Title: What It All Comes Down To

Author: Haft hand (Ally)

Rating: PG-13

Summary: It's all down to this. A solution to the war.

A/N: Okay everyone, I have sooooo not forgotten 'A Reason' and the next chapter is in the works, had to write something to get back in the swing of things. This little fic was written while listening to 'Hide and Seek' by Imogen Heep, That amazing song at the end of Season 2 on The O.C.. A huge thank you to everyone waiting patiently for Chapter 20 of 'A Reason'.

If you have the Imogen Heep song, I suggest you listen to it while reading. It really does set the tone.

They all stood frozen. Frozen at the scene of their crimes. Their battle. Their war. What had it all been for in the end? This? This utter destruction? This death? What the hell was happening?

Dust tried to settle around them all. It changed its mind halfway. Even the smallest and lifeless of things wanted no part of this now. If only they had wanted no part of it to begin with.

The ground was covered in red. The sun shining innocently above them. The marks on them still bleeding. Still spilling with their sin.

They were all mixed up now. Intermingling. Lost among familiar grounds. What had started as two separate sides had merged in the heat of battle. Now there was simply one group of survivors staring at the remains on the ground. Staring at one charred spot on the ground. Staring at the body laying gracelessly among the rubble. Just staring.

It was Ron who made the first move. Why him? Why not. He was a hero after all. A murderer yes, but a hero in the end. A bumbling, gangly boy in his youth, he stood taller than most now, his face dirtied by blood and grime, the sparkle in his eyes long since gone. His wand hung unnoticed at his side. It didn't matter now. Never again would he touch his wand. He would later lock it up in a plain mahogany box with a simple carving of a lion on the top and only ever take it out to show his grandchildren and tell them tales of his past. They would laugh and say 'Grandpa makes up such crazy stories.' He would smile sadly and wonder if maybe things should have been different.

But that was the years to come. Now he simply walked forward brushing past friend and foe alike. It didn't matter now. They were all the same. Some turned to watch his progress, others didn't notice. He walked through them all, his tattered, black Hogwart's robe billowing behind him in the evening breeze. Seamus made as if to reach out to him as he passed, but slowly lowered his arm again, his mouth closing around words that would not come.

Finally, those who were watching, saw Ron slow and stop as he reached the front of their sorry group. He stood beside another black robed figure. Only these black robes were pristine. Even the battle had never touched them. Ron would have laughed had things been very different. Malfoy vanity.

Draco Malfoy turned his head slightly, acknowledging the new presence by his side without taking his eyes off the body before him.

'What the hell is going is Ron?' Draco Malfoy whispered. The fact that he used Ron instead of Weasley meant everything and nothing. Past didn't matter. Who they used to be was of no consequence now.

'I think-' Ron began, his voice carrying to the others on the soft breeze and rousing them out of their trances, 'I think its over.' The world around them seemed to sigh in relief at his words. The last spell was broken. The others began to move forward, questions pushing their hate for each other to the back of their minds.

Goyle stood to Ron's left, staring dumbly at his wand, unaware of the blood dripping down his face. Remus Lupin knelt on the ground, his left arm hanging limp and useless to his side. His already haunted eyes were now all but dead. His mouth moved soundlessly. He didn't notice when Pansy knelt to take his head in her hands. He didn't notice the look of pity in her eyes. He didn't notice when she ripped the sleeve of her Deatheater robes and attempted to staunch the flow of blood falling down his dead arm.

Fred Weasley stepped over the dead body of Bellatrix Lestrange and bent to pick up Neville by his arm. He leaned and whispered something into Neville's ear before going to join the growing crowd around his brother. Neville wiped the tears from his face before turning and walking towards the others without once looking back .

Bill Weasley ripped the Deatheater mask from Snape's face before offering a hand up. Snape took it without hesitation and helped Bill pick up Ginny's unconscious form from the ground before heading towards the remnants of their unlikely group.

'Ron, what did she do?' asked a bloody and breathless Theodore Nott, his Deatheater robes torn more so than even Ron's.

Ron just stood there numbly trying to process what he had seen. All his brain would allow him to see was her body on the ground before him. At his continued silence, everyone suddenly spoke at once. Some asking questions, some pleading for an answer, all thinking that Ronald Weasley could somehow answer them all.

All sound ceased as Draco moved forward slowly. He approached the lifeless body and bent slowly. With a gentleness no one believed him capable of, he slowly turned her body over. He gracefully brushed the hair away from her perfect, angelic face. 'What did you do?' he whispered softly, his breath causing her eyelashes to flutter, his tears dripping slowly onto her closed eyes. 'Oh god Hermione love, what did you do?' he sobbed into her hair.

No one had the heart to go near him. No one could bring themselves to move. Ron couldn't fight the tears that fell down his face as his heart broke and his memories rushed back into his fuzzy head.

Not an hour earlier

The battle was fierce. Hot even. It was reaching its climax. Not just the battle but the war as well. So many lives had been lost. Those that were left were here, now, fighting for what they thought they believed in. Harry had disappeared early, hunting for Lucius Malfoy. Voldemort was still out there, but refused to do the dirty work himself.

Ron turned to his right his wand arm pointing directly in front of him. Draco Malfoy spun and faced Ron in much the same position. Both froze. Draco's mask had long been lost in the frenzy of the battle, his Deatheater robes blacker than any black.

Ron's breath was laboured but he did not move a muscle.

'Weasley,' Draco said, his voice tight with control.

'Malfoy,' Ron said coldly.

They stood alone in the midst of battle. The others swirling around them locked in their own private wars.

'Why?' Ron finally asked, unable to hold in his curiosity.

Draco allowed himself to shrug. 'Not your concern Weasley,' he said simply.

'You had responsibilities Malfoy, you had commitments, people who cared about you' Ron practically shouted at him across the roar of the battle.

Draco laughed bitterly. 'Who decides that Weasley huh? Who gets to choose what's important and to whom you answer?' Draco asked, a sense of pleading in his voice.

'We each get to decide that ourselves Malfoy,' Ron said almost softly, a heat rising in his chest.

'Some of us don't get to,' Draco said sadly, his eyes losing their hardness, though his wand remained pointed at Ron. 'I just want this all to end.'

Before Ron could say a thing his attention was caught by a figure running towards the battle. As it approached Ron could make out Hermione's slim figure, her robes flowing behind her, giving her the appearance of flying. Draco had noticed her too, his wand arm shaking for the first time.

He turned back to Ron. 'I thought she was supposed to stay out of this,' he growled at Ron.

'I dunno what she's doing here,' Ron replied hesitantly, his wand arm slowly lowering. His gaze leaving Draco's and latching back on to Hermione's approaching form. 'Hermione-' Ron began to shout but stopped abruptly. He stared harder at his best friend.

'Is she…is she glowing?' Draco voiced the question that was at that moment running through Ron's head.

Others around them began to notice the approaching witch. The closer she came the larger the golden aura around her. As she crested the hill she ran full out until she had flown through them all and stood at the centre of the battle. The glow around her pulsed and threatened to break off her. Everyone had stopped now. Hundreds of eyes focusing on the witch in their midst, hypnotized by the rhythmic pulsing emanating from her.

Suddenly a humming seemed to resonate out from her and her tiny, fragile body began to rise up from the ground. Her head turned slightly and her eyes fastened first onto Ron, then onto Draco's. 'I'm sorry,' she whispered, her voice sounding loudly in the ears of all those present and reaching outwards past the grounds of the battle, beyond Hogwart's castle, reaching further and further until it was lost in the horizon.

The pulsing glow around her began to grow around her, enveloping all those present and following the path of her last good-bye. It spread through the woods, the castle's walls, through the towns and villages, spreading into the cities and reaching out beyond the vast oceans.

An eternity later, or perhaps it was only a moment, the pulsing stopped and all was silent.

Slowly a soft rushing noise could be heard. It rapidly grew into a breeze which grew into a strong wind. A moment later hurricane force winds swirled around the clearing. It swirled around those present before seeming to rise up into the sky. The glow around Hermione disappeared and was replaced by a single column of burning gold shooting up the way the wind had gone. Silence covered everything again for a moment and then the wind and column of burning gold came crashing back down to earth. Back down into Hermione's fragile body. Her eyes closed, her body convulsed as it took each wave, willing herself to last long enough for it to be done.

And just as suddenly it was over. Her body fell to the earth with a loud, dead thump. Those around the clearing were unfrozen from their trance. Crabbe uselessly tried to hex Colin Creevy. Colin stood there numbly staring at Crabbe's wand. Muttering at the stupidity of the Deatheater, Colin stepped forwards and took Crabbe's wand before punching him hard across the face.

Things continued in that manner until the only sound was Tonks shouting over and over 'Impedimenta!' Her wand pointed at a kneeling Blaise Zabini, disbelief shining in his eyes as he watched her silent wand.

'What the fuck!' George Weasley shouted over the silence throwing his wand to the ground.

Ron continued to watch Draco gather Hermione into his arms all the while playing through the memories in his mind.

Shaking his head, hoping to make sense of it all he buried his head in his hands and whispered 'What did you do Hermione?'

'She ended it,' came a clear, strong voice across the clearing. Ron looked up and met the tired gaze of Harry Potter. His glasses were shattered his body bloody and damaged. He limped towards them, his eyes fastening onto Draco cradling Hermione's body. He looked tired and aged.

Draco looked up, his arms still holding onto his beloved. 'My father?' he asked Harry, steel in his voice.

'Dead,' Harry answered.

'Good,' Draco said, a sick smile breaking onto his face. He looked back down to Hermione's quiet face. 'We're free now love. We're free,' he whispered before bending slightly and placing a soft kiss onto her lifeless lips.

'Harry what about Voldemort?' Bill asked, Ginny still unconscious in his arms.

Harry threw his head back and laughed almost sadly. 'It doesn't matter now Bill,' Harry said.

'What's happened Harry. Hermione, she- my wand…what did she do?' Tonks asked.

'It's gone. The magic, everything that made us different, made us wizards and witches, its all gone,' Harry said his head falling into his hands. He ran them through his hair roughly. 'I don't think…I don't think she meant for that to happen. I don't know if she knew…she just wanted it all to end. The hate, the prejudice, the deaths. But I don't think she thought…I don't think…' Harry tried to explain.

'What do we do now?' asked Pansy, her voice small, her arms supporting Remus.

'We start over,' came Draco's voice. They watched as he slowly wrapped Hermione in his cloak. He rose, his back to them all. 'This time we get to make our own choices. This time we have a chance to get it right. She gave us that. Let's try not to fuck it up.' He motioned to Ron and the two knelt and picked up Hermione's body. They carried her carefully through the crowd back towards a castle anyone could see now; back towards a strange world; back towards an uncertain existence.

There would be no hide and seek now. They were all guilty. There was no point in running. Not now. Not ever. Whether she had meant to or not, Hermione had ended the war. She had ended so much. Now they would have to learn to start over, this time as equals. Equals, for as long as that would last. Equals till the next battle.

A/N: Hmm just a little sad ficlet that kinda just came to me. Nothing great just some writing to get my creative juices going again. Any comments would be appreciated. Am curious what you all think. Lots of love.

Love, Ally