Chapter 22 : The Future
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6 months later…
It was the night before Jessica, Josh, Sarah, and Nathan’s wedding. The Mess Hall at Camp Shadow Rock was decorated and all of the food was prepared for the rehearsal dinner. All of the guests were being housed at the camp so that they could attend the wedding the following afternoon. The wedding party and all of the guests were currently getting ready to attend the rehearsal dinner. Excitement was in the warm spring air, and everyone was prepared for the night’s events. Well, almost everyone was ready.
“Hermione, have you seen my-“
“It’s in here in the wardrobe!” Hermione called to Draco from the vanity in their bedroom. Draco hurried into the room and walked over to the closet. He pulled out the blue tie that he had been looking for. He smiled and made his way over to Hermione before gently placing a kiss on her cheek.
“Thanks.” He told her. She smiled and began to put on her earrings while Draco started to tie his tie. After he had finished with his tie, he realized that he did not know where his cuff links were.
“Hey, Hermione, have you seen those-“
“Cuff links?” she said cutting him off again. “Yes, they’re on the table next to the couch in the living room.” Draco walked into the next room and, sure enough, his cuff links were exactly where she said they would be. Draco walked back into their bedroom and leaned against the door post while putting on his cuff links and watching Hermione fix her hair.
“I honestly don’t know what I would do without you.” He told her. She stood up from her chair and walked over to Draco with a slight smirk on her face.
“I don’t think you would be able to do much. If I wasn’t here, you would probably be having a nervous breakdown trying to find all of your things!” Hermione said shaking her head and walking into the living room to find her shoes. Draco followed her into the next room and wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. She smiled and melted into his embrace before turning around and placing her arms around his neck. She rested her head against his chest and let out a long, calm breath. They stood in each other’s arms for a while before Draco stepped back and took Hermione’s hand.
“Come with me for a minute.” He asked, guiding Hermione towards the door.
“The dinner starts in less than half an hour!” Hermione pointed out.
“I know it does. We won’t be late, I promise.” He told her, gazing into her eyes.
“Okay, but only for a minute!” she agreed following him outside. He took her hand and led her a short way up a path that was behind their cabin. Hermione smiled when she realized that he was taking her to their secret spot. They walked hand in hand up the path through the forest. There was silence between the couple as they listened to the wind move through the trees, and listened to the sounds of nature that surrounded them.
When they reached the top of the hill, they both gazed at the scenery. The whole camp was visible from this one spot. Various people could be seen making their way toward the Mess Hall in small groups, the light from the Mess Hall flooding out of the doors and illuminating the pathway from the cabins to the cafeteria. Hermione looked up at Draco and noticed the uneasy look taking over his handsome features.
“I think now would be the time to tell me why we’re up here instead of down there.” She said motioning to the Mess Hall below them. There was a moment of silence before Draco answered her.
“Do you remember the first time that we were up here together?” he asked her. Her gaze fell to the ground as she tightened her grip on his hand.
“I try not to. It’s not a memory that I’m particularly fond of.” She said solemnly. He took her waist and pulled her into his arms.
“Tell me why.” She swallowed and let out a shaky breath.
She closed her eyes and whispered, “We had just had a row. It was right after I arrived here. It was about Ron and I just…” she stopped when she felt Draco pull away from her. She opened her eyes and saw Draco down on one knee. Her breath caught in her throat, and a tear slipped from her eye. “What are you doing?”
“Hermione, I love you.” He said before reaching up and wiping the tear from her cheek. “I want you to be happy. I don’t want your past and all of the memories that come with it to cause you pain. I want you to have the best, because it’s what you deserve. I don’t ever want to see you cry these tears again. I want to be there for you for the rest of your life; to hold, care for you, and love you. Will you let me?” he asked, taking the ring from his pocket and holding it before her.
Her hands went to the chain that was currently around her neck; the chain that held the ring from Ron. She slowly undid the clasp of the chain, and took it from her neck. She did not even glance at the ring before putting it into her purse. She locked eyes with Draco who was still patiently awaiting her response. “Yes.” She replied with a smile on her face. He slid the simple diamond ring onto her finger. Hermione could not hold back the tears any longer, and they began to spill down her cheeks. Draco stood up from the ground and wrapped his arms around her waist.
“They’re happy tears, I promise.” She whispered into his ear. He looked into her eyes before placing a gentle, loving kiss on her lips. He wiped the tears from her cheeks and took her left hand.
“Come on we’re going to be late.” Together they walked down the path and made their way to the Mess Hall. Every so often Draco would run his thumb over the ring on her finger, causing her to smile every time.
They arrived pretty much on time, and there were only a few more people coming in when they sat down. Hermione was wondering how long it would take for someone to notice her ring. She was still in a state of astonishment at what had happened earlier, so she barely noticed what was going on around her. She remembered hearing Mark make a small speech, and then hearing some people get up to get their dinner. She looked down at her ring every few minutes and smiled. Her reverie was broken by Draco tapping on her shoulder.
“Come on. Let’s go get something to eat.” She smiled and nodded as he held his hand out to her. She gladly took his hand and they went to get their food with the rest of the wedding party. Jessica came up next to Hermione in the line for dinner.
“You’ve been awfully quiet tonight, Jay. Are you okay?” she asked her best friend.
“I’m doing fine. I’m not feeling very talkative tonight Jessie.” Hermione said nonchalantly. Jessie nodded.
“I was just making sure.” She said smiling at Hermione.
Dinner passed by pretty quickly, and before Hermione knew it, they were outside practicing the processional for the wedding the following day. Hermione was the maid of honor for both Sarah and Jessica, and Allison was the other bridesmaid. Mark was Josh and Nathan’s best man, and Draco was the other groomsman. They ran through the ceremony, and it took forever. It was 10 o’clock before Sarah and Jessica were sure that everything was perfect.
Everyone went off to bed so that they could be well rested for the wedding the next day. Hermione and Draco reached their cabin and collapsed onto the couch. Hermione took off her heels and placed them on the ground loudly before starting to rub her feet.
“I have half a mind to murder the two of them right now. My feet are killing me! There was no need for that rehearsal to take 2 hours!” Draco chuckled and Hermione couldn’t help but grin at his laughter. Draco patted the couch.
“Put your feet up.” He said. She did as he asked, and he began to rub her feet. Hermione smiled and relaxed against the side of the couch.
“Thanks.” She closed her eyes as the pain began to slowly go away. Reflecting back on the night, she realized that no one had noticed the ring. “Hey, Draco, do you think it’s odd that no one noticed the ring?”
“Kind of. I think Jessie and Sarah would have noticed if they weren’t so stressed out today. Give it some time, they’ll figure it out eventually.” Hermione nodded before he let out a long yawn. Draco laughed and said, “I think it’s time to go to sleep.”
“Me too.” Hermione said. They both got up off of the couch and went into the bedroom. They both changed out of their outfits from dinner and into their bed clothes. They slipped under the sheets and Hermione curled up next to Draco.
“Goodnight, love.” Draco said placing a kiss on her forehead. Hermione smiled.
“Goodnight.” She replied as she closed her eyes.
It was about two in the morning, and Hermione was still lying awake. She could not sleep, and she had an idea of why. She glanced at the ring on her finger and smiled, but at the same time, something was still bothering her. She then remembered that she had taken the chain from around her neck. The ring she had been given from Ron was in her purse in the living room, and she knew that it could not stay there. She pulled back the covers and sat on the edge of the bed.
“What are you doing?” Draco asked her in a groggy voice.
“There’s something I have to do.” She told him.
“I’ll come with you.” He said moving to get out of bed.
“No. I have to do this on my own. I’ll be back, I promise.” She kissed him on the forehead and left the bedroom to go and find her purse. She found her purse on the floor by the door and picked it up. She opened it, and took a sharp breath as she felt the cold metal of the ring against her skin. She held it firmly in her hand, picked up her wand, and apparated to go and see him one last time.
The air in the graveyard was unusually chilly for the end of April. Hermione looked around at that darkness that surrounded her and took a deep breath. She walked the familiar path through the graveyard that led to where he was laid to rest. She reached his tombstone, and sat down on the ground. She once again traced the epitaph inscribed on the fine piece of granite. Beloved son, brother, and friend. She held back the tears in her eyes as she took the ring and placed it on the grass next to his tombstone.
“I loved you, Ron. A part of me always will, but I have to let it go. I have to let us go. I can’t keep asking what could have been; I won’t keep asking what could have been. I’m going to focus on what the future and my life with Draco. I love him, Ron. I really do; and I know he loves me too. I can’t do this to myself any longer. I’m going to turn away and never look back.” He voice faded to a whisper as she ran her fingertips over the cold granite tombstone. She stood up and began to walk away. She never looked back, but instead looked to her future with Draco.
She apparated back to her cabin at camp, and slipped quietly back into her bed at about 4 o’clock. She moved over to Draco’s side of the bed and wrapped her arms around his torso. She felt him wrap his arm around her wait and hold her tightly. “Are you all right?” he asked. He did not sound as if he had gone back to sleep.
“Now I am.” she laid her head on his chest and fell into a peaceful sleep; the most peaceful sleep that she had had in 4 long years.
She actually did not get to sleep for very long because she was abruptly awakened by her two best friends about 5 hours later.
“Hermione wake up! We only have four hours to get ready!” Sarah said loudly yanking back the sheets on the bed. Hermione groaned and rubbed her eyes. She looked over and saw that Draco had already left o go and hang out with the guys “Come on, come on!”
“I’m up, relax, Sarah!” Hermione pushed herself up off of the bed and made her way over to the bathroom. “I’m going to take a shower and then meet you guys in the Blue Jay cabin, okay?”
“All right, but hurry up! The wedding starts in 4 hours!” Sarah yelled before exiting the front door of the cabin. Hermione slowly made her way to the bathroom to take her shower. She was done in 15 minutes, and then pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt before leaving to go get ready. She slowly plodded along the path to the Blue Jay cabin, taking as much time as she could. She knew for a fact that getting ready for this wedding was going to be chaotic and completely crazy.
She opened the door to the cabin cautiously and then stepped inside. The two wedding dresses and two bridesmaid dresses were hanging on one of the bunk beds, still in their bags from the store. Sarah, Jessica, and Allison were seated on the floor getting out all of the make-up, hair products, and other things that they were going to need to get ready.
“Finally! Hermione we’ve only got three and a half hours left! We are going to start with hair, and you are going first. It may take us a solid hour or two to sort out that mane you’ve got on your head.” Jessica said.
“Hey!” Hermione replied. “It’s not that bad.” Her three friends all looked at her in disbelief. “Okay, fine, it is that bad.” The girls smiled in triumph as they all started to tame the wild mess of brown curls atop Hermione’s head.
3 hours later…
“Has anyone seen the shoes and the gloves?” Sarah asked frantically searching the suitcases.
“What about my earrings?” Jessica asked. Hermione and Allison exchanged humorous glances at the frantic brides.
“Alli and I have our gloves.” Hermione said holding them up.
“The shoes are over by the door.” Allison said pointing over to the front door.
“And your earrings are on the sink in the bathroom.” Hermione said with a chuckle. With only half an hour before the wedding, Sarah and Jessica were getting a little anxious about everything.
“Thanks guys.” Sarah said slipping on her white heels. “You two need to get those gloves on now, we’re going to leave in like 5 minutes.” Allison and Hermione nodded and picked up their gloves. Hermione hesitated. She couldn’t put the gloves on over her ring, and she was not going to take it off.
“Hermione, put on the gloves, we have to go! The carriage is outside to take us down to the field.” Sarah said walking over to Hermione.
“I, um, can’t”
“What?” Hermione held up her hand and Sarah’s eyes nearly popped out of her head.
“Jessie! Come here and see this!” Sarah squealed. Jessica came running from the other room. Sarah lifted up Hermione's hand and Jessica’s eyes grew wide as well.
“Draco?” she asked. Hermione nodded.
“When?” Jessica asked.
“Last night before dinner.” Hermione responded.
“And you didn’t tell us!” they said simultaneously.
“I wanted to see how long it would take for you to notice.” They both screamed and gave Hermione delicate hugs so that they wouldn’t mess up their hair, make-up or dress. Allison had finished putting the final touches on her make-up and she joined the other girls in front of the cabin. The four of them all got into the horse drawn carriage that was to carry them to the field where everyone was waiting. Sarah, who was sitting next to Hermione, leaned over to Hermione.
“Does this engagement mean you’re over, well, Ron?” Sarah asked warily. Hermione smiled.
“It’s not that I’m over it; I don’t think I ever will be. It’s a part of my past that I will never forget, but I am moving past it, and leaving the pain of what happened where it should stay; in the past.” Sarah nodded and squeezed her hand.
The carriage arrived at the field and Hermione could see Draco standing up with Josh, Nathan, and Mark in front of the guests. The two lovers locked eyes and smiled at each other. Hermione knew her future would be bright, because Draco was a part of it. There was no heartache in store for her, for Draco would be there to hold her, take care of her, and love her for the rest of her life.
I can't believe it... that's it. no more. the end.
Well, maybe not. I'm still debating whether or not to write the epilogue... I have one planned out, but I don't know if I will write it or not. tell me if you think I should post one or not in a review.
This project has taken me about a year and a half, and I can't believe I finally finished it! I really appreciate everyone who has read and reviewed this story. There is one final thing I would really appreciate. If everyone who has read this story would PLEASE review, I would really appreciate it! I want to know if you love it, hate it, whatever. Just let me know!
Thank you soooo much everyone for reading. I hope you have enjoyed reading this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Its been one crazy ride.
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