Plot: What if the one you loved died? What if you found a way to go through different timelines and universes to be with them again? Would you do it?
"You know, I saw 14,000,605 different timelines. And he loved you in all of them."
A/N: Here we are, the last chapter. I hope you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. As of right now, there isn't an epilogue. Maybe in the future, but I haven't written it now. As always, I don't own anything or anyone that you recognize. Thank you to the amazing people who have fav/followed/reviewed this story. It means so much to me that you enjoyed this enough to do that.
Hermione stood in the same place she had left only a day earlier. The same place she had left only a second before. She took a deep breath, looking around the time room and then back down at the time turner.
She could stay. Put the time turner up. Quit her job. She had money saved up, so she wouldn't have to worry about finding a job right away.
Or, her mind whispered, she could go. Travel to another timeline. See Draco one more time. Or a thousand more times.
But, what would that accomplish? Yes, she could be with him a million times over, but he would die a million times again. A million different deaths. It couldn't be coincidence that the time turner took her to his death.
It didn't take her to a life where she could live a hundred years with Draco. And that was what she wanted, right? She wanted a lifetime. Not a day or three weeks. She wanted forever.
If she stayed in this timeline, he would be gone forever.
If she traveled to a new timeline, he would die again and again forever.
Would that be selfish of her? To travel to those timelines, taking over that Hermione's body, and stealing the last few moments that Hermione had with Draco alive? Just so she could… what? Have her heart broken over and over again? Never move on with her life? Die alone?
No, Hermione decided. She couldn't do this anymore. She would leave. Leave the ministry. Leave the time turner. Leave Draco. She loved the Department of Mysteries. But, she could always come back, when she was happy again.
She took a deep, shuddering breath, her eyes misting. Then she laughed at herself and wiped her eyes. Why was she crying? Draco was already gone. It wasn't as if she were killing him all over again.
But, her mind whispered, and she turned to look at the time turner sitting behind the glass case. Her hand that gripped her wand moved in a complicated wave, unlocking the cabinet. Carefully, for the last time, she took the time turner from the case, warding the cabinet.
She would go one last time. One last timeline. To say goodbye. Then she would come back and start her new life.
Hermione slipped the chain over her head, staring down at the time turner in her hands. She hadn't read the research that would tell her how exactly to move to a specific timeline. But, if there were over 14 million timelines, she was sure that she would stumble across one that she hadn't been in before.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione twisted the time turner five and one quarter turns and closed her eyes.
The sun shone through her eyelids, and a warm breeze blew through her hair. Hermione opened her eyes, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the sunlight. She looked around at the garden she was in. In the distance, a body of water sparkled, reflecting the sunlight that shone brightly on it. Turning some more, Hermione confirmed where she thought she was.
Malfoy Manor towered in the distance. This was close to where Draco was buried in her timeline. She looked around, but she seemed to be alone.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione sighed with appreciation at the fragrant flowers blooming around her. She decided to turn back to Malfoy Manor and begin her search for Draco there. Hermione walked, closing her eyes and lifting her face to the sun. She had been in the bottom of the Ministry of Magic for so long that she couldn't think of the last time she had enjoyed the feel of the sun.
Hermione cracked one of her eyes open and looked at the back of her hand. Her skin was dark, showing that this Hermione spent a lot of time out in the sunlight. As she neared the manor, she could see the kneeling form of Narcissa Malfoy as she worked in a flowerbed.
When she was close enough, Narcissa looked up, a smile on her face. "That wasn't a long walk, dear," she said, standing up and brushing the dirt from her knees. "You were only gone ten minutes."
"I just felt like turning around," Hermione smiled, taking in the sight of Narcissa in shorts. "Where's Draco?"
Narcissa took off the gardening gloves, shaking her head in amusement. "He is still in the Noon Room, where you left him." Narcissa took a few steps towards her, reaching out to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. This close, Hermione could see the beginning of fine lines that were starting to form on Narcissa's face. They weren't present in Hermione's timeline. "Are you sure you don't want to take a longer walk?"
Hermione looked over her shoulder, back the way that she had walked from. The green grass that stretched out before her looked inviting, but that wasn't why she had come here. Hermione turned her head and looked at Narcissa. "No," she said, shaking her head, "I'm sure. I might later."
"Okay, dear," she said, smiling softly at Hermione before turning back and kneeling before her flower garden. Hermione turned back to the manor, slowly making her way to the doors.
When she entered, the manor was quiet. She looked around, listening, but she couldn't hear anything. Even the elves were silently working, not making a whisper. Hermione crossed the room, and turned right when she reached the hallway. The Noon Room was a short walk, and Hermione could feel her heart begin to race as she drew closer.
When she reached the Noon Room, she paused at the door. She could hear the low hum of Draco's voice as he talked, but she couldn't make out the words. Taking a deep breath, she gently pushed the door open.
Inside, she could make out the top of Draco's head over a chair, facing a wall made out of glass. The sunlight lit the room up brightly, and Hermione had to wait a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the brightness.
"I didn't think you would be able to stay gone long," Draco called to her with a chuckle, "no matter what you and Mother say."
"You do know me well," she said softly, crossing the room towards him.
Draco looked around the back of the chair to face her as she walked, his eyebrows slightly creased in concern, "All kidding aside, are you feeling fine?"
Hermione smiled softly and nodded her head. "I'm fine," she told him, "I just missed you."
Draco chuckled softly again as Hermione rounded the chair to sit in the identical one beside him. "I think you mean you missed him."
At that moment, Hermione saw a small white bundle laying on Draco's chest. Draco's hand was placed gently on the lower part of the bundle, patting softly, and Hermione's breath caught.
Sticking out just above the white blanket, Hermione could make out a bright blonde fuzz.
There was a baby on Draco's chest. Sleeping, on Draco's chest. A baby.
Hermione lifted her eyes to Draco's face, searching. He looked the same as he had in her own timeline. But, somehow, he looked older. Hermione sat down, her eyes still on the two men in front of her.
"Has-" she began, stopping to clear her throat of the lump that was trying to form there. Her Draco would never experience this. "Has he been good for you?" She asked, trying to act like she was this Hermione, the one who had apparently recently had a baby.
Draco's lips lifted into a half smile. "Of course he has," Draco said, kissing the blonde peach fuzz, "he's my best mate. Don't tell Theo, of course."
Hermione shook her head conspiratorially, "I would never. It would break his heart." Her eyes drifted back to the small bundle sitting contently on Draco's chest.
"I would allow you to hold him," Draco said, bringing her attention to him, "but you told me you would be gone for at least an hour." He made a big show of looking at his watch. "And by my count, I still have over thirty minutes of alone time."
Hermione shook her head, smiling at his antics. "Don't worry, I'll let you have your full hour," she told him, her eyes flicking down to the baby and back up to Draco's face. "Have you been sitting here the whole time?"
Draco shook his head. "Of course not. After you walked out, Scorp and I walked around the room, deciding which chair would be most comfortable to take our nap in. I tried to tell him that the bed would be more comfortable, but Scorpius didn't think he could make it that far."
Scorpius. Of course that would be his name. "Has he been asleep long?" Hermione asked, her eyes back on the baby.
"He gave in about three minutes after you left, while we were still up walking around."
She had a baby. Her mind was still buzzing, and she felt like she could cry. Draco and Scorpius made the most perfect sight, sitting there as the sun shone brightly down on them. Her heart was so full that Hermione thought it would burst. All at once, it was too much and not nearly enough. Hermione stood, crossing the few steps to reach Draco. Softly, she kissed his head, and placed her hand gently on Scorpius's back. His blonde fuzz of hair shone brightly up at her, and his nose was an exact copy of her own.
"I'll be right back," she whispered. Draco nodded in answer, and Hermione softly walked out of the room.
She walked down the hall a few doors before she came to what she knew was a bathroom. Knocking to make sure it was empty, Hermione walked in and warded the door behind her.
Then she turned and pressed her back against the door, letting out a long breath. Closing her eyes, Hermione reached into her shirt and pulled out the time turner.
She couldn't wait this time. This was the memory she wanted of Draco. But, was there a way to get back before the time turner was ready?
Hermione pulled out her wand, studying the time turner. The purple metal shone brightly in the sunlight of the bathroom.
Doing the only thing she knew to do, Hermione whispered, "Finite," and tapped the purple metal with her wand.
She was surprised to feel the familiar pull of time as it wove around her, pulling her back. In the blink of an eye, Hermione stood in the Department of Mysteries. Everything was just as she had left it, but Hermione felt a restlessness building inside of her.
Quickly, she placed the time turner back in the case and warded it. Then, grabbing her things, Hermione took one last look at the time turners. They all sat neatly in a row, glittering in the soft light of the hanging lanterns.
Hermione raised her wand, sending off a blue spark that would send a replacement Unspeakable to her station, and turned, walking out of the Department of Mysteries for the last time.