It’s always been difficult, looking after a daughter who has no father. Technically, there’s always two parents, but physically, mentally – he’s never there. He’s never even met her, unless you count the time he came over to discuss options when she was barely more than three days old.
Sometimes I think of hating him, but I know the notion is ridiculous. What’s the point of hating someone you will always love? I hate that I love him, but to physically drive this enmity against him . . . it’s just not possible.
He was always beautiful, he was always treasured. Pure above the class he considered scum, his pride a barrier around himself. He’d never allow anyone to get close to him, to really know him. So when I fell in love with him, it was unexpected, unplanned . . . the realisation of it shocked him, and he just couldn’t cope. He retreated like poison healed by an antidote. The fear and incredulity he felt that someone could feel anything towards him other than admiration and distaste astounded him . . . I knew from that moment onwards that he was lost, that I would never have him.
I felt his body tremble against mine, his lips breathlessly enclosing around my mouth, unlocking the passion within himself, feeling the pleasure of desire. Perspiration peppered his brow, caught his hair and clamped it to his forehead. His pallid face became flushed at the cheeks, his cold body became warm wonderful on top of me. I ran my hands over his back, feeling the soft snowy-white flesh beneath my palms, and found it wonderful that he was with me.
The bedroom was large, simply furnished, but he made it luxurious. His very presence rattled me with disbelief, he was actually here, inside of me . . . I wondered how we had ever allowed it to happen.
I looked up into his eyes through moans of pleasure, glimpsing a new light in them, one that shone with affection and hunger and want . . . I found myself wondering if maybe, just maybe, there was more in those eyes than just lust.
He rolled away from me, the weight of his body suddenly lifted and causing me to feel plain once more. The speciality of his incidence was gone again. I realised suddenly that without him I was nothing; together, we were divine. My intelligence personalised me, his charm and good-looks were my other half. We belonged together.
But Draco didn’t seem to feel that. He lay breathing slowly now besides me, staring up at the ceiling through slitted eyes. Silver eyes they were, with a veil of black-blue. His pupils were wide and dark, the colouring around them a web of metallic grey, or like a stormy day when the sun has disappeared behind cloud, leaving a horizon of silvery-streaked brightness to take its place. His strong, firm jaw on his pointed face was loosened in utter relaxation – he had no show to put up, he felt safe with me, safe to be himself. His lips, slightly redder than I remember, were parted as the breath left them. He closed his eyes, the long lashes slanting across his skin. The pink tinge on his cheeks faded to its usual pallor and I could tell he was satisfied.
I placed a hand on his spectacular chest and snuggled up to him, laying my head against his neck so he could pick up the scent of my hair. He stirred and glanced down at me, and I could feel his heart beat quickening. Was it panic, regret or disgust with himself? I didn’t know. Perhaps it could have even been a sudden blossom of feeling, but he doesn’t know how to love . . . the concept of it all frightened him.
“Hermione,” he murmured, shifting slightly so that I sat up and gazed down at him. He lifted a hand to brush a tendril of hair away from my face and hook it behind one ear. He stared deeply in my eyes, trying to define my emotions. I let the love burn freely there, but for him, it was only attraction. “We shouldn’t have let this happen.”
I stared at him. “What happen?”
He sighed, unsure of how to say it, but I knew already what was on his mind. A conformation of words would only make it worse, pain me more, but I had to hear them. If he was to tear me apart then he would have to voice it aloud, so that the pain could sink in from the outside first, rather than eating me from within.
“This,” he closed his eyes again. “You know what, Hermione. You know perfectly well what my father would say if he ever –”
“Draco!” I almost shouted at him, my voice as sharp as the edge of a knife. “I don’t care about your father, ok? This is about us. I – I love you.” My voice trembled as I said it, and he turned to look at me with concern in his eyes. He frowned.
The whisper confirmed it. If he knew, then why wasn’t he doing something about it? If he acknowledged the depth of my feelings then why did he choose to ignore them, to lead me on like this, to continue this relationship on his terms? A tear slid slowly down my cheek, salty and thick. He reached to brush it away with the tenderness of his thumb, but I pulled back, sitting up and crossing the room to reach the window. It looked out onto the world below – a city of people, all at work, oblivious to my utter misery.
“No, you don’t,” I didn’t look at him, kept my bare back to his face to show him my discomfort. The breath of cold winter air touched my skin and set it to goose-bumps. The smoothness was gone – there were faults in this relationship. “You know nothing of my pain.”
There was a long silence, the hesitation a deadly wound between us. My heart ached with loss, for even at that point I knew there was no future for us, not whilst he was scared of his own feelings.
He came up behind me, his footfalls soft on the beige carpet. His arms snaked around me, pulling me close to him, but I remained my focus on the street outside. He bent his head to kiss my neck softly, the sensation of his lips sending shivers down my spine.
“Stop,” I whispered, pain etched within my voice. I didn’t want him to stop, of course I didn’t, but I couldn’t go on living this lie, pretending that he loved me, that he knew how. Tears slid down my cheeks more fluently now and I pulled away from him, beginning to pick the abandoned clothes up from where we had left them on the floor.
“Where are you going?” He asked me apprehensively. He watched as I dressed, concealing my body from his view, taking away what I had so easily given him and he had abused.
“Away from here,” I tried to make my voice strong, but knew he detected the uncertainty within it. “I can’t do this anymore, not with you refusing to admit your feelings.”
He shook his head. “Hermione, there aren’t any feelings.”
I sniffed, drying my eyes, still unable to look at him. “More reason for me not to be here.”
He stood awkwardly for a moment or two, unsure of how to prevent me. He knew he only needed to utter the three words, to make them true, but his inability to do so scalded me. I ran shaking hands through my hair and went to the door. He stopped me, my hands resting softly on the handle.
“Please, don’t do this – you know I can’t – I can’t say how I feel, I can’t –”
I turned to him, smiling forcedly. “It’s ok. You don’t need to. If you can’t accept that you feel more than affection to me, then there can’t be a future for us. We can’t go on like this – I can’t go on like this. I need someone to support me, to love me . . . especially as I carry your child.”
He stopped, shocked. “Y – You didn’t get rid of it?”
I turned sharply to glare at him. “Of course not. It’s an innocent life, there’s nothing to do except look forward to this baby, and if you can’t share that excitement with me, then I’ll do it alone. This is your fault, not mine.”
Sometimes I still feel guilty about leaving him so abruptly. I think it was in a half-hope that he would stop me, tell me he loved me and wanted to have this child with me. But he didn’t, and that mistake was regrettable for the both of us.
I can’t unleash my heart from his, but I can at least look at my child and love her. She is the image of her father – pale, pointed face, beautiful features, silvery-grey eyes that fix me with so much love. The love her father could never give me. Sometimes, when I look at her, I find it hard to swallow back the emotion she arouses within me. He should be here now, by my side, enjoying our child as I do.
Emily has never asked about her father, but when she does I will tell her only this: that he was a man, nothing more, nothing less. Deep down I know Draco was so much more than that, to me and to the world. He faced a path of difficulties he could not cross; he was what his parents made him. I am determined that his daughter shall not be so.
I stood up and smiled down at my daughter. Emily’s nine-years-old now, due to attend Hogwarts in just a couple of years time. I put her name down on the list as soon as she was born. She is kind in nature, her white-blonde hair and features just an echo of her father – her soul does not belong to him. I’ve brought her up as best as I can, with the help of my friends and family, and I don’t think I’ve treasured or loved any one more than her.
Except perhaps for Draco. But he is lost to me, an empty body emotionless and powerless to the demands of the world. He will never find love, for it has eluded him. When the opportunity for happiness came to him he stood and waved it goodbye.
I don’t feel sympathy for him. Only pity. Pity that he cannot admit what he is, must always keep up a pretence. That pretence divided us, slicing us apart. We live in different worlds, see everything through different eyes. A match that could have been, but never will.
Emily walked up to me, smiling brightly, crayons and a piece of parchment fastened in her hands. I lifted her up onto my lap and held her close to me. She talked me through the drawing, and I listened to the sound of her voice intently, loving her, cherishing her. She fills the place in my heart now, I need no other.
I will never forget what he gave me, and what he took away.
Draco Malfoy will never be mine. He was beautiful, that boy with the casual smile, the twisting sneer, the eyes of silver lakes, the moonlit white of hair, the blanched face, the muscular chest . . . That boy who could not love.
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