Chapter 6: Hermione
Bright light. Everywhere, all around me.
“Hermione, darling,” came a soft voice from beside me. I recognized it almost instantly.
“Grandma Naobi?” I mumbled confusedly, opening my eyes and rubbing them profusely. “But you’re dead.” And yet, she sat there in front of me, wearing one of her ridiculous fake bird hats along with a soft, pale blue dress. Her face had as many wrinkles as smile lines, and her brown eyes twinkled as she gazed down at me. “Unless you’re not?”
“Oh, I’m dead. But you’re, well… you’re stuck in between, you see.” She twiddled her thumbs uncomfortably.
“Between what?” I had never been so befuddled in all my life.
“Between life and death. Now it’s time to make a choice.” Grandma Naobi grabbed my hands pulled me into a gentle sitting position. We were in her bedroom, with the faded floral wallpaper, and I was lying in her enormous canopy bed.
“A choice.” I repeated, still observing my surroundings. This must be a dream, brought on by… by what? Then I remembered it all. The knife, Rodolphus Lestrange… “Malfoy,” I breathed. Grandma Naobi smiled.
“Oh, you hold onto that one, honey. He’s a good egg.” I shook my head, my vision still foggy at the corners.
“But Grandma, he was so mean!” I cried out. She clucked her tongue at me.
“Honey, can’t you see? He’s changed. And he likes you, that boy. I’ve been watching you two, and I can tell.” Grandma Naobi smiled fondly at me.
“Malfoy likes me?” I wondered, shocked. She laughed.
“It’s so obvious!” Then she turned to smile fondly at me. “What about you, dear? Do you feel the same way?” I ignored that question, instead returning to something she had said earlier.
“You said I had to make a choice. What choice?” I asked curiously. Grandma Naobi laughed again.
“You and your questions.” When she didn’t continue, I gestured for her to go on. “You must choose between life and death. You’re in the middle right now. It could go one way or the other.” She watched my face carefully as she said these words, but honestly, I had kind of been expecting it.
“Life and death.” I repeated dully. I thought of dying. It had always seemed so horrible, but sitting there with Grandma Naobi, it sounded tempting. I could see Fred, Remus, Tonks, Dumbledore, and Grandpa Jack again, and spend hours with Grandma Naobi, like I had when I was little. Then I thought of Malfoy, and my stomach twisted. How could I leave him?
“What’s Malfoy doing right now?” I asked her. Grandma Naobi’s eyes glinted, but her face was serious.
“He’s sitting by your bedside, refusing to go to class or eat anything. He’s crying,” she responded tenderly. Tears filled my eyes, but I brushed them away and grabbed Grandma Naobi in a hug.
“I love you,” I whispered in her ear. Then- “I choose life.” Tears sprang to both of our eyes, but we didn’t bother suppressing them.
“I knew you would,” she told me. “Stay strong, my brave, beautiful girl. I love you!” As I was being pulled back to the present by feathers of light, I heard her call out, “You keep that boy! He’s a good one.”
“I will, Grandma Naobi,” I whispered. “Believe me, I will.”
My eyelids fluttered open, and I glanced around the hospital wing in a panic. Where was he? And what was that horrible, aching pain, filling my everything?
“Hermione!” Draco gasped, sounding like a starving man who had just been led to a feast. “You’re alive!” It wasn’t until later that I realized he’d called me Hermione instead of Granger, and that I’d thought of him as Draco. I tried to speak, but it just came out as croaky rasps. Draco put a finger to my lips, gently shushing me, and I could see that his grey eyes were sparkling with tears. He quickly wiped them away, blushing. Finally, I managed an answer.
“Of course I’m alive, dummy,” I croaked. “It’s no surprise you weren’t in Ravenclaw.” Draco laughed, a sound of pure joy as he gazed upon my smiling, living face. Madam Pomfrey bustled over, looking ever so relieved.
“Ah, Miss Granger! You’re awake. Good, good,” she murmured happily. I could see the worry in her face ease as she performed a few spells on me to heal my deep wounds even more, then fed me a small cup of medicine. It was revolting, but it did ease the pain slightly. Draco held my hand the whole. If Madam Pomfrey noticed, she didn’t say anything, but she did press her lips into a thin line. Then Headmistress McGonagall strode in, looking quite pleased to see me awake. Her eyes fell on Draco’s hand in mine, and her jaw tightened ever so slightly.
“Good to see you awake, Miss Granger.” The Headmistress offered me a rare smile. “However, now that you are awake, I’m must insist that Mister Malfoy return to his classes.
“Oh, please, Professor. Can he stay a little longer?” McGonagall raised an eyebrow. “Just till the end of today’s classes,” I pleaded. Finally, she nodded.
“Alright. But then, he leaves. You need your rest.” She glanced at our clasped hands one more time, and I could’ve sworn I saw her smile as she strode out of the room. I instantly turned to Draco.
“Thank you. For everything,” I murmured.
“I didn’t do anything,” he responded bashfully.
“Yes, you did.” I smiled softly at him. Even though it hurt to smile, the look on his face was worth it.
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