Something has happened in which I sincerely believed was impossible, you have returned from the dead; yet you have not returned to me. I am not the woman you left behind and no amount of time away from you could bring us back to one another. You must believe that it breaks my heart all over again to have to pen these words upon this page but it is not in me to withhold the truth, and especially not from you. I was never one to believe that those who claimed the truth hurts were right but alas I have now lived long enough to realize the harsh candor within such a simple phrase. Because the truth does indeed hurt very much, sometimes I feel more so then the lie that brought it forth. I will not tell you that tears fall as I write this because they do not. I fear I have cried too much over the last five years and I will no longer succumb to such emotions that bound me to an empty hope. I do not write these words to hurt you or repay you for the injuries you bestowed upon my heart, I simply write to tell you that I forgive you. I understand now why you did what you thought you needed to do at the time you faked your own demise. I do not hate you Ronald, I could never hate you, but what we had died the day I placed your empty casket into the cold earth. I wish for you to move past this, I wish for both of us to finally move forward. I want you to know that when I think of you I will not be reminded of the pain but instead the happiness of a life we shared, a lifetime ago. Please do not dwell as I did for it only creates a maddened void that can never be filled. Be happy you are alive and well Ron, for I know I am happy to have that same knowledge. Please give my love to your family for I shall miss you all. I will be leaving London for some time but I promise to return one day and on that day I hope we can all embrace like old friends.
Hermione J. Granger
Harry neatly refolded the letter and placed it back into the envelope which bared Ron’s name. It had not been sealed and he could only gather that maybe she had not had the courage to take it that far, for sealing it was like binding the fate of their failed relationship. His heart went out to Ron, he knew this letter would defeat him and it would take him years to get over her, if he ever did at all. He also knew his friend would blame himself terribly for the loss of Hermione’s love. Sighing he placed the letter back in to the box in which he had found it.
He rummaged into another drawer in her nightstand and finally came across a leather bound journal. He recognized it immediately as the one Hermione had always carried with her everywhere, he could not imagine why she had left it behind when she departed for the Malfoy Manor. He got goose bumps when he thought of opening it, but he convinced himself that maybe if he did there would be some clue as to where she might be now. Slowly he unbound the leather strap that caressed the two covers and soon as it was untied a picture slipped out. He bent over and picked the picture up off the floor and flipped it over to see what it was of, and his heart ached.
Staring back at him was a muggle picture of him and Hermione, one they had taken at the Eiffel tower in Paris. He remembered how Ron refused to go to the top so just he and Hermione went up. She had brought a muggle camera and asked a stranger to snap the photo of them. He was choked up in his throat staring at her beautiful happy smile, both of their smiles.
“Oh Mione, where are you?” He asked the picture as he caressed it gently with his thumb. He received no answer only the silent haunting smile of a past he would never forget, and a friendship he vowed he would never give up on.
As he went to place the picture back into the front space of the journal he seen there was another enveloped gently pressed into the crevice of the cover and first page, it was addressed to him. Quickly he retrieved the letter from its sachet prison.
My Dearest Harry,
How to even begin this letter has baffled me for days so I will just write what my heart and soul wish for me to say. I only hope in the end you still cherish the friendship we have, though I know you and I know you will; and it is that for which I am most grateful.
It seems like just yesterday I was fixing your glasses on the Hogwarts Express, having you save me from a troll and not laugh at me with the poly juice potion mishap. You were there for me all those years when we were younger and I for you. I know it was the three of us, but with you I think I formed the strongest bond. You see dearest friend Ron was my heart but you were my soul, and still are embedded in my core. It has been many years since our childhood and we have both accomplished so much. You overcame the war and Voldermort, and I overcame my greatest heartache. We have both lost so much but we were blessed so many years ago with one another, I am most glad for that. I do not think I would have had the energy to keep going if it were not for you, after Ron and then my parents.
There will never be enough time in existence for me to thank you for all that you have done for me. I am sure Ron has received this letter and you know I have left London. I knew you would be the first to arrive at the flat and I knew that one day you would come across this letter. I only hope you do not hate me for not saying goodbye face to face, but I know that looking into your eyes and having to say farewell (even if it is only for a few weeks) would reduce me to tears and I would not go. I could never turn away from you Harry and I never will.
After the war when we found you and you lay in a coma for a year, I could not leave you. I know it was wrong of me when it was Ginny that had your heart and Ron mine, but something would not let me leave. It was selfish but I do not regret it. I wanted to be the first one you saw when you awoke, and I was. I remember you just looked at me and smiled. I knew then that no matter what everything would be alright and that my life was complete; because you had survived. You had come back to me.
I want you to know now Harry that I love you, more so then I think you know. I think I love you more then even I know and I could not ask for a better friend. No matter what I can always come to you and I need not even speak, you can read my eyes and know what it is that troubles me, or jubilates me; as I can with you. That type of friendship is very rare. We are uncommon Harry and I know you share my feelings on that. It pains me to be without you for these next few weeks but it is something I have to do. I have to do this for me, but I had to write the letter. I had to tell you incase something should happen, though I know I am just being silly in thinking that. But with Ron’s death and my parent’s illness, I have learned life can be unexpected; I wanted you to know how much you mean to me.
When I allow the sun to warm my face I will think of you. For the affectionate embrace of the sun reminds me of how I feel when with you, safe and warm.
I wanted you to know that I love you. Vous êtes mon plus cher ami.
Harry read the letter several times before placing it back into its envelope and into his pocket. He knew exactly what she meant about feeling bad for spending some much time with him when he was in a coma; he had always felt her presence there even if he could not tell her so. He knew she had never left his side longer then a lavatory break or when some one else wanted to visit with him privately such as Ginny. When he finally woke she was the first person he saw, and secretly he was glad because for some reason he still could not explain he rather it have been her instead of Ginny. Maybe because of the strong bond they shared or maybe something more, he did not even know.
He went to replace the journal back into its original spot in which he had found it when another envelope fell from its depths of ink stained pages.
“Merlin, you were letter happy Mi,” he said out loud to himself as he bent over to retrieve the letter from the floor. Once he flipped it over he froze for the name on the front was one that shocked him, Draco.
Harry could not help himself, he had to read it.
I can not even begin to think on how to start this letter so I will just write what it is that I feel my heart wants so badly to shout. I never imagined during our childhood at Hogwarts I could even look in your direction and not feel hatred. You caused me so much pain then, but as much as I try to hate you still I find that I can not. I have for five years done nothing but dwell upon the past, in so many aspects. I have thought of Hogwarts, the war, my parents and of losing Ron. I have allowed such sorrow to tear at my soul, leaving it tattered in a place full of shadows. Though now I am starting to wonder if I had to venture into the shadows to find you, for that is were you seem to dwell. You were given pardon for your hand in Albus’s death and you made so many amends to try and make all your wrongs right. You lost your father and your mother lay like my parents mentally paralyzed in St. Mungo’s. All your life you were groomed to be something you eventually realized you were not; I to have come to that same realization. All my life I was brought up to be noble and fair. I never cheated and I never lied, and look at were it has got me.
That night in Vegas, was one of the best nights I have ever had in the past five years. I would have never though Draco Malfoy could make me laugh, but you did. You showed me a city I have never once seen before; you should me a Draco I did not know existed. Maybe we had too much to drink or maybe we both had nothing else to lose, but we comforted one another that night. You were fierce and passionate but ever so gentle with me. When I woke the next morning with you in my bed I reacted in the most horrible way. I was not angry with you, I loved being with you – oddly as that may sound considering our history; but I felt I had let Ron down. You must know that Ron is very dear to me. He was my first love and I lived with him through my memories. Sleeping with you and coming to the realization of it, well it scared me because I knew that I wanted to be loved again. I wanted to move past Ron but I was so scared, because even if it was only his memory it was all I had and I was safe within those memories. I did not expect you or whatever it is we have going on, but with Ron coming home and not being dead I know one thing. I love him I probably always will but I am no longer in love with him. I was in love with what we had; and that no longer exists.
I am fearful now to even write these words but it is you Draco that I am in love with and no other. How did this happen? Why us? I do not know but I am willing to explore these feelings if you dare to as well. I am willing to deal with the consequences that this love will set forth, that being losing Ron all over again and possibly losing Harry. Though I know Harry, even if he is unhappy about it he will accept it, because he loves me and I him. He truly is the greatest friend I have ever known and for that I am thankful.
I love you Draco Malfoy. I tried to stop the feelings from coming but they are to strong, extremely to strong…
Harry could not believe his eyes and what they had just read. Hermione had bedded Draco on their mission in Vegas and now she was confessing this love for him. He went to rumple the letter but thought better of it; she would kill him if she knew he had just read something so private; so reluctantly he put the letter back along with the journal in the nightstand drawer and slammed it shut.
“What on earth is she thinking,” he said out loud to himself. He knew then that finding her now meant everything. Harry felt he had to save her, bring her home and above all else protect her from Malfoy. He knew how Draco was with women and he was not about to let Hermione become another conquest. He had seen Draco care for Hermione when she lay ill but he thought better of it. There had to be another reason why Draco was pursuing her and then it hit him like a ton of bricks, it was because of him. What would pain Harry more then stealing his best friend right out from under his nose, also taking the one woman he had never allowed himself to completely love.
Draco caressed the sleeping Hermione’s hair as he stared out the window of the rapidly moving train. She of course smelled of lavender and he breathed in her scent, allowing it to intoxicate him. He had fallen madly in love with her, even though he tried to regard his heart. He could not help it and he was unsure how it had transpired, this love for her. He looked back down at the sleeping woman, she was so peaceful and so pure and she was in his arms. Draco was unsure of many things at this point in his life but there was one thing he was very sure about, he would protect Hermione and their love. He knew she was slightly ill but he did not care, he wanted only to take care of her. He wanted to love her without the scrutinizing of others or the watchful eye of her best friend. He had vowed in the very beginning that he would let nothing or no one come between them and he especially meant Harry Potter!
To Be Continued...
A/N: I would like to thank you all for reading this first volume of Willingly into Wickedness. I hope you will enjoy the continuation of this epic tale/love story, in the next volume. The first chapter will be submitted for validation soon so keep your eyes on the look out! And once again thank you all for your kind words in your reviews and for reading! Next volume is titled "Willingly into Wickedness II"
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