“Hermione!” Draco yelled. Hermione lay motionless on the floor, her hair draped across her face. Draco collapsed down next to her and held her in his arms franticly trying to find a pulse. “Come on Hermione, don’t leave me. I’m so sorry, I only left for a couple of hours…they said they weren’t going to touch you today.” He choked. Draco held her close to him; she had been tortured by Bellatrix again. Draco wasn’t sure if Hermione would wake up this time, she had been getting gradually worse and worse. This had spurred on Bellatrix making the torture even more painful. Suddenly she stirred and her eyes flickered open meeting with his. “Hermione…” She lifted her hand up and stopped him speaking; they just looked at each other. Draco abruptly got up after laying Hermione down carefully, Hermione looked at him questioningly. She dared not speak for she knew she would scream or cry, she couldn’t bear putting Draco through that. Hermione wasn’t sure how much longer she could take this. If it weren’t for Draco…Hermione would have given up a long time ago. He was always there, just to hug her and talk to her.
“You don’t deserve this Hermione. They’ve gone too far.” Draco said darkly “it ends now. “
“Draco you can’t. This has nothing to do with you. Come on…” Hermione said weakly, barely managing to speak. Draco looked at her painfully; he wished he could take away her pain. Hermione was struggling to breathe and he has no idea how to heal her.
“It has everything to do with me.” Draco said through gritted teeth and with that he swung Hermione over his shoulder and left the dungeon. He carefully carried her around the manor, avoiding all points where they could meet someone else. They finally reached Draco’s room and he laid her carefully down on the bed. She looked so small and fragile. Draco paced his room, how could he get her out? Hermione would not be able to survive apparition. She lay on his bed, unconscious; Draco leaned down and held her hand. It was dangerously cold. He felt the life leaving her. Every second he wasted she slowly got colder. He couldn’t let her die. He wouldn’t. There was only one thing left for him to do; he would have to suffer the consequence later. Slowly he cradled her in his arms and walked towards the fireplace.
Draco Malfoy tumbled out of the fireplace; he was covered soot and holding a very fragile Hermione in his arms. “Please help me” he whispered nervously to the shocked faces before him. Immediately Mrs. Weasley jumped into action, helping Draco lay Hermione on the sofa and started casting spells and making potions to help Hermione. Draco stood over Hermione, motionless. For the first time, he felt what it was like to truly care for someone; he felt his heart breaking because there was nothing he could do to help her. He felt a tug on his arm, he couldn’t see through his tear filled eyes. Slowly he was lead to a small kitchen by Mr. Weasley who sat him down and waited for Draco to calm down.
“Draco…thank you” Mr. Weasley said seriously but it seemed that was all he could say. Draco nodded and made his way back to the fireplace to floo back home. He took one last look at Hermione, she was truly very beautiful. He knew the next time he would see her would be in the end, he prayed that she would be ok. But mostly he hoped she would never remember…Draco wasn’t ready for love.
“Draco, I need you to talk to me.” Mr. Weasley said firmly, “We need to know what’s going on here” He placed a strong hand on Draco’s shoulder; Draco resisted his natural reaction of shoving it off.
“She was captured…by us” Draco said bitterly “but she was going to die, I had to do something.”
“We can protect you now Draco, it’s not safe for you to go home now”
“No. It’s where I belong, I can’t change that.”
“But you helped her escape, they’ll kill you.” Mr. Weasley said seriously “we can protect you Draco.”
“No you can’t. We all made our choices long ago.”
“So what are you going to do? You clearly care about Hermione, you can’t change that” Mr. Weasley sighed. Draco met his eyes for the first time confused and shocked. Of course, Hermione, what would her do about her now? He didn’t even know how she felt about him, but they could never be…not even friends.
“I don’t want her to remember…any of this. It was so awful for her.” He looked at Mr. Weasley’s kind eyes which were filled with so much sorrow and worry.
“She won’t remember you either Draco, none of this. Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“Yes, I’m sure. She deserves better.” Mr. Weasley nodded; he knew he could not argue. Draco had chosen his path a long time ago; there was too much pride in him to change now. Mrs. Weasley suddenly rushed into the room.
“She’s awake” She gushed. Draco ran past her to go kneel by Hermione. Hermione’s eyes were slightly open and her face lit up when she saw him. He took her hand and squeezed it lightly.
“Hi” he said, holding in his tears “I thought I was going to lose you then” he smiled weakly at her.
“You’ll never lose me” Hermione whispered. Draco felt a stabbing pain in his heart, he wanted to hold her and tell her he’d never leave. Instead he let go of her hand and reached for his wand. A tear trickled down his pale cheek and Hermione carefully wiped it away with her thumb.
“Hermione…I” He stuttered,
“Yes?” Hermione stared at him with her perfect golden brown eyes.
“I…Obliviate” Hermione’s face went blank and she fell back into unconsciousness. “I love you” Draco whispered solemnly. He pushed her hair out of her face and got up. “The curse will only make her forget what happened between us and at the manor, I’m sure you can come up with a reason why she can’t remember and how she got here.”
“Has he gone?” Mrs. Weasley asked anxiously. Mr. Weasley nodded; Mrs. Weasley proceeded to bend over Hermione.
“She’ll remember Molly. The spell won’t hold”
“What do you mean Arthur?!”
“Draco loves Hermione; I could see it in his eyes. It’s a very ancient type of magic that applies to very few spells. If she loves him back then the spell won’t hold. A part of him wants her to remember, a part of him wishes they could be together and he could be the hero. Hermione will slowly remember, and one day she’ll wake up and then...Well”
“Should we do something?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
"No, it’s not our place to get involved. We’ll just be here, for them both, when she remembers."
Hermione looked at Draco.
“I remember it all now, I woke up the next day and they told me I’d been ill and that why I couldn’t remember anything.” Hermione put her head in her hands. “What happened to you?”
“Nothing, they believed I had nothing to do with your escape. I went back to the manor and we didn’t see each other again until the final battle”
“How come I remembered? Why didn’t the curse work?”
“I don’t know, I’m sorry that you remember”
“I think its better I know. Draco I….”
“I have to go.” Draco muttered abruptly getting up and leaving the room. Hermione stared after him perplexed. She had butterflies in her stomach and a fluttering feeling in her heart. She also felt a deep pain in the pit of her stomach and a heavy weight gripping her chest. Hermione had no idea what to think, she had to talk to the Weasley’s.
Hermione slid down the wall of the owlery holding the piece of parchment in her hands. She took another look at it letting the words sink in. It was all happening too fast; Hermione could see Ron and Harry’s faces as she ran out of the great hall letter in hand. She hadn’t wanted to open it in front of everyone. Tears slid down her face for the millionth time that week and she wept silently on the floor.
“Pansy! Leave me alone! I can post a bloody letter by myself can’t I?!” Draco’s voice reached Hermione’s ears and she groaned inwardly. She had been carefully avoiding him for the past week. What could she say to him? Hermione was so muddled up inside, she couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t eat sometimes she just stopped breathing for no reason. Memories haunted her, mixed in with heartbreak. She had never gotten over Draco, she had never fully realised her feeling before they had been taken away from her. He had got over her; he had moved on, he was fine with it all. She was lost in a pool of her own self pity. Draco reached the owlery and stopped short when he saw her causing Pansy to bang into him then making her erupt into fits of hopeless giggling with her friend Nikita Hughan who had followed Draco also. Upon seeing Hermione’s tear streaked face Pansy and Nikita’s giggling turned into howls of uncontrollable mirth. They both stumbled out of the room hiccupping and tripping over each other. Draco remained motionless in front of her. He looked at her for a while; inside of Draco a battle was raging. Now that she remembered, the feelings he had for her were stronger than ever. He wanted to help her, to hold her and tell her it would be ok. He envied Potter and Weasley for that. Draco moved to leave as he reached the door he turned.
“Hogsmeade Hermione? The heads have to go.” And with that, he left the owlery without posting his letter. Hermione sighed and leant her head back against the wall. She briefly closed her eyes and just breathed. For that moment everything stopped so she could just breathe. Hermione slowly rose from the floor and descended the owlery stairs. Pocketing the letter, she had already memorized its contents.
I’m glad you wrote to us. I know this must be difficult to deal with right now. It must feel like your whole world has changed. But it hasn’t, you’re still loved and you’re ok. That’s all that matters right?
Yes you were tortured and you were in a bad way, but it’s all over now! You can carry on with your life. If you need any more help just write immediately.
Love Molly Weasley”
As she reached the bottom of the stairs she saw Ron waving at her enthusiastically. She had forgotten about their date, all thoughts of Draco and the letter flew out of her mind and she returned his grin and ran over to greet him.
“Are you alright Hermione? You ran out really fast earlier. We were worried about you.” Ron said gesturing to Harry who was just behind with Ginny.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Hermione said smiling; Ron looked confused but didn’t press her anymore. They walked into Hogsmeade together laughing and talking about nothing. Hermione hadn’t felt happy for a really long time.
The four of them escaped out of the cold into the three broomsticks and huddled around a small table, 3 away from where Draco was sitting. Hermione felt tears brimming when she saw him. Then Ron’s hand gripped hers nervously and she froze shocked. Then her face broke out into a nervous smile. She looked at Ron and he leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. Harry scoffed.
“You’re a dork Ron” Harry chuckled.
“Shut up Harry! I think it’s sweet. Everything is as it should be” Ginny said smiling.
“Yeah, you’re right Gin, were a perfect 4” Harry said as he leaned down to kiss her. Hermione smiled but her eyes trailed over to Draco. She and Ron were meant to be, she knew that. But why did it feel like she was making the wrong decision. There wasn’t even a decision to be made.