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Chapter 1: My World Kept Spinning
I do not own these characters (except the ones you don't recognize), nor do I own anything related to Harry Potter, except a pack of Top Trumps cards, which were a gift.
Also, fair warning that this story (including this chapter) contains foul language and sensitive issues. Read at your own discretion.
You might wonder why this is being addressed to you.
Why I didn't address this to my parents, or Ron.
Or maybe even the Weasleys.
It's because I know you'll blame yourself.
Everyone else will call me selfish or cowardly.
And they're right.
But you'll ask yourself why –
you'll say you should have noticed something, done something.
The truth is, I'm an excellent liar.
There's no way you could have seen anything.
And even if you had, nothing would have changed my mind.
I know this is a shit way of saying goodbye.
But it's all I've got.
Just know that you're my best friend, even in death.
And I love you.
Two days after writing the note, I was sitting in a psychiatrist's office. My plan to end my life had failed miserably; my note had been sent too soon. Harry and his hero complex rushed to my side and saved me from making a terrible mistake. That's what he thought, anyways. I saw it as inconvenient timing. A minute more and it would have been too late. Why couldn't he have arrived one minute later?
“Hermione, is it possible you sent your suicide note to Harry because, on some level, you wanted to be saved?” Dr. Camelia Gorner asked me, peering at me from across the room, glasses perched on her nose, pen poised.
I took a moment to respond. Not because I was unsure of my answer, but because I knew she wouldn't like it. She was expecting progress. Everyone was. They had heard great things about Dr. Camelia and expected her to get to the root of my problems and make me see that I was actually a happy person. It wasn't working.
“No,” I said quietly.
“Hermione, why did you try and kill yourself?” she asked then. I had been hearing this question since I woke up in St. Mungo's. I hadn't answered it. And why would I answer now, to a perfect stranger who knew nothing about my life? She could pretend to care because it meant another percent to add to her success rate. But how much did she care, really?
“It doesn't matter,” I told her. And it didn't. All that mattered was that I tried. And failed. And being Hermione Granger, I didn't take failure so easily.
“It does matter, Hermione. Once we figure out why you tried to take your own life, we can start figuring out a way to repair that part of your life.” Her words were careful, memorized. People actually bought this?
“I tried to kill myself because I don't want to be alive. It's pretty simple.”
“Hermione,” she looked at me with that look older people usually get for the younger generation. A bit like disdain, but more disapproving, as if we were wasting some gift - “You're young. You're pretty, you're smart. You have everything going for you. You can't expect me to simply believe you want to be dead.”
I stared blankly at Camelia's face. That was exactly what I wanted her to believe, actually.
“I believe you sent the note to Harry because you wanted him to be the one to find you; nurse you back to health; realize what he might have lost; and realize he's in love with you,” It was at this moment I realized Dr. Gorner was the crazy one. I was suicidal and she was crazier than me. At least, she was not as smart.
“Dr. Camelia... How do I say this nicely?” I thought on it for a moment, “Nope, I can't. Basically, you're a tall glass of crazy. Harry and I are best friends. That's all. The reason I know is because I have visited the idea of maybe dating Harry. We even kissed once, but there was nothing there. So please, don't assume to know me. And don't assume that just because he's the famous Harry Potter, I'm in unrequited love with him and that's why I tried to kill myself.”
“You're getting awfully defensive, Hermione.”
“You're damn right I'm getting defensive. I am a deeply unhappy person who has been scarred far beyond someone of twenty years should be. I don't feel connected to anyone anymore – I can't stand the sight of myself in the mirror, and you're making this out to be that I got worked up over some stupid little crush. With all due respect, Dr. Gorner, these sessions are over. I don't have to be here, and from now on, I won't be. Thanks for your time.”
Okay, maybe I shouldn't have yelled. But it was insulting. I was the smartest witch of my age, and she had reduced me to all the other girls I went to school with – blubbering, fawning, drooling, idiotic girls.
I floo'd back to the Burrow – my temporary home – earlier than expected. My arrival would have gone unnoticed if I was allowed to stay at my house, but the healers didn't think I should be left alone. The Weasleys saw to it that the healers' orders were carried out.
“Hermione, you're back early. Is everything okay?” Everyone crowded around me at Harry's greeting. Yes, even Harry – my supposed love – was staying at the Burrow to watch over me. Ginny peered at me anxiously; Ron stayed farther back, and Malfoy – wait, what?
“What is Malfoy doing here?” I asked, trying desperately to change the subject, but also genuinely curious.
“Nice to see you too, Granger. Just here on Ministry business,” Okay, so we were semi-civil toward each other now. Without a war going on, there was no cause to fight. He was better with Ron and Harry than he was with me - I still harboured a grudge from all the times he called me mudblood. Of course, I would forgive him if he ever apologized. I still believed in second chances.
“The Ministry has you making house calls now?”
“Only when it concerns you, sweetheart.”
“Stuff it. Right. What about me then?”
“Well, the Ministry has mandated 20 sessions of therapy before you can return to work. I'm meant to ensure you are in therapy, and follow up with you after your bi-weekly sessions.”
“Wait, this is ridiculous. I can't go back to work for ten weeks? And why you? After talking to you, I'm only going to need more therapy!” I started shouting.
“The Ministry is concerned that going back to work too soon could cause a nervous break, or possibly distract you from your problems. What you need is to confront your issues; overcome them. Only then will you be allowed to return to work and only then can we be assured you are of no danger to yourself or to others. Second, as part of Administration, it is my job to ensure all employees are taken care of. That's why I've been assigned to you. You should be flattered. I don't waste my time on just anyone.”
I scoffed. Flattered? I was repulsed. Not only would I have to speak with Malfoy, I would have to return to that delusional woman twice a week or I wouldn't be able to go back to work.
“Now Granger, are you ready for your first session with me?”
“I'd rather die,” I said with a tight smile. Everyone gasped at this, as if I would take a knife right then and there and hold it to my throat. Malfoy, ever the git, simply smirked and indicated the door.
“Delightful. Shall we?” I rolled my eyes and stalked past him, out the door to where a ministry car was waiting.
“Don't be offended if I vomit on the leather seats,” I instructed the driver upon entry, “It has nothing to do with your driving.”
I did not vomit on the interior. I considered it, but instead opted for glaring at Malfoy in the seat across from me. Somehow though, it seemed to leave the same taste in my mouth. I glared as we passed through Ottery Saint Catchpole al the way to Ottery Saint Mary and then onto Chineway Road. I glared at him for ten more minutes as we road through Exeter and High Street, until we reached a tiny muggle pub, The Volunteer.
He escorted me inside and once we sat down in an isolated corner booth, he said, “I'm going to make this very simple for you. You tell me what happens in your sessions twice a week. What you said, what she said. How you feel. The more I feel trust developing; the more I feel you're improving, the sooner you can return to work. These ten weeks are sort of a friendly suggestion I'm the one who has the power to change this. I can make it twenty weeks. I can make it five weeks. If I felt you were ready, I could have you back at work tomorrow.”
He always did enjoy having all the power. I could either divulge everything, get it over with, and get back to work. Or I could sit here and do nothing. And never return to work. Stay at the Burrow forever. Sure, I could lie. But I'm sure he'd use Veritaserum at some point and then where would I be? Back at square one. I told myself to bite the bullet.
“One condition. I want a different psychiatrist. Dr. Gorner feels I tried to kill myself because of unrequited love. For Harry.”
“Before I grant that request, what was your response to this theory?”
“I told her I hated myself; that I was scarred and unhappy and... disconnected,” I finished dryly.
“Was that the truth?” He had a dossier opened on the table before him, pen poised – quills were a bit obvious in a muggle pub – ready to write down anything important.
“Yes, it was the truth,” I admitted. And I feared then that I was being entirely too honest with Draco Malfoy.
“Hermione,” he leaned forward in the booth, still holding onto the pen and dossier, elbows in, “Dr. Camelia Gorner is England's best. Had it ever occurred to you that she knows you far better than you think she does? Maybe she was getting nowhere and she figured being insulting and off-point would get the truth out of you. You always did have a penchant for correcting people.”
“I have to go back to her?”
Malfoy smirked again, and I had my answer.
Chapter two coming, possibly soon. I don't really get any days off work until January. So we shall see. Review if you wish.