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“Ginny, what is it now?” a hoarse voice whispered.
“You’re killing yourself, Draco…and it’s all her fault!” Ginny Weasley cried.
“Don’t you ever say that!” hissed Draco. In Ginny’s defense, he looked very much like a corpse: his face was page-white, and his eyes lacked the normal luster that defined his mercury-like eyes.
“Why her? It’s not like it even matters anymore…she’s going to die soon. All the Healer’s have said so,” Ginny uttered coldly.
“So I suppose that’s why you’re here. To rub it in my face; that I chose the woman who is now dying, while here you are: healthy, and at the height of your life,” Draco snapped sarcastically.
“You should’ve left her. For me. I loved you even when you were the git at school…even when she viewed you as repulsive. When you were hired by Puddlemere United, I came to watch every one of your games, risking expulsion from Hogwarts when I sneaked off-campus. But you choose a wife who can’t even differentiate a Bludger from a Quaffle,” scoffed Ginny.
Draco’s head snapped up, his coal-grey eyes ignited. This woman used to be so sweet, yet here she was, wounding Draco further during a time in his life when a friend would make him eternally grateful.
“Ginevra Weasley, I never thought you were that selfish. You wanted me to leave my loving wife while she was pregnant, while breaking Potter’s heart in the process. You didn’t even care about your kids then. ‘Who cares? Harry can keep them,’ you had said. And now you want me to leave the same wife, even though she is dying? It’s quite true, Ginny: you are by far her superior in Quidditch standards. And you will long outlive her. But she is something more than mere Quidditch, and I thank Merlin 100 times and over that I didn’t choose you. She loves you-more than Harry even-do you know that? She admires your unwavering courage and fiery disposition. One time, Pansy made fun of you, and she almost slapped Pansy. She wanted to name the last baby Ginevra if it was a girl-I was relieved to receive young Sirius instead. You disgust me, Ginny, and yet, I pity you,” Draco lectured.
“Pity? Pity...no matter. In less than a week, she’ll be dead. I doubt she’ll even last another day. Then we’ll see who receives the pity, Malfoy,” Ginny sneered, before adding, “I would’ve been the safer bet. I would have loved you. I wouldn’t have torn your family apart. It’s her fault your mother died, you know. They would never have killed Narcissa for defending her daughter-in-law if it’d been me.”
“Father would never have approved of a blood-traitor,” Draco commented quietly.
“Better a blood-traitor and a pureblood rather than a Mudblood,” hissed Ginny.
“Hermione is a greater woman than you’ll ever be. Your best friend is dying, and all you can do is insult her?! This can’t be the woman Potter married,” Draco murmured coldly.
“Don’t even talk to me about Harry. He doesn’t love me anyways…he’s always loved Hermione more! It took Lily’s death for me to realize that…” Ginny cried.
The Potter family was the most beautiful wizarding family in existence. True, the Malfoys came close, but they couldn’t quite compete with the Boy-Who-Lived. Ginny entered Diagon Alley, smiling, holding her daughter and youngest son’s hands. Her little girl, Lily, had raven black hair, but Ginny’s eyes, and she was constantly moving, laughing, and smiling. Albus, on the other hand, was Ginny’s little introvert; he stayed quietly behind his mother, trying in vain to avoid the cameras of the paparazzi. Then Harry entered, with James, the eldest. Harry diverted all the cameras’ attentions, so Ginny ran to help James get away from a violently blonde Rita Skeeter and her voracious, malicious Quick-Quotes Quill.
“Stay right here, in front of Flourish and Blotts!” Ginny called to her younger children. Lily and Albus nodded, so Ginny dived into the crowd, emerging several minutes later with both her husband and her son.
“Thanks Gin,” Harry said gratefully.
“Mum…where’re Albus and Lily?” James asked quietly.
Ginny looked around; her children where nowhere in sight.
“NO! I told them to stay right here!” wailed Ginny.
“It’s ok, Gin, we’ll find them,” Harry reassured.
Rushing down the various streets, the Potters called Albus and Lily loudly, begging for them to answer. It seemed as if they would never find them, until Mr. Ollivander stuck his head out of his door, cautiously as if he was hiding from someone.
“Mr. Potter, in here! Quickly!” Olivander whispered urgently.
“What is it, Mr. Ollivander?”
“Come in, come in! Quickly!”
“Please, Mr. Ollivander, what’s wrong?” Ginny pleaded.
“They’ve taken your little one…Lily,” Ollivander gasped.
“Who did?!” cried Harry.
“The Neo-Death Eaters…I managed to grab Albus before they could spot him running after his sister. Unfortunately, he was hysterical, so I had to give him a sleeping draught,” Ollivander told the Potters.
“Where did they go? Where did they take my Lily!” Ginny asked.
“They were headed down Knockturn Alley last I saw…you better leave the children with me,” Ollivander warned.
Hugging James tightly, Ginny and Harry rushed out towards Knockturn Alley, wands drawn and at the ready.
“Harry, watch out!” screamed Ginny as a line of green light flashed just past Harry’s head. Ginny shot a Stunning curse at the person who had just tried to kill her husband. Taking his wand and binding his arms together, she whispered, “Ennervate.” slipping the Neo-Death Eater Veritaserum.
“Where is she? Where is my daughter?” hissed Ginny.
“She’s at Borgin and Burkes…or at least, what’s left of her,” chuckled the man.
“Who are you? Why are you doing this?”
“I’m Jason McNair…we tried to set a trap to catch Potter. We want him to suffer the way our families suffered after the Dark Lord was vanquished,” the man started angrily.
“Obliviate,” Ginny muttered, before running towards Borgin and Burkes. Harry was in a duel with a masked wizard, jets of green and red flying back and forth. Stealthily, Ginny crept into the shop. Several masked men stood in a circle. Knowing she couldn’t take them all alone, she quietly shot a stunning spell at the man Harry was battling before ushering him into Borgin’s.
“On three,” whispered Harry.
“One…NOW!” Harry yelled. He and Ginny shot spells left and right, catching all the Neo-Death Eaters by surprise. When all their foes were Stunned, their memories wiped, Harry and Ginny saw for the first time what they had all been huddled around: the body of their daughter.
“A few months after we found Lily, Harry packed up for himself and the boys and moved out,” Ginny continued.
“Harry, please, don’t go!” Ginny pleaded.
“Gin, I can’t live this life anymore.”
“What are you talking about, Harry?!”
“Which one of my boys should I say goodbye to next?” Harry asked snidely.
“I didn’t intend for that to happen to Lily! I was trying to help you and James,” Ginny spat hotly.
“Hermione would never have done that. She would never have been so irresponsible as to leave her 5 and 7 year old children alone for even 5 minutes,” Harry exclaimed.
“Hermione! I’m sick of her! Everything’s always about Hermione! Just because you never got over doesn’t mean you’re allowed to incessantly compare me to her, Harry!” Ginny said angrily.
“I never loved her like that, Ginny, and you know that. If you want to go into that, it’s pretty much common knowledge that the only man you’ve ever loved is Hermione’s dear husband,” Harry laughed scathingly.
“How dare you!”
“Now, be a nice quiet wife and go kiss your boys goodbye,” Harry instructed.
“Never! You can’t take my children away from me!” screamed Ginny.
That night, Harry had to give Albus a calming draught. The boy refused to leave his mother, and at one point kicked Harry, running to Ginny for shelter. James, however, was not hard to persuade at all. One cool look at his mother, and James picked up his suitcase calmly. Finally, Harry grabbed Albus under one arm and exited the small house that he and Ginny had lived in since she had graduated from Hogwarts.
“He always compared me to Hermione…everyone would,” Ginny continued, “Even Ron did. Before he married Pansy, he’d bug me for soup when he was sick. One time, he said, ‘Gin, this soup tastes horrible. Why don’t you ask Hermione for a good recipe? She’d love to help you with it.’ I’m sick and tired of Hermione Granger, and I hate her!” screamed Ginny.
“Her name is Hermione Malfoy. And you don’t deserve the love she gives you. She’s the only reason you got to play for the Holyhead Harpies,” Draco said softly.
“That’s a lie…Hermione doesn’t know the difference from the Harpies or the Cannons. I got in because Gwenog thought I was the perfect Chaser she was looking for,” Ginny spat.
“No. The reason you made the team is because Gwenog and Hermione had a chat the day of the ministry party to celebrate the 1st Annual Party of the Battle of Hogwarts. Gwenog mentioned that she was looking for a replacement Chaser. Hermione, bless her soul, could not tell her the difference between a Chaser and a Beater, but she eagerly told Gwenog that the search was done. Her best friend, Ginny Weasley, was a superb Quidditch player, and if Gwenog didn’t choose her, then she was an idiot,” Draco informed quietly.
Ginny was startled, and she looked at Draco, searching in vain for some sign of his love. Brown eyes met steel.
“Go,” Draco whispered.
Ginny Apparated out of Malfoy Manor, but she found herself headed towards Saint Mungo’s, as if gravity was pulling her there.
“I’m…I’m here to see Hermione Malfoy.”
“Ginevra Weasley. I’m her…her best friend.”
“Go on up,” smiled the receptionist, glad to see that true friendship still existed in the world.
Walking down the corridor, Ginny bumped into someone.
“Oh, sorry…” the person said. It was none other than Ginny’s ex-husband, her children in tow.
“Boys, say hello to your Mum,” Harry instructed.
“Mum,” James acknowledged coldly.
“Mummy,” sobbed Albus, flinging himself at Ginny. Albus was the only one of her three children that had loved her more than famous Harry Potter. Distraught, the boy buried his head in his mother’s arms, drenching her new sweater. But she didn’t care; at least she got to see her son.
“Mummy, Auntie ‘Mione is dying,” sobbed Albus.
“Is it true?” whispered Ginny.
“Yes. Hermione will not survive the night,” Harry said shortly, tears springing to his eyes, adding, “I am going to allow Albus to live with you. He’s cried every night since that night. He misses you.”
Ginny’s eyes met Harry’s defiantly.
“Allow him?” she asked dangerously.
“Mum, as fun as this is, Dad promised we’d go flying soon, so we really must go,” James interrupted, bored.
“Oh…yes, of course, darling,” Ginny responded, startled.
“Al, stay with your Mum,” Harry said quietly. Albus didn’t even look at him.
“Goodbye, Gin. I presume I’ll see you soon,” Harry murmured, referring to the obviously looming funeral.
Ginny and Albus walked slowly towards Hermione’s room. Draco had ensured that, if Hermione were to die in a hospital, she would die in the best anyone had to offer. This explained why the furnishing of the room was far grander than the rooms of Buckingham Palace.
“Gin!” Hermione called weakly.
“Hello, ‘Mione,” Ginny replied softly.
“Harry was just here…”
“He’s hurting. Be kind to him…he loves you so much,” Hermione sighed.
“And the boys. You have Al now, but try to reach James…he’ll need his mother soon.”
Silence followed as Albus was still attached to Ginny.
“I’m dying, Ginny, I really am. I need you to take care of Sirius, and Evangeline for me, won’t you Gin? And Draco…I love him so much, and it hurts to know that when I’m dead, Draco will cry and hurt until he’s numb…watch over him.”
“I will,” Ginny said miserably.
“Can you bring Draco and the kids? It’s time,” Hermione cried.
The door opened, and 2 children, a tall blonde 12-year-old girl, and a small brunette 7-year-old boy, flung themselves at Hermione, hugging and kissing her. Draco then appeared, and he held his wife’s hand tightly.
“Evangeline, I love you sweetheart. Be good for Daddy when I’m gone, and don’t forget to floss daily. Sirius, don’t cry sweetie…Mummy will always be with you. Practice your schoolwork with Daddy, and feed the dog only once a day. Draco, I love you. I always have, and I always will. Take care of the kids. Makes sure they’re the happiest, most intelligent, well-mannered children. I’m sorry I won’t be there to see your beautiful hair turn grey, Love. I lo…I love…you…” and Hermione Malfoy (née Granger) breathed her last breath.
Hermione’s funeral was the most splendid, yet somber affair. Everyone desired to attend, but unfortunately it was an invitation-only event. Hermione’s fans were promised an opportunity to mourn her after the ordeal. Reporters weren’t able to pass through the boundary lines at Malfoy Manor, for Draco did not want Hermione’s death to be broadcasted to the entire world. Everyone wore black, even the Lovegoods- although there were Gurdyroots galore.
Ginny tried to slip in quietly at the back, but Draco caught her eyes and shook his head.
“She wanted you to sit here. She planned her entire funeral, down to the seating chart.” He pointed at a chair labeled “Ginevra”.
Then Draco Malfoy ascended towards the podium to address the few people that were present.
“Welcome to all of you. Hermione Granger Malfoy was a spectacular woman, and she died early after a formidable struggle against leukemia. Being the brilliant witch that she was, she planned this entire funeral. She also recorded a message to everyone on some Muggle device that I have been instructed to play for you,” Draco whispered softly before playing Hermione’s video.
“Hello everyone. If you’re watching this, then I’m probably dead. But I do not want anyone- including you, Draco- to cry today. Today, I am going to tell you how much you have meant to me. Prepared to be seated for a long time. I’m not going to stop because some idiot needs to use the restroom…” Guests chuckled watery laughs as Hermione began to address the attendees.
She started with her family, causing her mother and father to burst into tears. Then she addressed her children, causing Sirius to cry a river while Evangline sat silently, tears threatening to spill. After several more people, she got to her inner friend group.
“Luna, I love you so much. Your joie de vivre made me a much happier woman, but I want you to know that I died knowing and staunchly believing that the Crumple-Horned Snorkak does not exist,” Hermione laughed, eliciting a sob from Luna.
“Blaise, you were always there for me, starting 7th year, in numerous ways. To me, you’ll always be that pseudo-brother. Be a good boy, and just ask Astoria out already, won’t you?” snorted Hermione, causing Blaise to stand up and make his way to the back to cry.
“Pansy. Oh, Pansy. You are probably the snootiest, most superficial girl I know. But you’re also the sweetest, most caring one too. I will always be in your debt, ever since November 2nd of 2000, and I apologize now that I cannot fulfill that debt. Take care of Ronniekins for me, Pans, and keep designing those robes!”
“Ron, you’ve always been my friend. Even when you insulted me, I still loved you. I die with one memory that particularly sticks: the day we dyed my hair red and passed me off to your entire extended family as ‘Cousin Alicia’. I thought it was hilarious that all the elder Weasleys took several hours before realizing that none of them had a daughter named Alicia,” Hermione laughed.
“Harry. The Boy-Who-Lived. The Chosen One. To me, you were always my brother Harry, who never let me down. Through thick and thin, you’ve been there- something that both Draco and I are grateful for. Stay out of trouble, Harry, and keep being that beacon of light in the wizarding world.”
“Ginny, you are above all my sister. I trust you 100% and I know you’ll keep the promises I asked of you. Take care of my family and yours, Gin. Just try. It can’t hurt. And try to be understanding to Harry, alright?” Hermione asked sternly. Ginny couldn’t help but nod back.
“Draco Malfoy. Even as a ferret, you managed to make me laugh. You are my love. Je t’aime tous les temps, et j’espere qu’apres je suis morte, tu me souviendra toujours. Au revoir, mon coeur, et a bientot!” (I love you forever, and I hope that after I am dead, you will remember me always. Goodbye, my heart, and I will see you soon)
Tears were shed, champagne glasses toasted to Hermione’s memory, and conversations exchanged about moments with Hermione. Nearly thirty minutes into the reception, Draco made a request.
“Could everyone who excelled at Herbology and Transfiguration please help me create a garden of red roses to encircle Hermione’s tomb? I have the roses here.”
Ron, knowing his horrid skills at both subjects (Hermione was the only reason he passed them), sprinted towards Ginny.
“Must be convenient, eh?”
“What do you mean?” Ginny sighed miserably.
“You know…it must be convenient that you got the first wife’s permission.”
“Excuse me?” she snapped.
“Oh come off it, Gin! Everyone knows you’ve fancied Draco for ages. Now you finally have your chance, and Hermione practically encouraged you in the video,” Ron laughed harshly.
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“The only one fooled by you was Hermione. And only because she was too kind to believe that her best friend would ever be so wicked as to try and steal her husband. And you did, Gin, many times. Even young Evangeline knows you have your eyes on her dear Papa and she doesn’t look too happy about it,” Ron pointed out.
It was true. Evangeline’s eyes- the exact replica of Hermione’s honey ones- focused narrowly on Ron and Ginny, but moreso on the Holyhead Chaser. She sent a loathing glare towards Ginny, and if looks could kill it would be Ginny pushing up daisies next. Seconds later, two pairs of silvery eyes followed Evangeline’s gaze towards Ginny. Draco’s stare held no purpose behind it, as if the dementors had sucked out his soul. But Sirius just stared at Ginny, long and hard, as if he could see all the sins she had committed and thought of committing. Between the brown and silver eyes, Ginny was overwhelmed. It was as if Hermione had come back from the grave to haunt her with Draco’s help. Taking in a sharp breath, Ginny realized what had to be done.
“I promise I’ll work everything out, ‘Mione. I’ll take care of Evangeline, Sirius and Draco. I’ll beg Harry to come back, if that’s what it takes. I’ll get that House-elf bill passed, the one you’ve worked years on. And I will make everything better,” Ginny whispered fiercely.
Looking around, she noticed the crowd headed towards the manor, but she remained before Hermione’s tomb. Finally, plucking one of the many red roses from the newly formed bushes, Ginny Weasley walked off to find Harry…and to make everything right again.
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