Chapter 18 : The Aftermath
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With a lot of others seriously injured, the school infirmary was filled to the brim. Professor Dumbledore, also one of the many injured in battle, had asked several healers from St Mungo's to help Madame Pomfrey. Not that they sent a lot. St Mungo's was also doing overtime because of the aftermath. As for those who were not able to make it, they were covered with white sheets and family members dealt with all the death papers, the morgue, everything. It was the most I have ever cried in my life.
Ginny and Luna were injured, as well as several other students. Gashes here and there, broken bones. Miraculously, Harry made it out without so much as a fractured rib. He had bruises left and right, but was otherwise fine and didn't need medical attention.
Hermione loves me. Hermione Granger loves me. The love of my life (yes, you may throw up) loves me.
Well, you can guess what kept me alive.
As I was laying on the ground, battered and bloodied, I felt her weighted upon me. I was almost pretty gone. I was so tired and completely out of it, I felt ready to give up and just wanted to sleep forever. But then I felt something tug at my heart. And I realised she was crying. I knew I couldn't leave her like that. I knew I had to do something to make her happy -- it was practically my life goal to keep her happy. And right then, I knew I can't die. I didn't allow myself. So I forced myself to stay conscious. As much as I just wanted to rest, I forced myself to keep on breathing and held on the longest I can.
And then I felt it -- love consuming me all over. I knew then. She loved me. And when she said it out loud? I was so filled with emotion that I passed out.
And passed out I did.
When they brought him to the infirmary, I refused to be shooed away as Madame Pomfrey was so adamant to do so. Who was she to say that I wasn't allowed to be next to him on his deathbed just because I wasn't family?
Thank goodness Lucius was good for something. He quickly spoke to Madame Pomfrey and I was swept away to Draco's side and didn't leave it. Not for food or water or even the call of nature. Okay, maybe for the call of nature. But for the rest, Narcissa was kind enough to call on a house-elf and ask for meals for me. Normally, I would ask her not to boss them around, but just the fact that she and her husband allowed me to stay by Draco's side was incentive enough for me to keep quiet. Besides, she was doing it for me, so I suppose that makes her alright in my book.
He was asleep most the time but would wake up for several minutes a few times a day. Zabini, Pucey, Crabbe and Goyle would come over, make small talk with me, but usually would just check on how he was doing. Not a word was said about the war.
By the third day, he was awake for more than the usual five minutes.
I'll admit it, I squeezed out as much Hermione time as I could. I knew she'd just as soon turn hostile on me the moment I wake up to full consciousness. I know her that well. You can't fault me for wanting more of her sniffles and declarations of love, can you? Besides, my friends kept popping in and out, and much as I do appreciate their concern, I also knew they'd start roughing me up when they find out I'm actually healed to perfection.
But by the time the third day rolled in, I was fed up with lying down every single second with only a few minutes reprieve. And I wanted to walk around and make use of my legs that have started to weigh like cows.
I smiled and felt hands brushing through my hair, combing it back and out of my forehead. Without even having to check, I knew it was her. I was just that connected.
His eyes fluttered open and I stopped automatically. I didn't know why. Reflexes, I suppose. I was too used to distancing myself from Draco that I can't act normally around him. Even if I wanted to.
"Why'd you stop?" he asked groggily.
"Erm." I didn't know how to answer that.
He sighed and intertwined our hands. I didn't protest. He smiled.
It was comfortable. Just us two and the comfortable silence between us. It was as though we had some sort of unspoken truce and a secret only we knew. Of course, everyone knew by now, thanks to the school grapevine. And Zabini's loud mouth.
"So," Draco started, breaking the silence. "You love me, huh?" He said this with a playful grin on his face that I couldn't help but smile. "How much exactly?"
I scoffed. Like I'd ever tell him that. Besides, I wasn't sure myself either.
He pulled me closer to him. "I know," he whispered and smirked cockily.
I arched an eyebrow. "What exactly do you know?"
He gave me another annoying look that made me want to injure him again but I refrained myself. Because of well, the little known fact that I sort of love him.
Four days later
Well they say it's the bad ones that die last as he's well alive. No, I'm not bipolar, but he's been acting even more insufferable ever since they wheeled him into the infirmary and I've been attached to him like his long lost Siamese twin. I've just recently learnt that he was prolonging his sickbed bit because apparently, being the Veela he is, he may keep things from me, but never actually lie. And when I asked him how long he's been doing for the past few days... well you can guess how his answer was.
He spluttered a bit, trying to cover up his stories, but ultimately, the truth came out in the end.
I suppose I could always tell him that were it not for me loving him, he'd be good and dead by now. But that's just digging the hole even deeper. He's been sending me arrogant smirks all day and after staying by his side for a full week, I've decided I had enough and stormed out the infirmary.
As I've said, you can't blame me for wanting to squeeze out as much Hermione time as I possibly can. Unfortunately, in Hermione's twisted mind, you can. She up and left just a few minutes ago and I've been feeling a little lonesome. I swear, she's too emotional for her own good.
I'm not too worried though. I have my Veela perks and I know she just needs space from me and the rollercoaster feelings that I've been sensing from her ever since I regained consciousness.
Wanting to move around for a bit after being bed-ridden for the most part of the week (with 15 minute walks every so often when Madame Pomfrey and Healer Lyttleton would allow me to do so), I put on warm boots and a sweater my mother left for me and proceeded to go down to the kitchens. I asked a house-elf to keep the chocolate cake Hermione gave me in the refrigerator and I felt I needed a bit of that.
Halfway through my second slice of chocolate cake, I heard someone shuffle in and greeted by cheers and welcoming shouts from the house-elves. I didn't have to look up to know it was Hermione. I felt her stomach grumbling all day long because she missed dinner in exchange for an argument from yours truly. Why she keeps trying to argue with me, I don't understand. I'm on her side now. Old habits die hard, I suppose.
She noticed me. I could feel it, once again. Her heart jumped in surprise and I knew she wanted to get out.
"You can't still be angry with me?" I asked, not turning around. "I'm sorry I wanted to spend time with you. If you can't forgive me for that now, at least grab some food before you go. I know you're starving."
She was confused, that much I knew.
A minute later, she had a plate of cheeses, bread and sliced apples and sat down in front of me.
I quirked an eyebrow. "I didn't think you'd sit with me."
"I thought you hated chocolate cake?"
I blushed. I could feel the blood rushing to my face and I mentally slapped myself. I stuffed my mouth with more cake and refused to answer her question.
"Well?" she asked expectantly.
"You gave it to me," I mumbled, hoping the cake would over up whatever noise came from my mouth.
No such luck. She grinned.
I feel forgiven.
"Does this mean you really like chocolate and pretended not to? Or you're starting to like chocolate?"
She really knew how to get to my nerves, didn't she? Instead of going for the offence though, I shrugged and told her the truth.
"I felt like being with you. Since I didn't think that was going to happen any time soon, I settled for this."
She sat there looking dumbfounded but I knew her heart was beating wildly. I smiled slowly and tried to hide it from her by ducking my head. She's easily pissed off and I wouldn't want to set her off right now.
As a Veela, I could only sense her emotions, not her thoughts or her rash decisions. So imagine my surprise when she stood up and leaned forward and kissed me right smack on my lips.
My eyes widened for a split-second. But I was soon quick on my feet and held her head close to mine and kissed her back with all that I had. She was too far though, and I wanted that fixed. I cut off the kiss, much to her surprise and was next to her in seconds, jumping over the table. I grinned when she smiled slowly, knowing what was coming next.
I pulled her down on my lap and pressed my lips to hers again. This time deepening it by opening her mouth with mine. She was hesitant at first but soon got into it and tasted my tongue with hers. I felt her shudder and I smiled. I must be doing something right. Especially for her hands to wander. One was stroking my nape and the other was down my back and pulling me close to her, which was no longer possible as we were so close to each other, I could feel her curves against me.
Breaking free and needing air, I moved to her cheek and trailed down to her neck and kissed her deeply. She didn't know it yet, but I was soon creating a mark. Yes, I admit, I was marking her as my territory and I'm not at all ashamed. She groaned out loud and I chuckled to myself. At that, she bit my neck.
"Feisty, are we?" I asked, moving my lips up to her ear and to a sensitive spot behind her earlobe. She made a scoffing sound and ignored my question.
After a heavy snog fest and a decline to look for the Room of Requirement at this late hour for some extra-curricular activities that brought a lovely shade of red to my betrothed’s cheeks, I walked her back to Gryffindor Tower.
We stopped in front of the Fat Lady (again, it amuses me how this comical character is the one in charge of the people entering and leaving their dormitory) and she gave the password. She said the password out loud, right in front of me. You don’t understand how good this little action made me feel. She trusted me. Finally.
The portrait swung open and she turned to look at me, doubt and confusion clearly etched on her face. I didn’t need to be a Veela to read that.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
Not saying a word, she closed the small gap between us and wrapped her arms around my neck. Standing on tiptoes, she pulled my head down slightly and kissed me. Surprised, but nonetheless enthusiastic, I returned the kiss. It must have been a really long time because I heard the Fat Old Lady coughing in the background and muttering things like “inappropriate”, “how vulgar”, and “isn’t it getting late?”.
Untangling herself from my body, Hermione looked up at me with a healthy blush on her cheeks.
“Good night,” she said softly.
“Good night,” I returned and gave her one last peck on the lips. “I love you.” With that, I ushered her in, made sure the portrait was closed shut before I walked away.
“She loves you too!” the Fat Lady trilled once I was a few steps away.
I chuckled. “I know!” I called back.
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