Scene: The final battle at Yaxley Manor from Hermione's perspective.
Lights flashed on the other side of her closed eyelids. Voices and explosions filled her ears.
Hermione Granger groaned quietly. Her headache was astounding. Her skin felt like it was only made of bruises. What had happened? She opened her eyes slightly.
Looking around the room, she saw a battle. Curses were flying everywhere, and men dodged and jumped, trying to make the right move. Trying to come out on top.
Confused, she looked over her surroundings, trying to figure out where she was. She was in a large room, with dark tapestries covering all the walls.
Tapestries, she mused.
Suddenly it all came rushing back.
Hermione almost passed out again. Her skull felt like it was exploding. Spots appeared in her vision and a shrill scream sounded through her ears. A tremendous pressure filled her body. She curled up in ball, trying to force the pain out, to make the pressure stop.
And then, it did.
Hermione Granger lay on the ground, eyes fully open, panting, trying to calm her racing heartbeat.
With all the pain, had come understanding.
For the first time in seven years, she remembered everything.
Her childhood as a muggle, her mum and dad. Getting her Hogwarts letter. Going to that castle for the first time. Meeting Ron and Harry. That damn troll. The philosopher's stone. Getting turned into a cat. Being petrified. The time turner. Buckbeak. Lupin and Sirius. The Quidditch World Cup. Meeting Viktor. The Yule Ball. Her first kiss. Voldemort's return. Being a prefect. Dealing with Umbridge. The DA. The Department of Mysteries. The Slug Club. Dealing with Ron's stupidity. Mcglaggen. Dumbledore.
Hermione took a deep breath.
Bill and Fleur's wedding. The Horcrux Hunt. The Ministry. Ron leaving. Harry, all of Harry. Malfoy Manor. Dobby. Breaking into Gringotts. Going back to Hogwarts. The Final Battle. Kissing Ron. Harry dying. Harry living. Harry winning.
The aftermath. Telling Ron she didn't want more. Her parents. That night at Grimmauld Place. Harry shouting at her. Running away. Drinking.
Hermione closed her eyes as the next memories flooded her mind.
That dungeon. Being beaten. Crying for Harry to save her. The paper. Yaxley Manor. The memory block.
Hermione's eyes snapped open. She still had the memory block. She had put on the memory block.
She remembered the moment perfectly.
The death eaters dragged Hermione up the stairs and threw her to the ground at the leader's feet. She felt hate course through her veins as she looked up at the vile monster standing before her.
"It doesn't matter how long it takes," she whispered. "Harry will find you. All of you."
She knew this to be true. Harry may hate her now, but he would never let her attack go un-avenged.
The leader laughed at her. "I don't care about that. He may find us, but he'll never find you."
Hermione stiffened. "You're going to kill me?" She would be a fool to not expect it, but it didn't make sense. Why wait so long if they were just going to hack her off anyway?
The leader shook his head. "No. Death is easy to get over. Loss isn't. And since I want to break Potter, loss is the way to go. No, my darling pet, you will live a long life, I'm sure. However, you won't live that life in the magical world. You won't even remember the magical world."
She froze. "What do you mean?"
The leader smirked. "I'm going to take your memory, pet. You won't remember the world you didn't deserve to belong to in the first place. You won't remember Potter, and you definitely won't remember how he failed to safe you. Then I'm going to drop you off in the middle of nowhere. You can live. But Potter won't, because there's more to life than just breathing."
This couldn't be happening. Of all the nightmares that she could ever live in, this couldn't be one of them. There was no way. What crime did she commit to deserve this hell?
Eighteen years of life. Gone. Down the drain. Her friends, her victories, her mistakes, her memories would be gone in an instant, as if they never existed.
She would never see Harry or Ron or him again.
There had to be a loophole.
Hermione thought back to all she knew about memory charms. Only one out came to mind.
The memory block.
She only had seconds. She couldn't save her entire life. What was worth it? What did she want to save? What couldn't she part with? Harry? Ron? Her parents?
But she knew before she even questioned herself.
It was always him.
She remembered the mechanics of the spell. She let her body fill with love for that damn Slytherin, and she remembered every time they had ever interacted.
Him calling her a mudblood. Punching him in the nose. The teeth incident. The Yule Ball. The courtyard. The Inquisitorial Squad. Sixth year, wondering from afar if he was alright. The Drawing Room. The humanity spilled across his face. Seeing him after the Final Battle. Knowing he was free from the Daily Prophet. Knowing him. Hating him.
She remembered all of those moments.
Then she locked them away.
A strange buzzing filled the air. The death eaters didn't notice.
In a second, Hermione cast the block. She took a deep breath. All the memories she had locked away were distant from her. She couldn't access them. They might as well have been gone. But she didn't care. Draco was safe in her mind, and her heart, even if she couldn't remember why.
She stared up at the monster who was about to violate her mind. "Who are you?" she spat at him.
He chuckled. "Alright, pet. I'll give you that. You won't remember this anyway." The monster took off his mask.
Hermione remembered this. It shocked her. After living without memories for so long, it was astounding to have thousands to sort through.
She remembered her entire life. From Hogwarts to Canada and back again.
She was back.
And, she knew where she was.
She remembered Ginny at Grimmauld Place, sending her flying out of that window. Yaxley taking her again. The torture. Then Draco, Harry and Ron rushing in.
The memory ball. Shattering before her very eyes. Everything going black.
She knew everything. She knew where she was, why she was here, and who was here to save her.
She tilted her head slightly. There was Harry and Ron. They had grown up so much from the last time she had truly seen them. They were fighting like madmen, back to back, like they used to.
She stared at Harry. She knew he'd save her eventually.
A wand flew through the air and clattered to the ground beside her. Without thinking, she picked it up, and felt power course through her veins.
It had been a long time since she had felt magic.
She heard noises and voices on her other side.
"Why do you fight, Malfoy?" a voice hissed. Hermione felt rage take hold of her with recognition.
"For her, you bastard."
Hermione almost blacked out again. Her anger at the other voice disappeared in an instant. All she knew in that moment, was the voice of a blond haired bastard who was fighting for her.
More memories came rushing back.
Tim Hortons. The gala. His hair bright pink. Him crying after the Drawing Room. Holding her. Sleeping in her bed after the nightmares. The Quidditch pitch. He wasn't messing her around. Holding him. Caring for him.
Loving him all over again.
He was there, protecting her, as he had since fourth year, whether he knew it or not.
That damn Slytherin bastard that she loved against all logic.
She turned her head, to look at him with, when an almighty crash filled the air.
Before she knew what was happening, rocks began to fall from the sky. A scream became locked in her throat. She didn't have time to stop the coming rocks. She closed her eyes, clutched the wand, and awaited the impact. Her veins filled with anger, anger at the injustice in the world. After surviving everything, she was going to be killed by a damn explosion.
But the impact never came.
She waited several more seconds. Then cautiously, she opened her eyes.
The rocks hadn't disappeared. They were floating a few centimetres above her. The sky was blocked from her vision. All she could see were the rocks.
Confused, she moved an inch. The rocks followed her movements, always keeping a few centimetres away.
Hermione looked at the rest of her body. In her hands, she was clutching the wand like a lifeline.
And in fact, it was.
Rushing out of the wand was a white light that expanded around her body, in between her and the rocks.
She almost laughed.
A simple shield charm had saved her life. She hadn't even known she had cast it. All she had been thinking about what the injustice, with anger rushing through her veins.
As she stared at the shield charm, she felt even more power rushing through her, filling her up with magic like she had never known before. She got a little scared; never in her life had she experienced this much power. It blinded her, and increased the colours of the world at the same time. She felt her heart buzz. Her eyes flew open, and her skin sizzled.
What was going on?
Suddenly, the power stopped. She felt drained, but normal. The shield stayed up, even though she was blatantly ignoring it.
Because, when the power stopped, Hermione heard an agonized scream.
It was Draco.
"Hermione!" he screamed as if his heart was exploding in his chest, the pain ricocheting the words out of his mouth.
She opened her mouth to respond, tell him she was ok, when another voice sounded out.
"Well, look at that. Pet's gone. Just like that. All that love, pointless. Her entire life, meaningless. Now, it will be as if she had never existed in the…."
Hermione didn't hear anything else. Her eyes went red. Her veins pounded with pressure. Her head almost exploded with rage.
The power returned.
Feeling all the rage, letting the anger take over her mind, she let the power out.
The magic exploded through the room.
It was all her rage, all her anger. All her hatred, all her disgust. The magic exploded the rocks, broke down the roof, tumbled down the walls, burned the tapestries, and rocked the world with a million colours.
As the rock pile exploded, Hermione leapt up, brandishing the wand in the direction of the voice.
Dust filled the air, blinding her momentarily. But her rage propelled her forward. She felt the power radiating off her skin, burning her slightly.
Yaxley's words rung through her head.
Well, look at that. Pet's gone. Just like that. All that love, pointless. Her entire life, meaningless. Now, it will be as if she had never existed in the…
First place. He was going to say the first place.
"I wouldn't bet on it, bastard."
Her voice rung out, expelling rage. She felt the power course through her. It was as if her body was not flesh, but magic. Her skin was glowing. Her hair was cackling with electricity. She was releasing so much power, and she had no idea how or why.
But, she did no one thing.
No one could stop her now.
She looked forward at a quivering figure on the floor. She couldn't stop the smirk the appeared on her face.
It had taken seven years.
It had taken loss.
It had taken falling in love.
It had taken everything she possessed, but the time had come.
Yaxley was going to pay.
She raised the wand, pointing it directly in the face of her nightmares.
"I knew you'd regret taking me."
She wasn't just facing Yaxley in that moment. She was looking at Bellatrix Lestrange. At Voldemort. At Memoria. At the muggle children who had laughed at her teeth and hair. At the Slytherins who had demeaned her for years. Yaxley was just a representation of a life of pain.
For a second, her eye twitched to the side.
Draco had stood up, and was staring at her with a face of such wonder and amazement that Hermione's heart almost stopped.
If Yaxley represented a life of pain, Draco represented a life of wonder, love, and happiness.
She wanted that life back.
She wanted the life where she could stay up all night talking to her best friends about the littlest things. She wanted the life where she could sit by a window and read for hours. The life where she had a family to go to, whether related by blood or not. Where she had a home.
Where she was happy. Where she was in love. Where she was truly Hermione Granger.
Turning her eyes back to Yaxley, she smirked again. At the moment, he was the only thing in the way.
He was shaking. Surely he realized who he was dealing with. He must know that her memories had returned. He most know she had the power of a hundred witches at her disposable.
Surely, he knew it was over.
Flicking her wand, almost lazily, she snapped Yaxley's in half. Glaring at it, the wand pieces began to burn him. He dropped them in terror.
It was almost too easy.
She raised her wand, and sent every death eater in the room flying to the floor with a resounding thud.
This was her fight. She wanted to finish it without interference.
She flicked her wand, and a shield appeared around her and Yaxley. It was a two way shield; no one could enter or exit.
She did it effortlessly.
That was when she realized how much power she truly had.
These shields were difficult magic. Barely anyone could do them, let alone non-verbally.
Yaxley was done for.
From one side, she heard a scream.
She heard a crash, and a thud. Harry must've tried to enter the shield.
No, Harry. This was her battle. This was her fight. She didn't need him to protect her right now.
She didn't want him to either.
She had never taken a human life before, not that you could call Yaxley human. But, no one would steal this moment from her. It was her justice, her sweet victory.
"Everyone back up!" That was Draco's voice. He knew. He realized what was happening.
Of course he did. He knew her better than anyone. He knew what her decision was. And even more, he respected it.
No wonder she had fallen in love with him twice.
Turning back to Yaxley, she began her advance. It was slow, tantalizing terrifying. Yaxley scurried back, trying to keep his wits about him.
"Scared, Yaxley?" she whispered. She barely recognized her own voice. It sounded distant. Everything seemed distant.
She was separate from reality, living in her own hell for the last time.
However, this time, she would escape.
She would win.
The bastard held up his hands. "Now, Hermione…"
The use of her first name on his lips sent a flash of rage through her like she had never felt before. How dare he, after everything he had done, dare to use her name? Her name was all she had, the only thing that was truly hers.
The death eaters had robbed her of everything, her friends, her family, her home, her life. They had left her with one thing, and one thing alone.
The name Hermione.
To her, those eight letters represented strength, justice, the ability to fight through anything. To survive. She had survived it all. She had fought her way back, with only those eight letters to guide her. They were everything to her now. Her name was her identity. Hermione meant something. Hermione was her everything.
How dare Yaxley try to use the only thing she had left?
Her hand moved on its own accord. A flash blinded her. Yaxley gasped, and clutched his cheek. Blood was pouring through his fingers.
"Don't say my name!"
He fell to his knees.
For a moment, a slight sliver of a second, she felt pity for the man on the floor in front of her. Not because he deserved it, or because he was bleeding. But because of something else entirely.
A memory flashed through her mind.
It was Yaxley, the day she was kidnapped. As he stared down at her broken, drunken form, he had begun to speak.
"Love makes you weak, and since Potter loves you, when you get hurt, he gets hurt. When you cry, he cries. And when you disappear, he'll lose himself. And then he'll blame himself. It will ruin him, driving him into an endless life of misery and despair. And then, finally, the boy who lived will be finished. Not through a battle, or a duel. But through his supposed greatest strength, which will also be his greatest nightmare. Love is weakness."
Hermione Granger felt pity for the man who ruined her life because of that memory. Because he believed that love was weakness. He only believed that because he had never felt that type of everlasting magic. Because he couldn't love.
Hermione pitied anyone who couldn't love.
But, then the memories of her stay at Yaxley Manor flashed through her mind. The pity disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
Staring down at Yaxley, she thought about what he had said. Love is weakness.
She smirked. No one had ever been so wrong.
She began to pace, twiddling her wand. Yaxley looked at her in terror.
"You once told me that love was weakness," she said slowly. Her voice was filled with strength, and an ancient knowledge older than time. "But it's not. It's power. You, all of you death eaters have spent your time thinking you are the most powerful creatures on the face of the planet. But you're not. You're the weakest. Because you can't love."
Hermione thought of Harry, Ron, of Draco and her parents. She thought of how she'd die for them in an instant, fight for them through anything. She thought of how she'd love them always, regardless of anything. Ron and Harry, no matter what, she loved those men with her heart and soul. It lifted her up, gave her purpose, and gave her the power to forgive, to move on.
She thought of Draco.
She thought of the feeling she got when he kissed her, when he held her in his arms. She thought of how it made her feel like she was flying, soaring over the world, with all her problems as small as ants. That feeling gave her the strength to fight. To fight for the chance of holding him one more time.
She glared at Yaxley.
"You don't know anything about love. You don't know how it lifts you up, fills you up. Some of the people I love most in the world are standing in this room." Harry. Ron. Draco. Her heart sighed. Her ones. Her family. The three men she loved unconditionally. The three men she'd cross the oceans and climb mountains for. Nothing could stop her. Not if Harry was waiting. Or Ron.
Not if Draco was smiling at her.
"That doesn't make me weak. That gives me more power than you will ever know."
Yaxley knew what was about to happen. His face was gaunt and hollow. He was terrified, but he knew he couldn't fight her.
He looked up at his executioner. He looked into the eyes of the woman he had tortured, violated, kidnapped and ruined. He looked into the eyes of the little mudblood girl who had thwarted his plans.
He looked into the eyes of the one person in the world who controlled his fate.
She smirked, and raised her wand at Yaxley for the very last time.
"This is for the Masons, you bastard."
Hermione felt all the power in her veins. She felt all the magic in her heart. Then, staring at Yaxley, she let it all out.
The sky exploded into a million colours. Everyone was knocked off their feet. Yaxley disintegrated in a second, his face filled with the fear of his last moment.
But, Hermione couldn't stop.
She had killed Yaxley, she didn't need to release more power. But, she couldn't stop it. The magic exploded out of her, and if she was the epicenter of a nuclear bomb. She was powerless to stop it.
It suffocated her, almost crushed her skull, and cracked her spine. She screamed out in agony. She had never felt pain like this. All her magic rushed out of her, not caring if it destroyed her body in the process.
Her mind stayed strong, trying to fight it. She tried to control it. But it was too powerful. She begged it to stop, she didn't care about anything. The pain could've killed her. In that moment she wanted to die, anything to stop the pain. Her skull was being crushed. The pressure almost forced her down, she barely stayed her ground.
Let me die, she begged.
But, her mind fought her wish. Images of Harry, Ron and Draco filled her mind. Images of happiness, of miracles, of pain free moments. The pictures and memories fought the magic that was crushing her.
The love she felt for those men was more powerful than any magic she possessed.
It was the most powerful magic she possessed.
She fought the pain, clinging to memories of Harry and Ron. She ignored the crushing pressure, picturing Draco and her alone, one day in the future. She stood up straight, picturing her life, both past and present.
And suddenly, the pain stopped.
She was still standing, exactly where she had been moments before. Yaxley was a pile of dust before her eyes. She looked around the room. It was destroyed, just rubble where a mighty manor had once stood.
Her face felt ashen. The magic had drained her more than anything in her life. She was still clutching the wand, but she let it clatter to the ground.
She looked around. Across the room, she saw him, his blond hair dirty and his grey eyes wondrous.
It was the last thing she saw before her eyes fluttered close.
She felt herself hit the ground. She could barely move. She had no energy left. She was done, broken. Her spirit was powerful, but her body was weak. She couldn't go on. She took a breath, and began to shut the world out.
"Hermione, wake up! You can't quit on us now," said someone from the other side of her closed lids.
She recognized that voice. She didn't know who it was, but the back of her brain was tingling.
She forced her eyes open, taking a precious amount of her remaining strength.
The sight that greeted her was fuzzy. Everything was a mess of colour. There were no shapes, no forms. Just colour.
It was wonderful.
"Oh thank merlin," said the voice. It was a beautiful voice, sweet and strong and vulnerable all wrapped into one.
"Everything's fuzzy," she mumbled.
"It's all going to be fine," the voice told her.
Who was the voice? The voice that had pulled her back from the brink of death. The beautiful voice that was the perfect combination of everything human.
Was it her creator? Her guardian angel?
She felt her eyes focus and looked onto the face of the man holding her.
"Draco?" She said wondrously.
The Slytherin nodded.
Hermione felt a tug at her memories. There were spaces in her mind, spaces that should've been full.
The memory block.
Now was the moment. Closing her eyes, she remembered the moment of putting it on. She let all the love she felt for that damn man fill her heart, giving her power to do this one, final task.
A buzzing filled the air.
And suddenly, everything came back.
The block came down, and her mind became flooded with memories, like a dam breaking open.
Seeing him the first time, the arrogant little bastard who smirked when the hat called out Slytherin. Him calling her mudblood. Punching him in the face. The Yule Ball. Dancing with him in that courtyard. Nobody's last resort. The Inquisitorial Squad. Defending him against Harry. The Drawing room. The humanity spilled across his face. Seeing him after the final battle. Rejoicing silently that he was alive.
She remembered it all. From hating him to loving him to losing him and all over again.
"Well, I know me." Hermione said. "I wouldn't have just kept random memories. Each memory I kept had a reason for it being kept. So I'm wondering, do we know what's similar between the memories I protected. They must have been important if I chose to remember them instead of my two best friends."
Of course they were important. They were everything.
They were her being called beautiful, being told she was worth it. They were the reason she kept fighting. They were the faith she had in humanity. They were the fact that people could change.
They were the memories of the boy she loved, and the story of how she fell for him.
She wouldn't trade them for the world.
She looked up at Draco. He was cradling her head in his lap.
"You were the pattern," she said with absolute certainty. If she didn't make it, he needed to know that.
"Hermione," he whispered, as her eyes fluttered close.
She felt as if all the cords tying her to the world were being cut, one by one. Harry, cut. Ron, cut. Her family, Hogwarts, her magic, cut, cut, cut.
Soon, there was only one cord left. And with all that she had left, she clung to it.
Draco Malfoy, I'm in love with you.
With that thought, she held onto that final cord.
She would never let it go.
Review guys. This is going to be a fun story.