he said consoling words and told her that everything would be okay. She opened her eyes, looked over his shoulder, and saw how Tonks and Alicia were busy moving away the door and the chest of drawers that was on top of Harry. It crossed her mind that Mike was nowhere to be seen in the room; she pulled away from Neville. “Where is he? Where’s Mike?”
“He disappeared,” Neville replied and looked slightly ashamed.
“Oh no…” Hermione whispered. “What happened?”
“I used the Expelliarmus curse and his wand flew away then Tonks hit him with ‘Petrificus totalus’, but nothing happened; he grabbed his wand again and shot a forbidden curse at Eric,” Neville explained and nodded his head in the direction of a man lying in a pool of his own blood on the floor at the other side of the room. He was being taken cared of by two aurors. “I tried to cast a curse at him, and then he just disappeared with a loud crack”
“But-” Hermione was interrupted by someone behind her.
“Longbottom, we have to get Malfoy to St Mungo’s now!” a male’s voice said. “It doesn’t look very good.”
Hermione’s heart stopped beating for a second, then she turned around quickly and crawled over to where Draco was lying, “What’s wrong with him?” she asked worriedly and looked up at the two male aurors sitting on their knees beside Draco.
“We don’t really know; we’ve both tried the first aid spell but nothing happens…”
Hermione took his hand and looked down at his pale face with teary eyes, “No,” she whispered and horrible memories filled her mind…
The moon was shining brightly and the stars as well; people were fighting, bleeding, screaming and crying. There were dead bodies everywhere... The before, so beautiful meadow outskirts of Little Hangleton had been turned into a battlefield. In the shadows, under a big oak Ronald Weasley was sitting on his knees beside his father Arthur; Hermione was standing right behind Ron with a hand on his shoulder.
“Take care of your mother for me Ronald.”
“No, daddy; please, don’t leave us! We can help you… I can take you to St Mungo’s now.”
“It’s too late son.”
“No!” Ron exclaimed angrily. “Why are you giving up so easily?”
“Take good care of Hermione; cherish her and whatever you do… don’t hurt her! You will never find a better girl to make your wife…”
“But I want you to be there at the wedding!! You are going to be there!”
“I’ll be watching you Ron,” Arthur whispered with a very weak voice, before he closed his eyes and drifted into an eternal sleep.
“Noooo,” Ron screamed and broke out crying. He bent over and cried at his father’s chest. “No, no, no!”
“Ron, we can’t stay here, we have to find Harry,” Hermione sobbed and pulled Ron’s shirt. “Come on!”
Ron got to his feet and looked into Hermione’s eyes, “Why…” he whispered. Hermione gave him a long and warm hug. “I don’t know Ron… I don’t know…” she whispered in his ear.
He pulled away from her and looked i to her hazel eyes again, “You’re right, we have to find Harry and that damn Bellatrix; I’ll kill her for what she did to my father!”
With their wands ready, they searched the dangerous grounds for Harry, their best friend and the only one who could save the “good side” from going under. They found him under a tree talking to a badly hurt Ginny, “Everything will be just fine Gin, I promise you.”
“Ginny!” Both Ron and Hermione exclaimed. “Are you alright?”
“I’ll survive,” she whispered and gave them a weak smile; anyone who knew her could see that she was faking and that she really was in a whole lot of pain. “You tell him to go and find Voldemort so that we can put an end to this madness,” she continued quietly and looked at Harry.
“I don’t want to leave her alone, will you-” Harry began and looked up at Hermione.
“Yes, I’ll stay with her,” Hermione replied.
Harry and Ron had only taken a few steps away from the two girls, when they heard Lord Voldemort’s voice behind them, “Say good night Harry… Avada Kedavra!”
It felt like eternity but it all happened in one second, Ron and Harry turned around quickly… and when Ron saw the green flashes rushing towards Harry, he threw himself in front of his friend and the flashes hit him right in the chest.
Voldemort was laughing; he thought he’d won the battle. He thought that Harry was dead, but when the blinding green light slowly disappeared, Harry was still standing there. Ron’s dead body was lying in front of his fee;, the anger and hatred he held against Voldemort was shining in his eyes as he raised his wand and pointed it at Voldemort…
“Good nigh””, he grunted. His arm was shaking out of anger, but he made sure that his wand pointed at Voldemort all the time.
“What…” Was the only thing the shocked Voldemort could say before Harry shouted, “Avada Kedavra!!”
Green flashes shot out from his wand and hit Lord Voldemort right in the chest with such power that Voldemort stumbled backwards a few steps before he fell dead to the ground.
Silence filled the atmosphere.
Everybody stopped with what they were doing, as if they knew what had just happened. Hermione was shaking from shock as she crawled over to Ron’s body and grabbed his cold hand.
“No… please no… Why Ron?” She sobbed. “Why did you have to do it?”
Death eaters were caught and sent to Azkaban, some of them received the Dementor’s kiss right there on the battlefield. Ginny and the other people who were badly hurt were taken to St Mungo’s. Harry stood paralyzed, just staring blankly in front of himself, Remus Lupin walked up to him and took him away…
Hermione pushed away all the people who tried to take her away from Ron; she refused to move; she refused to believe that he was dead… that he would never open his eyes again…
Tears filled Hermione’s eyes quickly; this could not happen to her again. She wouldn’t be able to deal with the loss of another loved one. She watched how they used a spell to lift Draco from the ground; it made her lose her grip on his hand… Then they apparated away. “No,” was all she could say as she stared at the empty spot where two aurors and had been standing with Draco just seconds ago.
“Come here Mione; I’ll take you to St Mungo’s,” Neville said with a calm voice and reached out his hand towards her.
“No,” she whispered again and couldn’t fight the tears any longer.
“Hermione; I’m sure Draco will be alright; come with me to St Mungo’s. You need to be examined.”
“I almost… and Ron, he’s dead… and now Draco. Why me? Why me? I don’t want to be alone…” she sobbed and buried her head in her hands.
Hermione had no clue what happened after that; she must have fainted because everything went black in front of her and the next thing she knew she was lying somewhere comfortable; waking up to the sound of someone reading her a fairytale. Slowly she opened her eyes and saw the blurry sight of a red haired little girl sitting at the edge of her bed.
“…and then the beautiful princess woke up—“ Becky stopped talking when she noticed that her mother had opened her eyes. “Mummy!! You’re awake!”
“Becky,” was all the teary eyed Hermione could say, then she looked around in the room and noticed that her parents were there as well. “Mum, dad,” she whispered and couldn’t hold back her tears.
“Don’t cry mummy: you’re alright now,” Becky said and patted her mother’s hand. “I was telling you a story I came up with on my own and when the princess woke up you woke up too!” the little girl continued with a bright smile on her lips, Hermione noticed a gap between her teeth. “Look mum, I dropped one of my front teeth yesterday,” she exclaimed and smiled even wider. “The tooth fairy gave me a galleon for it; I want to pull out all my teeth and give them to her so I can become rich!”
“Becky, calm down a little bit; you’re mother is tired,” Mrs. Granger said and lifted the little girl up in her arms.
“How are you feeling Hermione?” her father asked.
“I don’t really know,” Hermione replied and dried a tear away from her cheek.
Lydia smiled at her daughter, “We talked to one of the healers earlier and he said that the baby’s condition is pretty critical; but they said that he’ll be fine if you—“
“Did you say he?” Hermione asked; her mother shook her head quickly. “You said he’ll be fine, am I having a boy?” she continued, but her mother made a motion with her hand that said my lips are sealed. “Oh my god, I’m having a little boy, I can’t wait to tell Dra--” Hermione stopped in the middle of his name. “Where is Draco?”
“He said he had to talk to Harry; he’ll be right back I guess,” Mr. Granger said. “You should really tell him to go home and get some sleep; he’s been by your side for two days
“I’ve been asleep for two days?”
“Three days; but Draco himself wasn’t awake the first day… but those three days have been good for both you and the baby,” Mrs. Granger said calmly. “You’ve been through so much lately.”
Hermione didn’t know what to say; she was overwhelmed with positive things. Her baby was alive, Draco was alive and Harry was alive. She looked up at her daughter and said, “Come here Becky.”
“Lydia, why don’t you and I go and buy some coffee.”
“Yeah,” she replied and put Becky down on Hermione’s bed again before she left the room with her husband.
Hermione sat up and Becky cuddled up close to her, “I’ve missed you mummy.”
“Believe me honey; I have missed you too,” Hermione said and put her arms around her little girl.
“I was sad when someone took you away; but Belinda and I hid in her closet, just like you said.”
“Good girl, what happened after that?”
“Harry and Draco came and saved us; they took us and the lady with long black hair to Aunt Ginny,” Becky explained and then they were both quiet for a while. Hermione was thinking about Pansy, and actually hoping that she was all right and Becky was thinking about how to pull her teeth out so that she could get some more money from the tooth fairy.
The door opened and Ginny stepped inside, with James right behind her.
“Your mother told me you were awake; I’m so happy to see you again,” Ginny exclaimed and hurried across the floor to embrace her friend. Hermione wrapped her arms around Ginny and it didn’t take long until they were both crying. “I’m so sorry Hermione, for everything, I’m sorry, terribly sorry,” Ginny sobbed.
“It’s alright. I’m alright…” Hermione said as they pulled away from each other; she patted her hand on her stomach and added, “We’re alright.”
“I’ve been so worried.”
“And I have missed you so much; let’s just promise to never have another fight like this.”
“It was all my fault, but I swear Hermione I didn’t want to take Draco away… Harry didn’t want to either, but he was just doing his job—“
Hermione cut her friend off short, “Gin, it’s alright, Draco is out now… and I understand Harry only did it because he was told to; how is he by the way?” she asked as Becky climbed down from the bed to play with James.
“He’s fine; a few wounds and a quite bad concussion, but nothing serious,” Ginny replied and dried a couple of tears away from her cheeks.
“I heard Draco is talking to him right now. Do you know what they’re talking about?”
“Nope, no idea, but Draco came in and said that he wanted to speak with Harry in private…”
“Wow, now I’m really curious,” Hermione said and wondered what on earth they could be talking about. “Ginny, honey, smile… please, I can’t stand sad faces right now,” she continued. “Tell me something funny.”
Ginny smiled, “Something fun—Luna had a daughter yesterday; I visited her and Neville before I came here; they told me to say hi to you,” she said. “The little girl is beautiful; they say she looks just like Luna did when she was a baby.”
“Aw, I wish I could go to see them; especially Neville… he saved my life; I have to thank him.”
“You have plenty of time to thank him, but right now you just need to rest,” Ginny said, still smiling… Then the door opened again, this time Draco stepped inside. He looked completely worn out, but still managed to pull off a smile as he looked into Hermione’s eyes.
“Draco!!!” Becky exclaimed and ran over to hug his leg. James did the exact same thing, but with the other leg, which gave Draco, some trouble as he was trying to move forward. “Hey you two, do you have to do this every single time you see me?” Draco asked.
“Yes,” both of the kids replied and burst out laughing.
But Draco didn’t have to move another step; because Hermione had already gotten up from her bed and walked over to him. “You should lie down and take it--” Draco begun but was cut off short when Hermione put her arms around his neck and leaned in to kiss him.
“—the more I think about it, you really should be up and walking,” Draco whispered against her lips before they kissed again.
“Mummy and Draco sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” Becky who’d let go of Draco’s leg sang.
Ginny walked up to the couple, “James, let go of his leg.”
Both Hermione and Draco laughed at this. James let go of Draco’s leg and Ginny said that she could take the two kids down to the cafeteria so that Hermione and Draco could talk in private.
Sitting beside each other on the edge of the bed, Draco told Hermione all about how Harry had helped him to escape from Azkaban and how Pansy had helped them to find her. He also explained that both Pansy and Blaise were feeling all right now; they were sharing a room in the same corridor as Hermione. Then Draco dropped the bomb and told her that what she feared most was true; Mike was still out there somewhere; the aurors had not found him yet.
“You’ll have auror protection around the clock until they’ve caught him,” Draco said. “They’ve contacted the ministries of magic in other countries. I think they’ll catch him soon,” he added and kissed her forehead. “Don’t worry.”
“It’s hard not to, but at least I’ll have you now,” she said and looked into his eyes. He didn’t reply; he just smiled.
“So, what were you and Harry talking about before?”
“Not much, I just… I thanked him for helping me out of Azkaban,” Draco replied. “And we decided to give each other a chance.”
“Oh, Draco, you have no idea what that means to me!” Hermione exclaimed and gave Draco a long, warm hug. She brushed against his left arm and he had to bite his lower lips not to make any sound that he was in pain. He pretended that the pain wasn’t there and embraced her, but the pain was unbearable and he pulled away from her. “What? Draco, are you okay?”
“No,” he replied quietly and pulled up the sleeve of his shirt to show Hermione the Dark Mark that was now showing completely on his skin. Hermione gasped at the sight of the mark surrounded by both bruises and blood. “The healers have tried a couple of things to remove it, that’s why it looks like it does,” Draco said as if he had read Hermione’s mind.
“But… why, why does it show?”
“I don’t know; but I don’t think Mike could have received his powers in another way, because if he had, he would’ve called on me, on us,” Draco replied. “I think it’s just a sign that he is close to receiving what he wants.”
Hermione didn’t know what to say as she remembered that Mike had said that once he ruled the dark side, Draco wouldn’t have any choice but to work for him, just because he had the mark. “You have to get rid of it.”
“I know,” Draco said quietly. “The problem is, I don’t think anyone’s ever managed to get rid of a dark mark before… even when you’re dead, whoever the Dark Lord is can call on you and force you to fight for him, Inferi.”
“There’s got to be some way.”
“Hopefully, and I’ll do everything in my power to find that way before it’s too late,” Draco said and watched Hermione’s troubled face. “I didn’t mean to make you upset and worried Hermione, I know that’s the last thing you need now--”
Hermione cut him off short, “I’m glad you told me Draco, I really am.”
“Good; because there’s something else I’d like to tell you,” he said and smiled at his love, who still looked rather worried. “Don’t worry, this is something I think you will like,” he said and pulled something up from his pocket. “I believe this is yours,” he said and held up Hermione’s engagement ring. “They found it in Mike’s house…”
She looked down at her hand; she hadn’t even realized that she’d dropped it, but now that she looked, her hand looked awfully empty without it.
“Of course,” she replied and smiled as Draco put the ring on her finger just like he had on New Years Eve when he had proposed to her.
“Hermione I want you to keep in mind, that whatever happens I will always love you…”
She smiled and embraced him once more; this time a little bit more careful so that she wouldn’t brush against his arm again. Draco smiled as well. Yes, he smiled, but somehow he didn't look very happy...