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Chapter 15 : Confused
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Draco Malfoy was in a foul mood. He had left the ball early, and he lad left his date as well. He was hoping to find some ‘lost’ couples in the secluded corridors so he could dock house points, and he really didn’t care what house they were in either.
Draco wasn’t sure why his mood was so black, but he had the inkling sense that it had something to do with the fact that Ronald Weasley was with her. For some reason, the idea of the two of them together infuriated him, and he didn’t know why. He loved Pansy, didn’t he?
He was walking past the stairway to the hospital wing when something caught his eye. His curiosity piqued, he stepped closer to investigate and he saw that it was Hermione laying motionless on the ground.
“Merlin, Hermione,” he whispered as he went down the stairs, three at a time. He knelt beside her, checking for injuries. Her arm looked to be broken and there was a large pool of blood surrounding her head.
Without thinking, Draco stood again and ran to the hospital wing. The moment he saw Madame Pomfrey, he grabbed her arm and practically dragged her to where Hermione lay motionless on the cold stone floor. The plump nurse’s eyes widened at the state that Hermione was in and she set straight to work.
“She’s lost a lot of blood,” she stated, placing her wand at Hermione’s head and bringing is along her body. Draco heard a few cracks, and he hoped that it was a good kind of crack, like the cracking back into place.
“I’ve healed her bones, but she needs blood.” She looked to Draco. “Mr. Malfoy, I will need you to carry her back to the hospital wing so that I can give her a potion to regain some of the blood that she’s lost.”
Draco nodded and scooped Hermione up in his arms and carried her to the hospital wing. Never before had he felt such fear than when he had seen her at the bottom of those stairs, her blood spilling out of her body.
It was a completely rational thought, he told himself-she could’ve died. But something about the way that fear seized his heart at the thought of losing her made him think that he honestly cared for her, that maybe some part of him really did love her.
He set her down on the firm hospital bed and paced anxiously as the mediwitch gave Hermione potion after potion. Finally, she gave the verdict that Hermione would be fine, but needed rest. When she woke up, she would be free from the hospital wing, as long as there was someone to help her get to her room. She would feel dizzy, and would need help walking. Draco waited the entire time until Hermione woke with a groan.
“A broken arm, a bruised rib, a cracked skull, a concussion, and almost death from blood loss,” he listed her injuries. “And you nearly gave me a heart attack to top it all off.”
“Wha-Draco?” asked Hermione in confusion. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, since I’m fairly certain that allowing someone to die is murder some form of murder, I decided to skip out on that charge and get you help when I found you bleeding at the bottom of the staircase. I mean, if you had preferred to stay there, I’m sure we could arrange another tragic accident for you. Falling out a window, trampled by a hippogriff, perhaps?”
“No,” she replied, “I didn’t want to die.” She looked curiously at him. He didn’t have feelings for her, right? Then why was he sitting there jesting with her? Hermione came to the conclusion that he was just toying with her, and the idea of it upset her.
“Go away,” she demanded.
“You need me to get back to our dorm. Doctor's orders. Besides, I can tell that you’re dizzy.”
“I’d rather drag myself back,” she growled.
“Don’t be so rash love.” Hermione flinched at the endearment. “You’re going back and I’m going to help you.”
Hermione didn’t see the point in arguing. She was too tired and she was quite familiar with Draco’s mulish ways. With a sigh of defeat, Hermione stood shakily and began to walk to the door. When she stumbled, Draco caught her quickly and effortlessly. He wrapped his arm around her waist for support and the walked at a torturously slow pace.
She tried to ignore him. She knew that if she let herself get close to him again, he would hurt her. Her mind was screaming at this point, telling her that she would regret this, that he was only being nice to her because she was injured. After all, she thought, there was only so much that the human heart can take before it breaks. And she would not allow herself to fall in love with him again, just to get hurt. Finally, she couldn’t take the polite chatter.
“Will you just stop it!?” she exclaimed. “Don’t be so nice to me just so you can leave me again!”
“But Mione, you’re hurt.”
“Oh, this?” She indicated to her head, stepping closer to him. “Do you think this hurts? I don’t want to hear anything about pain from you. You don’t know anything about pain. Pain, Draco, is when your heart is ripped from your chest right when you really begin to live. Pain is when you love someone so much that you feel as though you’re about to burst, and then the one you thought loved you betrays you. Pain, Draco, is what you caused in me when you. broke. my. heart.”
“But you said-“
“I believe I can find my own way back now,” said Hermione coldly. And just like that, she walked away from him, leaving Draco to himself and the question raging in his mind.
Why did it hurt so much that she was gone?
Harry sat in the Gryffindor common room, casting concerned glances at Hermione, who lay curled up on one side of the crimson couch. Nobody talked to her because her responses were so forced that it was painful to listen. She hadn’t moved an inch all night, and she continued to stare at the same spot on the stone wall for hours at a time. Something had happened to reverse her previous relative happiness, and Harry had the distinct impression that it had something to do with a certain Draco Malfoy.
When Hermione’s eyes finally drifted closed in a light slumber, Harry stood and made his way to the head’s dorms, where Hermione only went when she was positive that he wasn’t there.
He walked straight in, having known the password for quite some time. The sight that greeted him was a surprise, though it helped to prove what Harry had been thinking for quite some time. Simply, he couldn’t believe it. Harry could not believe that Draco, who had looked at Hermione with such love and adoration, had never loved her.
Draco was sitting on the couch, a look of utter and complete confusion on his face as he fingered the ring that Hermione had given him.
“You really hurt her, you know,” stated Harry.
“I know,” came Draco’s reply. He hadn’t looked up.
“She barely eats. She barely sleeps,” he continued. “She doesn’t even cry.”
“A bad thing? I assure you Malfoy; it’s a very bad thing. You hurt her so deeply that it’s not that she won’t cry out of stubbornness, but that she can’t cry. She’s so confused that she doesn’t know what to do or believe anymore. She won’t talk to us, and she doesn’t talk to Ginny either.”
“I didn’t know.”
“I think you did,” said Harry coolly. “You know her better than that. Did you expect her to just bounce back? She loved you.” A short pause followed before Draco looked up and spoke.
“I never meant to hurt her like this,” he said, his brows furrowed in confusion. “I don’t know how this happened. It all seems so…wrong. I mean Pansy-I always thought I hated her. But suddenly, everything’s different, and I don’t know what to do. I’m so confused.”
“I believe you.” Harry’s words seemed to take Draco by surprise.
“Yes. And you’re not the only one who’s confused. I mean, one moment you’re telling Mione that you love her, and you were sincere, and the next moment, you’re cheating on her. It just doesn’t seem…normal.”
“So you’re saying something’s wrong with me?” inquired Draco.
“Yes Malfoy, I am.” Draco considered Harry’s words for a moment before giving his reply. But when he did, it was with a cold laugh.
“I see what you’re doing Potter,” he stated, “and it’s not going to work. You’re just playing matchmaker here because Hermione is all sad now that I’ve left her.”
“You stated the facts yourself.”
“Guilty conscience,” replied Draco easily. “I know who I love and it is most definitely not Hermione Granger.”
The portrait swung closed, drawing the attention of both of them. A wave of guilt washed over Draco when he saw Hermione standing just inside the doorway.
“I see,” she said. “Never mind then. Goodbye.” Harry glowered at Draco before running after his friend of nearly seven years. He hesitated at the doorway.
“Don’t come near her again Malfoy.” His tone was lethal. “You’ve hurt her enough, and frankly, you don’t deserve a second chance.” He left then, allowing the portrait to swing closed behind him
When he finally found her, she was sitting next to a suit of armour in the corridors, her head in her hands, knees drawn up. Harry sat beside her and waited until she was ready. When she had finally composed herself, she spoke.
“I never thought that something like this would happen to me,” she said. “I’ve always been careful about who I got close to for this reason. I mean, when my dad died, it hurt my mum so much that I never wanted to go through that pain. But this is worse. I never thought that a single person could cause so much pain in me.”
“Things like this usually are unexpected,” murmured Harry, allowing Hermione to lean against him, resting her head on his shoulder.
“Do you think I’ll ever be able to forget him? I don’t want to hurt like this all the time.”
“I don’t think you will ever forget Draco. A part of you will always love him. But you will move on. It won’t always hurt like this.”
“How do you know?”
“Because you’ll find someone else, someone who will make you happier than Draco ever did.”
“That’s not a reason, it’s a prediction.”
“Well, I am pretty amazing at divination. Watch, I’ll make another one. I am in grave danger! Something is coming to get me; I am in great peril of losing my life!” He waved his arms about and rolled his eyes to accentuate his point, causing Hermione to laugh.
“There,” he said, ”that’s what we like to see.”
“You still have yet to give me an actual reason.”
“It’ll happen. I know, because I’m the great and famous Harry Potter, savior to the wizarding race, dashing boyfriend, wonderful friend and seeker extraordinaire, and because I say so.”
A/N: Thank you to everyone who reviewed, You are all amazing! Hope you enjoyed this chapter, and don't forget to review!
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