Chapter 7 : The Right Thing
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She did not move. Could not move. There was a part of her that screamed and shook at the bars around her heart to do something, to not let him leave again; while there was another part that could not act, could not reconcile her need for him and her promise to another. As was always the case with Draco, her normally infallible logic, her sharp intelligence failed her where only instinct could lead.
She was torn but unwilling to dishonor her longtime friend and the vows she would have said today. She knew now that Draco hadn’t meant to leave her so abruptly and callously but he also hadn’t made any mention or indication of anything during his report to Harry that would show that he still had any deep feeling for her or of any intention to fulfill his long ago promise to her.
Determined to do the right thing, she turned away from the door and met the clear-eyed gaze of the man who had stood by her at the altar just hours ago. A wordless communication passed between them; the sort that only happens with those who have lived, loved and lost much together. Her eyes, which had been painfully dry, suddenly filled, a tear escaping and slowly making its way down her cheek. She took a shuddering breath, not quite sure what he meant in that look, and whispered his name: “Ron.”
So many thoughts laid under the soft sound, so many questions, arguments, apologies, but he answered all of them with one word as he stepped closer and laid a gentle hand on her cheek, wiping away the single tear, ocean blue meeting honey brown. “Go.”
She didn’t remember getting out of the Ministry, she just remembered running, running in that white wedding dress, dark hair flying behind her, long ago giving up any semblance of order, her slippers hitting the stones of the courtyard. So many bodies pressing against each other, trying to finish their day despite previous interruptions, ignorant of the drama that was playing out before them, oblivious to one woman’s need to find a certain man.
She pushed her way through the crowd to the exits and saw him just as he was about to step up to one. “Draco!” she shouted, hoping against hope that he would hear her in the cavernous space.
His head moved and his sad and weary eyes caught sight of her, brilliant against the somber sea of the departing witches and wizards of the Ministry. The image was seared into his mind and he was staggered by it. She was coming after him.
He turned, heart beating madly in his throat, and started making his own way toward her, his pace increasing as they moved closer and closer to each other until finally, finally she was in front of him, in his arms. His face was in her hair, breathing her in, holding her tight, letting her know without words he was never going to let her go. The other pedestrians had moved away from them, giving them room, a few watching the exchange, curiosity getting them.
She pulled back a bit, tears in her glorious eyes. And hit him on the shoulder. “Merlin, Malfoy, you bastard. Don’t you ever walk away from me again! I love you! I can’t believe you didn’t say anything back there. I don’t know what the bloody hell you think a relationship is but—“ His lips caught hers in a sweet soft kiss, more of a brush of skin against skin but it was enough to silence her as everything within her zeroed in on that one contact point. He just stayed there, eyes closed, lips touching, savoring the feeling of her, of them, once more.
He opened his eyes to meet hers. His voice was low and serious as he told her, “Hermione. I love you. With everything I am. You are the only reason I am still alive today. You kept me alive all those months. Just the promise, the possibility of seeing you again was all I had to pull myself through.” She was shaken. She had doubted him during the time he had been imprisoned and he had been hanging onto their love as his beacon of hope. She hugged him tighter and he brought his head down to hers again, taking in her warmth.
A sudden thought hit him and he pulled back a bit, bringing her chin up to meet his eyes. “I am kicking myself as I’m saying this, but what about Weas—Ron?” The guy had acted decently, Draco figured he should give him a break.
Her smile was bittersweet. “Ron, he—“ she hesitated, not sure how to describe what had passed between them, “he understands. He was there, you know, when you disappeared. When it was hard for me.” It was an understatement and he seemed to get that; his guilt evident in his expression. She brought her small hands up to frame his face. “But I understand now and I hate that you had to go through that. But just knowing that you are alive and here brings peace to a time that I thought I would always hurt over.”
He leaned his forehead against hers, both taking comfort from the other’s presence, ignoring the small audience that had now formed around them.
“Hermione,” he started hesitantly after a few moments, moving back a little. She looked up at him, eyes shiny and bright. He just looked at her, almost forgetting what he was going to say, enjoying just being able to have her there. Her mouth started to tremble then formed into a wide smile, unable to contain her happiness. He could feel the same giddy look coming over him and he had to ask again. “Will you marry me?”
She pulled his head down to hers, so that his lips were brushing against hers as she whispered her answer, “Yes.” And kissed him with all the love she had.
One More Time
We come now to a scene which is both familiar yet essentially different. A wedding is taking place, not in a church but in the home of one of the most prominent wizards of all time for one of the closest friends to his heart.
The bride is not dressed in virginal white as in looking at her, one can see that this color does not fit the circumstances. Instead, she is dressed in a warm lavender gown, that sets off her chocolate hair and is loose enough to accommodate her growing belly. She is glowing, her lips curve in a happy smile, her eyes sparkle.
And as she walks down that short aisle, surrounded by close family and friends, she cannot take her eyes off the golden-haired groom who awaits her at the end. His eyes are also equally entranced, the silver deepening to steel gray with emotion. There is no hesitation in her footsteps as she approaches him, no painful memories to mar the occasion.
As Hermione’s father places her hand in Draco’s their world is complete, the present a bright reality and the future a beautiful stretch before them.
Author’s Note: I would like to thank all the readers who read this story and the reviewers who reviewed. This is my first short story to actually complete and I couldn’t have done it with your support!
If you’ve come this far without reviewing, I would greatly appreciate it if you took the time to do so now. I try to answer each one when I get the time. You inspire me to write—and write better.
And if you haven’t read “The Longest Walk of Her Life”, you should. :) It just adds some of Hermione’s point of view to this story.
Again thank you! Especially, No1HarryPotterFan, FanFiCritic, ykai, granger96 and reesecup!!