“You brought this on yourself, you know. Why couldn’t you be a good little Auror and do your job?”
Hermione was seething. She sat on a chair Ian stole from the kitchen, desperately trying to get her hands free but knowing it was futile. Her wrists were bound to the arms of the chair and her legs were bound together by the ankles.
“Had you not let him go, I’d still be in Australia, living according to society.”
“For how long I wonder,” Hermione questioned. “Draco would’ve gotten out eventually. He had nine more years left on his sentence. What would’ve happened then? You would’ve still gone after him.”
“Would it have mattered if I did?” Ian gave a curt laugh and twirled his wand between his fingers. “You two wouldn’t have been together. Hell, by then you could’ve fallen in love and married some other man. Draco wouldn’t have mattered to you. But of course, that’s not the reality we’re in at the moment, is it?”
Hermione watched as Ian walked across the room. She attempted to free her hands once again, but did nothing but bruise the skin. She glanced at the clock that hung nearby. Ian had knocked her unconscious after she had stumbled upon him. Plenty of time had passed from then and now, and Hermione knew that Draco would be home soon.
“…Do you remember?”
Ian turned to Hermione’s voice with a furrowed brow. “Remember what, exactly?”
“What your true face looks like…Ian.”
“What did you call me?
Hermione began to smile. All the confidence that Ian had held quickly fell as his face immediately turned to alarm. “I called you Ian. What’s wrong? Forgotten your name? It’s understandable, though. You haven’t used it in a little over a decade.”
Ian advanced on her. He lowered his face so it was completely level with hers. Hermione was startled to realize that his eyes resembled Draco’s whenever he was infuriated.
“Who else knows?”
“Only those who need to know.”
Ian breathed angrily and tore himself away from her. He ran a hand through his hair and stared at her harshly, almost as though he was contemplating on killing her right then and there. “Of course you would’ve found out. You’re Hermione effing Granger. Still the bright meddling witch ten years down the line. How’d you do it?”
“I had help in getting the truth.” Hermione lifted her chin proudly. “Got to love Uncle Geoffrey, right?”
“He’d never betray me.”
“A con man is a con man last I checked. They have no loyalties.”
“He has loyalties to me
!” Ian shouted. “He owes
“He owes you nothing, Ian.”
Those very words Hermione would’ve spoken herself had Draco not done it. There were two fireplaces within the apartment. The one towards the back of the place was the one most used so as not to track soot in the living room. Hermione now saw that it served perfectly for being discrete in trying to sneak up on a lunatic.
“Ah, Draco,” Ian smiled taunting and stuffed a hand into his pocket. “Good of you to join us. Long day working, yes..?”
“Long enough… You okay, Hermione?”
Hermione nodded and noticed with how Ian rolled his eyes at the pair of them.
“You need to leave her out of this, Ian.” Draco stood between him and Hermione. “This has nothing to do with her.”
“Oh, it didn’t before, but it certainly does now. She made this situation a hell of a lot more difficult. But it’s alright now.”
“Of course it is. You finally have the opportunity to kill me. Over nothing,”
..? The opportunity to kill you over nothing
..? You left me!” Ian snapped. “‘You get caught, you rot.’ That’s what you said to me.”
“And you seem to forget that you were the one to issue those words first.” Draco shot back. “The only difference is that with me, the charges didn’t stick.”
“Pfft, so what..? Two years I spent in Azkaban for you. And when I get back, what do I find? You and Uncle Geoffrey happily making money together,”
“And you had to get me back for that?” Draco rolled his eyes. “Just like a child… Jealous that someone was more successful than you,”
“A success that you robbed me of, but we’re about to be even.”
Ian made no attempt to curse Draco, but instead turned his wand in Hermione’s direction. Draco quickly jumped in front of her and deflected it. Ian was scowling. He sent a Stunning Spell which became deflected again, but it hit nothing but a painting on the wall which blew itself off of the wall. Ian had disapparated and appeared behind Hermione. A curse in the back knocked Draco forward and the next thing Hermione knew, she could feel Ian’s wand pressed against her throat.
“Make one effort to curse me and I kill her.” Ian breathed. Hermione swallowed and hated the feel of Ian’s wand move against her throat. He was swift, and it was assured that once Draco made any movement Ian would quickly end her life. All that was needed now was a distraction, no matter how small.
Hermione could hardly move as it was, but it was worth a shot. With a strong swift of her body, she rocked herself so that she fell over sideways in the chair. She fell over hard, her head hitting the floor with a solid thump, next thing she knew she could hear spells and curses being flown above her head. Things were shattering. Someone shouted. Someone fell. Who was it? Ian or Draco? Hermione’s hands were still bound tightly to the armrests, and her ankles tied together. She could feel them bruise terribly at her feeble attempts to set them free and figure out what was going on around her.
“Draco!” She called. Soon after she did, her limbs were free. Hermione took deep, shallow breaths and released herself from the chair. She stood, scanning the destroyed room for Draco only to be yanked by the hair and pulled into Ian’s arms.
“Not even going to say thank you, for letting you go?” Ian breathed into her ear. Hermione struggled against him, but he only held onto her tighter.
“What did you do to him!”
“Stop shouting, for Merlin’s sake! I’m not deaf. He’s over there. Alive, in case you’re wondering.”
Hermione looked to where Ian motioned and sure enough there he was. Draco had been knocked unconscious by a broken piece of the fireplace’s mantle. It was amazing that his skull hadn’t been cracked open by it. The bloody thing was pure marble.
“Why haven’t you killed him?”
“I owe Draco two doses of misery.” Ian laughed a little and began to drag Hermione away from the scene. “And one of them is to have him wake and see you dead.”
Hermione had no wand, but she still had her hands. She swung an arm upward and reached for Ian’s eyes. She scratched him as hard as she could and pleasure filled Hermione’s heart at the sound of Ian yell. She pushed him into the destroyed fireplace and took off for her bedroom. She slammed the door after self and began tearing her room apart.
Yes, she was still on wand probation from the Ministry, but Draco had hidden a spare wand in the bedroom should either one of them needed it. But before she could even begin looking for it, Hermione had her hands above her head to shade it from the debris of her bedroom door that Ian had just blasted apart. Before she was thrown against the closet door, she could see that one of Ian’s eyes was bloodied, making it in no way possible for him to see out of it. Hermione shook her head to rid the blurriness of her eyes. She then felt Ian grab a handful of her hair, thrusting her head backwards and into the door.
Hermione let out a groan that could hardly escape her throat. Her head was utterly pounding by now and there was a pressure behind her eyes that made her feel lightheaded.
“Look at me, Hermione.” Ian’s voice rang in her ears. Truth be told she could look at nothing. She didn’t like how her head was feeling. Surely it didn’t take much to receive a concussion, did it? Either way, she forced herself to see. In the end there were two Ians starting at her, which meant twice the hatred.
Hermione felt weak all over. She attempted to slap him, but Ian merely caught her hand. His laugh at her feeble effort made her angry, and with what little strength she had left she managed to slap him with her other hand. A pretty good hit with a hand that wasn’t her predominate one if she didn't say so herself, but that didn’t suit Ian too well and he returned the favor. She could taste a bit of flood in her mouth by now and spat on the floor.
“…You never answered my question.” Hermione said softly. “If you remember what your true face looks like.”
Hermione couldn’t tell if Ian was smiling or not, but she would’ve bet a thousand galleons that he was. With great disgust, she felt him put a hand on her cheek and caress it as though he was kneeling in front of someone he cared about.
“My true face no longer exists.”
Hermione was waiting for Ian to curse her. Instead she head Draco’s voice, ordering him to get away from her. She tried to focus her eyes as best she could and instinctively drew her feet up to her body as Draco charged in. He tackled Ian; punching him in the face several times until Hermione could no longer hear Ian’s protests. She could see Draco vaguely, pulling out his wand from his pocket and pointing it steadily over Ian’s motionless body.
Don’t kill him…
Hermione wanted to say. By all rights Ian deserved everything he got, but this could’ve been Draco’s reprieve. To ruin that by taking a life…it wasn’t worth it. Hermione strained her mouth to speak, but other words interrupted her. Harry and Ron had come, and while Ron was pulling Draco off of Ian, telling him Hermione’s very sentiments, Harry was looking her over, trying to get her eyes to focus.
“Open your eyes, Hermione.” Harry was telling her. “Try to follow my finger. Come on,”
Hermione tried her best, but she knew that Ian’s banging her head against the door as well as her first head hit when she fell over in the chair hadn’t made her the most focused person in the world. All she wanted was Draco and she called for him. She could hear Ron telling him that he had to get out of there.
“Aurors are on the way, Malfoy.” Ron was saying. “You’ve got to leave
“Draco,” Hermione called once more. She wished she could see properly. She knew that Draco had pushed Harry out of the way in order to kneel in front of her. His hand was on her forehead. He was removing strands of hair from her face. And he kissed her several times to get her full attention. It was funny how he was the first and only person Hermione could see clearly.
“Are you okay?” Draco asked. Hermione nodded. She placed her hands on the back of his neck and smiled broadly.
“You’re the only person I wouldn’t mind seeing two of.” She gently laughed, but then frowned. Suddenly she could feel fresh tears come to her eyes, because she knew that soon he’d be gone. Would she ever see him again? And if she did how long in the future would it be? A few months? A year? A few years?
The tears that Hermione was trying to hold back suddenly flowed. Draco said very little. He simply kept repeating that he loved her until the sounds of Aurors could be heard throughout the apartment.
Draco had been in the apartment waiting, watching, and listening shortly before Hermione had woken from unconsciousness strapped to the chair. So she had been told, Günter had paid him a visit and told him of Ian’s plans. When Hermione heard that she was beyond confused. What was Günter playing at? One minute he was on Ian’s side and the next on Draco’s. But as one thought about it, he loved them both, so he helped them both. At least things turned out for the best in the end.
Hermione had been glad to know that Draco was safe. Draco had taken off just before Aurors came into the bedroom to arrest Ian. Harry had done as much intervention as he could. He held off Aurors to give Draco and Hermione enough time to give each other teary goodbyes, but Harry knew that no matter how much time he gave them, it wouldn’t be enough. They loved each other; something he thought that he’d never say. Lies, deceit, and secrets had filled them from the moment Hermione had let Draco go after the whole Thorn incident, and yet neither Harry nor Ron could be mad at her.
The Ministry found that they couldn’t be mad at her either. With Ian resurfacing and all the evidence against him, Hermione was offered a reprieve. More time had been added onto her wand probation after finally finding out that she had truly let Draco escape, and for his running, he still needed to be punished and therefore arrested, but Draco was nowhere to be found. Harry and Ron testified on Hermione’s behalf that she had no idea what happened to him. The fact that she had suffered a concussion on the night that Draco fled helped with that.
And before Draco took off, he had promised that he’d write. “For as long as I can anyway,” he joked, and Hermione cried at that. He’d write long enough to let her know how things were going and if he was alright, but then it would stop. She wouldn’t know where he lived and she wouldn’t know his new name. All Owls she would be tempted to send, containing photos of the baby girl she had just given birth to wouldn’t be able to be sent. And that’s what Hermione was thinking of as she laid in a St. Mungo’s hospital bed.
The assistant Healer had just left her room. She had brought in a box of tissues for Hermione because she had used up the box that was already in the room with her crying. “Who says crying is from pain? Tears of joy, yes?”
Hermione had nodded, agreeing that her puffy eyes were due to joy, but far from it. Draco would never know that they had a daughter whom she thought of naming Catalina. It would haunt her every day; his ignorance. But what could she do? Continue to cry about it she supposed, but Ron would have none of that.
“They’re going to run out of supplies soon because of you.” Ron smiled as he dabbed at Hermione’s eyes. She returned one and sniffled twice before taking a deep breath.
“Should I have told him, Ron?” Hermione asked solemnly. “It’s much too late to ask, but-”
“Then don’t ask. What’s done is done. You have a beautiful daughter. Don’t forget that some good came out of all of this.”
Hermione nodded. She blew her nose and nodded once more, telling Ron that he was right. And Catalina wouldn’t be completely fatherless. Harry and Ron were among the first men she’d met, and they’d be there for her day in and day out. That was a good substitute, right?
“Mr. Weasley, would you mind signing a few things at the front desk on Miss Granger’s behalf?”
“Oh, sure… I’ll be right back, Hermione.” Ron added to her, and gave a nod to the Healer who had addressed him.
Though Ron had left, the Healer had not. Hermione didn’t mind though. He had been in the delivery room when Catalina was born. She assumed that he was a new addition to St. Mungo’s by the look on his face as the delivery was taking place. He had seemed in awe of it all and almost appreciative.
“How are you Healer Reid?”
“Call me Chris, please. And I should be asking you that question.” Chris laughed. “How are you and your daughter?”
“We’re fine. I’m sure she’s doing much better than I am though. I’m terrified of being a mother.”
“I’m sure you’ll be wonderful at it. If you don’t mind me asking, what did you name her?”
“Ugh, don’t talk about names.” Hermione said with a gentle laugh to ward off tension. She twiddled her thumbs out of nervousness. “I’ve been having difficulties in that department.”
“Too many to choose from..?”
“Hmm, I wish that was the problem. Her first name was easy, but unfortunately her last name is what’s driving me mad. What I have in mind is… It would raise a lot of questions.”
Chris frowned. He took a few steps toward her and said affirmatively, “Give her your last name. She’d be lovely with either name.”
Hermione stared at him oddly. “But you don’t even know the other name I was considering-”
“Yes I do.” Chris smiled. He hadn’t stopped drifting closer to her side. He was inches away from her by now and Hermione was contemplating on summoning another Healer until he did something unexpected. He reached out and touched her face. Instead of feeling violated or even frightened of this sudden contact, she felt safe. Hermione stared into Chris’ eyes and nearly cried.
“Whether it’s my last name, yours, or something completely made up, she’ll be a Malfoy no matter what.”
Hermione pulled Draco into a hug that certainly would’ve broken him in half. She resumed her crying, this time out of happiness and not despair as it had been before. “You’re insane, do you know that?” She asked as she kissed him. “Draco, you’re absolutely mad.”
Draco readily accepted the kisses she was giving him and pushed back some of the hair that had fallen across her face. His own face was holding a smile that was too big for his cheeks to contain, and even then he smiled bigger. “Yes, I’m mad. But it’s only because you’ve made me so.”
“How did you know that I was here? That I was pregnant at all?”
“I couldn’t leave. Everything was prepared, but I just couldn’t go. I rented a modest apartment just outside London, determined to talk to you so we could find another way out for us. I overheard you and Potter talking.”
“Why stay hidden then? Why the letters? I thought you were on some deserted island for Merlin’s sake.”
“I’m sorry about that.” Draco apologized. He cupped the side of her face and caressed it gently with his thumb. “But you had to believe it. You still
have to believe it for my devious little plan to work.”
Hermione furrowed her brow. “What plan?”
Draco fished inside his pocket for a small vial filled with something. He held it in front of her face. “For this… Hermione, the Ministry won’t stop looking for me. And after what happened, they’re going to think that any man involved with you is me. I’m not going to leave you and our daughter. I refuse. So, we’ll see how long this alias lasts. And if it falls apart like the others, you’ll be blameless.
‘When you drink this potion, Hermione, you’ll forget the conversation we're having. As far as you’re concerned, my name is Christopher Reid, and I’m a Healer. And I’m going to try very hard to win your love and marry you.”
Hermione frowned. She stared at the vial in Draco’s hand to his face and began shaking her head. “Draco, no... I don’t want to love anyone but you. To live a life with someone that isn’t you-”
“You’ll know that it’s me.” Draco encouraged. “You’ll tell yourself otherwise, but in your heart you’ll know.”
In your heart you’ll know…
Hermione repeated in her mind. Other than Harry and Ron, she had never spent so much time with a man. She had lived with Draco and a smile came to her lips every time she heard his footsteps or even when he gargled in the bathroom. She could pick him out of a crowd blindfolded if asked to, and because of that she slowly nodded.
“…Don’t fall into this ‘Reid’ character too much, okay?” Hermione said as she slipped the vial into her own hand. “Don’t want you getting mad at me if I slip up and call you Draco.”
Draco laughed. “I promise I won’t. Instead I’ll do something odd.”
“And what’s that?”
Hermione laughed along with him and Draco kissed her once more before she drank the potion. Before she would forget who he really was. Before he would have to make her fall in love with him all over again.
And it proved difficult, Draco realized. Naturally as a new mother and as a woman who had just lost the love of her life, Hermione didn’t want to date. But “Christopher Reid” was persistent. Their first date was innocent, as was their second. It was hard for Draco to keep it that way when he knew Hermione’s body better than he knew his own.
He managed, however. And when one of their dates ended in a kiss, that’s when he heard it: “Draco.” It had escaped Hermione’ lips unexpectedly, and while she looked positively mortified, Draco was not. He did exactly what he said he’d do.
He smiled. And Draco was happier than he ever could be.
author's note: AND IT'S OVER!!!!! first and foremost i must give the BIGGEST apology ever for the super long wait. as i've said to several of you, school work, meetings, and being sick (which i still am, such a slow recovery) had taken me away from writing.
BUT i finally got the post up which means the story is over *tears*....what did you guys think?? draco didn't leave, of course, how could he? but now we've got the situation where he's under another alias, and hermione doesn't know. seems like a good premise for sequel doesnt it? *evil smile*
so yes, there is a sequel, of which shall be called Beyond Condemnation. i hope to have it out within two to three weeks. i'm going on spring break next week and i'd post then, but the internet at home is a little unreliable. so, keep an eye out for it!
thanks for waiting for the post, thanks for the reviews, thanks for all the support and i hope to see you on the sequel!!!
**here's the link for the sequel!!!! -> http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com/viewstory.php?psid=314338