Chapter 23 : Saying Goodbye
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Her heavy lids opened slowly, sunshine flooding her senses. Her blurry vision cleared and she realized her surroundings-the hospital wing, with its white walls and starchy sheets. She was surrounded by her friends as well.
“Hermione,” she heard. It was Jake’s voice, warm and kind as usual, but it contained a note of solemnity that had never been there before.
“I’m glad you’re awake,” said Ron with a relieved smile.
“Did we win?”
“Well, that’s good at least.”
“Mione,” said Harry, “we have something to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“Your brain tumor,” replied Ron. “It’s gone Mione, you’re going to live.”
“What?” she asked blankly. “But how?”
“When you lost control,” said Jake, “Ron touched you, bringing you back the moment before you died. Your raw power, coupled with Ron’s interference, made it so that your brain tumor disappeared. I think it’s because you used too much power at once, which made the tumor go away. But if Ron hadn’t grabbed you back, you would’ve died anyway. I’m not positive about it though. I think it’s kind of like how if someone were to touch Ginny-“
“Ginny! Is she alright? I saw her get hit!”
“I’m fine!” she heard her friend say. “Jake saved me.”
“If someone were to touch Ginny,” continued Jake, “when she’s communicating with the spirits, they would die because of the power. But in your case, since the kind of power that you exert is a good kind, it had the opposite affect.”
Hermione nodded her head in understanding. And then, it processed in her tired mind. The reason she had lost control. It was when…
“Where is he?” she asked frantically. She needed to see him; had to know he was safe. “Where is Draco?”
She watched her friends, waiting for some positive reaction, but she saw nothing. They had all looked away, with the exception of Jake, who returned her gaze with one of his own. It held nothing but sorrow
“Where is he!?”
Harry looked to her now and she somehow knew, but she found herself unable to believe it.
“Harry?” The tears that had formed in her eyes spilled over and she asked once more. “What’s happened to Draco? Where is he?” Finally, Ron looked to her, blinking away his tears for her.
“He’s dead.” His voice was rough and sorrowful. “I’m so sorry Mione, he died.”
Hermione shook her head in denial. No, Draco couldn’t be dead. He was supposed to be the one that lived! She paled and looked to Jake. Surely, this was some cruel joke gone horribly wrong. But Jake just shook his head and she lost hope and it really dawned on her.
Draco was dead. He wasn’t coming back.
She grew cold, so cold, as she spiraled down, down, down. It was all over, the little piece of heaven that she had found while in the midst of hell.
She was drowning in her sorrow, and she could not find the strength to come back.
It had been over two weeks, and almost nothing had changed. Hermione was silent almost all of the time, though she tried to be cheerful for the friends that were so worried about her. It didn’t matter though, since they all knew she was hurting so much. She only ate on occasion, when Jake came to her with food, silently pleading for her not to waste away. He had lost Melissa, she kept reminding herself. She wasn’t the only one that had lost someone dear to her.
But still, it was Draco. The difference seemed to matter more than she wished it did. It was just so empty without him. She was empty without him.
She stopped walking and looked up to where her feet had brought her; their common room. Slowly, she reached out, her delicate fingers hesitantly touching the thick frame of the angel’s portrait.
“Phoenix feathers.” It came out as a coarse whisper, but the portrait opened nonetheless. Hesitantly, she stepped inside, a whirlwind of painful memories greeting her.
The day they had gotten together, the way his hands would cover her eyes when she would enter the room, laughing; the day they had confessed to each other, how she had defended him to Ron, how they had kissed in that very spot.
I promise not to die on you if you promise to keep fighting for me.
“Liar,” she whispered, collapsing to the floor as her knees gave out, tears flowing freely down her face. She felt queasy and lightheaded as she fell the remaining distance to the floor, knowing that Draco couldn’t rescue her this time. Her senses darkened to blackness.
Draco was gone.
She opened her eyes, allowing the bright light to flood in. She wasn’t in her common room anymore, but for all the memories that were in this room, they might as well have left her there.
The hospital wing.
“I wish you wouldn’t scare me like that,” she heard.
“I understand,” he said quietly. Then, with more force, “Mione, I think we should leave.”
“Like we planned,” he explained. “We should go to Ireland.”
“You need to get out of here.”
“You’re a mess, Mione.” They were quiet for a moment. “Look, I'm not going to force you to go, but I think it’ll be good for you-for us. We need to move on. Just…think about it.”
Hermione nodded and Jake stood to leave.
“About Melissa,” he said quietly, “she really did want us to be happy.”
“I know Jake,” she replied softly. “She loved you, you know.”
“Yeah, she told me,” he said, walking through the door. “Remember to think about it Hermione. I really think you need a break away from this place.” He closed the door and left her to herself.
“Mrs. Malfoy,” she heard the familiar voice of Madame Pomfrey. “I have something very important that I must discuss with you.”
“Mione,” said Ginny, relief clear in her voice. It was the first time that they had seen her looking remotely alive since she had learned of Draco’s death and, though the change was abrupt, they were glad to see it.
“Hey,” she replied awkwardly, avoiding eye contact.
“How are you?”
It was an interesting question, she thought, and she didn’t really know how to answer it. How was she?
“I’ll survive,” she said, though it sounded strange, even to her.
“I’m glad,” said Harry.
“I wanted to thank you guys,” she suddenly said. “You’ve really helped me a lot this year. I was really happy.”
“We’re happy to help,” said Harry, somewhat confused.
“Yeah,” added Ron, “any time.”
“I just wanted you guys to know that you really mean a lot to me.” She looked up, met Ron’s cautious gaze and quickly looked away again, afraid of what her eyes might reveal. They were looking strangely at her; she could tell even though she had only looked up for a moment.
“That’s why I came today. I just wanted to make sure you knew that. And that I’ll always come back to you.” She went for the door and opened it, pausing only to utter a quiet, “goodbye,” before leaving as quickly as possible.
“What was that all about?” asked Harry in confusion. Ron was the one to answer, his voice sounding strangely hollow.
“Are you ready?” asked Jake when he saw Hermione emerge from the large wooden doors of the Hogwarts entrance.
“I am,” she said, stepping toward Jake as a warm rain began to fall from the sky. Hermione looked up, allowing the water droplets to splash onto her face as she silently thanked Draco. He had left her a piece of him.
“I’m coming, Jake,” she said, running to catch up to him.
“It’s not a good idea to get wet now. We’re not going to be inside for awhile.”
“It’s okay,” she replied with a smile, “I’m a witch, remember? I can always dry my clothes later. Besides, she likes the rain.”
“Sophie Emilia Malfoy.”
A/N: Only an epilogue left. Hope you enjoyed this chapter, and remember to leave a review =D
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