Bathwater

The Link that Threw it all Away

The air had become thick—opaque, even, passing down his lungs. The weight of the world seemed to be crushing down all around that Minister of Magic's office that Draco Malfoy sunk deep into his knees. He let himself fall apart on the expensive rug as the ghost of his previous scream burned in the trail up his throat, in his chest, and in his eye-sockets.

This was it, this was his doom. The end of everything.

His eyes—those painfully glowing silver eyes—watched the brunette with no strength left at all, just standing there a few, miserable feet away from him. He looked at her, nothing left inside of him as the only thing was shadows of shattered pieces of what he'd been told was his heart; the organ that he had never seemed to be familiar with.

Not until she came along that is. That girl who had the brightest brown eyes—such an ordinary color, but that sparkled with more light than any other to him. Hermione Granger, his Gryffindor, who no longer knew who he was, was the only one responsible for the slightest hint of a human being with a soul that started living inside of him. That girl that was responsible for that love that formulated and seeped through his pores, something that was impossible and out of reach to him but came so easily to her.

"…Draco?" And just as Malfoy was ready to shed those burning tears from his eyes, he heard the faint ring of a voice that sent shivers up his spine.

Shaking his blonde hair, Malfoy hung his head down to his aching chest; closing his eyes in all his despair. He was tired of the voices, tired of the memories replaying in his head time after time. He wanted them gone—Hermione had rid herself of all of their times together, and now so did he. It wasn't fair that she was freed from all of it and he was still suffering seeing her, hearing her, remembering her; even if for a few minutes. (After all, if the Ministry was wiping memories from people, they should do their job right, right?)

Smack.

"Draco!"

With the stinging of his right cheek, the broken-boy looked up from his misery. "…Hermione?" He had felt the contact of the warm skin, the hurt of her heavy hand. He knitted his eyebrows for a seconds and then, "What the—"

"There was a flaw in the plan, Malfoy," Harry spoke up from his place next to the Minister, his emerald eyes looking quite smug as his once arch-nemesis stared with disbelief at the person who had just smacked him roughly on his pale face. (Something that he hasn't seen since his Third Year. Oh, for Dumbledore's memory, how he'd missed that sight.)

"A flaw?" The deep voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt was heard instead of the blonde boy's. The Minister raised his eyebrow, looking quite confused as the Aurors behind the intruder and the intruder himself. "What do you mean by a flaw?" He turned his questioning stare towards Harry Potter and the Obliviator standing behind the brunette girl.

The Obliviator cleared his throat, looking rather uncomfortable and a bit embarrassed like if they doubted his skills to take away memories. (Which was not the case. He was the best of his department, after all.) "Well, Minister," the man cleared his throat once more, "the potion was brewed and ready for Miss Granger to take—which, in fact, she did take. Drank it completely, down to the final drop inside the flask. She was quite eager to have her memories away, usually I have a couple of witches and wizards who cry their hearts out as they're taking it, but Miss Granger was ready to take the plunge. She had said her goodbyes to Mister Potter, and he was preparing himself to feel the impact of the potion once it started to make effect inside of Miss Granger, but…."

"But?" Everyone asked at once. (Well except for Draco, who was still busy trying to figure everything out in his head that he forgot to close his jaw as Hermione stared at him with watering eyes.)

Harry coughed, and the attention went directly to the Boy-Who-Lived.

"Perhaps, we should leave it as it is," Hermione whispered, kneeling carefully in front of the blonde wizard with those alluring silver eyes. "There's really nothing to explain if the potion didn't work," she was speaking aloud, looking at him but trying to end the questions in the background. "…Maybe we should go," she whispered to Malfoy, placing a shaking palm on his right cheek.

Draco blinked at her, still confused, dazed, entranced, conflicted, pained—and other emotions that were spinning inside of him as he saw Hermione shed tears through her lashes. "…What the hell is going on?" He murmured to her, part of him attempting to stop himself from leaning into her touch.

Hermione swallowed, still crying single tear drops. "Nothing," she murmured back, still caressing his face and expecting him to take that without a retort.

But being who he was, and seeing that he did not believe her one bit, Malfoy lifted himself up from the Minister's floor; shoving Hermione's hand away from his face in the same movement. But instead of dropping it, instead of letting the confusion that was turning into anger take control inside of him, he held on to her hand tightly. (A hold that was a little to tight that he was sure could be classified as some kind of abuse.) "I want the truth," he hissed at her, "and you will give it to me."

Grimacing at the venom in his voice, feeling like the old Malfoy—the one that used to hate her with such passion all those years ago was back, Hermione nodded in agreement. "…Of course."

Snatching his wand away from Harry's fingers, who had so generously handed it to him, Draco glared roughly at the girl in front of him. "Then perhaps it's best if we go."

And without giving her a chance to answer, without warning anyone else, a loud CRACK was heard echoing in the office a second later.

"Mister Potter, don't you think that was quite foolish of you?" Turning away from the spot where the Gryffindor and Slytherin used to be, the Obliviator looked quizzically at the Chosen One. "Handing that Malfoy boy a wand while he left with your friend, Merlin-only-knows-where?"

"I doubt he'll hurt her," Harry commented casually.

"What exactly happened with the potion, Harry?" Kingsley asked, lowering himself on his royal-looking chair. "How could it possibly fail? Since we assigned the Marriage Law we've had cases where the potion works perfectly. What seem to be the defect in Miss Granger's situation?"

Being quick to answer the Minister, the Obliviator said, "well, Minister, if you recall, all those cases have ended one way or another. Either the person willing to take the potion remembers how extraordinary their magical essence is and is quick to refuse giving it up, or they realize that sharing their life with their corresponding partner won't be as bad."

Harry raised an eyebrow. "So, no one has really gotten rid of their memories?"

The Obliviator shook his head. "No one has made it to the second part of the potion to complete the process."

"The purpose of the first potion is to recall every single memory, good or bad," Kingsley continued to explain. "And like most lessons in life, the potion helps you see that no matter the circumstances, running from your plans is never the right solution. You can't run away from destiny, Mister Potter, you know that very well."

"And no one really ever wants to forget," the Obliviator added after the Minister was done.

"—So, what exactly happened then?" An Auror asked from the background, looking more confused as Harry dropped himself on a chair across from the Minister; a grin on his face for what seemed like no apparent reason.

The Minister sighed, folding his hands lazily on the surface of his desk. "The effect of the first half of the potion, which is to relive and see your memories, seemed not to affect Miss Granger simply because she was determine to let all that go. Reliving the memories caused her no more pain than she already felt, but when the final part of the potion started washing over her system, the potion died. It's full effects were terminated before it could even cause a glitch in her."

"Why?" The same Auror asked.

"Because," Harry grinned again, his eyes holding a deep secret between the color of his orbs, "the potion cannot cause a change, even if the person is so willingly to give it all up, if there is still an unbreakable link to the memories."

X

It was her turn to watch, her turn to stare at that figure a few feet away pace back and forth. She could see him fight with himself, mutter curse words underneath his breath, snort, scoff, and shake his head to himself as he kept pacing. It was all starting to annoy her, really, but she had decided to give him a couple of minutes to untangle whatever it is that tangled itself within him.

She cleared her throat, looking at him a little nervously. And with a little shaky tone, Hermione said, "um, can you please sit down? You're making me dizzy with all your pacing."

"You would like that, wouldn't you?" Draco snapped, stopping for a second in his turmoil to blink up at her with his silver eyes and scowl with all his might.

Hermione narrowed her eyes, her patience gone completely. "Obviously," she retorted angrily, "that's why I'm asking you to sit down."

Silence gripped them both for a second, Malfoy still scowling and the girl with her arms crossed waiting impatiently as she noticed, a little sidetracked, that his blonde hair shone incredibly whiter in the light of the moon that rained down from the place they had apparated to.

Their hilltop.

"You like everything your way, Granger, don't you!" And after a few more seconds, Draco spoke with a loud, roaring tone. "You've grown so accustomed to people swooning about for you, that you've taken the title of Gryffindor Princess too bloody serious. Well, think again, Granger. I'm the fucking Slytherin Prince, mightier than you because I've been in royalty longer than you've attempted to reign!"

Shivering slightly from the cold night wind blowing around her, Hermione raised her eyebrow as she stared from impatiently to annoyed at the blonde wizard. (What in Godric Gryffindor's name….?) "Oh, grow up, your highness," she snorted in irritation.

He glared more.

"Would you please just sit down?" She snapped at him once more. "You're making me immensely frustrated over all the damn pacing you are doing. Now, if you don't sit down, I'm positive I will hex you towards the mountains if you don't do as I say."

Breathing heavily, angrily through his gritted teeth, Malfoy growled a, "how could you do this to me?" as he approached her with such fierceness that made it seem like the snake was hunting the lion. His gray eyes were stormier than ever before, something boiling in him with the clear memory of his heart breaking even more into powder when he had seen her enter the Minister's office.

She sighed a little, not answering.

"How could you even decide—no, how could you even think that leaving me was the right choice?" He continued, taking her momentary silence to explode. "Aren't you supposed to be the smartest witch the Wizarding World has ever seen, and yet you choose the thickest option there was?"

"You drove me to it!" Hermione shrieked, defending herself as she gripped the blades of grass all around her as he lowered himself on the ground; their eyes to looking dead-on into each other. They were so close that for a tiny second, a tiny second where she wasn't angry, she could feel his heart beat against her own chest and smell his cold breath on her nose. But as quickly as that second had come, she interjected with, "none of this would've ever happened if you learned the meaning of secrecy!"

"Don't," he glared, fury still burning behind his eyes as he leaned closer into her, "blame me, Granger. None of this would have happened if you would've known better than to be overhearing other people's conversations—or if you would have had the decency to let me explain before you stormed out of the Headmistress' office with the stupid idea that you resorted to."

She frowned, crossing her arms now. "Oh, so I'm the one who started the lie now?" She gave his chest a poke, immaturely as that was. "At least, love of mine, I had the decency to tell you I hated you and would hate every single moment by your side from the start. I never lied to you through anything we went through together."

Draco's eyes momentarily softened—Love of mine?

And like she could read his mind, she gave his chest another rough poke. "Don't look at me like that, Malfoy."

"It was a foul mistake, I admit it," he spoke, ignoring her as his voice lowered to the point that he barely even heard it. He still had the ringing of their screams piercing his ears, of course, but now the fury was long and gone; replaced by what he really felt inside. "I should've been sincere from the start. I should have admitted such hate for you, just as you did when we were first put together. But, honestly, I did want to try, Granger. I did want to give it a go without complaining. Granted, I had my twisted ideals in the back of my head, but at a certain point, perhaps after the night you spent in the Manor, everything changed and…."

"And what?" Hermione whispered back, feeling the oh-so familiar knot in her throat as she could see a sincere glisten in his eyes, across his face too. "Did you mean what you said at the Ministry?" She asked gently, her eyes burning with tears as Malfoy paused.

He inhaled some of the night air, looking down at the grass before looking up and answering her. "Of me loving you?"

She nodded, her brown curls flowing behind her as the air blew again, but this time—this time she didn't feel the chill as Draco's silver gaze penetrated right through her and warmed her soul up with jitters that she couldn't help but to feel for him.

The Slytherin let one finger touch her face carefully, analyzing her every feature. (He had been right, she did look more beautiful in the moonlight.) "I love you," he said to her in the same lone tone, but his sincerity was heard loud and clear.

Hermione's lip trembled and the air trying to pass down to her lungs seemed to halt midway as her heart gave an erratic beat and her eyes spilled tears at the same rate and moment. "…I love you too."

Draco's face melted into a smile; a smile he couldn't help as he finally heard the words slip from her own mouth and grace his ears with a twinkle of magic he was not sure he could admit to anyone he felt. "…I've waited so long," he told her softly, "so long to tell you, but I should've." He took her hand, his skin enjoying hers. "I almost lost you, and I couldn't….I almost lost you, Hermione."

"I couldn't have thrown it all away, Draco, even if I tried." Hermione whispered, letting Malfoy pull her towards him; placing her on top of him as his back collided with the grass and she was breathing in the scent his chest gave. "…And I tried."

Pushing her a few centimeters forward, far enough so her face was just inches away from his and he could get an excellent view of her beautiful brown eyes, but close enough to still inhale her. "Why is that?" He asked. "Couldn't live without me?"

She rolled her eyes. "That's not—"

But she was cut off instantly as he closed the distance between them and he captured her lips with his.

Oh, how he had missed the touch; the feel; the rush of heavy blood running up his veins; the frantic heart beat. He had missed the sensation of bliss settling in his chest as he held her, as he felt her soft skin, and her perfect lips on his. Because for everything that was holy, everything that mattered and was completely perfect, he loved her. He loved her so damn much that he didn't know how he lived those weeks she had turned her back on him.

"D-Draco," A little too soon, Hermione started pulling away and pushing him back on the grass. Her breath was ragged as she attempted to let the air pass to her lungs and settle him down, her insides doing flips and twirls from the surge of electricity.

And even though she wanted it, she desired to kiss him forever, they would have time for that later. Right now, at that dire moment, she had to explain something to him.

"Ugh, fine," he groaned, scowling again. "Why didn't the potion work, Hermione, after you took it?" Malfoy asked, sensing it's where she was going anyway.

She stayed quiet for another moment, rolling her eyes and collecting her thoughts.

"You did take it, right?" Draco asked, eying her carefully.

"Of course I did. I'm not a coward," her voice sounded somewhat annoyed, but she shook it away as she needed to take the plunge. "It was going to be painful, I'll give you that, but not once did I think about going back on the promise I had made." She continued on, sounding serious instantly. "I did not cry, did not get my heart broken, did not break Harry's for dramatics, Draco. I was going to do it. The potion was bubbling inside of me and then…."she stopped, taking in a deep breath. "Then the potion failed—"

"Because you love me too much, obviously."

"It wasn't the love I have for you, aren't you paying attention?" She said sternly, frowning a little to herself. "It wasn't that despite my willingness I wasn't ready to give it up….It was something smaller, but that impacted everything."

Malfoy raised his brow. "You heard me enter the Minister's office?"

"Erm, no," Hermione gave a humorless giggle, but smiled at her fiancée anyway. "There was a link. Something that would have thrown everything off balance. Something that forbade the potion to work as it is intended. All because…I…erm…"

"Because what?" He asked, rolling his eyes. (She might not like the dramatics, but she sure knew how to be suspenseful.)

"Because, Draco," she smiled a little wider at him, more nervously, "I could not erase my memories or try to live a new life if I had something that was going to confuse me for the rest of my days. I couldn't have been a blank muggle girl if I had a magical-essence developing inside of me. "

Draco's heart gave a loud thump as her hand flew down to her stomach, her smile kinder and her eyes watering.

"The potion couldn't terminate the baby that is growing inside of me," their eyes met once again and a connection between the stare seemed to intensify. "I'm pregnant."

What the bloody—Beep.

He really didn't see that coming.

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