Beyond The Veil
Beyond The Veil
Death is the veil which those who live call life; They sleep, and it is lifted.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
There are moments in Hermione Granger's career where all she can do is stand in front of the arch, with the faint curtains drifting towards her in beckoning. Sometimes she can hear whispers calling to her in the sweetest ways, urging her to walk through and follow them. Other times, the sight is still and too silent.
She doesn't know which scenario she prefers.
But working in the Department of Mysteries, where she walks through the Death Chamber and does her rounds she swears there are moments in which she feels a sudden chill go through her soul, numbing her movements and she stands, unable to travel.
The more the brunette thinks about it, the more she believes that something is calling to her beyond the veil.
Truth be told, the arch fascinates her. It haunts her dreams, lingering in her drowsiness as she awakes from slumber and stumbling into her thoughts during the day. It's a lingering reverie, almost like a memory, and some days she has to avoid the hall at all costs because her resolve is too weak and she knows she'll walk through with no questions.
And that scares her to her core.
It's another day at the office when she hears a loud clatter and smash. Her head perks up and she dashes out of her office quickly, wondering what happened. Except when she leaves and enters into the foyer of her department, there is nothing broken. In fact, the whole place is silent.
Which tells Hermione that it's the Veil.
With slow, cautious steps, she makes her way to the arch that looms over her like a nightmare and yet a blessed dream.
The Death Chamber is silent as the brunette enters in, wand ready to attack whatever may come out. There hasn't been an incident in centuries of something leaving the Veil and she really hopes it stays that way.
But there's an eerie feeling in the air that causes the Gryffindor to look around, trying to spot whatever may be causing it. There are faint whispers echoing around her and the brunette can find her feet moving her towards the arch.
She tries to stop, really, but there's an invisible force pulling her towards it. Hermione finally manages to rip herself out of the ghostly grasp and stumbles to the floor. She slowly raises herself up, only to look directly into the arch and see none other than a faint figure looking back at her. She squints, trying to make out who it is and as a result the person seems shocked, taking a step back.
"You can see me?" it says, a weak sound drifting to Hermione's ears and she blinks a few times because she recognizes the voice, she knows she does, but can't seem to place a finger on whom it is.
Of course, her fear registers then and the brunette stumbles onto her feet and runs out of the Death Chamber as fast as she can.
Voices aren't supposed to come from the Veil after all.
Hermione sits at her desk, her hair wild and her fingernails bitten severely as she stares at her computer screen, trying to figure out who spoke to her and why a voice can even reach her from death's doorstep.
She knows she should tell someone but she can't bring herself to. She feels that she's the only one who can help them, if that's what they need, and involving anyone else could have drastic consequences.
There was a hint of shock and desperation in the voice and it makes her feel that the person doesn't belong there but that can't be possible.
The Veil is for those whose souls know no rest, who have lived lives of anguish and murder and are serving their time to wander aimlessly in a vortex of nothing.
Trapped by their memories and guilt.
So why would someone like her, hear someone like them?
She researches recent deaths but nothing is relative to the person who spoke to her.
You can you see me?
It haunts her and quite frankly, is beginning to piss her off since she can't find anything on the voice. She tackles her brain for something but nothing comes up and she groans in frustration as her head falls into her fists.
With a loud sigh Hermione stretches her neck and looks to the computer screen and that's when she sees it. A news heading to which she clicks on because it may just lead her to her answer.
CEO OF MALFOY ENTERPRISES IN COMA!
After a massive success of taking over Wandful Corps, the largest wand company in the world, Draco Malfoy, CEO of Malfoy enterprises fell into a coma on June 5, 2015. Malfoy was at his birthday bash celebrating the ripe age of 35 when, according to sources, dropped to the floor for no apparent reason. He had been dancing with his latest girlfriend, Doreen Ryla, when it occurred. Sources say he was rushed from his manor over to St. Mungo's where he has been residing ever since. Healers have not yet revealed what has caused this incident to occur and neither friends of Malfoy are willing to speak.
Hermione stares at the screen in absolute shock because now she recognizes the voice. It's Malfoy.
"Are you there?"
She hears his voice instantly after she discovers it's him and she scans her office like a deer caught in the headlights. It's late at night meaning that no one will be around so she grabs her keys and heads to the Death Chamber where the blonde awaits.
She enters into the dark room, looking at its emptiness and wondering just why Malfoy has been the one calling her. Then again, he didn't think she could see him so he's been staring at her, watching her…
Which now as she thinks about it is creepy as hell...
The brunette flips her hair over her shoulder and approaches the arch where Malfoy stands waiting for her. She can see a shimmering outline of him, all the angles of his face, his eyes, everything that makes him, well, him, is darkened slightly to reveal the details. He's still a white figure standing amongst a gray background as that is what colour The Veil seems to be on the inside. What freaks her out the most though are his eyes. They are simply white with a faint tracing of pupils and an iris but there is no emotion, no soul in them. In all honesty, the more she thinks about it, the more she realizes that she's not a fan of the look.
"So you can see me…"
His voice comes out like a darkening thought, only getting sour as it enters her ears. Hermione stays silent, waiting for him to continue. She's not sure how she feels about this, about him…
"Where am I?"
She doesn't know how to explain the situation to the blonde, let alone tell him that he's currently knocked out cold on a slab of white sheets.
"I'm dead, aren't I?"
The brunette bites her lip, unaware of Malfoy's eyes narrowing towards her and looks back to him. Her expression is wary, to the point where her arms are crossed and her brows furrowed.
"How can one be not exactly dead? You either are or you're not and judging by your expression, I am."
The Gryffindor becomes irritated with the Slytherin, as his annoyance to her radiates off of his form grasping her in a vicious grip. He could always get her riled up so easily (in more ways than one, not that she'll ever admit that publicly). She shivers to wash the feeling away as her own temper rises.
"Well excuse me for coming here thinking you need help. For your information you're in a coma Malfoy and since you seem to be doing so wonderfully yourself, I suppose you don't need me. SO STOP CALLING ME."
With that Hermione turns on her heel and storms out of the room to her flat, leaving behind a somber Malfoy who watches her with a great sense of longing.
Her sleep is restless. She turns over and over, slumber unwilling to come, to take her away to a better place. She can't seem to open her eyes though which the brunette finds odd. Hermione reaches out for her wand but finds it's not there.
In fear, her eyes finally shoot open and she gasps as she takes in her surroundings.
She's no longer on her bed in her bedroom but rather in a white room, with nothing in it, but a blonde haired man in a crisp white suit. She knows exactly who it is before he speaks.
"Malfoy." She spits out like the bitter taste on her tongue. He turns to face her and for once he's in colour. The Slytherin is still incredibly pale, but he's got some flush to his angular cheeks, his hair platinum blonde, practically blending in with the room and yet standing out.
He's stunning like an angel and Hermione cringes at the thought because he's anything but.
"What are you doing here?"
"I called you."
His voice isn't faint and sounds normal. The brunette sighs and rubs her temples.
"Didn't I tell you not to do that?"
"I need answers."
"I told you, you're in a coma."
"That can't be all."
"It is. It was your 35th and you collapsed. Look I don't know the details, I don't want to know, but I do know that you're currently unconscious in St. Mungo's and not likely to wake up anytime soon."
"You don't understand."
"Understand what? It's not exactly like we're friends are we? We're nothing but old enemies who live very separate lives in separate worlds. Of course I don't understand!"
"I'm perfectly healthy Granger. I shouldn't have collapsed. I should be alive and…"
He goes silent after that. The brunette crosses her arms only to notice she's wearing a black dress with black shoes and stockings. He's the angel and she's the devil? How does that make sense?
Malfoy apparently notices because he's looking at her from an angle. He nods towards the change.
"You're different because you're a living."
"It's what those stuck in The Veil call those who are alive. We can see you but we can't touch you. You're living."
Hermione nods in understanding.
"So I'm in The Veil then?"
"No. I can only talk to you when you're sleeping, in the world in-between life and death."
"This room is that world?"
The blonde nods and the brunette rubs her arms in reassurance. A sudden chill is in the air, making the room lose its warmth.
It's the question that's been plaguing Hermione's mind since she learned it was Malfoy who was calling her. He's the last person who should be, they've never been anything but mortal enemies acquaintances as of late. The last time she saw him was a brief nod towards the other and a meeting he had with Harry when she accidently entered into the office to meet the man for lunch. They exchanged friendly looks. Nothing more, nothing less.
He's looking at her like she's some sort of piece of a difficult puzzle. At least, until he barks out a harsh laugh and shakes his head in aggravated mirth.
"Because you, you are my greatest failure. If there is any way to punish me, it's you."
The brunette doesn't understand as she looks into the grey eyes of the man before her, the one's sparking with silver sadness, a longing in which she doesn't understand, can't understand.
"What?" is all that she can utter from her mouth has it comes out softly and fearfully.
Unfortunately Malfoy turns his back on her and Hermione can feel herself being ripped away from the world. She awakes then to the sun streaming through the curtains, covered in sweat, like she just woke up from a nightmare. The strap to her nightie is off her shoulder and she pulls it up as she stares out the window.
She needs answers.
Her heels click on the marble floor with purpose as she makes her way towards the front desk. While she may not be a friend of the unconscious, it helps to be a war heroine.
She arrives to her destination, flashing the secretary a million watt smile. She can see their eyes light up in recognition and soon their scrambling to find the room number for her.
She thanks them kindly, with a sweet smile, hiding the resolve in the corner. Usually Hermione hates using her status, but this time…
This time she has to.
She slips into his room unnoticed. None of his friends are around, they still have lives to live and his family is long gone.
He's all alone.
Except he's not. Hermione doesn't know why, but she has, no, wants to help him. Because while Malfoy has lived a hellish life that she has never approved of, it doesn't mean he should be stuck in a state that he doesn't belong in.
The question is…how did here get here and why?
She checks his vitals and then waves a wand over his unconscious body. It's then that the doorknob turns and her head whips around only to find that none other than Blaise Zabini has entered and he's looking at her with shock on his face.
"It's not what it looks like." is what comes out of her mouth.
The pair sits at some fancy Italian restaurant, eating pizza and spaghetti. It's not an awkward silence as the brunette would have expected. In fact the man before her is quite the conversationalist.
"So, we've been avoiding the whole reason we're here. What were you doing in Draco's room?"
His name sounds sweet coming from the Italian's lips, and for some reason, it sounds so much better than saying Malfoy like how she's always spoken to him.
It's more personal and for some purpose, Hermione feels like she needs that.
"I'm doing research."
The Italian quirks up his eyebrow at that remark and Hermione blushes because it sounds awful when he says it like that.
"You don't find it odd how a man perfectly healthy simply collapses for no reason at all?"
It's then that the Slytherin looks down towards his empty plate, to which the brunette picks up on it because it tells her that he knows exactly why Malfoy is in St. Mungo's.
He sighs and meets the brunette's eyes.
"After the war Draco lost everything. His parents, his home. While he's managed to get it back he's never been the same. To him, everything he touches shatters. He doesn't allow himself to have good things, because he believes it won't last. His whole life has been a personal hell. Now that he's grown up, little has changed. He's expected to be exactly who his parents wanted. Would you want to live that kind of life?"
The Gryffindor is silent.
"So…he gave up?"
"That's what the healers said. It's only a matter of time."
"There has to be a way to bring him back."
"Why? If he's lost the will to live, why bring him back to what he wants to get away from?"
Hermione shakes her head. "You can't be serious."
"No one wants the life we live Hermione. I'm not about to take away his chance to leave it."
When she "wakes up" she's in the white room again. His suit is like snow and crisp. He dress is floor length, and has the traditional lace neckline and sleeve and once again, black as night.
He's waiting for her while his back is facing her as she enters; his hands in his pockets. She slowly makes her way towards him and he turns lightly, taking in her form.
"Apparently I was in need of a change." She speaks with a smile. It's the first time she's ever done that before him. One day she hopes she can direct it to him.
"You look stunning."
It's spoken softly but is so genuine it takes the brunette aback. She doesn't know what to say to him now that she knows why he's here. What can she say? When he said she didn't understand she thought he was being cruel, pointing out the fact that he's a pureblood and she isn't but rather he was saying that she literally doesn't understand.
She's had it pretty good while he's been living in a cage.
He looks at her then, really looks at her, taking her in from head to toe. She feels that he's doing this because he won't know when he has another chance, and she wonders what he meant by her being the thing to punish him.
The brunette stares with earnest eyes at the man before wondering how approach the topic. She may not be his biggest fan, but she's always had a soft heart and she refuses to let this be the end for him.
"This isn't where you belong you know."
He barks out a bitter laugh that burns the brunette's ears. It sounds wrong, and she can swear the room has dimmed.
"What do you know? It's exactly where I belong. I'm not welcome by the dead and the living just want me on the cover of their magazines. I'm nothing more than something pretty to look at to them. Who wants that life?"
"There's always something to live for though!"
Now he's getting angry and Hermione can notice the room begin to shake along.
"And what would that be? My friends? Pretty sure they couldn't give a hoot. My parents are already dead."
"What about me?"
He looks at her with an unreadable expression and it frustrates her because she hates it when she can't read people.
"What about you? You can't be serious."
She crosses her arms and looks at him. "Why not?"
He sputters. "Because…well…you're you."
"And what's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that I don't have the will to live for you. You hate me."
"Because you were a downright prick!"
He rolls his eyes. "I was eleven."
"Until what age? 35?"
That's gets his attention and he walks right up to her, a finger pointed her nose. Their glares are hard at one another, neither willing to back down.
"As if you're one to talk. You were just as prejudiced as me. It was only a different chauvinism."
The room begins to shake violently to which Malfoy grasps her arms and pulls her close, into his chest.
"Draco?" she whispers, looking around the room as the shaking only becomes worse. His eyes turn to hers then as she realized that she said his name even though they were fighting. Her hands grasps the lapels of his coat.
"You said my name."
All of the sudden a wind enters, whipping their clothes and Hermione puts her face into his shoulders.
All of the sudden the brunette is violently ripped from the blonde's arms. He reaches for her as her own hand outstretches to him.
Her screams become soundless as she flies through dark tunnels, away from the blonde until she shoots up off her bed, covered in sweat, gasping for air.
She finds herself in the library morning flipping through anything she can find on the Veil. There isn't much and it's fairly aggravating how little there is.
The brunette pushes a tendril of unruly hair back when the Italian sees her.
"What are you up to?"
"I'm looking for something that can wake him up."
"You're still going on about that?"
"You say it like it's a bad thing."
"Because no one should simply give up. You can always find good moments in the bad and that's what you must hold onto."
"You believe that?"
The Italian remains silent. His eyes turn to hers and he can see the sincerity in her eyes.
"Maybe there's some hope yet."
So he pulls up a chair beside her and she grins because she finally has someone on her side.
When she falls asleep she one again wakes up in the room with Malfoy. His suit is still white but the room is grey now, losing its light. She's still in black though, so, not much has changed.
She reverts to calling him by his own name. It simply sounds better and makes her believe that she can truly save him if she makes it more personal.
He turns then, looking at her, taking her in.
"I didn't think you'd come."
"Of course I did. I'm not going to be giving up on you. Blaise and I are looking for a solution."
"Yes. Blaise. You're best friend who you've abandoned?"
"Since when are you speaking to him?"
"Since he's the one who found me in your room." She mumbles, completely embarrassed by the old event.
"I was…in your room looking for a cure. And then he walked in on me."
"So you two are…together then?"
There's something in his voice that Hermione picks up on. He's not looking at her, in fact he's facing the opposing wall and his voice holds disgust in it.
He scoffs. "Of course not."
However the walls begin to shake and the brunette can swear she sees him curls his hands into fists inside his pockets.
"Oh so it's back to that now is it?"
"Sorry. Old habits."
"Please. Old habits don't stop people like you from changing them."
"I don't like your tone."
"I suppose not since you'd much rather hear Blaise's."
"What does he have to do with this?"
"Nothing." The blonde mutters off to the side while running a hand through his locks. His silver eyes meet her brown ones and worry shines through hers. They stay staring at each other for a while, until Hermione breaks the contact, rubbing her temples as she walks away.
"Do you…do you like him?"
She looks to the blonde again. "Of course not."
He seems relieved.
"I just met him and you can't like someone you just met."
And then his face falls.
"I suppose not."
The brunette looks at him with curious eyes, wondering what is going on inside his head. He's so confusing, going from one extreme to the next.
He gives her a headache.
All of the sudden the room begins to fade and the pair look at each other. He reaches for her, if only for a moment but pulls his hand back all too quickly and Hermione wishes he had kept it outstretched as she goes back to reality.
It's a brutal wake up as her own words echo in her head. It's true; you can't like someone you just met.
So why did Malfoy seem so fallen? She's known him for years.
Wait a minute…she can't like him…sure she used to have a crush and all, who didn't at that time, but to actually have legitimate feelings? No. Impossible.
But he's been in her head for years and throughout most of Hogwarts, she did fancy him, if only a little.
She has never believed him to be a horrible person. Granted he was horrid at certain time but he isn't evil.
He's just made terrible decisions. But he's changed it all around, Hermione knows this.
And he deserves a second chance, no matter what Blaise or he thinks.
It's later at night when she's sitting in her home office, browsing through ancient old tome that she finds something the solution to what she's looking for. It's a brief paragraph, but as she reads it her face falls.
"Sometimes there are souls who lose the will to live. They become stuck in a state of "limbo" in which they cannot leave to go to the afterlife but also cannot go to the world of the living. Depending on how long a soul stays in limbo determines the chance of bringing them back. There is a time limit, which varies from wizard to wizard however the most common time bracket is one month. There have been several attempts at rescuing a soul from limbo however only two have ever succeeded."
"In 1835, a woman by the name of Charlotte Allan created a solution to rescuing a soul from limbo. The soul had given up, losing the will to live. Charlotte believed that a soul could regain a body if a proper spell was cast at the precise time. Over the course of researching, Miss Allan created a spell known as Possem ego meam pro te. In order to perform the spell though, a price had to be paid. For anyone to cast the spell, the caster must be willing to exchange their life for the other. Only those with the purest of intentions, and a heart full of love for the lost soul, can the soul come back to the world of the living."
She stands in her room with the tome laying off to the side, pacing like a mad man. She doesn't know what to do, she certainly doesn't love him, though she has become far more affectionate she supposes the more she thinks about it.
There's just something about him though. Maybe…maybe if she gives them time…
But that's the thing. She doesn't…he doesn't, have any.
And that makes her more confused than before.
She awakes to the room being darker than her earlier visits. It isn't black, not quite, but it's getting there. It sends shivers to her core, reminding her of a time of loss and gravity. It's not okay for it to be so solemn and dark. Where's the joy, the love?
She walks through, the dress having silts earlier than before and when she looks down she realizes it's torn.
It must be a sign of the diminishing time.
With a new resolve the brunette walks forward, purpose in every step. She looks around the room peering for the blonde. He's nowhere to be found and a feeling of dread begins to fill Hermione's heart because this can't be it. He can't have just…given up.
She doesn't feel okay with leaving it where they did. She needs answers, wants to help him, to show him there's more to life than just depression and facades.
There's love and she's quite willing to let him have that, even if it means giving up her own.
What she doesn't know is that he's lingering in the shadows, watching her from afar. He's noticed the rips in her dress, the spilt revealing the creamy skin beneath. Her eyes are far more golden than normal, drawing him in like a poor man to riches.
It's when her eyes begin to flash and she's whirling around like a maniac that he runs to her, grabbing her from behind, pulling her flush to his own.
She's always been his weakness. He just didn't realize how much till now.
"Draco…" she lets out in a breathy whisper, sending heat to his core. He pushes a tendril of the auburn locks back behind her fragile ear. Her skin is smooth to the touch and her eyes fall blissfully shut.
She just wants him to hold her like this because this…this is nice. It's great actually.
She loves it more than she'd like to admit.
He's arms are firm around her waist, his touch soothing to her stress and all she can think is, I want this.
She does, so much as it dawns on her that she pulls back, she realizes that, yes, she can rescue him from this fate. She'd be willing to, absolutely. It's not like anyone really needs her back in reality. Everyone has moved on, has their own families and lives and she's alone.
And she's been fine with that but she knows that when she switches places with Draco, and she will mind you, that she won't stay in The Veil. She'll go to a better place, one of peace putting her soul to rest once and for all.
A faint tune plays through the room and the pair sways side to side, neither one letting go of the other. What they have right now is wonderful; it's exactly what they need. They may not be perfect nor this place, but the moment…
The moment is beyond perfection.
Hermione briefly pulls back to look into his eyes and he smiles at her, a gentle one with a promise tucked in the corner.
A promise meant for her, something that she'll cherish as she lies in The Veil. Something she'll hold with her forever.
Too soon the world becomes brighter and she feels herself being pulled away. She reaches over and caresses his cheek, kissing it lightly. No words are spoken, but both know how they're feeling and it's a good feeling.
She sends a demure smile his way as she is pulled into the light, leaving his soul in darkness.
Hermione grabs her things she needs for the spell and makes her way to her office for the day. It's her last day here and she doesn't bother sending in a letter of resignation. There's no point.
She doesn't want questions nor does she need them. No one needs to know what she's going to do.
She files the paperwork, yells at her incompetent staff for a few hours until they actual begin to do their jobs. However for her lunch she heads to St. Mungo's, wear the body of one Draco Malfoy lies silently.
She walks into his room quietly, looking over his form as it lies practically dead. She walks over to him and leans over; kissing his cheek just like she did in the dream world.
"I'm bringing you home."
It's midnight and the Ministry is empty as she arrives back. She thanks Merlin for that, the last thing she needs is someone questioning why she's there so late at night.
She can hear The Veil calling to her and she realizes that this was her fate all along, she was meant to do this, for him, all along.
How odd that she fought in a war and yet this is how she dies.
But she doesn't complain but rather smiles serenely to herself as she makes her way down the steps to the Death Chamber. She enters in, shutting the door silently behind her and the brunette can hear the voices of those lost in The Veil calling her home.
She finally arrives before the large arch, the one that has haunted her sleeps, or used to until she discovered it was Malfoy calling her.
Now it welcomes her, invites her inside.
Malfoy approaches her, looking at her with a curious look.
"Hermione…why are you here? Why aren't you sleeping? I was…"
His sentence dies off as the man before her looks to the floor. She smiles demurely, picking up her wand and waving it in the air.
"I came to see you."
He peers at her with a narrowed gaze then.
"You're up to something."
He knows her well. She shrugs, indicating that he might be right (even though he completely is).
She waves her wand, keeping her eyes on him, never breaking contact. His eyebrows go up as he tries to figure out what she's doing.
Magic floats around her and him, bringing the pair closer together. It's then that she pulls a knife out of her pocket to which the blonde reels back.
"What are you doing?"
She doesn't let him stop her. She raises the knife and slices her hand, wincing at the pain and fresh blood that pours out.
Draco lunges towards her with a hand outstretched and this, to Hermione, is the moment she's been waiting for. She reaches with her bloody hand, grabbing on to the outline of his. The Slytherin's eyes widen, he doesn't understand and Hermione won't tell him until it's too late.
He can't stop her. He won't stop her.
She raises her wand in her other hand and says in her loudest voice, the spell that will seal the deal.
"POSSEM EGO MEAM PRO TE."
Draco's brows furrow as he quickly translates the spell in his head and Hermione can see the gears turning. It's too late though. The deed is done.
His eyes widen as it dawns on him what she's doing.
But her body is pulled into The Veil as if it was welcoming a child home as he is pulled out. It's a force unlike either have ever experienced. It tugs on them from the core, stabs them like knives. It's not a pleasurable experience but as the agony recedes, Hermione knows she made the right choice.
Draco meanwhile hears commotion around him. As he opens his eyes he sees bright lights to which he covers with his arm. People are shouting at him, telling him not to move and muttering about it being a miracle.
However the blonde feels like he's been dragged down to hell because he's got a second chance at living, but the purpose for it is gone.
He's told to rest, to get some shut eye but he can't. He's too agitated, too in shock about what's happened.
She gave up her life for him to live.
He runs his hands through his hair as he gets up out of the bed. He can't stay here; he has to find her, figure out a way to get her back because he doesn't want a second chance. Not if she isn't there with him.
It's then that Blaise walks in and Draco is shocked. The duo just stand there, blinking and neither able to leave.
"It's been too long man."
Blaise embraces his best friend in a hug and as Draco hugs back, he can feel Hermione watching down on him, smiling. But it's not a good feeling. It feels wrong.
The men pull back, with Blaise clapping Draco on his shoulder.
"I brought you some clothes and you're wand. Figure you'd want to get out of here."
"You're right about that. I hate this place."
"You might want to go thank Granger. I have a feeling she's the reason you're awake. I have no idea how she did it, but I bet it wasn't easy."
The Slytherin can only nod to that, dashing out of the room as quickly as possible and sneaking out of the hospital, over to his home.
He runs as fast as he can to the Ministry. He doesn't know how to get inside so other than the old way through the telephone booth so with great desperation he does. He dials the numbers and can feel himself dropping until he bursts out of a toilet.
For a moment he's glad they don't use that system anymore. But he's far more concerned about finding the brunette. He runs faster, his long legs taking bigger steps with each stride. Soon he arrives towards the Department of Mysteries. He points his wand towards the lock, whispering alohomora. It opens and he shoots a quick thanks to Merlin before dashing inside, shutting the door behind him as quietly as possible.
He makes his way over to the Death Chamber and enters inside. It chills him to his bones as his steps echo amongst the walls. It's not a pleasant feeling he has.
The arch looms over him like a nightmare. He can't remember being inside of it, but he does remember the times Hermione visited him, the things she informed him about in that tone of hers.
It brings a smile to his face.
It's then that he notices a body lying on the floor and rushes over to it. It's Hermione, and she's lying cold and dead just like he had been.
A feeling of despair, so similar to the one's Hermione had overcome him and he drops to his knees, unleashing an cry of anguish. It wasn't supposed to be this way! If she hadn't meddled, if she had just left him alone, she'd be alive and he'd be gone.
He pushes the same curl back with his hand relishing in the velvetiness of it. He picks her up and walks out of the Death Chamber, her body limp in his arms, his head down casted.
He will save her. Because a woman like her should not sacrifice herself for a man like him.
He sets her gently on the bed in her apartment. He didn't feel right bringing to his place and since he's looking for answers, everything he needs, will be with the witch herself, therefore her flat is the most logical place to go.
He can't help but feel that she'd be proud of his deduction skills.
He makes his way to her home office, admiring the beauty of her place because it's just so her. From the rug to the appliances, everything screams Hermione Granger.
It's then that a meow erupts and he turns his head down to see an ugly cat rub it's face into its leg. He realizes this must be Hermione's pet, so he strokes the top of its head, the feline unleashing a purr in satisfaction and loneliness.
All the more reason she needs to come back.
He falls asleep at her desk. His mind wanders away from his body and he can feel his soul disappear. He wonders, for a moment, if he's going to the room that he and Hermione shared. He hopes so.
But hope, he has learned, is a fickle thing.
As his soul flies away he looks around, seeing faint images flicker past. They're pictures of his past life, all containing small moments that he's treasured. The farther he goes, the more ones of Hermione pop up whether being simply in the newspaper or the recent adventures they've had together in the room.
His heart lurches then, because he misses her. Sure, they rarely spoke and when they did it wasn't great but she saved him.
Maybe, just maybe she does return his feelings. Of course, she mostly certainly has not been in love with him as long as he has been with her. After all, he began falling for her in their fourth year.
A stunning woman in a periwinkle dress. She made his heart stop, jaw drop and took his breath away.
It's then that he falls, his soul dropping like a stone. It's an odd feeling, he thinks, and makes him wonder what exactly is happening.
Is this a side effect of the spell?
He blinks his eyes awake to find a blaring light awaiting him. The room he stands in is incredibly white, unbearably so, and Draco realizes that he has in fact ended up in the room where Hermione had found him.
Instead of wearing a white suit however, he's wearing a black one.
It's then that a door opens, revealing Hermione in all her ethereal beauty because she is completely out of this world. She looks like an angel, with brown hair in a lovely updo and a dress of pure white, with lace sleeves and precious diamonds strewn throughout.
She smiles demurely at him and walks towards him, a sway in each step. He's mesmerised but the more he looks, the more he feels there's something off.
However her arms come around him and he simply holds her, beyond ecstatic at the ability to touch her. It feels like it's been years since he could.
"I didn't think you'd come."
He pulls back, looking into her brown eyes.
"Of course I did."
She smiles. "I missed you."
His heart speeds up, because this is all he's ever wanted.
It's just a dream though. This isn't real.
Is what his mind tells him, echoing throughout his thoughts. Not to mention the witch before him, while is in perfect parallel to Hermione physically, lacks the fire she possess.
This woman…isn't her.
He steps away quickly and as he moves he can see the room growing darker than before. The Hermione doppelganger reaches for him but he dances out of her grasp. She doesn't like that, and all of the sudden her brown eyes become obsidian and her skin becomes a smoky grey.
"You aren't supposed to leave this place."
Her voice is a thousand times louder than before, with a gravel edge to it. Her body slowly becomes bigger and Draco rushes towards the door, begging to get out.
"We may not be able to touch her. But we can still hurt you."
However as the doppelganger reaches for the blonde, he's out the door just in time and shooting up from sleep, his hands splayed out on the desk and his breathing harsh.
He needs to get Hermione out of there and fast.
The next few weeks are spent pouring over tomes and ancient books that Hermione had collected when doing her own research. Draco isn't sure if this is even a good idea. After all, the brunette had sacrificed herself for him and clearly when doing that didn't want him to save her.
It's then that his eyes stray over something highlighted, with her scrawls beside it. A few notes deem it to be the solution to her problem. As he scans it over, it realizes that this is in fact the spell she cast for him.
The more he reads, the more he thinks that she didn't read all of it. The bottom of the page isn't touched by her pen like the rest of it. It remains like any normal old scroll. He picks it up then, his eyes narrowing towards the final words.
While there has never been a way to reverse the spell there is a way to bring the caster back while allowing the soul to remain in the real world.
True Love's Kiss.
Draco blinks once, twice.
"Bloody buggering fuck."
He's leaned over her like a madman a bit too often. He knows what will wake her; he's just not sure he's the solution. It seems so finite for such a complicated issue. A simple answer to a tremendous problem.
That simply can't be it. Can it?
He supposes that if it was love that allowed her to switch their positions, it can't be too far- fetched for a kiss to bring her back.
But she can't love him like he does her…can she?
As Draco sits on a chair staring at Hermione's body, his mind drifts to their earlier conversations in the world in-between. She asked him why her…
But when has it never been her?
For all of his life, Draco has slowly fallen for the fiery Gryffindor. She's the light to his darkness, the oasis to his thirst, the gold to his silver. They've been on opposite spectrums for so long and yet he's been drifting to her side for…well, for as long as he can remember.
Third year she punched him making him realize that she was a hell of a lot tougher than she looked. Fourth year she astonished him, dressing up like a princess (which in a way she was. Gryffindor princess and all. Fifth year was the exchanging of longing looks. Sixth year was the year she stood up for him to her best friends. And seventh year…
Seventh year was the year he fell madly in love with her from the inside out. But he never told her, never pursued her, never gave her an inkling about his emotions.
She's his greatest failure and he regrets never telling her.
As those thoughts swirl through his head he lets out a sigh, leaning over her body being careful not to crush her. She looks so fragile, so precious.
Though he knows she's anything but.
His eyes flicker to her closed ones as his breath ghosts over her lips. With one more confident breath, he leans in and places his lips on her, pouring all his emotions for this witch into the kiss.
Because she is his world, and he's ready to let her know that.
She feels a pull. Something tugs at her heart, away from this garden that she's laying in. She can feel herself drift up, past this world she's condemned herself to. She feels light, like a feather and wonders if maybe…just maybe…she's finally moving on.
She never felt truly satisfied in this utopia and maybe it's cause she didn't belong here. After all, it wasn't her time as the others said.
Or maybe it's because he's not here. She knows it's the latter.
He's wormed his way into her mind, body and soul. And as she drifts away from paradise, she lets out a sigh of relief.
That's when she opens her eyes.
Her eyelids flutter open and she feels the most pleasant thing on her lips. It's another pair, which is perfection. Whoever is kissing her, she loves every second of it because they know what they're doing.
A tongue soon dives in and she whimpers because it feels so right. Whoever this is…they've awakened something deep within her.
This…this must be her paradise in the afterlife.
Draco pulls back because he knows while he could keep going (and bloody hell does he want to) they need to talk.
She pulls back and gasps at him, it being evident in her golden eyes that he was not who she expected it to be.
"Now I know I'm in utopia." She says as her fingers trace his angular structure.
He grasps her wrist, pulling her hands away from his face. She blinks a few times, not completely aware of what's going on. Her head spins around a bit, gathering in her surroundings.
"I'm in my flat."
Crookshanks hops on her lap then, nuzzling her with great affection.
She looks at him then, with her big doe eyes. "How can this not be my afterlife then?"
His heart breaks because he has no idea how to convince her that she's back in reality, away from The Veil, away from death's doorstep. That she's back with him, the real him, not some fake version like he got in the white room.
It dawns on him then an idea, and he gets up, running off to her office and then back with the tome in hand. He gives it to her to which she gives him an odd look. The blonde picks up her fingers, gently placing them on the bottom of the scroll.
Her brows furrow as she reads it. He waits anxiously, getting up from the bed, apcing in front of her while sparing a glance every so often. Finally she sets it down and looks to him.
"You kissed me…"
He sighs, hands running through his locks. He can't deny it any more, she knows, and to lie would be stupid. They've been given a second chance and damnit to Circe and back if he gives this up.
"Because I love you. Bloody hell Hermione I have for years. I've just been too buggering stupid to do anything about it."
She gets up and approaches him, taking his face in her hands once again. She turns it side to side and he opens his eyes to her, because he heard somewhere that eyes are the window to the soul and she saved his, she needs to see just what she saved, so she can accept this, accept them.
Her lips lightly press to his, a sign to never leave her, a question to never let go. And he answer by pulling her in. He's never going to leave her, he will never let her go. They pull back reluctantly, foreheads together, their breath mingling. She licks her lips, her eyes darting to his.
"I…I think I may love you too."
He strokes her cheek and then kisses her forehead. "Thank you love."
She blushes under his contact to her skin.
"Thank you for taking me out of there. I've never felt more alone in my life."
"You'll never have to be alone again."
She kisses him briefly, holding his waist tightly.
"You know…if you had never called to me from The Veil, this would have never happened."
"I'll always be calling for you. I don't think anyone else will have me."
The brunette laughs. "Certainly not."
He smirks at her, brushing back her auburn locks.
"I was lonely there you know. Seeing you do your rounds, it made me think that maybe I could have a chance with you that way. That maybe I could just talk to you. I was a coward."
"Maybe. But you're here now, and that's all that matters."
"You were something I could never reach."
"But you pulled me from beyond The Veil Draco, and because of that, I have you and like you said earlier, that's all that matters."
They kiss again knowing that while things may be far more adventurous in their future, they will be able to find each other no matter what the circumstance.
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