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johnny weir 2

A Thousand Words (ch 33)

  • 2nd Dec, 2006 at 12:13 PM
Gah. Okay, sorry for the lack of updates. I was sick and having a REALLY hard time with college apps and school, but now I feel a little better. I'm still worried about apps, but I'm trying to put that aside. Our school had its first snow day in fourteen years yesterday, which was pretty exciting (we found out at 6:30 am and by 6:45 am, there was already a group and an event made about it on Facebook), but my internet wasn't working so I spent the day moping around and writing occasionally. Oh, but I've gotten into a new anime called Kyo Kara Maoh and I'm hopelessly obsessed with it. I actually quit anime for all of November, but I went into relapse >.> But it does sorta have ties to HP...I mean, the main slashable pairing, Yuuri/Wolfram, is basically the anime version of Harry/Draco xD

Well, enough chatter then. As the title indicates, I've finished chapter 33 FINALLY. Sorry it took so long...it just dragged on and on and never seemed to end. I definitely didn't do as good of a job as I had hoped I would originally for the last chapter, but whatever, it's finished. If I feel the need to, I'll go back and edit it when I'm in the mood to.

Title: A Thousand Words (ch 33) - One Final Question
Word Count: 5523



Chapter 33: One Final Question


When Hermione came back to, the first thing she felt was a pounding headache. She groaned out loud and turned over – a mistake on her part, for the movement only served to increase the magnitude of the pain splitting her skull.

What happened? she thought groggily, trying to remember why she had been unconscious through the fogginess in her mind.

After a few minutes, Hermione’s headache began to fade away into a dull throb, and she became gradually aware of the loud scratching of a quill on parchment nearby.

‘Who –?’ she tried to say, but she was unable to utter the remaining words due to her parched throat. She tried to swallow but couldn’t muster up the energy to do so, so she simply closed her eyes and tried to breathe evenly.

‘There’s water on the bedside table,’ an eerily familiar voice suddenly murmured.

Hermione’s eyes flew open. ‘Who’s there?’ she asked shakily as she groped around under the thin sheet covering her for her wand. When she couldn’t find it, she began to panic.

‘Are you okay?’ A pause. ‘Don’t sit up too quickly. It’ll take another half hour or so before the Blood-Replenishing Potion starts working.’

Hermione groaned out loud as her temples gave another painful throb. ‘Who are you?’ she rasped, struggling to get up despite the warning. The quick rush of blood away from her head, however, made her fall back against the mattress with a grimace.

‘I’m sorry,’ the voice said softly. ‘I didn’t reach you in time. I managed to fend Greyback off, though.’

Slowly, Hermione began to remember. She had been in the forest looking for Noah Lawley…Greyback had attacked her…and then Draco…

‘Draco!’ she gasped, sitting upwards. Her limbs protested angrily. ‘Is Draco –?’

‘He’s fine. Lawley is downstairs at the moment. He’s unconscious, but he will come to in an hour or so.’

Relief flooded through Hermione; relief and confusion. ‘But why –?’

The question died on her lips, however, when she noticed her companion.

He was sitting at a desk pushed against the far corner of the room, his back to Hermione. When she faltered, he turned around to look at her, as though he knew the reason for her loss of words.

‘Shadow?’ Hermione whispered, her voice cracking. It couldn’t be. Why was Shadow here? Hadn’t she just been with Draco? What was going on?

He crossed the room in three long strides, and before Hermione knew it he was kissing her, fervently and desperately. Only when his hands reached up to grip her shoulders was she brought back to her senses. Her eyes widened in surprise, and she pushed him away on instinct.

‘What are you doing?’ she gasped, bringing a trembling hand to her lips. Her head spun as she tried to focus on Shadow’s face, on the mask that hid everything but his silver eyes, the eyes that were currently begging for her to understand.

He fell to his knees next to Hermione and took her hands in his. ‘God, Hermione, I’m so sorry.’ He seemed to be having trouble breathing. ‘I should have told you.’

‘Told me what?’ Hermione asked hysterically. ‘Told me what?’

Instead of answering her question immediately, Shadow reached up and tenderly brushed his fingertips along her cheek. He then leaned forward until their noses were nearly touching, closed his eyes almost fearfully, and breathed, ‘That I love you.’

Before Hermione could even register the meaning of these words, Shadow’s lips were upon hers again and meaning no longer mattered. He kissed her gently and lovingly, yet with a hopeless despair that suggested that even as he held her close to him, even as he wordlessly soothed the fear and confusion and guilt tearing her apart, he was fully aware that the erasure of the world around them would and could not last forever.

Hermione whimpered against Shadow’s mouth; he tilted his head so that their lips locked into place, a perfect and imperfect fit at the same time, and drew her nearer to him, as if to eliminate any and all distance between them. At that moment, Hermione knew.

Sliding her hands up Shadow’s back and up to his face, she gripped the edges of his mask tightly. In one swift motion, she jerked it off.

The mask fell to the ground with a clatter that resounded within the room like a gunshot. Hermione tore herself away, her eyes still shut tightly. She was afraid to open them, afraid to see the face of the man who loved her.

‘So now you know,’ he said, his voice strangled but suddenly chillingly familiar.

Hermione’s eyes flew open, and her blood ran cold. It was not the sort of surprise one usually feels after discovering a shocking secret; indeed, it wasn’t really surprise at all. Rather, what hit Hermione at that very moment when she took in Shadow’s true face was understanding, for she now saw why it was that she had been tested with the torture of loving both of them at once.

Draco Malfoy knelt before her, his face ashen and his eyes lowered, the mask lying still at his feet like the piece of plastic it had always been. Even as Hermione watched, the raven colour of his hair faded away like the cover of night at dawn, revealing shockingly pale blond locks.

‘You,’ she whispered, the word riding on a single exhale of breath.

His lips twisted into a bitter smile. As if to confirm what his face already exposed, he opened one of his clenched fists to reveal a folded paper crane.

‘Surprised, Hermione?’

---


He didn’t know what had gone wrong with the adhesive charm he’d used on the mask, but it didn’t matter anymore. She had taken it off. She had found out.

She was staring at him, her eyes dark with both bewilderment and understanding at once. Slowly, she reached out a shaking hand and touched Draco’s hair as if testing to see if he was tangible and not a mirage before her.

Draco caught her wrist and pulled her to him, crushing her aganst his chest. The paper crane he had conjured drifted to the floor in the process. ‘Don’t say anything,’ he said as she gasped in surprise.

‘Wait!’ she cried, trying to push Draco away. ‘Please, explain what…’

But her voice trailed off helplessly, for Draco had moved up to sit next to her and was holding her face in his hands, forcing her to look into his eyes. They were so close now that every breath she exhaled fluttered the strands of hair that had fallen over Draco’s eyes. Her bottom lip trembled and Draco stifled a groan, fighting the urge to kiss her again.

‘Draco…’ she breathed, and Draco could hold back no longer.

He brought his lips to hers with bruising force. They fell backwards onto the bed, Hermione beneath Draco, and Hermione let out a muffled cry of protest. Draco ignored her and began urging her to open her mouth with his tongue as his hands posessively pinned hers to down to the mattress.

Even as fireworks exploded in his mind’s eye, blinding him to reason and pride and control and everything else that no longer mattered, Draco was afraid she wouldn’t respond, afraid she would twist away and break the kiss again. He was sure that if she didn’t kiss him back this time, he’d do something he’d regret.

Relief and disbelief flooded through him, then, when to his shock her lips tentatively parted, allowing him entrance. She was kissing him back, slowly at first but then with almost as much passion and fervour as he was – her way of letting him know that she forgave him. Blind desire erupted within Draco, stronger and more dangerous than ever. He ran his hands up her arms, freeing her wrists and allowing her to reach up and clutch at his shirt. His tongue probed her mouth, tasting her, drinking every part of her in and still wanting more.

Then he felt Hermione’s hands against his chest, pushing him away firmly; he straightened up and gazed down at her, his eyes clouded with confusion and want.

‘Draco – I have to – breathe –’ she panted, her eyes half-closed, a smile dancing across her lips.

Draco buried his face in her shoulder. Each breath of air he drew in seemed to tear his chest apart; or maybe that was just the feeling of his heart breaking in despair, because deep down inside he knew that this couldn’t last, that Hermione would be taken away from him, just like everything else he’d ever had.

‘It’s not real,’ he gasped, his voice muffled against her skin. ‘This…it isn’t real…’

‘What are you saying?’ Hermione asked softly, running her fingers down one of his scars, causing him to stiffen involuntarily. She turned so that both she and Draco were lying on their sides, face to face.

Draco could hardly bear into her eyes for fear that if he did, he’d find a confirmation of his doubts there. ‘Hermione, tell me this is real. Tell me.’

‘This is real,’ she said urgently, her voice laced with worry and anxiety. ‘Draco, this isn’t just your imagination. I’m here. I’m not going to disappear like everything else in your life.’

Her words were tempting. Draco wanted to believe them, but he couldn’t. All of this…none of it should have ever happened, he thought despairingly as he entwined his fingers with Hermione’s and kissed her lightly on the lips. He had done this to himself; he had put himself in this mess. If he hadn’t agreed to meet her in the first place, if he had just ignored the first letter she had sent to him…

Hermione let out a shuddering breath when Draco released her. She had a pained expression on her face as she said, ‘Draco, I –’

But she was cut off by a loud crash. Both Hermione and Draco jolted upwards and turned to look at the source of the noise.

Ron stood in the doorway to the bedroom, his freckled face white with shock. His mouth hung agape as he gawked at the sight of Hermione and Draco sitting on the bed next to one another.

‘This – you – how – what –’ he spluttered, clearly without the ability to string two words together.

Draco looked quickly over at Hermione. All the blood had drained out of her face.

‘Ron?’ she choked out. She seemed unable to move. ‘What are you doing here?’

Ron’s face turned red. ‘WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?’ he bellowed, forming his first comprehensible sentence. He was beside himself. ‘GET AWAY FROM HIM!’

At that moment, something inside Draco snapped. Molten fire scorched through him without warning; his skin burned from the very heat of his uncontrollable, full-blown rage. Slowly, without betraying any of the hatred suddenly writhing and coiling inside of him like a heap of serpents, Draco pushed Hermione aside and stood up, drawing his wand as he did so.

‘Weasley,’ he said coldly, his voice chillingly calm. ‘How kind of you to join us.’

‘Back off, Malfoy,’ Ron snarled. Loathing flashed in his clear blue eyes. ‘Don’t you dare come near me.’

But Draco kept walking towards Ron with deliberate, calculated strides. In a dangerously low voice, he hissed, ‘Save your breath, or it will be the last one you ever take.’

Before Ron could react, Draco pointed his wand at him and said venomously, ‘Incarcerous!

Ron let out a strangled yell as thick ropes flew out of Draco’s wand and wrapped around him, binding his limbs together, tightening until he could scarcely breathe.

‘It’s over, Weasley,’ Draco sneered, bringing his lips right up to Ron’s ear. ‘Say good-bye to her. She’s mine now.’

---


‘Draco!’ Hermione screamed. She scrambled up, pressing a hand to the wound Greyback had inflicted upon her as she got up. ‘Draco, stop it! Don’t hurt him!’

Draco’s shoulders tensed up, but other than that, he gave no indication that he had heard Hermione.

Cold horror gripped Hermione’s senses as she stumbled over to Draco, still dizzy from the loss of blood, and tried to pry him away from Ron. Suddenly everything that had happened between her and Ron didn’t matter anymore. All she cared about was getting Ron out of this alive, because she had a terrible feeling that Draco was being serious. What had happened? When had he reverted back to this cruel, heartless monster?

‘Let him go!’ Hermione pleaded as she tried to wrestle Draco’s wand out of his hand.

‘Hermione, don’t touch him,’ Ron growled, struggling against the ropes that bound him. ‘He’s a lying, manipulative traitor. He’s been lying to you all along!’

At these words, Draco shoved Hermione away, causing her to fall to the floor. ‘Shut the hell up, Weasley,’ he snarled, jabbing his wand against Ron’s throat, causing Ron to choke. ‘I mean it. I won’t hesitate to kill you now.’

Hermione’s eyes widened as Draco’s words reached her in a tone of voice so unlike that which he had used with her earlier. It hit her that he was no longer the Draco she had come to know. He was…he was…

‘NO!’ she screamed, getting to her feet and grabbing Draco’s wrist again. ‘Draco, please, this isn’t what you want! Don’t do this, it’s not you, it’s not –’

‘Hermione, he’s Shadow!’ Ron yelled. ‘Get it into your head – he’s been lying to you.’

Hermione gasped and, in her shock, let go of Draco. ‘What did you say?’ she whispered, horrified.

‘I know what’s been going on!’ he shouted, his face red from the effort of trying to escape the bonds Draco had placed on him. His voice rose as he continued. ‘He sent you a bloody letter, Hermione, telling you he loves you. We read it, Harry and I. I read it. Do you love him? CAN YOU LOVE SOMEONE LIKE HIM?’

Cruci –

‘YES!’

The small room fell silent. The incantation died on Draco’s lips and Ron stopped his struggles as both of them raised their eyes to stare at Hermione, astounded by what she had said.

‘Yes, I do!’ she cried, burying her face in her hands. In her mind, the same thoughts kept repeating themselves over and over again: Buy time…stall him…keep talking…save them both… ‘I love Draco. I don’t know how or when or even why, but I do love him, Ron.’

‘You – what?’ Ron finally managed to say hoarsely. ‘Hermione, this isn’t funny, you can’t –’

‘That’s enough,’ Draco growled, jerking his wand so that Ron flew across the room and slammed against the wall with a dull thud. Hermione screamed and tried to run over to him but Draco grabbed her wrist before she could move and twisted her around to face him.

A shudder passed through Hermione when she saw the bare trust gleaming in the depths of Draco’s silver orbs. The layers of hatred, scorn, and suspicion had finally been stripped away, leaving Draco…vulnerable. At that moment, Hermione knew that she was being offered his very soul.

‘Is it true?’ he asked, his voice shaking uncontrollably. ‘Hermione, if you’re lying to me…’

‘I would never lie to you, not after how honest you’ve been with me,’ Hermione said softly, and even though she was petrified inside, she raised a hand and touched Draco’s cheek gently. ‘I do love you.’

‘“Friendship isn’t about giving and taking equal amounts”,’ he quoted sadly, his eyes boring into hers as he waited for her to reveal her true intentions. ‘Tell me…this is real.’

‘It’s real!’ Hermione said for the second time as she tried to edge towards Ron without catching Draco’s attention. ‘If these feelings aren’t real, Draco, I don’t know what else is!’

He caught her wrist. ‘If you go back to him, I’ll kill him,’ he said coldly, and suddenly the gleam of trust in his eyes was put out, like the ghost of a flame disappearing in the wind. He pointed his wand at Ron, who lay crumpled against the far wall. ‘I’ll kill him…’

Hermione froze. ‘Why are you doing this?’ she whispered, desperation rising in her throat, causing her to choke on her words. ‘I believed you! I thought you had changed!’

Draco’s eyes narrowed. He said nothing.

Hermione shook her head weakly. ‘You deceived me…’

Draco’s grip on Hermione’s wrist tightened. In a voice dripping with bitterness, he hissed, ‘It’s me or him, Hermione.’

If she could have found the strength to, Hermione would have broken down into tears. As it was, she was too uncertain, too afraid, too miserable to do anything but stare helplessly at Draco. He had presented her with the ultimate ultimatum: choosing between the two people she couldn’t live without. Regardless of the choice she made, she would end up losing one of them.

There was a sense of heartbreaking finality in the moment. Hermione couldn’t help but remember the words Draco and Robards had both said to her: ‘Because who knows what would happen if you actually did something without permission for once?’…‘You know I’m not stupid enough to expect you to do something without giving you exact guidelines first, Granger’…

Could she do it? Was she capable of acting according to her own heart’s desire for once? Hermione and Ron belong together, they all said. Perhaps it was true. Perhaps that was why she was afraid of being with Draco – he wasn’t expected, he wasn’t predictable. Draco lived without rules. Was it even possible for her, then, to prove them wrong?

Hermione turned and looked hopelessly at Ron: at the open, trusting face, into the bright blue eyes that held nothing but warmth, comfort, security…he had loved her all along; he had always been there when she needed someone to hold her…

Her gaze flicked over to Draco. The tumultuous grey eyes that met hers were full to the brim with passion, desire, desperation, all partially shrouded by mistrust. His pale features stood out in the dim lighting, marred by the two hideous scars he bore as a sign of his sins.

Understanding dawned upon her. Draco would always keep her falling – falling forever with no bottom. She knew at least with Ron that he would always be there to catch her. She would surrender the love for Draco that had been propagating just below her consciousness for the past few weeks if only she could have those arms to prevent her from plummeting into that bottomless pit.

And at that instant, she knew. Even though it ripped her apart inside, even though her heart screamed in fierce protest, she knew what she had to do.

---


‘Malfoy.’ The word was like a sharpened blade, piercing into Draco’s heart, splintering his soul.

His raised arm fell to his side, and his wand fell to the floor with a clatter.

‘I’m sorry. I can’t stay with you knowing you could turn into…knowing you’re not…I just…it’s Ron I want to be with.’

Draco saw Hermione brace herself. He knew she was expecting him to lose his mind, but he didn’t. He didn’t scream or curse or even pick up his wand and kill Ron like he had sworn he would. Instead, he smiled. He smiled at the irony of it all.

In the end, it had been his obsessive love for her that had driven her back into Ron’s arms.

‘I see,’ he murmured sadly. His voice never wavered, even though he was dying inside. ‘I guess ice always shatters before it melts, huh?’

Draco saw the tortured look in her eyes. He knew she loved him hopelessly; he had known all along. But he also knew that he had pushed her trust too far. The grounds they had built everything on had been too fragile to bear the weight of reality. He had been too late to repair all the damage his mistakes had caused, too late to tell her, and he was paying the price for it now.

In the end, it had all just been a cruel illusion.

Hermione stepped up to him, and he flinched. ‘I love you,’ she whispered into his ear. He stiffened. ‘I don’t know how or why, but I do.’ She inhaled sharply. ‘I can’t stay with you, though. You understand, don’t you…Shadow?’

‘No,’ Draco said bitterly. He took her face in his hands and leaned down. ‘I’ll never understand,’ he breathed, and then he kissed her one last time. As their lips met, he felt his heart burst open and all the pain and hatred he had kept bottled up inside swell out, rising until it flowed through his mouth and into hers.

Gently, she pushed him away. ‘This has to end here.’ Her eyes were hard and determined, but Draco saw the slightest quiver in her lower lip.

‘Get out,’ he said, his voice harsh and callous. ‘Take him and leave.’

Without a word, Hermione tore herself away from Draco and ran over to Ron. Draco slashed the air in front of him with his wand, and the ropes binding Ron split cleanly and fell away, dissolving into nothingness before they hit the floor.

‘Ron,’ Hermione gasped, falling to her knees beside him and grabbing his shoulders. ‘Ron, are you okay? Can you breathe?’

‘GET OUT!’ Draco snarled, jabbing his wand at the door, which consequently flew open with a bang. His chest rose up and down as he struggled to breathe through his tightly constricted throat. He couldn’t take it…he couldn’t stand to look at her anymore…

Hermione didn’t look once in Draco’s direction as she helped Ron to his feet and let him lean on her shoulder. They left the room together, hand in hand, side by side. Long after the echoes of their footsteps died away, long after the sound of his front door opening and closing reached his ears, Draco continued to stare unblinkingly into the blackness outside the empty doorway.

He felt something clawing at his insides, a ferocious creature straining to get out. It hurt. Never before had he felt so strongly. He couldn’t understand it at all. If Draco had looked into a mirror then, he wouldn’t even have recognised his own grey eyes; the pain brewing there had turned them an endless shade of black.

Slowly, as if in a dreamlike state, Draco walked over to his bed. He touched the sheets, remembering how Hermione had lain there less than an hour ago, making false promises of forever that turned out to be nothing after all. Angrily, he grabbed his pillow and flung it away.

The mirror was still there, its golden frame glowing in the dimness. Draco picked it up. It was heavier than he remembered, but he held it up anyway and looked into it.

He could scarcely make out his own reflection, save for his eyes which glinted like two chips of silver. Fearfully, he brought the mirror closer to his face, touched his dry, feverish lips to the cold, smooth glass surface, and whispered, ‘Starlight.’

Draco waited with bated breath, praying, hoping with everything he had…

Minutes dragged on and the face of the mirror remained blank. Cold realisation began to descend upon him; he fought it away ferociously. It had to work. She had said it would…

‘Hermione Granger,’ he said almost pleadingly. ‘Hermione. Hermione. Hermione…’

But still the only image reflected on the mirror’s surface was his own pale, scarred face, blurred by the tears in his eyes. The mirror showed only the truth; the truth Draco had lived with all his miserable, desolate life; the truth that he was alone in the world.

‘So, if you ever need me, just say my name…’

Draco glared at his hateful reflection. He needed her now; where was she?

‘…the charm only ceases to function when one side of the partnership leaves the other for good…’

Magic was never literal, and Draco wasn’t a fool. He knew that the dissolution of the charm meant only one thing: Hermione had left him for good, left him to live out the rest of his pitiful existence on his own. Truth had been restored.

And in the fleeting moment following this terrible realisation, Draco’s heart broke. A wild look appeared in his eyes, and he hurled the mirror at the opposite wall. It smashed against the corner of his desk and shattered. Draco watched impassively as the splinters of glass showered the floor, sparkling in the candlelight like snow, or perhaps rain, in the sun.

He left the room and went down to the basement. Noah Lawley was waiting for him there.

‘Who are you?’ Lawley demanded, standing up abruptly upon Draco’s entry.

Draco stared at him blankly. Without saying a word, he reached into his pocket, pulled out the vial he had brought with him, and held it out.

‘What is that?’ Lawley asked, eyeing the vial warily. ‘What do you want me to do with it?’

‘Drink it,’ Draco said harshly. His fist clenched around the glass tube tightly. ‘We went to you to give you this. It will dissolve your lycanthropy.’

Mistrust settled in the twisted lines of Lawley’s scarred face. ‘There’s no such thing,’ he said angrily.

‘There is now,’ Draco spat out. He was shaking with rage. ‘Take it. Now.’

‘I’m not trusting you,’ Lawley insisted, crossing his arms obstinately. There was fear mixed in with doubt now. ‘For all I know you’re trying to give me some potion to tranquilise me so you can take me to the Ministry. I – I don’t want anything to do with the Ministry. I want to go back to Greyback.’

‘Why the fuck would you do that?’ Draco growled. He approached Lawley. ‘You may be too young to understand right now, but Greyback could care less about you. He wants to use you for his own purposes.’

‘Shut up!’ Lawley shouted, backing away from Draco. His eyes widened. ‘You Ministry crackpots are exactly like Greyback told me. He said you’d try to turn me against him. I’m not stupid, y’know!’

‘You’re putting on a damn good show of it, then,’ Draco snarled. He grabbed the front of Lawley’s shirt and slammed him against the wall. Bringing his face right up to Lawley’s, he said venomously, ‘Look at me. I got these scars from dark magic, just like you, and because of them I’ve lived through hell all my life. Do you want to end up like that? Do you?’

Lawley gritted his teeth. ‘Get away from me!’ he whimpered.

Draco released him. Taking a few steps back, he asked in a chillingly calm voice, ‘Tell me, Lawley…what is it like to be a werewolf? Describe your transformations for me.’

Lawley shuddered noticeably. ‘What…’ He faltered and licked his chapped lips. ‘What’s it to you?’

‘I’d like to know before I force this potion down your throat,’ Draco said almost pleasantly. His mouth curved into a sinister half-smile. ‘Go ahead. Tell me. Do you enjoy the feeling of having your limbs brutally torn apart and pieced back together? Do you like the sensation of cursed blood flowing through your veins and poisoning your senses? Or…’

Draco trailed off. His smile widened at the sight of the absolute terror that had settled on Noah’s warped features. ‘Or did you choose lycanthropy to escape everything else?’ he finished softly.

Lawley recoiled.

‘It’s nothing to be ashamed of,’ Draco said coolly. ‘But before I get into that, take the potion.’ He held it out again. ‘You and I both know that getting involved with Greyback is going to not going to take you anywhere you want to be.’

In spite of his projected confidence, Draco was surprised when Lawley reached out and took the vial of Wolfsbane II Potion from him. He had not expected the werewolf to give in so easily.

‘You won’t – Greyback can’t find out, right?’ Lawley asked, his voice trembling.

‘No.’

‘And it’s safe, right?’

‘It’s – yes.’

Not seeming to notice Draco’s hesitation in answering his last question, Lawley took the stopper out of the vial and stared at its contents nervously. Then, after several minutes of contemplation, he brought it to his lips, closed his eyes tightly, and downed the potion.

He gasped and dropped the vial. His face contorted as he clenched his fists and doubled over, apparently in great pain. Draco watched on impassively. He no longer cared whether the potion was a success or not; he had already made up his mind about what to do.

The seconds ticked by. Finally, Lawley straightened up and wiped the sweat from his brow. He gazed at Draco fearfully with dilated pupils. ‘How – how do I know if it worked?’ he rasped.

‘Wait.’ Draco walked up to Lawley. The broken glass of the vial crunched under his feet. ‘Wait until the next full moon. See what happens.’

‘I feel different,’ Lawley said uncertainly. ‘Like – I dunno…’

‘Take that as a sign that it worked then,’ Draco said coldly. ‘Now answer my earlier question. Why did you join Greyback?’

Lawley averted his eyes. ‘My mum died in the war,’ he said softly. ‘I was living by myself, and I…I was just tired of life. But I didn’t mean to – to get bitten. But it happened, and I had no one to turn to, so Greyback took me in. He told me…he said –’

‘Did it work?’ Draco interrupted.

‘What?’

‘Did your transformations ease your burdens?’

Lawley straightened up. ‘No, not really,’ he said almost sadly. ‘I only had one night every month. The physical pain helped me forget, but other than that…I only really felt better when I was’ – he winced – ‘killing.’

Draco nodded slowly. Stepping back, he said, ‘But it still worked.’

‘It wasn’t worth it though,’ Lawley said. There was now a suspicious gleam in his eyes. He seemed to know exactly what Draco was thinking. ‘I regret going along with it.’

Narrowing his eyes, Draco said in a low voice, ‘That’s enough. You can leave my house now. Go to the Ministry and explain your situation. Say that you were brought in by Draco Malfoy and – and Hermione Granger.’

Lawley started, as though Draco’s words had reminded him of something. ‘That Hermione Granger lady…’ he said as he began making his way to the stairs. ‘Do you love her?’

Draco stepped back involuntarily. ‘What?’ he hissed.

‘Just a hunch,’ Lawley said with a shrug, but Draco could tell that despite the boy’s stupidity, he understood. ‘The way you protected her back in the forest…I figured…’

Unable to stand it anymore, Draco whipped out his wand. ‘Leave,’ he ordered, pointing it at Lawley’s chest. ‘I’ve already done more for you than you deserve.’

‘O-okay,’ Lawley stammered. Without another word, he spun around and stumbled up the stairs.

With the sound of his own ragged breathing echoing in his ears, Draco crossed the room in short, brisk strides. He stopped next to the cauldron of Wolfsbane II Potion. Without second thought, he Vanished its contents.

It was all over. Draco’s wand fell out of his hand as he collapsed to the ground at the base of the cauldron. Everything he had worked for, everything he had lived for…He no longer had anything but the unbearable agony festering in the depths of his soul, curdling the blood in his veins, consuming all comprehendable thought and leaving behind raw emotion.

‘Yes,’ he choked out as tears streamed down his face and ran down the ridges of his scars. ‘Yes, I love her…’

Night fell around Draco’s flat, but he didn’t move. Once, the house-elf peeped down into the basement, but, upon seeing his master’s hunched form, returned to cleaning the sitting room without a word. He had been with his master for many years, and thus he knew exactly when to interfere and when to stay away.

Many hours passed before Draco finally stood up, picking up his wand as he did so. He was going to see Greyback.

He walked over to the staircase and stopped at its base. The combined luminescence of the moon and stars streaming in from the kitchen windows fell through the doorway down to where he stood, casting pale pools of light on each individual step. Draco glanced over his shoulder at the countless cauldrons he so carefully tended over the years. Their shadows, fearful of the invading light, now pervaded the room, patches of black against the otherwise dimly lit concrete floor.

Draco sighed. He slowly climbed the stairs. Once he stepped onto the kitchen floor, he shut the door behind him quietly, locking the basement in darkness once again.

He walked over to the front door and opened it. The night sky was strewn with stars, and he paused in the doorway to gaze at them. Unwittingly, his lips moved, silently forming her name for the last time.

‘Starlight…’


Sometimes you hold so tight
It slips right through your hands
Will I ever understand?


Nick Lachey – I Can’t Hate You Anymore



I know there's not much a resolve, so wait for the epilogue :) The story's not done yet!

Oh yeah, and I just received an e-mail from the MNFF mods saying that I received validation status and that I no longer need to wait for my chapters to be validated. Yay ^_^ This will make life a lot easier. But...I don't think it's working?

♥ Annie
restless

Comments

( 39 — Speak )
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(Anonymous) wrote:
2nd Dec, 2006 18:38 (UTC)
...
oh my GOD. no. freaking. way. thats IT?! THATS IT?!

NOOOOOOOO.... DRACO! YOU FREAKING IDIOT goddamn.

damn, that was SOME ending. was hoping for a happy ending, although i had a feeling that it wasnt going to end up that way - ive kept track of ur fics :P - but this works too. damn and damn again.

on a happier note - YAY for finishing the story! finally! one of my favourite d/hr fics yet. thank god it wasnt one of those cheesy/cliche secret pen pal stories people always write... keep writing, your an awesome author!
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:36 (UTC)
Re: ...
Thank you ^_^ I'm sorry I disappointed you by not writing a happy ending :( To be honest, I'm sorta getting annoyed at myself for always writing these depressing endings. It's cool once in a while but eventually people get sick of it, y'know? I wanted to end this one happily, but I had the ending all planned out perfectly about a chapter or two into the fic, so I couldn't really change it >.< In my next fic I'm definitely going to end it happily.
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:36 (UTC)
Re: ...
Thank you ^_^ I'm sorry I disappointed you by not writing a happy ending :( To be honest, I'm sorta getting annoyed at myself for always writing these depressing endings. It's cool once in a while but eventually people get sick of it, y'know? I wanted to end this one happily, but I had the ending all planned out perfectly about a chapter or two into the fic, so I couldn't really change it >.< In my next fic I'm definitely going to end it happily.
toolazytogetlj wrote:
2nd Dec, 2006 19:31 (UTC)
dot...dot...dot...
SOADFuaf;alsjflksaj;lafhdikeuryas50947riuy4893279ahrekjhbxfy6aie5yrakjxf

Thats my rection to this chapter.

oh my god. It's as invigorating as watching the last scene of Phantom of the Opera, minus of course Gerard Butler crying and smashing the mirrors.

ugh. I was starting to worry about you btw. I was afraid you were like..in the hospital or something =\ I was scarwed! =(
and I'm done.

yay.

<3
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:38 (UTC)
Re: dot...dot...dot...
Awwww, thanks for worrying for me, dear ^_^ It's okay though, I'm [sorta] fine now. Anyway...the mirror smashing is the best part! I'm afraid I couldn't quite recreate the whole dramatic kiss between the Phantom and Christine, but oh well...Draco's room, unfortunately, doesn't have a cool lake and candles that light up once they leave the water.
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:38 (UTC)
Re: dot...dot...dot...
Awwww, thanks for worrying for me, dear ^_^ It's okay though, I'm [sorta] fine now. Anyway...the mirror smashing is the best part! I'm afraid I couldn't quite recreate the whole dramatic kiss between the Phantom and Christine, but oh well...Draco's room, unfortunately, doesn't have a cool lake and candles that light up once they leave the water.
(Anonymous) wrote:
2nd Dec, 2006 20:02 (UTC)
Annie, this chapter was literally, BREATHTAKING. I am in absolute awe...ATW is your finest fic so far. This chapter is what makes you shine as an author. You have the ability to draw your readers in and make them feel every single word you write. I felt all of Draco's emotions as he felt them...god, that was so heartbreaking. :'( You've done such a great job with this fic, and I applause you for it a thousand times. I can't express it enough, but I'm so sad it's over. I loved reading it from start to finish!

All I can say now is that I'm hopelessly waiting for the epilogue, and that I'm very disappointed in Hermione for choosing Ron. Being with the one you love most is more important than petty insecurity matters. Poor Draco...I hope he doesn't go off and do something stupid when he sees Greyback...ahh, I'm so worried. :S

Well, I'm glad the stress of college apps is easing down and that's so cool you had a snow day, because we almost had one too. We just needed a couple more inches (I think it has to be 7-8 inches of snow for it to be a snow day). I was kinda mad, because no one had plowed the streets so they should've given us one anyway. :P I hope you enjoyed it, and have a great weekend as well!<3

-Chungsol
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:41 (UTC)
Oh wow, thanks so much, Chungsol ^_^ It's been amazing having you follow the fic from beginning to end...that's something truly special, when readers don't just lose interest half-way through the story. (That tends to happen a lot for me, since my fics usually progress REALLY slowly.)

Anyway, I guess it couldn't be helped that Hermione chose Ron. I mean, she does love him, and they've been together since...well, for a really long time. Unfortunately, Draco was just a little too psycho for her.

That sucks that you guys didn't get a snow day, but I hope you had as much fun playing in the snow as I did anyway :)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - 4th Dec, 2006 23:53 (UTC)
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:41 (UTC)
Oh wow, thanks so much, Chungsol ^_^ It's been amazing having you follow the fic from beginning to end...that's something truly special, when readers don't just lose interest half-way through the story. (That tends to happen a lot for me, since my fics usually progress REALLY slowly.)

Anyway, I guess it couldn't be helped that Hermione chose Ron. I mean, she does love him, and they've been together since...well, for a really long time. Unfortunately, Draco was just a little too psycho for her.

That sucks that you guys didn't get a snow day, but I hope you had as much fun playing in the snow as I did anyway :)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - 4th Dec, 2006 23:53 (UTC)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - 4th Dec, 2006 23:53 (UTC)
(Anonymous) wrote:
2nd Dec, 2006 20:26 (UTC)
ATW
WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! OMG! i was so certain hermione and draco would end up together!!!!!! YOU ARE SO EVIL!!!!!!


<3 chibi
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:43 (UTC)
Re: ATW
Aww, I'm sorry :( Believe me, I wanted them to end up together for once, but...well, usually my endings sorta form without my consent and everything I wrote in the previous chapters led up to this ending. So it can't be helped :(
Re: ATW - hinak - 5th Dec, 2006 15:09 (UTC)
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:43 (UTC)
Re: ATW
Aww, I'm sorry :( Believe me, I wanted them to end up together for once, but...well, usually my endings sorta form without my consent and everything I wrote in the previous chapters led up to this ending. So it can't be helped :(
Re: ATW - hinak - 5th Dec, 2006 15:09 (UTC)
Re: ATW - hinak - 5th Dec, 2006 15:09 (UTC)
skyewillow wrote:
2nd Dec, 2006 20:38 (UTC)
oh...my...god...that was...wow...
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:44 (UTC)
I hope that's a good wow *glances around nervously*
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:44 (UTC)
I hope that's a good wow *glances around nervously*
Julia
figs_133 wrote:
2nd Dec, 2006 21:32 (UTC)
You've killed me. I'm dead. I've actually just died. It's horrible what this story does to me.

I definately cried. That was so.. messed up. He was too possesive, I see that. She had to save Ron.

But the mirror thing. She didn't truly let him go yet, I know it! Right? Please?

Epilogues.. epilogues are good with good stories and unresolved endings. So I'm excited for that.

And by the way, I notcied a small gramatical error..

Night fell around Draco’s flat, but he didn’t move. Once, the house-elf peeped down into the basement, but, upon seeing his master’s hunched quickly, returned to cleaning the sitting room without a word. He had been with his master for many years, and thus he knew exactly when to interfere and when to stay away.
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:49 (UTC)
Eek, don't die >.< But I'm glad you see from Hermione's PoV *nods* This is the first time where I've intentionally tried to mould Draco into a character whom the readers shouldn't defend just because he's the protagonist. Even though you can't help but feel sorry for him, he's just...crazy. And really bitter. And quite frankly creepy. So I can sorta see why Hermione chose Ron despite my eternal love for Draco >.>

As for Hermione not letting him go...well, I'd say that you're, in a way, right about that, but probably not in the way you think.

Thanks for catching that error for me! :)
Well... - toolazytogetlj - 5th Dec, 2006 03:27 (UTC)
Re: Well... - _pinkchocolate - 5th Dec, 2006 04:52 (UTC)
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 22:49 (UTC)
Eek, don't die >.< But I'm glad you see from Hermione's PoV *nods* This is the first time where I've intentionally tried to mould Draco into a character whom the readers shouldn't defend just because he's the protagonist. Even though you can't help but feel sorry for him, he's just...crazy. And really bitter. And quite frankly creepy. So I can sorta see why Hermione chose Ron despite my eternal love for Draco >.>

As for Hermione not letting him go...well, I'd say that you're, in a way, right about that, but probably not in the way you think.

Thanks for catching that error for me! :)
Well... - toolazytogetlj - 5th Dec, 2006 03:27 (UTC)
Re: Well... - _pinkchocolate - 5th Dec, 2006 04:52 (UTC)
Well... - toolazytogetlj - 5th Dec, 2006 03:27 (UTC)
Re: Well... - _pinkchocolate - 5th Dec, 2006 04:52 (UTC)
Re: Well... - _pinkchocolate - 5th Dec, 2006 04:52 (UTC)
green_quill
green_quill wrote:
2nd Dec, 2006 22:02 (UTC)
*sob* But I'll wait until the epilogue to give you my final verdict. : )

And I'm so so so SO sorry for not getting back to you with the third chapter of Miraculous/Some Kind of Miracle/whatever you're calling it now, yet. I've been terribly busy, but I promise I'll get it to you soon.

~Christine
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 04:59 (UTC)
I'm definitely going to be waiting for it nervously!

And really, don't bother apologising. I understand...I've been short on time too, so I know how it feels to not be able to get to everything you need to. Take your time ^_^
(no subject) - green_quill - 5th Dec, 2006 05:58 (UTC)
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 04:59 (UTC)
I'm definitely going to be waiting for it nervously!

And really, don't bother apologising. I understand...I've been short on time too, so I know how it feels to not be able to get to everything you need to. Take your time ^_^
(no subject) - green_quill - 5th Dec, 2006 05:58 (UTC)
(no subject) - green_quill - 5th Dec, 2006 05:58 (UTC)
starzz5 wrote:
3rd Dec, 2006 00:37 (UTC)
OMG!!!!!!!!
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sry for being obnoxious w/ that, but i felt it was truly needed...yet still it was no where near enuf...*tears* im still crying...and i watched a walk to remember (again..umm) right b4 reading this, so i was already crying, and now...im crying even more!!!! OMG! DRaco was soooo....and Hermione was so.... umm...at a loss of words...i cant wait for the epilogue, but pls take ur time, i think im so over whelmed by this fantastic chapter ny ways right now! im so happy the story isnt over..yet im dying..u write so amazingly well, with so much detail and all...really, u shud write novels! they wud b soooo good!!!!!! :)
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 05:00 (UTC)
Re: OMG!!!!!!!!
Awww, thank you so much :) I'm very glad you liked it. Don't worry, I do plan to take my time, considering I don't have very much of it. I actually wanted to finish this fic by December 18 (since I started it -- the revised version, that is -- on December 18 last year, and I like rounding these things off) but I don't think that's gonna happen >.>
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 05:00 (UTC)
Re: OMG!!!!!!!!
Awww, thank you so much :) I'm very glad you liked it. Don't worry, I do plan to take my time, considering I don't have very much of it. I actually wanted to finish this fic by December 18 (since I started it -- the revised version, that is -- on December 18 last year, and I like rounding these things off) but I don't think that's gonna happen >.>
jacqueline lalena
xjaxinthebox wrote:
3rd Dec, 2006 01:06 (UTC)
i cant believe you ended like that

im sad

i wasnt expecting that

nor did i think it was the last chapter

anywho good writing obviously.

*claps*
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 22:24 (UTC)
Aw, I'm sorry. But thanks anyway, Cissa ^_^
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 22:24 (UTC)
Aw, I'm sorry. But thanks anyway, Cissa ^_^
ellamalfoy8
ellamalfoy8 wrote:
3rd Dec, 2006 04:40 (UTC)
Oh. My. God.

*blinks*

*reaches for tissues*

That was by far the most infuriating and saddening and insane and *perfect* ending ever. I mean, I'm upset but I don't see howw else it could of ended. Fluff wouldn't have served this fic well. But... oh my god, Draco's such a freaking idiot! Gah. *sniffles*
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 22:25 (UTC)
Thank you so much! I agree with you about the ending...Well, actually, there are probably several ways to end it happily, but none of them really would have fit with the story I was planning to write. Anyway, I'm really glad you liked the ending, and thank you for reading! *hugs*
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 22:25 (UTC)
Thank you so much! I agree with you about the ending...Well, actually, there are probably several ways to end it happily, but none of them really would have fit with the story I was planning to write. Anyway, I'm really glad you liked the ending, and thank you for reading! *hugs*
a_pink_lady
a_pink_lady wrote:
3rd Dec, 2006 10:09 (UTC)
OMG! WOW!
That was such a good chapter, i'm in shock! I cant beleive how possesive draco got, you really wrote it well, i loved it! roll in the epilogue!
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 22:26 (UTC)
Yeah, I think that was one of my mistakes...not really showing how twisted Draco is until the last scene >.< Meh, oh well, I'm learning with each fic I write so eventually I'll have all these little things straightened out before I plunge ahead ^_^ Thank you for the lovely comment :)
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
5th Dec, 2006 22:26 (UTC)
Yeah, I think that was one of my mistakes...not really showing how twisted Draco is until the last scene >.< Meh, oh well, I'm learning with each fic I write so eventually I'll have all these little things straightened out before I plunge ahead ^_^ Thank you for the lovely comment :)
kc felix
azure_pearl wrote:
3rd Dec, 2006 10:49 (UTC)
OMG. :( that was so sad... waaah. i had an overnight so i wasn't able to read it the moment you posted to your journal. anyways, I really felt Draco's emotions.. Draco's kinda possessive huh? but i like him as he is.. & i understand this "possessive attitude" of his. i was surprised with the ending of the "last" chap.. i thought it was happy. awww.. can't wait for the ep.

kc
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
6th Dec, 2006 16:10 (UTC)
Yeah, I love Draco no matter how possessive he is ^_^ I was actually trying something new by making Draco possessive, but I don't think it turned out as well as I had imagined it would.
Annie
_pinkchocolate wrote:
6th Dec, 2006 16:10 (UTC)
Yeah, I love Draco no matter how possessive he is ^_^ I was actually trying something new by making Draco possessive, but I don't think it turned out as well as I had imagined it would.
(Anonymous) wrote:
3rd Dec, 2006 10:50 (UTC)
*sobs and cries*
Annie!
This was.... wondeful... awesome... heartbreaking... amazing... I didn't cry this much even at the Sweetest Sin. And this means a lot.
I'm crying and crying, and shaking, and I can't stop, it was so sad and angsty, I can't control myself, I I think nobody else, who had read this, could.
You're a terribly good writer, all my appreciation is yours, and I beg you, don't ever leave your talent for good. Did this sentence make sense?
This was at least as sad as the last scene of the Phantom of the Opera, if not more. Thank you for the experience. And I'm patiently waiting for the epilogue...
*goes away to get another napkin...*
Take care,
Pirkadatka from MNFF
(Anonymous) wrote:
6th Dec, 2006 16:44 (UTC)
Re: *sobs and cries*
Oh wow, thank you so much. I'm so honoured that the chapter touched you so much :) There's really nothing more rewarding than knowing something you wrote made someone else cry. Okay, that sounded...odd. I mean that I write because I want my stories to hold and elicit honest feelings, so knowing that I managed to move someone at all is the greatest reward ever ^_^

And I don't plan to ever abandon writing. Even though I DO intend to hone my writing skills, because right now I'm still dissatisfied with myself...>.
(Anonymous) wrote:
6th Dec, 2006 16:44 (UTC)
Re: *sobs and cries*
Oh wow, thank you so much. I'm so honoured that the chapter touched you so much :) There's really nothing more rewarding than knowing something you wrote made someone else cry. Okay, that sounded...odd. I mean that I write because I want my stories to hold and elicit honest feelings, so knowing that I managed to move someone at all is the greatest reward ever ^_^

And I don't plan to ever abandon writing. Even though I DO intend to hone my writing skills, because right now I'm still dissatisfied with myself...>.
good bye, halcyon days ♥
silveris wrote:
3rd Dec, 2006 22:19 (UTC)
I feel like crying.

Every word makes me want to cry. Honestly. That was the best chapter yet. But it makes me so mad with how it ended.

I should've waited for the epilogue before I read this... :/
(Anonymous) wrote:
6th Dec, 2006 16:53 (UTC)
Awww :( I'm sorry the ending is so infuriating. I can't promise that the epilogue will be any more uplifting, but I'm hoping that it will bring closure to the story. But thank you so much for sticking with me and reading all my chapters, no matter how awful or short or pointless they were :) *hugs*
(Anonymous) wrote:
6th Dec, 2006 16:53 (UTC)
Awww :( I'm sorry the ending is so infuriating. I can't promise that the epilogue will be any more uplifting, but I'm hoping that it will bring closure to the story. But thank you so much for sticking with me and reading all my chapters, no matter how awful or short or pointless they were :) *hugs*
hinak wrote:
4th Dec, 2006 02:46 (UTC)
my heart hurts.....i hope the epilogue can mend it...
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