Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 60

It wasn’t until Draco had left the St. Mungo’s as a patient that he formally proposed to Hermione. He’d contemplated buying a ring, the largest diamond available, but his mother had stopped him.

“Hermione is hardly the type…” she said, looking at the various rings on display. “She wouldn’t want to show off… Not too much anyway…”

“What do you suggest?” he asked.

“I might have something appropriate,” Narcissa replied, hastily adding, “don’t tell your father!”

And so it happened that Draco met Hermione at the park where they’d went on their very first date. The date they hadn’t even called a date…

They sat at a table at the same tea parlor they’d visited before. Hermione smiled as she remembered that awkward conversation. Draco held her hand across the table; similar memories crossing his mind.

“Hermione…” he began, a bit shy, his cheeks growing pink, “do you remember what we discussed, well… near the cornfield, and at the hospital…?”

She smiled back at him. “Of course, I do… It’s hardly something I would forget….”

“Indeed,” he smirked. “This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise then…”

Hermione’s cheeks coloured too. Was this truly happening?

Instead of falling on one knee, which was the Muggle way, Draco stoop up and kissed her hand. “Hermione Granger…” he whispered, “would you do me the great honor of becoming my wife?”

Hermione teared up. “I’d very much like that…” she said simply. “Very much, indeed.”

Draco glowed with pride. “You haven’t seen the ring, yet….” He laughed, “it might change your mind!”

He sat down again and pulled a small box out of his coat pocket and handed it to her. In it was a very old, ancient, ring, patterned with silver leaves and small rubies.

“They look like roses…” Hermione said, amazed. “Draco… It’s wonderful…”

“I’m glad you like it… It’s been in the family for centuries…”

He took the ring and slipped it round her finger. “It suits you…”

Hermione had shared her wedding plans with her parents and friends. Suffice it to say, they weren’t all pleased… Especially her parents-in-law…

“A wedding…” Mrs. Weasley moaned. “A wedding at bloody Malfoy Manor…” They’d just received the card by owl.

“At least, we’re invited…” Arthur replied, studying the invitation in his hand. “It could have been worse, I suppose…”

“Hardly…” Ginny said, but Harry remained silent. “What do you think?” his wife asked, rubbing her belly. She was beginning to show.

Harry looked at the Weasleys; they’d almost replaced his own parents. They were his family…

“I think…” he stammered. “I think that life goes on…”

Arthur nodded. “Yes, yes, it does…. Molly…” he said, “It’s not that she doesn’t love Ron anymore… She will never stop loving him…”

His wife scowled at him. Between him and Harry, she would lose the battle… Molly sighed deeply. “I suppose there’s nothing for it…” she said, her shoulders slumped. “Perhaps we’ll grow to like him in time…” She didn’t believe a word of it….

“We’ll need to buy some dresses…” Ginny said. “That we can look forward to,” she grinned.

“To think of her shopping with Narcissa…” Molly said, “her mother and I helped her last time…” She felt a lump in her throat. “I just can’t… I can’t be happy for her…”

“Just through here…” the guard said. Draco was in Azkaban. He shivered when he considered that his own fate could easily have led him here, into this gruesome place. If his mother hadn’t lied to the Dark Lord…. If they hadn’t changed alliances at the last possible moment…

Elphaba was with him since Harry had the day off. She looked just as uncomfortable as Draco felt. “Nearly there…” the guard assured them.

The entered a large stone room. In it were some stone benches and seated on them were many more young men, just like himself. Most of them were pure-bloods, a few of them half-bloods. Some women were there as well. Draco recognized Pansy Parkinson…

“It won’t be long now,” Elphaba said. “She finally agreed to it… She wasn’t afraid of the Dementor’s Kiss, but her sons never being released did the trick. Now, they’ll serve 10 years each and in exchange she will….”

Jemina Jennings entered the room. She was flanked by guards and would receive her wand only to perform this one curse… Extra protective measures had been taken so she wouldn’t escape.

Elphaba was worried. A wand in a prisoner’s hand was not an ideal situation. But Jemina was broken. The mirror’s ordeal had had some effect on her ideology. She would never like pure-bloods, but wanted to give her boys a chance in life. They deserved to continue their work….

One by one, they stood before her. She performed the same curse over and over again… Finally, it was Draco’s turn. She pointed her wand, spoke the words, and just like the last time, a wind rushed over him.

Pansy Parkinson was the last to be healed. But, just before the guards could grab her wand, they heard the dreaded words: Avada Kadavra. Draco ducked, as did Elphaba…

Jemina Jennings was dead. The wand in her hand pointed at herself….

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