It was just as Hermione had suspected; it was broken beyond repair. The little golden chirping bird Ron had given her for her birthday lay lifelessly on the floor. She had tried every mending and fixing charm she could think of yet nothing worked. Giving up on it, Hermione merely fixed the poor bird’s wing and placed it back on its post. She blew her hair out of her face. Checking the large ornate clock on her wall, Hermione slumped back into her chair.
She still had a glorious fifteen minutes before she was back on call. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to venture back. She could almost smell the foul smell of rotting plants as she entered St. Mungo’s for the first day of her Healer lessons. She was amongst dozens of hopeful students, but only a handful would be accepted in. The nights were exceptionally long and hard. Hermione would pick Hogwarts lessons in ten folds in comparison to the grueling work she was presented with at St. Mungo’s. She had to perform some of the most complicated spells and brew some of the most gruesome potions. There were people who were brought in that made her stomach churn at the sight. But above all of this, Hermione couldn’t shake the heavy weight that was crushing her every time she was dealt a new patient: she was in charge of their lives. It was up to Hermione to determine life or death. She could stop their pain and make them feel at ease, or make them squeal in agony with just a flick of her wand. This is what scared her beyond anything. The amount of responsibility and trust these complete strangers put in her hands. She nearly couldn’t go through with it. But then, reminding herself of the driving force that pushed her to do this came into mind, and she would find the right path. She knew she could go through with it. She knew she must go through with it, for Draco’s sake.
Ah Draco. How his name felt so homely on her tongue, yet the sharp pain of his mere mention brought Hermione the same rush of emotions as it did that same day she found out her first love’s fate:
It was spring. The leaves of the trees were a plush green as was the grass. Flowers were blooming every moment and their sweet smell covered all of England. It was a mere few months since their graduation at Hogwarts. Hermione had already begun her training for Healers. Ron and Harry were both training for the Auror Department. It was perfect. She had overcome the grief that filled her from Draco’s absence. She was a master of the pain.
Hermione had other factors to focus on, such as not failing from this program. Yet, she was struggling. It was harder than anything she had to do and for the first time in Hermione’s life… she felt as though giving up. Then, that horrid day came. It was May 14th. One of the most gorgeous days of the year. Hermione was sitting at home, curled up with a book she had to read.
She could hear it now. The light tapping on her windowsill coming from across the room. She stood up to let the barn owl swoop in and drop the manila colored envelope onto the floor and swoop back out. She picked it up and immediately recognized Harry’s messy handwriting. She could feel the smile tugging at the sides of her lips. Hearing from Harry always made her gloomy days better. Ripping open the back she unfolded the parchment.
Come to the Burrow the moment you get this. DON’T read the Prophet.
She was so confused. Was there something wrong? Her smile instantly disappeared. Why didn’t he want her to read the Prophet? What was so terrible that she couldn’t see? Without further ado, Hermione quickly grabbed her wand off the table and stepped into her fireplace. After the emerald flames engulfed her, she saw the messy sitting room of the Burrow.
“Harry?” Hermione called out as she stepped out. She found them all sitting around the dinning table, huddled and whispering.
“Hermione.” Harry said quickly as he stood up. She noticed the worried glances and the dodgy looks between Ginny and Ron.
“What’s going on?” Hermione asked. She was severely troubled.
“Sit down.” Harry advised. Hermione nodded and sat in one of the thick armchairs.
“Harry please, what’s happening? You’re frightening me.” Hermione said looking back at Ginny and Ron’s faces.
“Hermione, I don’t know how to tell you this…” Harry started looking back at Ron.
“Tell me what? Harry look at me! What is going on!” Hermione demanded. She wasn’t sure why but tears already started brimming her eyes.
“We’re so sorry Hermione.” Ginny’s soft voice spoke from the back. Hermione was so confused.
“Harry tell me…” Hermione demanded.
“It’s Draco.” Ron spoke up. She looked at him quizzically.
“What about Draco?” Hermione asked.
“He’s…” Harry started but choked up. Hermione looked at his distant expression.
“Draco’s dead.” Ginny said quietly from the back.
Time seemed to have frozen. It was not true. She must have heard Ginny incorrectly. No, her Draco was not dead. She saw him, only just a few months ago. He wrote to her when he reached America. He told her it was a mistake and that he would come back in September. He wrote to her just two weeks ago. He wasn’t dead…
“No. You must be mistaken.” Hermione said shaking her head.
“We’re so sorry.” Harry said trying to embrace her.
“No! No, no, no, no…” Hermione sobbed into Harry’s comforting arms. She felt Ron rub her back.
“There’s nothing we can do.” Ron tried to help. Hermione didn’t want to hear it. This wasn’t true. Why were they playing such a cruel joke on her?
“Please… tell me this is one foul joke you’re playing.” Hermione pleaded. Her eyes were glazed with tears.
“We’re so sorry Hermione.” Ginny said with a small voice.
“Sorry’s not enough.” Hermione breathed as she fell into the arm chair behind her and tried to take in all that happened.
Draco could not be dead. He simply couldn’t. Draco was healthy, he was perfectly in tact. There couldn’t have been a reason why he… she couldn’t even finish.
“How did it happen?” Hermione asked.
“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was caught in the middle of two wizards arguing.” Harry said with as little detail as possible. He wanted to spare Hermione the more gruesome aspects of the incident.
“I have to go.” Hermione said quickly as she got up.
“Hermione you can’t be by yourself.” Ginny responded getting up.
“I need to be alone. I’m sorry.” Hermione finished before anyone could stop her. She focused in her mind her apartment and broke into the loudest sob as her feet touched the floor.
“Hermione? Hermione?” Hermione was snapped back into reality.
“Ron hi.” Hermione smiled as she looked up to his smiling face.
“Day dreaming on the job?” Ron smirked.
“Shut up Ronald. What brings you here?” Hermione asked as she got up from behind her desk.
“No reason. Wanted to know if you were in the mood for a bit of lunch with Harry and me?” Ron asked.
“Yeah I’d love to.” Hermione replied grabbing her sweater as both she and Ron stepped into the fireplace within her office. In a matter of moments, both of them reemerged inside a small pub in the heart of Diagon Alley.
“Ron! Hermione!” Harry called over.
“Hi!” Hermione said merrily as she took a seat beside Harry.
“How are you?” Harry asked.
“Fine why?” Hermione asked. Harry and Ron quickly exchanged glances.
“What is going on between you two?” Hermione practically laughed as she saw them let out nervous laughs.
“Its just that…” Ron began.
“It’s what?” Hermione questioned.
“Tomorrow’s the seven year anniversary of…” Harry said.
“I know what tomorrow is Harry. But why are you asking me about it?” Hermione smiled as she replied.
“Well, I just wanted to make sure you were alright.” Harry said carefully knowing full well that Hermione still found the subject to be a sore spot.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Hermione asked with a raised eyebrow.
“You sort of lost it last year.” Ron pointed out.
It was true. Hermione had become hysterical as she had every other year. She could barely keep her composure. It angered her that Narcissa Malfoy wasn’t even in the country to mourn for her only son. She couldn’t stand being around those who never fully comprehended the feelings she held for Draco. The grief consumed her whole. It drove her insane. She had never allowed herself to fully heal from Draco’s death. Hermione merely suppressed her emotions. She thought that by forgetting him, by putting him in the back of her mind, she would be able to move on, to heal. But every year, when May, the prettiest month of the year rolled around, she would find herself tear stained every night.
“Well that was last year. This year is different.” Hermione said stiffly.
“How?” Harry asked.
“Well firstly because I’ve finally learned to let go. There is no point in becoming hysterical. It won’t bring him back. And secondly, I have Lex.” Hermione said indifferently.
“Right Lex.” Harry noted. Hermione nodded her head with a half smile in his direction.
It was almost a year ago that Hermione first met Lex. She was away on a conference in France when she met the handsome man with sandy colored hair and dark honey eyes like her own. He had an air to him that made the entire room look solely upon him. His charm made every witch in the room mesmerized. His smile simply brightened the room. Hermione instantly hated him. She could see his debonair, eloquent, aristocratic cockiness from across the room and found it to leave a sour taste in her mouth. She couldn’t stand him already and he hadn’t even spoken a single word to her. But she knew that the room was abuzz with whispers about this man.
It was no surprise then, when Lex finally went up to say hello to Hermione, she rudely brushed him off and scoffed at him before turning away. This he couldn’t help but admire. She only intrigued him more as she continued to ignore his calls. Finally after a long played out game of cat and mouse, Hermione finally gave him the chance to defend himself, only to be flabbergasted at who he really was. Alexander Ashford, the great great grandson of Caleb Ashford. Now Hermione wasn’t fascinated by wealth, in retrospect it meant very little to nothing for her, but she was intrigued with history, and oh did the Ashford’s have some history. Being one of the oldest, older than any of the wizarding families she knew of, was a fascination within itself but there are plenty of secret scandals, bloody pasts, and unimaginable secrets that the family had. Hermione’s interests in Lex peaked instantly.
And it seemed that within months, Lex had done what other men were unable to do: he finally was able to have Hermione move on from her grieving of Draco. He was the first one to make her forget Draco at times. When he held her, when he kissed her, she didn’t think of how it was nothing like Draco’s touch; all she could think about was how she melted whenever he did hold her. Neither of them needed telling but they were slowly falling in love and within just five months, Lex proposed. Although the wedding was not for some time, Hermione knew this is what she wanted, what she needed. She couldn’t be lonely forever in mourning of Draco. He wouldn’t have wanted that for her. She knew Lex was the best that she could ever hope for and so she let him into her heart, something she had only done for Draco.
“Speaking of Lex, will he be back by tomorrow?” Ron asked taking a sip of his drink.
“I don’t think so. I wrote to him yesterday and he said he would try his hardest to return from France, but they have him working nonstop so I can’t particularly say.” Hermione shrugged indifferently.
“How about you come over my place tomorrow then?” Harry offered. Hermione smiled. She knew what Harry was trying to do to and it warmed her heart that he loved her enough to protect her to this extent.
“Harry that’s very nice of you to offer but I told you, I’ll be alright. Tomorrow is just another normal day. I’ll wake up in the morning, go to work, come home, make some dinner and go to bed.” Hermione finished.
“You’re not going to visit…” Ron trailed off. Hermione swallowed hard. She knew she couldn’t visit Draco’s grave. It would destroy her. But she knew she couldn’t not see him.
“I might make a trip there.” Hermione replied vaguely.
“If you need us, you know Hermione we’d be there.” Ron reminded. She squeezed his hand.
“I know. You two are wonderful. But its something I’ve got to do on my own. I hope you understand.” Hermione finished.
“Yeah of course we do.” Harry said.
Hermione gave a great stretch as she pulled herself off of the couch and walked into the kitchen. She had a pleasant day at the hospital with very few patients and now all she wanted to do was curl up with a good book and read the night away. She poured herself some elf made wine into a crystal glass and walked back into the sitting room. Just as she was comfortable with a blanket at her feet, she heard the clock chime 6 o’clock. Hermione lost herself in her thoughts. Today was Draco’s death. It was at this time that he was buried seven years ago. Just seven years ago Draco was alive, breathing, existing.
Hermione downed the rest of her wine and threw the blanket off herself. She quickly went upstairs into her room to change her clothes. Thinking very hard on the spot she wanted to land, with a pop Hermione disappeared from her spot and landed in a murky graveyard. She checked behind her to see if anyone was watching. Once she was sure the coast was clear, Hermione began walking. This was a private cemetery, strictly for the centuries of Malfoy’s only. She walked past the hundreds of tombstones shining brightly. It was eerie and silent. Hermione could hear her feet crunch on the earth beneath her. She continued forward until she saw one labeled: Lucius Malfoy. She knew that the one next to his was Draco’s. With a wave of her wand, she produced a bouquet of white calla lilies.
She gently placed them down as she kneeled before his grave. It was overwhelming to be here. Hermione looked down at the earth that was covering Draco’s body, the earth that stole him away from her. She ran her fingers through the dirt. This was the closest she was ever going to get to him. This would be the nearest she would be to him. She would never be able to hear his voice. She would never be able to listen to his laughter. She would never be able to hold him, hug him, touch him. Hermione felt her throat tighten up. Her breathing became harder and rugged. It was these thoughts that made her angry. It was the fact that she would never be able to hold him or be with him ever again that drove her mad. She felt the hot tears roll down her eyes as she let out an angry sob. All she wanted was to see him again, just for a moment. She just wanted to hold him, tell him she loved him still. She wanted her happy ending with Draco.
It was unfair. This wasn’t right. Hermione screamed in frustration as she fell to her knees, crouching with the tears falling steadily. She pleaded for someone, something to bring him back. She wanted to discover how to turn back time, how to erase the past. She wanted to discover the antidote to stop death. She would travel to the world’s end and back just to have Draco again. And perhaps that was the most infuriating part of it all: no matter what she did, no matter what she could do, no matter how much she could pray or hope…. Draco was never coming back.
He would never be with her again. He would never whisper into her ear. She would never smell him. She would never taste that sweet mint that always lingered on her lips after she kissed him. She was beginning to lose the way it felt when he held her, the warmth that radiated from his arms around her body. She felt a hollow sensation in her chest. It was becoming harder to breath. She wanted to feel his presence but she couldn’t. All she felt was the cool spring breeze hit her skin, but it was not Draco. She couldn’t feel him anymore. It was the strangest feeling. It was as if Draco had gone away from here. She couldn’t feel the warmth she once did. Perhaps, Hermione told herself, that it was truly time to move on. Perhaps Lex has helped her move on. Gathering herself, she stood up to wipe her eyes.
Hermione looked around at the endless lines of deceased family members. This cemetery was just off the Malfoy property. She turned around to face the behemoth manor house. It was beautiful the way it was covered with ivy and flowers all around. Hermione found it strange such vile people could have lived in such a beautiful house. She continued looking until finally she noticed something. The entire manor’s lights were turned off, except one. One small room, in the highest part of the manor had a light turned on. It was quite strange. Hermione continued peering until suddenly there was a person who appeared. Their sudden appearance made Hermione jump. Whoever they were, they were looking right down at her. But they couldn’t be. It would have been impossible to recognize her, for Hermione could barely see any features of the person. They continued looking straight and solely in Hermione’s direction. After about a minute Hermione looked away and walked towards the same spot she landed when she first arrived. Thinking about her house, Hermione spun on the spot and disappeared into the growing darkness.
Hermione landed and immediately collapsed onto her couch.
“Ow!” Hermione heard from beneath her. Hermione let out a small scream as she jumped up. She pointed her wand at the figure laying on her couch.
“Lex?” Hermione breathed out as she saw him remove the blanket from his face.
“Good to see you to Hermione.” Lex said as he sat up.
“Oh my god darling you scared me.” Hermione said breathing normally again. “What are you doing back? I thought you were returning tomorrow?”
“Surprise!” Lex smiled as he took Hermione by the hand and pulled her in for a kiss. She smiled into his lips just before she felt his lips on hers.
“I’ve missed you.” Hermione whispered as she sat on his lap.
“And I’ve missed you. Which is why I’m taking you out tonight.” Lex said smiling.
“What? Tonight?” Hermione surprised. Although, this was quite in Lex’s nature to take Hermione out almost every other night, lavish her in endless surprises that Hermione was still finding hard to get used to.
“Yes. I know today’s a hard day for you and I’m so sorry I couldn’t be here the whole time. But I’m here now and I want to make it stress free and relaxing. So go put on a pretty dress for me. I already made reservations.” Lex replied with a smirk on his face.
“You really didn’t have to.” Hermione said trying to cover up the small twinge of pain at the implication of Draco.
“I want to. I love you Hermione. Enough to accept you had a past with someone you deeply loved. I want to do everything to make your healing process a little easier. Just let me help.” Lex said sincerely taking Hermione’s hand into his. This is why Hermione loved Lex. He accepted her past and helped her deal with it, rather than try to make her forget.
“I love you too. You’re too wonderful for me.” Hermione said kissing his forehead. Lex flashed his bright smile.
“Come on I have a table for two at 8 o’clock.” Lex said as Hermione got up.
“That was delicious.” Hermione said putting down the fork from her dessert.
“I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.” Lex said smiling. He loved pleasing Hermione.
“You’re right, this is what I needed. Some relaxing time alone with you. This really helped.” Hermione said taking Lex’s hand. He took her hand and kissed the back.
“I just want to see you happy Hermione.” Lex said genuinely. Hermione smiled. She looked past him to see a flash of crystal blue. Her heart raced.
“Draco?” Hermione whispered as she half stood from her chair.
“What?” Lex asked in confusion. Hermione didn’t answer though. She knew she saw those crystal eyes, his crystal eyes. Hermione walked out of the restaurant with a bewildered Lex quickly laying money on the table.
Hermione wasn’t even sure she saw the right person but she was now walking out trying to follow the man she just saw. Walking faster and faster through the thick crowd of people out at night she weaved her way through them. He was walking at a quick pace and Hermione noticed that he didn’t have the golden blonde hair. She felt her heart sink. This couldn’t be Draco. Of course it couldn’t be Draco, Hermione. Draco is dead remember? She heard herself think. But she couldn’t shake the thought that it was him she just saw. She stopped following him until he turned a corner. She could see him from where she was standing but before he turned he gave one more look over his shoulder and then she saw him: it was Draco’s eyes she knew it for sure. Even though his hair was darker, a chocolate color, she could make out that bone structure anywhere. Her breathing stopped as did her heart. It couldn’t be Draco, that couldn’t be him.
“Hermione!” Lex yelled from behind her. She snapped out of her reverie and looked at him with a blank stare. “What happened to you?”
She felt bewildered. She looked from him to the empty spot where she just saw… what did she see?
“I thought I just saw…” Hermione trailed off unsure of what to tell Lex.
“Saw what? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Lex said putting his hands around her arms.
“I thought I just saw Draco.” Hermione confessed. She felt stupid for saying it.
“Oh darling.” Lex said as he pulled her in for a hug. “I know this day has been immensely stressful for you. You’re probably just really tired. Let’s get you home. I’ll make you some tea.”
“Yeah I’m sure that’s it.” Hermione said agreeing.
Hermione woke up with a cold sweat. She looked at the clock, 3:17 am. She put her head down and looked over to find Lex sleeping soundly. She didn’t want to wake him so she quietly turned to her side. She had been dreaming. Draco’s face would not leave her thoughts. She was positive that whoever she saw today was Draco. But how could that have been? Draco was dead. Unless it was someone who just looked similar to him? Perhaps it was the wine that got to her? Regardless she was probably just seeing things. She couldn’t have seen Draco. It was probably because she was wishing to see him so badly today that she imagined she saw him. Draco was gone, she saw his grave today. Draco was not alive. It was impossible she saw him… or was it?
A/N: To say sorry just simply wouldn't be enough! Thank you for putting up with me and my horrible updates! I know I left you guys hanging off a cliff from the last chapter, and I know that this one will do no good to help relieve some inner frustration. College is leaving me with absolutely no time to update, but I promised you all that I would have a sequel and I am determined to stick to that promise.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I will see you lovelies next time! :)