Chapter 45 : Fights, Reunions & a Change of Life
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“Yes,” grinned Reeves. “It is. All Death Eater were arrested from their positions of power. All the Muggle-borns freed from Azkaban. The statue of the Ministry knocked down. Shacklebolt is back into position and is repairing all the political damage that had been done.”
Draco rushed to Hermione’s side, placing an arm around her protectively. “How about my mother? Have you heard from her?”
Reeves’ grin faltered quickly and his eyes became somber with no crinkles of a smile at the corner. “Unfortunately, no. There are a few Death Eaters at large… Rabastan Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange and your father. We have a strong belief that they are at the Malfoy Manor with your mother… The Malfoy Manor is unplottable.”
“I will help then,” offered Draco, his eyes stormy with determination.
“What will you do with them?” whispered Hermione.
“They will all be arrested and stand trial,” replied Reeves. “Of course, once they are captured.”
“Does this include my mother?” asked Draco.
Reeves nodded vaguely. “I would assume so…”
“And how about Draco?” Hermione asked nervously.
Draco’s heart plummeted. His mind flashed back, sitting in that chair under the scrutiny of high-officials and the community, being judged and labelled as a criminal. The feelings of shame bubbled in him, rising again. Then, a more severe thought hit him. He imagined the coldness of a cell biting him and the darkness eating at him while he wasted away. His loneliness would echo against the dingy cell walls as he heard the ocean in the distance moaning in pain. There would be no Hermione either… He would not be able to hear her sweet words. He would not be able to feel her gentle touch. He would not be able to see her bright face. He gulped down the feeling, staring at Reeves and waited silently for answer.
“I already spoke to Minister Shacklebolt. You are clear of all charges. You won’t be put onto trail and the any files wiped clean,” replied Reeves who was staring at Draco intently.
“Lucky man, I am,” murmured Draco with some relief washing over him. “My mother though… I suppose you want us all to head to Malfoy Manor…to see if he is there.”
“Yes, it would be the most useful. I understand that he is your father, but he deserves to rot in Azkaban. He took part in too many wars as a Death Eater.”
“I completely understand,” said Draco with a hard face. “But when we see him, I want to be the one to bring him down…”
Draco heaved a heavy sigh as he held onto the door handle of the Malfoy Manor. He was staring at in silence, collecting his thoughts. He imagined the cold eyes of sliver, staring at him in distaste, in disappointment and in utter disgust. His father would not be proud of him. Draco had become a muggle-lover and a traitor to the cause of blood purity supremacy, the Death Eaters, the Malfoy values and his father. He did not feel that way about himself. Draco grew. Draco grew into the modern times, shaping and learning, but he left the traditional values he grew up with. Those traditional values way behind him and he never looked back with regret, but looked forward with excitement. His father would never understand this. His father had forgotten the meaning of love. His father had become cruel and warped enough to use an Unforgivable Curse on Hermione. This was his entire fault. A heart-wrenching picture of Hermione, bleeding and crying out for the lost baby flashed in his mind. Draco slammed the door wide open, stepping in with his wand drawn.
Hermione followed him with her wand drawn too. The door slammed shut behind him which immediately made Hermione jump, pointing the wand at the grand doors. At this moment, she wished her best friends and Reeves would have come, but Draco protested against it, explaining this was his fight.
“Hermione, go,” he growled in a whisper, his eyes darting madly about the silent Manor.
“And if something goes wrong, who will be here to help you?” she asked in a whisper.
He took a quick glance at her. She was nervously glimpsing each corner of the Manor, waiting. He would have loved to stare at her all day, but the paranoia of someone lurking in the darkness was far more important at the moment.
“Aqua Eructo!” A jet of clear water shot towards Draco’s way.
Hermione stepped in front of Draco, swinging her wand, screaming, “Protego!” A slivery shield blast rippled when the water rushed it. Water splashed, wetting the two and then it formed at puddle at their feet. With an angry swift movement, Draco pushed Hermione behind him.
“Curse you, Hermione,” grumbled Draco.
A step into the light, Lucius revealed himself. His face was pale and stricken with stress wrinkles and dark circles. His hair was slightly frizzy and his eyes blood shot. “My son,” he whispered.
“DRACO!” cried Narcissa behind him. She went to run down the stairs, but Lucius held his arm up, stopping her.
“So, you are back…” said Lucius with a level of hurt in his voice. “I can safely assume, it is you who betrayed your family.”
“That fucking traitor!” barked Rodolphus beside Lucius who now came into the light with his brother. Rabastan’s eyes were full with worried as he gazed at Hermione.
“How could you?” whispered Lucius, stepping down the flight of stairs. “My own son. I love you, Draco. I gave you the world… Yes, I was tough on you, but it was to make you stronger, to make you a better man. It was to instill proper values in you.” Lucius was now a mere foot away from Draco.
Draco dug his wand in his father throat, snarling. “Instill proper values? You wanted to make me a monster like you! A MONSTER THAT KILLS YOUR UNBORN GRANDCHILD!” Draco finished with a bellow, his chest heaving up and down. Tears now swam in desperation in his eyes.
Lucius had flinched at “grandchild” as Narcissa muffled sobbing could be heard in the background. His eyes moved slowly to Hermione. For a moment, there were softening, but it filled with dread. “You—you were pregnant?”
Hermione held her head high, glaring at him with disgust. “I was…”
Lucius’ eyes now landed on Draco’s with fear. “With—with a mudblood? How could you?” he whispered to Draco, his voice filled with disappointment. “I tried to instill proper values. Marry a pureblood. Have pureblood children. Continue the Malfoy line of purity and nobility. But you have disgrace our name…” His lips twitched into a snarl. “Instead you married a mudblood and had the audacity to touch her every night to produce a spawn.”
“Not a spawn, Lucius,” whispered Hermione, stepping out from behind Draco. “He was to be your grandson…”
Again there were softening of his face. “My grandson…?”
“There was no way a nasty half-blood would ever be a grandson of mine,” he snarled, his hard face looming over her again.
“STOP! ENOUGH!” cried Narcissa with a loud sob. “A baby boy? How could you be so cruel Lucius?” She fell to her knees in an uncontrollable sob and Hermione took one step to go for her, but Draco stopped.
Lucius snapped at her, “I didn’t know and trust me, Narcissa, it was for the best!” But the harsh words made him stop from saying anything else, seeing his wife hurt so, seeing Draco hurt so and even seeing the his daughter-in-law in an emotional pain. Lucius heaved a breath, staring at Hermione’s stomach. “A creature like that did not have a place in this world and especially amongst the family…” Lucius dropped his wand with a clatter and with open palms, put his hands up in the air in surrender. “This is my sorry for you, son. But you know I would have never accept this and never will. So, in a world where Malfoys do not have power, is the only world where you will be happy. I give up.”
“WELL, I DON’T!” roared Rudolph. “Everte Statum!” Lucius stepped in the way of Draco purposely, getting the full blast of the spell and it sent him soaring until he hit the wall. Lucius bounced off of it, unconscious.
“NOOO!” sobbed Narcissa.
“Avis!” cried Draco at Rudolph. Flocks of condors squeezed out of Draco’s wand, shooting at Rodolphus with claws ready to gauge and beaks sharp. They were tens upon tens shooting toward Rodolphus.
Rodolphus attempted to blast the large birds away, screaming, “Bombara! Bombara!” Some condors were hit the spell and set on fire, burning a vivid ready flame. The birds it cawed in pain. Soon enough the condors exploded, only its feather floating down. But there were too many birds as they flock around Rodolphus and he himself began screaming under the sharp claws.
“Bombarda Maxima!” Rabastan shouted with hand pointed at the flock of birds surrounding his brother. There was a booming explosion and then a cloud of feathers falling. Through the feathers, Rabastan shouted, “Stupefy!” He had stunned his own brother. Rabastan disappeared into the cloud of feathers, picking his unconscious brother up and walking down the stairs as Draco, Hermione and Narcissa stared at him in silence. “We are done here. I’m tired…” Rabastan walked right past the couple, setting his brother down by Lucius and he himself took a seat by Lucius. He stared at Draco with wide eyes. “I am ready…”
With a wave of a wand, Draco opened up the Manor for apparition and to the visible eye. He turned to Hermione, gently touching her and she jumped to his reaction. “It’s over,” he whispered. “All of it… I am going to help my mother to bed… She needs rest.” Draco turned from Hermione and sadly walked to his mother. Hermione watched him go up the stairs and out of sight.
It took a bit for the realization to dawn on her that the new age of Death Eaters is over. But for some reason, she felt sad especially at his words, “It’s over…all of it…” She hitched her breath and suppressed any thought of all of it being truly over. The door swung open with Reeves’ chest rising up and down frantically. Hermione looked sadly at him and he at her until the three men (one conscious, the other two not) caught his attention. Reeves stepped to the three.
“You are all under arrest.”
Rabastan looked up and nodded soberly without any protest.
“Hermione,” addressed Reeves. “I will be back. I want to get these three to the Ministry as soon as possible.”
Hermione nodded quietly and Reeves had Rabastan who did not utter a word of protest, grab his arm as Reeves held onto the other two. With a faint pop, they disappeared when Harry and Ginny walked in. Hermione ran into their open arms and received a loving embrace.
“Oh, so you’re safe!” gasped Ginny.
Hermione pulled back, smiling brightly. “And you too.” She caressed Harry’s face affectionately, smiling up at him. “It’s all over… We can go back to the way it used to be!”
Draco stopped at the first step, hiding in the shadows and listened intently. “We can go back to the way it used to be!” His breath was shaky as he tried to swat any doubts away. The thought was haunted him in the back of his mind. What will happen to them when it was all said and done?
Ron dashed to Hermione, cupping her in an embrace and pressed his lips hard against hers. She was stunned, speechless with wide eyes and unable to react. Draco bared his teeth in anger and stormed back up the stairs, disgusted by the sight. Hermione pulled away, pushing Ron off of her and gasped for breath. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, staring up at Ron. The kiss did not send sparks flying. It did not shoot electricity through her. It did not send the butterflies in her stomach to bat their wings wildly. When he kissed her, it was empty. It was not pleasurable nor hurtful or awkward. It was just a kiss. It was just an act without any deeper meaning.
“Ron,” she muttered, shaking her head. “No…”
Red swept his entire face of embarrassment. “No?”
“Ron, there is no more us. It was over a long time ago when you cheated… And it is beyond repair too… You can’t expect to come waltzing in, kiss me forcefully and that would sweep me off my feet. As if!—as if that would make me accept you back with the same undying love that I once had. You need to understand that it is different now.”
“What?” spat Ron, “Because of the ferret git? Is it because of him you no longer love me?”
“No,” answered Hermione calmly. “It was because of yourself that I no longer love you. When you decided to be selfish…self-centered, inconsiderate, unfaithful and ignorant for even believing that I would come back to you.”
“You’ve changed,” he spat.
“Enough!” barked Ginny, glaring at her brother. “You are blaming Hermione as if it was her fault your relationship with her fell apart. Ron, you did that all on your own and fabulously I might add. You cheated on Hermione for no reason with a Veela. And do not give me the excuse of Malfoy because you didn’t know Malfoy was in the picture until months later after you wonderfully decided to be a man whore!”
Ron’s jaw twitched in anger, but said nothing.
“So,” continued Ginny in a fiery rage, “if she doesn’t want to be with you, accept it Ron. You have to let her go so she can be with someone better.”
“AND THAT FERRET IS BETTER THAN ME? He is a Death Eater! A Malfoy! He is our enemy! Don’t you remember all those times in school, Hermione? When he used that dirty word? And made fun of you? And insulted me? And Harry? And Ginny? Did that not mean anything?”
“People redeem themselves, Ron” whispered Hermione sadly. “He has changed into a better man… And I think it is time you’ve changed as well. I remember when we were younger. We always had fights, but many times you were stubborn to admit you were wrong. I was the same way, stubborn like you, but I am not in the wrong here, Ron. You are and you know it…”
“OH!” growled Ron. “So, I need to change and Malfoy has always been a bloody hero—”
“No one said that, Ron,” Hermione said soothingly.
“No. I get it. You prefer Malfoy over us—”
“SHE DID NOT SAY THAT, RON!” barked Ginny. “But yes what if she prefer Malfoy over you?”
“Well—well, I don’t have anything to say then! NOTHING! I am leaving!” Ron with a red face of volcanic rage apparated with a faint pop.
“UGH!” whined Ginny as furious as her brother. “I’ll go after and calm him down. And also stop him for talking shit about you to our family. Curse him!” Another faint pop, Ginny disappeared into thin air.
Draco rolled his eyes at the muffle roaring, bellowing and a lot of whining on Ron’s part. He hadn’t heard a word of the argument, but he could feel his Manor…yes, his Manor now, ready to explode. Once he swore he heard faint pops, he caressed his mother’s knuckles affectionately. He stood up from his chair by her bedside and began heading back, thinking no one was there and hoping to only find Hermione. At the shadows of the stairs, he stopped when he heard Harry’s voice,
“So, what about Malfoy? After this whole situation with Ron, what do you plan to do? You two are married, right?”
“Yes,” Draco heard Hermione answer.
“There isn’t no need to be married anymore though… He doesn’t need to protect you… Are you planning to stay with him even then or…divorce?”
“A divorce…” she trailed off into silence. He waited for her to say something else, but she didn’t. He walked away with a broken heart that had shattered into billon of pieces that would never be able to be sewn back together.
Harry watched Hermione curiously. “There isn’t no need to be married anymore though… He doesn’t need to protect you… Are you planning to stay with him even then or…divorce?”
“A divorce…” she trailed off to her thoughts. The thought of a divorce pained her. The thought of separating from him when she was so much in love with him murdered her heart. She would not be able to part with him. She still wanted to feel the pleasure of a touch, the intensity of his eyes and amusement from his smug smirk. Draco had become such an integrated part of her life; she couldn’t see life no other way. He was not only her husband and a lover, but a companion. He showed undying and determined protection. He was a challenge to her. He was as clever as her. He was as strong as her and willed. He was simply amazing and somehow, after all these years, they fit.
She cleared her throat. “A divorce is not something I want,” she simply said.
“So, you fell in love with him?”
“Yes,” smiled Hermione brightly with tears of happiness coming forth in her eyes. “I have fallen madly in love with him. I want to stay married to him.”
Harry slightly smiled, but it was a smile of approval. “So, I wish you two the best…” He leaned forward to embrace her. “I will see you tomorrow. Come over. I am tired right now. And I kinda miss Teddy.”
Hermione laughed, “I can’t wait to see that little rascal too!”
“Tomorrow. Come with Draco.”
She nodded. “Bye, Harry.”
“Bye, ‘Mione.” He patted her on the head before disappearing completely.
Hermione sighed happily and decided she needed nothing more than a hot shower to calm the nerves that have been rattled for the about the last month. She climbed the stairs and entered their room, everything untouched. Everything was as she remembered it. She could see flashes of ghost of memories of her and Draco in the room. How Draco stood there with angry eyes as she walked into the closet, assuming it was his bathroom. How he laughed! How she was keeping a picture out of his reach and he kissed her abruptly. How he made her heart flutter! How he made sweet love to her on Christmas night… She shook her head, all the ghost of memories disappear. She sulked to the bathroom…
When she came out, Draco was standing somberly there by the desk with his hand on a stack of papers that were sitting on the desk. “You would want to read this thoroughly,” he said with a cold tone. Without another word, he walked out. Hermione stared after him, puzzled. Her eyes landed on the stack of papers curiously. She carelessly flipped through the pages… Her heart plummeted and her inside felt like they had stopped.
These were divorce papers…
A/N: Bleh. I feel bad for them! T___T
And don’t fret! Many of you are probably thinking, “Is there going to be a happy ending?!” We still have a couple of more chapters to go! Just sit tight and you will see!
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