Chapter 20 : Epilogue
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It was many hours later when I awoke in a bed with bright white sheets in a room with bright white walls and a bright white ceiling. My whole body jerked upward until I was sitting completely upright, breathing heavily. Everything from hours before came flooding back to me suddenly – the Dark Lord’s merciless laugh as he hung me upside down, Dumbledore’s horrendous death, crouching next to Hermione with my face pressed to the marble floor and freezing water slurping up my nose, the centaurs stampeding into the room – everything. We’d used a time turner. We weren’t there anymore. Was it a dream? It had to of been a dream. Any minute now, one of the Carrows were going to walk through the door of the hospital wing …
“Well, well, well, look who’s finally decided to wake up.”
I knew it. I jumped out of bed with savage instincts, ready to attack.
Madame Pomfrey let out a yelp as the tray of food she was carrying dropped to the ground with a clatter.
I had to do a double take. “Madame … Madame Pomfrey?”
“Indeed I am, Mr. Malfoy. Is it really necessary for you to jump out of bed looking as though you’re about to pounce on someone?” Flustered and out of breath, she dropped to the floor and began cleaning her mess, summoning her mop over with the Accio charm. “You’re apparently feeling better. Lie down, then.” she said with a hint of resentment before laying the tray on my bedside table and going through different Wizard medical procedures to make sure I was healthy.
“Hermione!” I suddenly remembered. “Where is Hermione?”
“Miss Granger is perfectly well. Lucky for you, she brought you here when she did. You almost suffered a serious concussion. I don’t know what you kids were thinking, running around the halls the way you were, and at night no less!” She gave a giant “Hmph!” and swept out of the room as if she had a million other things to do, when in reality I was the only patient there.
After Madame Pomfrey was gone, I relaxed into my white fluffy pillow, relishing in the fact that everything was going to go back to normal. I was back in my fifth year at Hogwarts, where magic is learned and Dumbledore is alive, where the return of the Dark Lord is a mere myth and most of his Death Eaters are in Azkaban, where Crabbe and Goyle are still my best mates and we take any opportunity we are given to taunt Potter and his friends.
Back to hating Hermione.
No. I decided right then and there that things would be different between us. Hermione and I had been through too much together to simply go back to the way things used to be. In a way, we bonded through our pain and suffering. And I could finally admit to myself that I … I was in love with her, too.
But what would she think? Surely she wouldn’t want to simply forget about everything we’d endured together and go back to the way things used to be, would she? I doubted it. This, I was certain, was the beginning of a new and beautiful relationship between us. It wouldn’t be anything at all like what I used to have with Pansy Parkinson. I hoped I’d grown up a bit since then. And I remembered the way the future Draco and Hermione had looked at each other, with untold stories filled with such an immense amount of love glazing their eyes. Months ago, it would have made me sick to think that Hermione and I were even capable of loving each other … but things were different now. Very different.
I swung my legs over the side of the white bed and stood up to stretch, walking toward the window. The bright sunlight poured through the white curtains, bathing my face in heat. I threw them open and smiled to see the Quidditch pitch was still there, with high hooped poles towering in the sky.
Hermione, magic, Quidditch, and Dumbledore. I had everything I needed in life. Now, the only problem was working out how to make sure I didn’t loose them. I remembered the future Hermione’s words that she’d spoken to me before: “You have to go back to 1995. If you do, you can change everything so that none of this happens in the future.”
We could stop it from happening, Hermione and I. All we had to do was make sure the Dark Lord never gains any type of control. We had to make sure Dumbledore was kept safe, because without Dumbledore, the entire world – Wizarding and Muggle – is doomed. I also decided that a good long chat with Lovegood was in order …
And then I realized, it’s not up to Hermione to make sure Dumbledore is kept safe. It’s up to me. I’m the one who supposedly let the Death Eaters in the castle to capture him. Well, it should be easy enough not to. Right?
I stuck my hands in my pockets and rocked back on my heels. Something with rough edges crinkled beneath my fingertips. I pulled out the folded piece of parchment the future Draco had given to me and gasped. I’d completely forgotten about it. With shaking fingers, from fear or glee I wasn’t exactly sure, I unfolded it and sat on the edge of my bed to read the words.
To the former prat – myself,
I was going to let Hermione write this letter to you, because I hate the boy I once was. Which basically means I hate you. But don’t worry – you’ll grow out of your idiocy eventually and realize what an absolute bastard you are. Listen to Hermione when she talks to you. She’s smarter than you might think, and there is hope for you yet.
Anyway, I expect you’re wondering how I know about you and your mental idea to use a time turner. I have no doubt it was your fault you and Hermione got landed in my world. Don’t scowl at me. You know it’s true.
I stopped reading and realized that yes – my face was contorted into an ugly scowl. I fixed it immediately and continued reading.
I suggest that the next time you decide to sneak around, you do not:
1.) Make your presence so well known in a forest bustling with life. Where do you think Hermione and I had been hiding for months? Fortunately, we were smarter than you and actually found shelter from the cold with the centaurs who we made an alliance with. And,
2.) Leave your life story in the hole of a trunk in a tree. Honestly, how fucking smart was that? You might as well of just put a bloody sign on your forehead that says “I’M FROM THE PAST!” in big bold letters.
All right, Hermione says I’m being too harsh with you and that I should try to be a bit nicer. So anyway, after we found your note and read about how Alecto had captured Hermione right after the two of you arrived here with the time turner, we thought of the only logical explanation there was: Alecto had the time turner. We snuck into Hogwarts, broke into the bitch’s office, and there you have it – the key to your escape. It was right under your nose all along. But of course, you needed my genius to be able to find it. Hermione says to add in that it was mostly her genius, but I think I did most of the work in this operation.
I couldn’t help but smile. Even if the future Draco was an absolute bastard (which was a relief … I didn’t want to change too much, after all) it was plain to see what a great relationship the future Draco and Hermione had.
And now, there is only one more thing I want to say to you before we leave to save your sorry arse. Hermione Granger is the best thing that will ever happen to you. And if you ever call her a Mudblood again, I will use a time turner of my own to go back to 1995 and haunt your ass.
P.S. The M word DOES exist. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
P.P.S. If you ever let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts to capture Dumbledore, I will not need a time turner to go back there and kill you. Dumbledore is the best thing Hogwarts has. Aside from Hermione, of course.
I read the letter a few more times, and each time I was able to clearly see a little more humor in it. The future Draco wasn’t so bad. He was still me – still snarky, rude, sarcastic, and incredibly clever – but he was also in love.
“What are you reading, Twenty-seven?”
I jumped. Hermione was standing behind me, hovering over my shoulder. I folded the parchment and stuck it into my pocket.
“Funny, Hermione,” I said, sarcasm oozing from every syllable. “Very funny. And I expect you’ll tell me next that the M word does not exist?” I smiled teasingly.
Hermione, however, tilted her head contemplatively and stared down at me with unblinking brown eyes. And then, she smiled, almost mechanically. “It doesn’t,” she said, and for the first time I noticed how she wore the time turner around her neck. She walked over to my bedside table and picked up my wand, sliding her fingers down the smooth edges of the dark hawthorn wood ever so slowly. She stuck it into her pocket and then took the thin silver chain of the necklace and pulled it over her bushy head.
And before I had time to stop her, she laid the necklace on the ground, raised her shoe high into the air, and stomped on the hour glass shaped pendent with all her might. There was a sickening crunch, and when she removed her foot, shards of broken glass lay scattered on the floor. She smiled and glared at me with a mad and deranged glint in her eyes. And that was when I realized what I had done. I hadn’t brought back Hermione.
I brought back her clone.
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Or is it the end? Mwahaha :P I hope you guys aren’t upset with me for leaving it like that, but you have to understand, before I even started writing this story, all I knew was how I wanted it to end. So please don’t think I left the ending hanging just to be cruel (although some might beg to differ :P). This was honestly the ending I had planned throughout the entire writing of this story, and when it came down to writing it, it was just what felt “right.” I am not saying yes to a sequel, and I am not saying no. As I am currently putting all of my effort into focusing on original fiction (thanks to the encouragement I received from you guys), we’ll leave the idea for a sequel up in the air for now.
That said …
I would like to sincerely thank every single person who has read this story. Triple thanks if you took the time to review. I have loved reading your responses to my writing as much as I enjoyed writing this story. When I first started writing “The M Word” for National Novel Writing Month, I had no idea how successful it would be in the wonderful world of fanfiction. Your response to this story has been overwhelming and I could never thank you all enough for your continued support. I thank those of you who offered constructive criticism, those of you who commented on my writing style, and those of you who said, “AHHH OMG I HATE YOU!!!!” :P
I hope you all had a fun ride with Draco and Hermione, and I invite you all to check out my other stories on my Author’s Page as well. Shameless pimping. Yeah. I’ll admit I’m guilty. ;) And feel free to ask me questions in my Meet the Author topic in the forums!
Thank you again! *hugs to all*
Jessica a.k.a. sunshinedreamr