It's almost nightfall yet she still sat there alone. Not moving, just peacefully gazing at the Black Lake. When the wind blew its cold December breeze Hermione Granger shivered and embraced herself tightly. It's been awhile since she last been here, but it seems like nothing has changed; the place is still magical and utmost enthralling. She let her gaze wander for a couple more minutes before gracefully standing up. She walked towards the old oak tree and ran her finger through its rough body. She let out a wistful smile as memories of her not so distant childhood came into mind. She used to spend her lazy afternoons here with Harry and Ron, frolicking childishly. After a few minutes of reminiscing, she checked her watch and decided that it was time to leave. She quickly fastened her cloak and took her wand out of her pocket to dissapparate. She swished her wand but hastily stopped when something luminous caught her peripherals. She turned her gaze back to the water and felt her heart stop; "Fireflies," she gasped. Her whole body stiffened as painful recollection from her past started assaulting her in waves.
- Flashback -
She watched him as he silently stood near the lake; his shoulders slumped, his eyes fixed firmly on the still water.
"You're late" Draco turned to face her, his sad eyes, piercing through her heart.
"Don't...please don't say it Mi" he cut her off, his voice shaking with emotions.
Tears stung her eyes so she hastily averted her gaze.
He crossed the distance between them and hugged her tight, silently begging her to reconsider.
She kept her arms to her side, wordlessly letting him know that she hasn't changed her decision. With her heart breaking into millions of pieces, she moved her lips towards his ear, whispering the dreaded words that will surely break them apart.
His whole body stiffened, his arms slowly loosening its grip as every painful second pass.
- End of Flashback -
She touched her cheek and her fingers came back wet, "I'm okay - I should be okay, it's been years."
- Flashback -
She ran away so fast and didn't stop until she felt her legs give in. She grasped a branch of a tree to keep herself from toppling over. She clutched her hand to her chest willing her mind to somehow forget the way he fell down on his knees and begged for her to stay. Gut wrenching sobs escaped her lips as implacable tears continue to trail down her cheeks. It killed her to leave him as broken as she felt, but what other choice does she really have? They both know that they're only living in a borrowed time when they first started this. She shouldn't feel guilty for ripping the band aid long before its due, right?
- End of Flashback -
The emotions that she thought she buried a long time ago started resurfacing and she can't seem to make it stop this time. His memories and his promises came back in full force, slowly unravelling the truth that she forced herself to believe. She thought that she's already moved on from all this, but basing it from the way her heart reacted to the pretty luminescent lights - she's clearly been fooling herself.
All these years, she kept questioning herself if she did the right thing. Her heart says that letting him go without a fight was a huge mistake. But her mind refuses to agree. It kept telling her that leaving him was the only solution, staying together would have cost them both their lives and she can't let that happen. Fresh batches of tears sprung from her eyes, making her vision blurry.
With trembling hands, Hermione unclasped the silver chain that dangled around her neck. She placed the pendant on her palm; trailing her finger along the words that have been magically engraved on the charm. Waves of pain started crashing inside her chest, making it hard to breathe. She closed her eyes as she clutched the pendant tightly inside her palm, "You can't undo what's already been done Granger. He's long gone and he won't ever come back. You made your bed, now you have lie on it," she said, her voice full of remorse.
On the other side of the lake, a man with silver-grey eyes stood, his gaze firmly fixed on the starless night sky. Draco Malfoy held his cloak tighter as the cold December breeze started pick up its pace. He scanned the dark castle, the corner of his lips arching up. It's been 2 years since he last visited and yet nothing has changed. When the war broke and the battle began he always thought that Hogwarts would just be nothing but a memory, but looking at it right now - he's clearly mistaken. Dumbledore's magic managed to protect the ancient citadel, keeping the entire place unscathed; the old coot is really damn impressive.
Briskly, he walked towards the huge boulder near the waters and sat down. He took out his good old wand and pointed it directly above the lake. He swished his wrist, shooting tiny sparks of light from its tip. Tiny luminous bulbs glided and danced above the still waters, making him smile. He amused himself further by sending more sparks, unconsciously unearthing memories that are too painful to remember.
- Flashback -
There he was, standing in the same spot he stood two years ago, waiting patiently for a girl who managed to steal his heart. He felt her presence even before he saw her, a single fact that still amazes him. He turned around, his eyes instantly seeking the beautiful face he hasn't seen in days. "You're late," he said in lieu of a greeting.
"Draco…I-" she started, her voice heavily laden with sadness.
Searing pain erupted from his chest, sucking all the air out of his lungs, "Don't...please don't say it Mi" he cut her off, his voice shaking with fear.
She avoided his gaze, her ambers eyes pooling with tears.
He couldn't stand seeing her like this; he crossed the distance between the two of them and pulled her to his chest. He buried his face into her familiar curls and hugged her as tightly as he can.
She didn't move and kept her arms pinned to her side. After a few seconds, he felt her face shift, her lips brushing against his ear, "We can't do this anymore Dray...we have to stop" she whispered.
He knew that this day was bound to happen, but he didn't expect that it would be this soon. Slowly, he loosened his grip, his eyes never leaving hers; "I love you Mi…so much" he whispered, his voice thick with emotions.
She opened her mouth to speak again, but he placed his index finger to her lips, silencing her. He doesn't want to hear it; he already knows what she's about to say. He let his eyes rake over her beautiful face for the last time, etching every inch and every detail into his mind. Once he's sure that he won't forget, he moved his face closer, pressing his lips to her forehead just as a lone tear managed to escape his eye.
"Dray…don't do this…please" she begged.
Overcome with so much emotion, he did what he thought he'd never do. He loosened his hold on her and hastily dropped down to his knees. He clutched her cloak as he bowed his head, hiding his tears from her. "Don't do it...don't leave me" he croaked.
She followed him and levelled her face with his, "I-I have to...I'm sorry..." she said miserably. She pressed her lips to his before she hastily stood up and ran away.
- End Flashback -
He shook his head to clear his thoughts, it's been 2 years since it happened, yet remembering it still stings like hell. He buried those painful recollections in the deepest recess of his mind, conjuring the lights for the first time in years was a bad idea, it managed to cajole it out from its hiding place. He closed his eyes and willed his mind to push the memories back to its niche, but alas, his brain is not cooperating. He sighed, he knew that thinking about her is no longer allowed and he has to stop now, but no matter how hard he tried to convince himself, his heart won't seem to let him. He took a deep breath as he opened his eyes, "Fire whiskey, it is" he said as he hopped off the boulder. He shoved his hands inside his pockets and started making his way towards the dry walkway. He was following the familiar route towards the gates when he sensed movement from his peripherals. He halted his steps and turned his head to the side; "What the..." his voice trailed off when he saw a woman standing near the oak tree. He squinted and tried his best to figure out who it was, "Couldn't be McGonagall, it's late, she's probably sleeping" he mumbled to himself. As if on cue, the light from the moon seem to shift towards the figure, illuminating her further. He felt the air get knocked out of his chest when he saw wisps of honey brown curls dancing with the wind. He closed his eyes tightly before opening them again, checking if she's just a figment of his over reactive imagination or not. His heart started pounding loudly when his gaze fell down to her hand; a familiar long silver chain dangling from her closed fist. "Bloody hell."