Chapter 23 : A Beginning In The End
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Finally, you have reached the last chapter of Everything Happens For A Reason. I won't delay your reading today, but please check out the A/N at the bottom of the chapter :) Enjoy this one xx
The red-head sighed, pulling the front of her hair back and securing it with an emerald clip. She was dressed in a floor-length, off-shoulder forest green gown that hugged her body and only released her contours past her knees. Her eyes would have looked tired had she not covered it up with eyeliner and eyeshadow. Her husband walked in just then, wearing smart black dress robes.
Without needing her to ask, he strode forward until he was behind her and tapped the small of her back with his index finger. She smiled and sucked in her breathe, standing up straight as he gently eased the zip upwards.
"You're worried", He stated, looking at her in the mirror. She smiled sadly, fixing her deep green earrings on.
"How can I not be, Harry?" She said, handing him a gorgeous emerald studded necklace. He placed it around her neck and clasped the ends together. "Hermione told me what she's going to do."
"Oh?" Harry said, a little startled, "She told you? She's still working her way to forgiving us completely."
Ginny nodded, "Pansy and I spoke to her already the day we met her. She'll forgive you, you know she will."
"What decision did she make?" Harry inquired, curiously, "What did she choose?"
"Its who she chose..." Ginny said, "I can't tell you Harry, but you know I want to. She told me not to tell anybody so that nobody could even think of stopping her."
"Did you try and stop her?" Harry asked, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind and she leaned into his chest.
"I can't make her decisions for her. She's grown up. She grew up before any of us did." Ginny said softly, suddenly wanting to cry. Harry sensed this and spun her around gently, pulling her into his embrace. She put her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly.
"Why can't everybody just be happy, Harry? Why does someone or the other have to get hurt?" She asked, her voice breaking.
"That's life, isn't it? Someone always loses. Sometimes your world is full of chaos and pain, but in that chaos you find something worth living for..." Harry said, holding his wife.
"It's just so unfair", Ginny said, trying her best not to let her tears fall, "Everyone's just losing their reasons to live..."
"But they always gain new ones", Her husband said, pulling away and putting his finger beneath her chin, tilting her head up to meet his eyes, "Don't they? Just watch, Ginny, they're all going to find their reasons to live. That's something I learnt from life. You always find a reason to live, always. Like you're my reason to live right now."
"And you're mine", Ginny said, hugging Harry once tightly before splitting away and wiping her eyes with a conjured tissue. She picked up her purse from the dressing table and linking her arm with her husband's, they made their way out.
* * * *
Hermione combed Hayley's hair and slipped a ocean blue hairband into her hair to hold it away from her face. It matched her gown, which was a halter neck that hugged her body till the waist before flowing outwards. She was amidst fixing the two straps around her neck when Hayley spoke, causing Hermione to freeze.
"Have you chosen?" Hayley asked quietly, her voice sounding unused.
Hermione swallowed hard before recovering and tying the two ends together and moving to the younger girl's earrings.
"I have", She responded but didnt say anything further and Hayley got the hint.
"Are you sure about it?" Hayley asked, though not knowing her previous answer.
"How often are we actually completely sure of our actions in life, Hayley? How often do we know what we're doing until we actually do it? How often do we follow our-" She stopped, clasping the necklace together and stepping behind, "We should go."
Hayley nodded, standing up. She turned to Hermione, who was dressed in a gorgeous burgundy strapless gown that flowed freely after hugging her upper curves. Her hair was twisted into a knot and her make-up beautifully done. She had a simple diamond-studded necklace and matching earrings and was wearing strappy heels the same colour as her dress.
She took two steps forward and hugged Hermione.
"Thank you for everything, Hermione. Whatever decision you make, we're all supporting you." Hayley said, feeling the older witch hug her back.
Hermione stared at herself in the mirror. They all might be supporting the decision she would make, but was she supporting herself?
* * * *
"You look beautiful", Ron mouthed slowly to Pansy, coming to stand beside her. Pansy smiled at him softly, smoothening out her black gown. It had fabric crossing over from her left side, across her right shoulder and joining the back of the dress. It was simple. But then again, none of them were in the mood for anything fancy at all.
Ron was dressed in black dress robes just like Harry. Pansy smiled and mouthed back "You too". Ron quirked an eyebrow and asked "Beautiful?"
Pansy's smile got wider and she shook her head. She wanted to tell him that he looked good but she knew that would be difficult to mouth. She averted her eyes from his, feeling tears prick the back of her eyes. This was so unfair, there was so much she wanted to say...
She felt Ron intertwine their fingers together and she looked up at him. He nodded his head to the door, a gesture to show that they should leave. She nodded and held his hand tightly as he spun on the spot and apparated away.
* * * *
"Has Hermione decided?" Blaise asked, turning to his silvery blonde haired friend who was currently fixing his hair in the mirror. Draco froze and swallowed hard.
"She hasn't told me anything if she has", He responded, resuming his actions by shaking his head and allowing his hair to hang loosely.
"If she chooses him?" The dark eyed boy asked, buttoning the last button on his white shirt.
"Then there's nothing I would be able to do about it". Draco said, smoothening out his black suit before spraying on some strong cologne.
Blaise nodded, knowing that Draco did not wish to speak further about Hermione.
"How are you about Astoria?" He inquired instead.
"Probably better than you are about Vie", Draco answered softly, his eyes meeting his best mate's. Blaise nodded. Blaise pocketed his wand and headed for the door.
"We should go". He said. Draco nodded. He took one last look at the mirror before leaving. If she did not choose him, would he be able to handle it?
* * * * *
A celebration was being held at the Ministry of Magic for most of the wizarding community who had fought or faced losses in the latest war. Of course, the eight of them were going along with the rest of the Weasley family and the Malfoys. Estelle Parkinson chose to stay with Blaise's parents in their manor and since she refused to leave her room, the Zabini's did not attend the celebration either. It was hardly a celebration though...
"You look great", Ginny smiled, hugging Hermione.
"You too", Hermione said, looking around the crowd, scanning it for a certain Blonde Slytherin.
"He's over there", Hayley said, joining them. She gestured to the side where the men were gathered and talking seriously with one another. Hermione's eyes met Draco's for a split second before she averted her gaze.
The party moved on. Ron was always by Pansy's side, Draco by Blaise's and Hermione by Hayley's. It was clear who needed the most support but that sure as hell didn't mean that the one's who were supporting them weren't hiding their own pain.
Hermione was seated beside Harry, her hands fidgeting in her lap when Ginny passed her from behind. The red-head bent forward and whispered into the brown haired witch's ear.
"He wants to meet you in the second ball room", She said. Hermione's stomach began twisting. This was it. She nodded numbly and stood up. Ginny placed her hand on her best friend's arm, "Please make the right choice." Hermione nodded again and gave her what she thought was a smile before moving towards the adjoining ball room. She pushed the large oak doors open and her stomach contracted more.
There he was, looking as handsome as ever, his hands in his pockets, standing beside a table with wine glasses filled up and sitting on a tray. He was staring intently at one of the glasses, obviously lost in his own thoughts. Even with the distance in between them, she could smell his strong cologne when she breathed in.
"Draco", She said quietly, shutting the door behind her. Her voice seemed to have brought him back to reality as his eyes immediately lifted to her and he smiled sadly.
"Hey", He said, walking towards her.
"You wanted to meet me?" She asked, clasping her hands together behind her back so that he couldn't see them shaking.
"Why are your hands shaking?" He asked, despite her efforts. He was too observant to have anything hidden from him.
"Thats not the point, you wanted to meet me?" She repeated, holding her hands tighter together.
"You needed to tell me what you decided", He said, "You've been avoiding me like plague this entire evening."
"That was because it would make this easier", Hermione said softly, looking anywhere but at him. Draco could have sworn he heard his heart thundering against his ribcage. What did she mean?
"Make what easier?" He asked, barely breathing.
"Goodbyes are never easy", She said, her throat constricting. Draco's mouth fell open and he was in front of her in a second, his hands on her upper arms. This was what she had decided? That day when he told her that he loved her... She had said she needed time to choose...
"No, Hermione. There's no need for goodbye", He said, shaking his head.
"I chose, Draco. I chose the right thing", She said.
"No you didn't", Draco said, unable to believe what he was hearing... What she was saying was... All wrong...
"Rose and Scorpius are together", Hermione said, taking a deep, shaky breathe.
"We'll make our way around them. They're just kids! They might not last together, then what?"
"And if they do last together?" Her eyes met his and it broke her heart to see the pain in his eyes.
"You think by running away from me, your feelings are going to go away?" Draco asked, his grip tightening on her arms but not hurting her.
"Im doing this for my family", She choked out.
"And what about you?!" He asked, his voice gaining some strength.
"What about me?" She asked, closing her eyes to keep away the tears, "What about me? We can't always get what we want..."
"You're not giving us a chance", Draco said, feeling his heart ache.
"There was no 'us', Draco", Hermione shook her head, opening her eyes, "There was never an 'us'. We're only going to go back to where we were."
"Are we really?" He asked, his hands moving upwards to cup her face, "Are we really going to go back to where we were? After everything we went through? In all that chaos and pain, we found love. Do you really think you can go back to your everyday life with Weasley? You really think you can forget that love?"
"I can try", She said, feeling the tears well up in her eyes.
"Is this going to make you happy?"
"It'll make my family happy".
"Dammit, Hermione!" He said, frustrated, "Answer my question and my question only. Is this going to make you happy?!"
"Then why are you crying?" Draco asked, feeling tears rising to his eyes, "Why don't you look happy to me?"
"We can't all be happy, Draco", She said, a tear escaping the clutches of her eye and sliding down her cheek. He caught it with his thumb and wiped it away.
"Im not going to hurt you", He managed to choke out. His tone turned pleading, desperate for her to stay with him.
"I have no doubt about that", Hermione said, another tear falling.
"Why are you doing this to me? To yourself?" He asked, twin tears rolling down his cheeks.
"I want my family to be happy".
"You're sacrificing your own happiness", He said, shaking his head sadly, "Why do you always have to be the hero? Why do you always have to do something for the others? Why can't you do something for yourself for once?"
"Im doing this for myself."
"Dont lie to me", He growled, bringing his forehead to lean against her's, his hands still cupping her face.
"Please don't cry", She said, tears rolling down her cheeks, her arms coming in front of her to hug her stomach.
"I need you", He said, not caring that he was crying openly in front of her. It wasn't the first time anyway.
"I need you so much", He said, "Why are you leaving me?"
She took a deep, shuddering breathe and said, "I have to. There was never an Us, Draco."
"Who are you trying to convince?"
Myself, she wanted to scream, Im trying to convince myself but its not working! "Im not trying to convince anyone. Im trying to make you see sense."
"And you?" He asked, staring into her tear-filled eyes through his own, "Have you seen sense? Are you seeing sense in this?"
She nodded slowly. He closed his eyes and brought her face closer to his until their noses were brushing.
"You're lying." He said.
I am, she wanted to say, I know I am. Dammit, I want to spend the rest of my life with you...
"Im not." She said, closing her eyes too.
"Then stop crying", He challenged her. Suddenly she felt his warm breathe get closer to her and then his lips were over her's. He kissed her deeply, desperately, pleadingly. She kissed him back upon instinct. It felt so right... So perfect. But it was over before it started. She withdrew and turned her face to the side.
"Stop it." She said, pursing her lips together and biting down from the inside.
"Why did you kiss me back?" He asked, turning her face back to face him.
"I'll say it again "You're lying" " He said, "Why are you doing this? When you know we're so perfect together. So right together."
"You don't understand. I can't do this to Rose or Hugo or Ron."
"It's nothing they won't get over", He reasoned. She shook her head and took a step behind, away from him. She placed her hands over his and removed them from herself. His hands fell limply to his sides.
"Don't make this harder than it already is, Draco", Hermione said, stepping away from him further.
"You can separate us physically by how many ever miles you want", Draco said, pain etched on to his face, "But I can guarantee you one thing, Hermione, you can never separate us emotionally."
"You'll get over me.." She said, trying to convince herself more than before.
"That's where you're wrong. So wrong... I'll never let you go." He said, smiling sadly, "Think hard. Do you see yourself happy completely in love with Weasley in the future? Do you? Think hard, Hermione. Do you believe that you can forget what we have just like that?"
No, I can't see myself happy without you! I can't see myself in love with anybody but you! She bit her tongue down until she could taste the blood. Her fists were clenched to her side. It took all her will power not to go running up to him, not to go throwing herself into his arms, holding him tight and never letting go.
Draco squeezed his eyes shut and turned away from her, his breathing growing erratic. He couldn't believe this... She was lying! He couldn't see himself without her anymore... He was so sure she felt the same way.
"Thank you for everything, Draco, but this is where the story ends."
"What story?" He asked, his voice laced with pain, as he turned around to face her again, his eyes open and filled with tears, "This fairytale?"
"Fairytales don't always have a happy ending, do they?" She asked, her heart feeling like it had just shattered into tiny, uncountable pieces.
"I can't believe this..."
"No you're not." He said, shaking his head, "If you were, you wouldn't be doing this."
"Don't make this so difficult, Draco. Im more sorry than you can imagine", She said, tears unable to stop falling, "Thank you for everything and Ill never forget you."
"I can guarantee that you won't", Draco said, his eyes meeting her's, "You won't forget me just as I won't be able to forget you, try as we both might. We won't be able to forget each other or the love we know is there. The love that you're denying. The love that you're trying to ignore. Best of luck, Hermione. Best of luck with your life and best of luck trying to ignore what we have for the rest of your life. Best of luck trying to be happy."
"This isn't where the story ends," He said, shaking his head and wiping away his tears, "This is only where the chapter ends. But it isn't the end. After this chapter will start a new one." He picked up a wine glass from the table to his side.
"Goodbye, Draco", Hermione whispered, turning around.
"Hermione." She stopped and turned back.
"To a Beginning In The End", He said, raising his glass to her. She blinked back the tears and left the room, sure that these memories would be the ones that would break her heart in the future. He was right, she wouldn't be able to ignore her feelings for him. But she would try... this was the right thing to do...
She joined the others back at the table and smiled at them, trying to hide her pain. She looked at Ron and said something that shocked everybody to their cores.
"Let's go home, Ron."
Ginny looked down at her lap and choked back a sob. Harry, Ron, Hayley, Blaise, Mrs.Weasley, George, Lucius and Narcissa's mouths fell open and Pansy having read her lips had the same reaction... they were so sure that she would choose Draco...
"Hermione..." Harry said, looking at her. Her red eyes didn't slip past anybody. They knew she hadn't done this for herself... She had chosen her mind over her heart. They knew her too well to think otherwise.
"Let's go, Ron. Rose and Hugo must be waiting for us at home", Her throat constricted on the last word. Home... Home was where the heart was. But she felt like she had left half her heart back in that room with a certain someone else... Someone else who she couldn't be with.
Too in shock to say anything, Ron stood up slowly, giving Pansy's hand one last squeeze before going to stand beside Hermione. Everybody sat where they were, completely frozen, unable to believe what was happening. After promising to speak to them again soon and giving them a forced smile which they all saw through, Hermione held Ron's arm and they left.
* * * *
Draco stood where he was and watched as she disappeared through the door, shutting it behind her.
He let her go today for one simple reason. He knew that this was not the end. It was far from the end. Like he had said, it was a Beginning In The End.
He nodded to himself, taking a sip of wine and placing it back on the table. He shrugged his coat off and slung it over his shoulder, making his way out of the room. He saw everyone sitting frozen where they were except Ginny, whose body was shaking slightly and tears streaming down her cheeks. It gave him hope for some reason. Ginny knew it as well as he did that Hermione had made the wrong choice. Scanning the group and the looks of disbelief on their faces, he knew that they knew it too. Everything Happened For A Reason. There would be a reason for this as well. He was sure of it.
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
* * * * *
Last quote by T.S Eliot.
Wow. It's done. Everything Happens For A Reason is officially over. Done. Completed. Oh my god. Writing this chapter was so emotional for me. I know you guys probably are very shocked by the fact that they didn't end up together, I can understand! But please don't hate me! like Draco said- this isn't the end, it's just the beginning. Like this quote I read said, well part of it anyway said "Every beginning has an end and every end has a new beginning" It's the end of this story, but this end is most definitely bringing a new beginning. This new beginning's name is "Their Reason To Live" and trust me, it's going to be far far better than EHFAR :) I promise you it will be completely worth it. Again, please don't hate me! They didn't end up together for a reason- Everything DOES happen for a reason after all, and that reason is the next book.
Pansy and Ron's little relationship, Rose and Scorpius' growing relationship, Blaise and Hayley's broken lives, Hermione and Draco's incomplete ones- everything will make sense in the end, I promise.
I'd like to thank my reviewers so so much for all the support you've provided me with and all that encouragement- falling in love, MoonlightFaerae, whathappens, granger_ , Crazydramionefan, fanfic_lover_2330, whskykitty74, jfry, Nicole, DracoNHermione28, Dramione lover, ravinamalfoyblack, Dancing Queen, mprkr857, natajess, Hermione_Malfoy_1, hpfangirl, R.n.R.is.my.thing.lol., Jillian , MysticalAce, Malati, AriesA76, Keeling, Kristalee, Shy, Amy, LongLiveHP819, cazvalleygirl, Tara, Kylee, Amberlinn Quill, SIriUS_LIly_JAMes, notimportant, Sairahi, Lilly Luna, Slytherin Sex Goddess InWonderland, Lady Eilella, RACHEL, cobaltgum18, luv_me_hate_me, slytherin_badgirlxx, Kristen, Amy S, HuffGriffSlyRaven, youandme, mrs felton (your wish for ron to stay with hermione came true looks like ;) ), Cleo, DramioneObsessed
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