Chapter 32 : Final Hours
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The sky had become submersed in stars and the inky deep blue colour that had only half filled the sky just moments before now filled it completely, the radiant moon casting a silvery shadow across everything it touched. Mollie got to her feet and headed inside, shutting the front door as quietly as she could behind her. As she walked into the living room she felt a flourish of warm air surround her as the fire roared and crackled, making the room look cosy in its soft orangey light. Slytherin, who was still bound to the chair by Mollie’s magical ropes, seemed to be asleep. A plate with a few crumbs and a glass of water sat on the small side table beside him and Mollie knew that someone had been kind enough to feed him. She sat herself down on the sofa and put her legs up on it, making herself comfy as she gazed at the roaring fire.
“Can’t sleep?” came a deep clear voice from beside Mollie. Slytherin had awoken and was looking at Mollie with interest.
“Obviously” Mollie said to him rolling her eyes.
Slytherin grinned slightly, it did nothing for him to do so, he seemed somehow to appear crueler looking as his dark penetrating eyes lingered on Mollie. “I hope it wasn’t something that I said that has caused you troubling thoughts,” he said in a sincere voice.
Mollie looked at Slytherin and frowned. “Let’s just say it hasn’t helped,” she said turning back to gaze at the fire.
“Well I am sorry” Slytherin said softly.
“Why are you being pleasant to me?” Mollie snapped. “It won’t make me untie those ropes you know so if you think you can butter me up by apologising you’re sadly mistaken,” she warned him.
“That isn’t what I’m trying to do Mollie, I honestly wanted to apologise” Slytherin said craning his neck to get a better look of Mollie.
Mollie placed her legs back on the floor and shifted herself until she was facing Slytherin. “Why?” she said looking confused.
“It isn’t your fault what happened to me…it’s Hilindrii’s” Slytherin muttered sadly. “I thought for so long that you would never show up despite Voldermort coming back in time to speak to me…I prayed every night for your mother, hoping that she would somehow be able to hide you from Hilindrii but there is no running from him” Slytherin said bitterly as he gazed at Mollie.
“No there isn’t” Mollie said softly. Silence fell between them; Mollie glanced down at the floor but Slytherin held his gaze. “I killed Snape” Mollie said suddenly as she looked back up at Slytherin. “Which means he died before his month was up…what does that mean? What will he come back as?” she asked, dreading the answer.
Slytherin shrugged. “I cannot be sure…but he won’t be what he was, he’ll be something dark, powerful, something that resembles a nightmare…these elixirs are among some of the darkest potions that can be created, they are made to open the most ghastly hell dimension…”Slytherin paused for a moment as he registered Mollie’s alarmed expression. “He will be a monster”
Mollie closed her eyes and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly before flicking her beautiful eyes open that now seemed glazed in tears as they glistened in the firelight. “Will he appear at the portal?” She asked.
Slytherin nodded. “I’m afraid so, once all the elixirs have been poured over the gateway and the first circle of flames appear, Snape shall return” he explained.
“Wonderful” Mollie said sarcastically. Slytherin grinned at her once again as he gazed at her fondly. “I will close this portal you know” Mollie said seriously a determined expression on her face.
“I have no doubt,” Slytherin said with a nod. “Just as a key turns in a lock it can be turned back the other way, your blood is the key and Tartarus the lock…I have every faith in you” he said in the kindest tone Mollie had ever heard in his voice and she looked at him a little startled.
“I thought you wanted Hilindrii’s plan to fail” she asked a little confused.
Slytherin raised his eyebrows suggestively. “Yes that is a deep dark desire of mine,” he said bitterly. “But the price of his plan failing is far too high…for all humanity to crumble and fall into Tartarus would be a disappointing end to a world that has changed and grown so rapidly over the years, it would be an insult to humanity’s tireless efforts to survive if it was all to end in a days time” he said earnestly.
Mollie smiled at Slytherin. “Well I’m glad that people can still surprise me,” she said warmly. “It’s a shame Voldermort doesn’t share your opinion” she said looking rather cross.
Slytherin’s expression hardened. “Voldermort wants power, immortality, basically everything you have he wants,” he said pointedly. “He hasn’t once stopped to consider the possibility that this might all go wrong, he is so convinced that he is powerful enough to control anything that may come out of Tartarus” Slytherin said coldly.
“Will you fight on our side?” Mollie asked a look of desperation in her eyes.
Slytherin looked stunned at this question and took a moment before he answered. “If I said no what would you do?” he asked sounding intrigued.
“Kill you” Mollie said instantly, Slytherin searched her expression for a sign of guilt or remorse but Mollie held his gaze, unfazed by his words and he knew she wasn’t bluffing. “Your not part of the solution Salazar, I can’t risk you running to Voldermort and telling him what you have seen and heard nor can I risk letting you go back to your own time as Voldermort could easily find you there, so come tomorrow I need an answer from you, you are either with us or not” she said warningly her expression still stern.
Slytherin gazed at Mollie, an admiring look in his eyes. “I don’t need until tomorrow to make this decision” he said firmly. “I’ll fight on your side, you have my word”
Mollie nodded and stood up from the sofa to stand in front of him. She held out her hand to him, Slytherin lifted his hand as much as he could, the magical ropes digging into his skin as he did so. The instant his hand made contact with Mollie’s fingertips a pulsing surge of golden light swept from Mollie’s hand and through Slytherin’s body. Slytherin gasped in fright his eyes wide as he looked at Mollie in shock. For a brief moment his entire body trembled with a golden glow before it vanished and Slytherin could breathe easy once more. He panted heavily for a minute before gazing up at Mollie who still looked stern faced. “If you try to betray us then the game is over for you…think of it as an unbreakable vow” Mollie said sharply.
Slytherin nodded. “I understand,” he said croakily and with these words Mollie left the room and headed for the stairs.
Harry was wide-awake. He lay in his bed staring at the ceiling, the sounds of Draco and Hermione’s heavy breathing coming from the floor where they were sleeping. He wasn’t sure why he had agreed to let Hermione sleep in his room, after all he wasn’t happy about the fact that she was seeing Draco again, but he couldn’t be bothered to argue. He was more concerned about what his wife was up to. Before he had come up to bed Harry had looked out the living room window to see if Mollie was still outside. His heart had sunk as he saw her sitting on the front door step with her head in her hands. He had watched her for a while, trying to decide whether or not he should go outside and sit with her. He knew she wouldn’t talk to him, he had become more and more savvy of her quirks, it would have been like trying to get blood out of a stone, but the temptation just to be near her so that he could comfort her was overwhelming. He had made the decision to join her when Ron had pulled him aside and insisted that they talk. A little reluctant Harry had followed Ron up to his room so that they were out of earshot of anyone else. Ron had sat on his bed and began to tell Harry about everything Hermione had said to him. Harry nodded every few minutes or so, not really paying attention to what his best friend was saying, too pre-occupied with his own dismal thoughts. When the room fell silent Harry had looked around at Ron who was staring at him bluntly as though waiting for an answer to a question he had asked. “I think you should just wait and see what happens” Harry muttered uncertainly. “She’s changed her mind once already she might do it again” he said trying to sound reassuring. Ron absorbed his words for a moment then nodded and agreed, his mood lifting slightly. With a large yawn Harry insisted he must get some sleep and left Ron and headed to his own room where Draco and Hermione greeted him, worried looks upon both of their faces. Hermione had begun rapidly explaining that she felt uncomfortable sleeping in the same room as Ginny and she would rather neither herself nor Draco be subjected to sleeping in the living room with Slytherin. His dark eyes seemed to linger on anyone who entered the room, making everyone a little uncomfortable. “You can stay…just don’t let Ron see you” Harry warned as he kicked off his shoes and pulled off his t-shirt and climbed into his bed, not wanting to undress fully in front of Draco and Hermione. Despite them sleeping on the cold and creaky floor Draco and Hermione drifted off to sleep sooner than he expected. Harry had curiously peered over the side of bed onto the floor. Hermione was nuzzled into Draco’s chest, his arm wrapped tightly around her. Harry flopped back onto his back and began staring up at the ceiling. It was then that the bedroom door creaked open. Harry sat up hastily and his eyes met Mollie’s. “I didn’t even hear you come up the stairs!” Harry whispered.
Mollie smiled at Harry then glanced at the floor and frowned. “Do I want to know?” she whispered gently stepping over Draco then Hermione and climbing into bed next to Harry.
Harry shook his head. “No probably not” Mollie grinned as she settled herself down in the bed, her head resting neatly on the pillow so she could gaze into Harry’s eyes; Harry linked his hand through Mollie’s. “Are you okay? You were outside for a long time,” he whispered worriedly.
“I wasn’t outside the whole time,” Mollie said softly. “I was speaking to Slytherin,” she said uneasily.
Harry looked at her concerned. “Why?” he asked.
“I needed to know where his loyalties lay…he said he will fight on our side” Mollie explained.
“And you believe him!” Harry exclaimed, his eyes wide.
Mollie placed her hand over Harry’s mouth. “Shhhh you’ll wake everyone up” she said quietly. “I asked him to see what he would say, but trust me he doesn’t have much of a choice now” she said guiltily.
“What do you mean? What did you do?” Harry asked worriedly as Mollie’s eyes left his and she looked away.
“If Slytherin puts one toe out of line he’ll die, instantly” Mollie said regretfully. “What I did…it’s like an unbreakable vow, but without actually having to use a spell,” she explained.
Harry looked a little scared as he gazed at Mollie who still wasn’t looking at him. “Do you regret doing that to him?” he asked, squeezing her hand tightly.
“Yes and no…he was actually quite civil to me, he told me about Snape and how he will come back as a monster, as though we needed any more of those” Mollie said sadly as she glanced back up into Harry’s eyes. “It’s just the closer we get to this battle the more…” Mollie paused as though trying to search for the right word.
“Angry you feel” Harry said finishing her sentence. Mollie nodded. “I know how you feel…it’s how I’ve felt for…well most of my life now, I know what Voldermort is capable of…I don’t want anyone else to die at his hands” Harry said looking intently at Mollie. “I don’t want to lose you Mollie, I only just found you,” he said earnestly pulling Mollie close to him.
“I don’t want to lose you either” Mollie said lovingly before kissing Harry lightly on the lips. Mollie gazed at Harry adoringly for a while; Harry could see a sadness in her eyes that unnerved him slightly. “Try and get some sleep my love” she whispered and kissed his forehead gently, Harry felt the spot where her lips touched his head tingle delicately, his eyes instantly felt heavy and he struggled desperately to keep them open but it was a pointless battle as he drifted into a peaceful sleep. Mollie felt the tears building behind her eyes but managed to keep from crying.
Mollie stood at the bedroom window leaning up against the wall as she gazed outside. The glimmering golden sun that sat perfectly in the bright blue sky had replaced the shimmering moon, the silver shadow that it cast over everything it touched had been lifted and a new day had begun. Mollie glanced at the cloak that sat on the wall opposite her. It was only half past six in the morning; to Mollie it felt much later. Harry stirred in his bed and reached a hand out across the bed expecting to find his wife. When his hand only met a cold pillow, he sat up in a panic, rubbing his eyes madly then searching the room through his bleary eyes. Mollie giggled. Harry turned his attention to the end of the room where the sound had come from and breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Mollie looking at him. Reaching for his glasses and placing them on Harry pulled the bed covers off him and made to stand up. “Oh honey go back to sleep for a while, it’s still early yet” Mollie said indicating the clock.
Harry shrugged and stood up anyway, narrowly missing standing on Hermione’s legs. “I’m awake now,” he said through a yawn crossing the room towards her. He wrapped his arms around Mollie’s waist and kissed her tenderly on the lips. “Well I had a lovely sleep, but by the look in your eyes you had none”
“I’m fine, I don’t need any sleep” Mollie insisted.
“Well then I have a request, when you can’t sleep, don’t put me to sleep! I would have stayed up with you” he assured her.
Mollie smiled. “I know that’s why I did it!” she said lightly before sighing heavily. “I guess I should go and set things up downstairs,” she said glumly. Harry looked at her rather confused. “I need to go over what everyone is doing tomorrow, this may surprise you but I don’t plan on simply charging through the hedge and chaining myself to the portal” she said with a short laugh.
Harry laughed. “I didn’t expect you too, okay go and do what you need to do, I see you are dressed already so I’ll meet you downstairs”
Mollie pulled herself out of Harry’s grasp and headed out of the room. “Do you want me to wake them up?” she said indicating Draco and Hermione.
“No!” Harry said hurriedly. Mollie frowned at him. “I’d just really like to get dressed without them staring at me!” Harry assured her and with a giggle Mollie left the room.
Two hours later everyone in The Burrow was up and dressed and crowded into the dining room. Mollie had transformed the table as she had cleared the table of books and instead the tabletop had become a lifelike 3-D map of the portal. Tiny lifelike images of each person had been placed on it and were in small groups around the hedge. Mr and Mrs Weasley had returned from Grimmuld Place looking exhausted with Tonks, Mad-Eye Moody and Kingsley Shacklebolt in toe and too everyone’s surprise Bill, Fleur and Charlie as well. They had all been greeted warmly, all the Weasley children throwing their arms around their parents the moment they apparated into the living room. Tonks jumped into Lupin’s arms causing him to stagger back slightly. He looked a little embarrassed but was unable to hide his delight at seeing her. Mollie was introduced to all the newcomers and was received kindly. Mad-Eye Moody shook her hand strongly, staring at her with a twisted smile.
“We’ve all heard a lot about you Mollie, it’s a great pleasure to meet you,” he roared. Mollie smiled and told him it was lovely to meet him to but rubbed her slightly reddened hand as she pulled it out of his tight grip.
As everyone got settled around the table and the chatter died down Mollie stood at the head of the table and looked nervously around at everyone who had focused their attention on her. “I know this may seem a little strange, especially to those of you who have just arrived, I suspect that you are not used to taking orders from somebody you just met” she giggled nervously along with everyone else in the room. Tonks smiled kindly at her and she Charlie gave her a wink, which helped to settle her nerves. “Was everything okay at Grimmuld Place? Nobody saw you did they?” she asked worriedly.
“It was fine, they clearly still don’t know where headquarters is located” Said Mr Weasley proudly.
Mollie smiled happily. “Good, glad to hear it” she said sounding a little brighter. “Well Voldermort knows that we are here but he hasn’t sent anyone back here since they took Luna”
“Yeah where is Luna?” Tonks asked looking around the table with a frown.
“She was taken…they thought she was me” Mollie said guiltily. “The good news is we know she’s alive…she’s rather shaken though” she said sadly.
There was silence in the room for a moment. “These things happen!” Moody roared. “She’ll be back with us soon enough, tomorrow we attack, so what’s the plan?” he said his magical eye swivelling in its socket.
Mollie looked a little surprised for a moment, expecting all the new arrivals to begin ridiculing her, but they merely sat waiting patiently for Mollie to begin. “Were going to split into groups, the hedge completely surrounds the portal as you can see on this map, so we need to surround it if we have any chance of taking out the Death Eaters that are on the outer skirts of it, the furthest tent away from the hedge is the one where Luna is being held, now Ron I want you to get behind that tent, Hermione and Draco will be a few feet from you ready to stun the Death Eaters that are guarding the tent which is when you will go and get Luna whilst they cover you” Ron nodded as the little figures on the map Mollie had conjured began to move into place. “If Luna wants to fight she can, otherwise I’m counting on you to get her to safety” Mollie said forcefully towards Ron. Mollie continued to hand out places for everyone, pairing Tonks and Lupin, Mrs and Mrs Weasley, Bill and Fleur and placing Kingsley with Fred and George and Mad-Eye Moody with Ginny and Charlie. Mollie had strategically placed everyone so that the portal would be surrounded and everyone seemed to be happy with the station they had been given, except Ron who was scowling at Draco who was visibly holding Hermione’s hand. “That leaves me, Harry, Dumbledore and Slytherin to attack from the front, it’s the most dangerous spot and it’s closest to the portal, it’s where Voldermort will be to do the ritual” Mollie said, as the tiny lifelike figures on the table map moved into position. “The ritual has to be completed, if we stop it suddenly or anything goes wrong then we risk this entire dimension being sucked into Tartarus,” she warned her eyes drifting to Fleur who was frowning at the little Slytherin figure.
“Ou ez that man?” Fleur asked looking up at Mollie.
Mr Weasley gazed at the Slytherin figure a little more closely. “Yes he doesn’t look at all familiar,” he said curiously.
Fred laughed. “You mean to say that when you arrived none of you noticed the angry looking man tied to a chair in the living room?” he asked as he raised his eyebrows. Tonks, Kingsley, Moody, Charlie, Bill, Fleur and Mr and Mrs Weasley all looked at each other for a sign that someone had noticed him but they were all blank faced. “Well that’s worrying” Fred said desolately.
“You called him Slytherin did you not?” Charlie asked Mollie who looked as though she was hoping that they had all forgotten she was in the room before nodding.
“Thee Slytherin?” Tonks asked curiously and Mollie nodded once more.
“Blimey” Bill said after a short bout of silence.
“Don’t panic!” Harry said reassuringly. “Mollie has made sure that he can’t harm any of you,” he said with a smile until he saw Mollie roll her eyes at him.
“Yeah thanks Harry,” she said sarcastically.
“What did you do?” George asked eagerly.
Mollie shook her head. “That doesn’t matter right now, all you need to know is that he will fight on our side and he is not to be harmed as I assure you he will not harm you,” she said sternly and she saw many nodding heads all around her, Tonks’s being the most distinctive as her bubblegum pink hair flopped forwards and backwards. “I know some of this may seem really confusing to you, the truth is your better off not knowing everything” Mollie said sorrowfully, a distinct sadness in her brown soulful eyes. “So your main objective for tomorrow is to keep the death eaters busy, I know that may sound lame but I can’t be sure that death eaters is all Voldermort will have waiting for us” Mollie warned seriously. “He’s knows that we will show up and he probably also knows that there isn’t very many of us, so expect…surprises” she said wearily and most of the new arrivals seemed to ponder on this thought. Mollie glanced at Harry nervously but he nodded to her, handing her a look of reassurance and Mollie turned back to address the table. “Okay something I wanted to gloss over was the subject of Snape…in a way I’m still going to gloss over it, all you really need to know is that when the ritual to open the portal is complete Snape will rise again, but not as the man we knew, as something different, something frightening…a monster” she said a little anxiously.
“Well he was never a barrel of laughs to begin with” Said Fred lightening the mood considerably causing everyone to smile and chuckle.
“Whatever happens tomorrow night we’ll deal with it” Tonks cooed chirpily, Lupin smiled at her and she blushed slightly.
Mollie nodded and sighed as she glanced back at the map for a moment. “Well then I guess that’s it” and with one last glance at the virtual map, Mollie wiped her hand across it and the tablecloth re-appeared over the table as the map vanished. As everyone began to shift about Mrs Weasley announced that she would make a start on dinner and bustled off into the kitchen closely followed by Fleur who insisted she help. Mollie followed Dumbledore out of the dining room and into the living room, clutching Harry’s hand and pulling him along as she did so. Slytherin instantly shifted his gaze to settle upon them as they stood before him. “You’re with us tomorrow” Mollie said plainly.
“So I heard,” Slytherin said eyeing Mollie closely. “Any chance you might untie me now? It’s not like I’m a danger to anyone like you said,” he said placidly but his eyes filled with strong desperation. Moody, Tonks and Lupin joined them in the living room before Mollie could answer and sat themselves down on the sofa, Tonks linking her hand with Lupin’s and resting her head on his shoulder. Moody crouched on the edge of the sofa leaning on his staff, staring at Slytherin with interest. Slytherin stared back at him madly, an unimpressed frown growing deeper on his face. “I think were better off leaving you where you are, I’ll free you tomorrow” Mollie said shortly and sat down on a chair opposite Tonks. Harry perched on the side of it, his hand resting on her shoulder. Dumbledore remained standing, not trying to hide the fact that he was gazing at the magical ropes that bound Slytherin to the chair with immense interest, much to Slytherin’s annoyance.
Tonks smiled at Harry and Mollie and watched Mollie’s beautiful diamond ring glistening in the sunlight. “That’s a beautiful ring you have, I’m sorry I missed the ceremony, Molly said it was really quite something” she said and then giggled, Harry looked at her a little confused but Mollie was grinning. “I’m sorry that must be really strange, you sharing the same name as Mrs Weasley,” she said, her cheeks growing a little pink. Mollie shrugged her shoulders and shook her head, still smiling but it was growing weaker by the second. Tonks leaned forwards in her chair, her expression beginning to mirror Mollie’s. “I wanted to say thank you for what you did,” she said softly squeezing Lupin’s hand tighter and he smiled warmly at Tonks then Mollie.
“It was nothing…really” Mollie insisted modestly.
“Not to us it wasn’t” Tonks said fervently with a glance to Lupin. “It means the world to us, what you did, I know it must have been risky for you to do, so thank you” Tonks said sincerely with a kind smile.
Mollie smiled once more then stood up from the chair, Harry’s hand dropping from her shoulder. “I’m just going to get some air” she said, her voice shaky.
Tonks looked a little confused as she glanced at Harry who was watching Mollie sadly as she headed out the front door, her head bowed low. He was aware of what was causing his wife to act so strangely, for he had been in her position himself. He reassured Tonks that Mollie was okay and he headed for the front door but was beaten to it by Dumbledore, who didn’t give Harry a second glance as he twisted the front door handle and headed outside, gently closing the door behind him, leaving Harry staring glumly at the gleaming oak door.
Dumbledore sat himself down beside Mollie, whose eyes were glazed with tears, her gaze aimless. “Now is not the time Mollie” Dumbledore said intently and Mollie scoffed shaking her head. Scoff
“Oh now is the perfect time! So if you’re going to tell me that I shouldn’t have doubts then please save your breath” Mollie uttered harshly. Dumbledore’s expression remained plain. “I could be leading every person inside that house to their deaths tomorrow and yet there sitting thanking me…people I don’t even know” she exclaimed forlornly.
“You’ve done something wonderful for Remus, whether he gets to enjoy life without being a werewolf for one day or one hundred years, your act of kindness will never be forgotten Mollie” Dumbledore said graciously.
Mollie closed her eyes, tears rolling down her cheeks. “It was a selfish act Dumbledore,” she whispered coldly. “I want him with us in this fight”
“And he wants to be there too Mollie!” Dumbledore exclaimed. “That is the reason why he is so happy, instead of having to sit back and watch as everyone else charges into battle he is now able to fight alongside the people he loves” he said sincerely. “What you did may have had selfish intentions but I know that was not the only reason why you cured him” he said knowingly.
Mollie glanced at Dumbledore, the tears in her eyes glistening in the sunlight. “No it’s not,” she said honestly. “I saw in him what I see in Harry and what I see in myself…he didn’t ask for that burden, it was placed upon him and he’s had to suffer the consequences of somebody else’s vendetta” Mollie said wretchedly, looking away from Dumbledore. “Sadly I can’t help Harry,” she said softly. “He must face Voldermort himself, I can’t do it for him”
“I’m glad you see it that way too,” Dumbledore said, placing his hand upon Mollie’s shoulder. “As hard as it may be to accept our place in the world we all must follow our own paths…”
“…Our own destiny’s” Mollie said coldly with an un-amused chuckle. “It’s all about destiny” she said resentfully and turned back to look at Dumbledore. “Do you know how much I hate destiny!”
“As much as I do I am sure,” Dumbledore said calmly. Mollie smiled sympathetically at him and silence fell between them.
Inside The Burrow Ron sat at the end of the dining room table staring angrily at Hermione and Draco as they giggled with each other. He could feel his heart pounding erratically as Hermione whispered in Draco’s ear. He wanted to pinch himself just to see if he was dreaming as he had been convinced that he had finally won back the heart of the girl he loved so deeply, but as he watched her gaze into Draco’s eyes so lovingly in a way that she had never looked at him, he realised just how much she was no longer his and as a stinging sensation formed behind his eyes he wondered whether she ever was. It was with a tender kiss that Hermione placed upon Draco’s cheek that Ron found it too much to take and rose from his chair with such force that it crashed to the floor. Hermione and Draco’s smiles instantly disappeared as they looked at Ron who was glaring at them both. “I need to talk to you” Ron said in a low angry tone and he hurried out of the room. Hermione immediately stood from her chair and hurried out behind him, following him to the small gap under the stairs. Hermione leaned up against the wall so that there was a tiny gap between them. Ron saw her trembling and his ears reddened. “Please don’t be scared,” he said trying to sound reassuring but it sounded incredibly cold.
“That’s easy for you to say” Hermione said, her voice shaking wearily.
Ron bowed his head guiltily. He didn’t mean to scare Hermione but he couldn’t dim his anger. “I don’t like that your with that ferret and I hate that you can be with him so intimately right in front of me” he said harshly and tears welled in Hermione’s eyes. “But I’ve never seen you looking so happy” Hermione looked at him shocked. Ron paused before he continued to speak; he looked like he was concentrating hard on his breathing. “All I want is for you to be happy and if it means you have to be with him then so be it, I can’t do anything about that and I won’t try to change your mind…I don’t accept it but I can try to live with it, I just hope that by showing you this courtesy you can show me the same by dialling down the kissing with ferret boy” he said despondently. Hermione smiled gratefully at him and placed her arms around his neck pulling him into a tight embrace.
“Thank you” she whispered in his ear sending tingles down his spine. Ron didn’t want to let go of her, but he felt her pulling out of his tight grasp and he unwillingly let her go. Hermione turned to leave the tiny gap under the stairs but Ron tugged her hand and pulled her back towards him. Hermione looked around at him worriedly, thinking that Ron was about to take back everything he had said.
“I just need to know something,” Ron said softly as his eyes filled with longing as he gazed at Hermione. “If none of this had ever happened, if you’d never found out about the portal, not bumped into Draco…would it have been different…would it be me and you and not you and him?” he asked.
Hermione smiled at him kindly and placed her hand upon his cheek. “Yes…in a way it will always be you and me…I love you Ron that will never change,” she said sincerely. Ron nodded gratefully and let her leave his side and walk back into the dining room to Draco.
As Mrs Weasley announced that dinner was ready, the dining room filled rapidly, everyone cramming themselves in around the table, most people sitting on a chair that Dumbledore conjured. Mrs Weasley fussed over everyone, making sure that a generous portion of chicken pie made it’s way onto everyone’s plates. Fleur handed out the roast potatoes proudly, telling everyone how she peeled them and cooked them all by herself. Tonks and Ginny smirked at each other, repressing a giggle as they goggled at the vast amount of food that was on the table, both thinking that Fleur shouldn’t be boasting about a mere bowl full of potatoes, however inviting they looked. As Mollie gazed around the table she couldn’t help but smile brightly at all the smiling faces they me her eyes. It had seemed impossible, only a few hours ago that such a good time could be had. Tonks and Lupin were gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, Lupin appearing happier than Mollie had ever seen him, although not quite as Happy as Draco who was feeding Hermione chocolate dipped strawberry’s and gazing seductively into her eyes. Moody sat recounting stories of when he was an auror, suggesting tactics and spells that could be used against the Death Eaters to an uninterested Dumbledore and Mr Weasley. Fred, George and Ginny were giggling and laughing as they told daft jokes and recalled embarrassing and funny stories of things that the twins had gotten up to at Hogwarts, Ginny trying desperately to lighten Ron’s mood, who couldn’t stop glaring at Draco. He had barely touched any of his food, his knife forcefully stabbing his piece of pie into a sloppy mush. Fleur and Mrs Weasley had started discussing wedding plans, Bill just nodding along, occasionally rolling his eyes as his mother and fiancé bickered over flowers and bridesmaid’s dresses. Charlie smirked and nudged his brother every now and again mockingly, occasionally flashing a flirtatious smile to Mollie. Midway through the meal Harry caught sight of this and looked like he was going to stick his fork in Charlie’s eye, but with an unexpected passionate kiss from Mollie Harry returned to his meal as though nothing had happened, but a permanent grin fixed on his face. Mollie gazed around the room at everyone fondly, taking in every laugh, every smile and every piece of hope that radiated from each and every person around the table. Her heart felt heavy as she felt every beat more intensely as the evening drew on. Just watching everyone around the table made her feel inexplicably happy, but sadness wavered in as she caught sight of the already brewing sunset threw the window. The sky was painted beautiful colours of red, pink and orange, the blazing sun slowly beginning its descent behind the vast mountaintops. A big lump built in her throat, a painful stinging clawed behind her glazed eyes, as she knew, without any whisper of doubt that this would be the very last time that they all sat around this table together.
A/N – Hello Readers!! Hope you liked this chapter. It’s all slowly drawing to an end. If you have any questions at all or are confused about an aspect of the story, I’ve set up a ‘meet the author’ account where you can ask anything you like. Thanks so much for reading and please leave a review!! Thanks!!!!
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