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Chapter 19 : Chapter Nineteen: Truth
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“Welcome home!” Viktor threw open the door to our new penthouse and smiled. I looked around. The room we had just entered was beautiful. The walls were a rich maroon with gold trimming. The furniture matched the gold trimming and there was a soft-looking couch and two armchairs facing a brilliant fireplace. “What do you think?” he turned and asked me.
I put on a smile, “It’s great.” I said honestly. I walked past him carrying my bag and found the bedroom. There was all new furniture but the lady downstairs had assured us that all our clothes and personal belongings were set up here by the movers. The total transformation of our houses had taken most of the day. Viktor’s previous team had bought back our house for the next family to live in so we were now officially residents of Bulgaria. It had been way to short, if I wasn’t completely empty of emotion then I probably would have been upset. But I wasn’t. It was late; I was only tired.
I set my bag of personal stuff on the bed. It mainly had a few articles of clothing, The Bag, and my other bedroom/bathroom stuff.
“Are you okay?” Viktor walked into the room behind me. He’d been asking me this a lot. I hate that I wasn’t acting well enough. Hopefully I’d be back to normal soon.
“I’m fine,” I said again. “Just really tired.”
He didn’t say anything, just examined me. Again. He’d been doing this a lot, too. I looked away and unzipped my bag for something to do. “We should probably get to bed, you have your first practice session as captain tomorrow.” I said. I hoped my voice didn’t sound as bored as I thought it did. I pulled out the old shirt and sweatpants I’d packed and slipped them on.
I threw the rest of my bag onto the floor and climbed into bed. A few minutes later Viktor silently followed me and I watched the lights dim into the darkness. I noticed that one of the walls had opened into a huge window. We looked out at the city and the stars. If I wasn’t so empty I wouldn’t have been amazed at the beauty. Staring at the stars was something I used to do at the Burrow with R… no. I wouldn’t think about that. My carefully constructed dam of memories threatened to break but I made it hold.
With Viktor’s arm rested on my waist, I drifted off to another fitful nights sleep.
I was running up to the front door of the Burrow. I had to get in; he was there. Waiting for me. He needed me just as much as I needed him. I reached the door and tried to turn the knob; it was locked. I pulled on the knob frantically. How was I supposed to get in?
I felt something in my back pocket. My wand. I pulled it out and whispered the spell. I heard the door click. I let out a breath of relief as I threw it open. The way it hit the wall made the whole house shake, but I didn’t care. I knew where he was and I had to get there.
I dashed to the stairs and took them two or three at a time, almost falling quite often. I ran past Ginny who yelled ‘Hermione, he’s gone. You’re too late, Hermione, he’s gone!’
I didn’t believe her. He had to be there. He was always there for me. He wouldn’t leave without me. He couldn’t. Not again.
I ran past Harry on the staircase, ‘He doesn’t love you anymore. He’s over you.’ He told me, ‘its over.’
‘NO!’ I yelled back at him. It wasn’t over. It couldn’t be. I still needed him, he had to need me too.
Finally I reached his room. I threw open the door and stared at the empty room. Everything was stripped. That stupid comforter missing, the posters that had been there since childhood, gone. He was gone.
I couldn’t breathe. I collapsed to the floor. The floors between me and Harry and Ginny seemed more like continents as I broke down. Huge, raking sobs rolled through me. I gasped for breath through my tears. ‘No, no, come back. No.’
“Hermione, Hermione,” someone was shaking me awake. It was just a dream. I opened my eyes and noticed that Viktor had turned on the lights and was looking at me, concerned. I took a steadying breath that didn’t work. I reached up and noticed that I was crying. “Are you okay? Hermione, what’s wrong?” he asked, worried. I struggled to sit up and wiped my tears with the collar of my shirt.
“I-I’m fine,” I said, breathing hard. “B-bad dream.”
“Hermione,” he said my name like the beginning of a long speech.
“I’m fine,” I cut him off. My voice was stronger as I repaired my wall. “Let’s just go back to sleep.”
His eyes searched me for a second but as I lay back down, so did he. The lights went off and I noticed that he was facing the other way. For the first time since I could remember we fell asleep back-to-back.
The next morning I woke up with my eyes crusted together. I wiped them as I sat up. I noticed Viktor was gone, his side of the bed not made. Wondering if I’d slept late, I looked at the clock. It was only seven twenty-three. Viktor’s practice didn’t start until nine this morning. Where could he be?
Maybe he had to go early to get to know the team or something. I sighed as I threw my legs over the side of the bed. I tried to keep my mind from remembering the horrific dream last night and the way Viktor had looked at me when he woke me up. I had to work on clearing my mind before bed, I guess. I couldn’t keep letting Viktor see my pain. I needed to get past this by myself.
I took a long bath in the huge tub in the master bathroom. I was very nice, but not as relaxing as I had hoped. I dressed in jeans and a Harpies t-shirt Ginny had given me and threw my wet hair into a bun. I tried not to think about them as I examined the apartment.
I had made it through most of the rooms before I found the one that I’d probably be spending most of my time in. Until I got a job, at least. I’d decided to give myself some time to adjust to this new life before I dived into working. Anyway, the room was an amazing study - but the part that amazed me were all the books. All of my books that I had moved here and then some. This was quickly becoming my favorite part of Bulgaria.
One reason I’d always loved books was that they could take you somewhere else and help you to forget the real world when you needed too. And right now, I needed to. I grabbed a thick, interesting-looking book and walked over to the armchair near the shelves. It was comfortable, but not like the ones we had in the common room back at Hogwarts. Those were my favorite.
I don't know how long I sat there reading, but eventually I was brought back to reality by the doorbell. Sighing and marking my place, I vacated my chair and walked to the door.
“Zdravei,” smiled a young, slender girl in the hotel’s uniform. She was a little taller than me and had long, straight, silky dark brown hair. She smiled at me with her huge brown eyes. She looked a few years younger than me.
And she was speaking Bulgarian. Great. I looked at her blankly, “Er – I don’t speak Bulgarian very well. Any chance you speak English?” I asked hopelessly.
“Not speak as much as understand,” she said slowly. I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Great!” I smiled at her. “How can I help you?”
She pointed to herself, “I am called Tanya. I am vorking… clean?” she said unsure.
“I’m Hermione,” I smiled. “Are you the maid?”
She nodded, “But I can come later.”
“Oh, you don’t have to clean in here. I can take care of it,” I told her. I didn’t really need anyone to help me clean a flat that I’d only been in for about twelve hours.
“You are sure?” she asked.
I nodded. She turned to go when my stomache rumbled and I realized I hadn't eaten anything all day. I decided to as for help, “But can you help me with something?” I asked her, she turned to face me again. “I just moved here and I don’t really know where anything is. Where’s the nearest place to get food?”
She seemed to think, “Vell, I am ov vork now. I show you?”
I looked at her, she looked nice enough. And I would need some sort of friend here in Bulgaria. Why not the lady that was supposed to clean my room? It was better than sitting here and brooding on my lost life. I smiled. “That sounds great, let me grab my purse.” She nodded and I ran to my room and pulled it out of my bag. I looked in the mirror and applied a quick bit of makeup before rushing back to meet Tanya.
“Go?” she asked.
I nodded, “I’m starving.”
The casual restaurant she showed me was very nice. The food was good, the atmosphere was pleasant enough, and the waiters were very accommodating (though that was probably because they recognized me from the huge pictures that were on the magazines). Tanya was very nice and welcoming and was, much to my dismay, very interested in how my life was in England. As we ate I outlined my old life skipping over details that would break through my wall like a strong reducto spell. She explained (as best as she could) that she’d lived in Bulgaria, mostly in the very hotel, all her life. Apparently her dad owned the hotel so she worked as a maid whenever she needed extra money.
After lunch we walked back to my residence and she told me that she was staying down on the bottom floor if I needed anything. As I pushed my hand against the door (the sophisticated way of unlocking it) and walked into the room I sighed. At least now I knew two people in Bulgaria. Next maybe I could expand my association to outside this hotel…
I hung my purse on the rack near the door and lifted my eyes to the living room. Then I froze, my mind went blank, and I couldn’t breathe.
“‘Mione?” croaked the beautiful redhead that must have been some bad trick of my mind.
But my wall was still up, though there were terrible cracks in it now, and the way he was perched awkwardly on the golden armchair facing the door told me that he must be real; no mirage was this breathtakingly amazing.
I couldn't speak. I just stood there as my mind turned to mush. I didn’t even puzzle over how he got in. Just thought that there was no reason for him to be here. I had moved away from him. Why did life want to make me so miserable? Why, whenever I tried to do the right thing, did it snap back and show me what might have been?
Ron stood up and walked closer to me, “Hermione,” he said. I closed my eyes as, at last, my wall crumbled. Two and a half days it had lasted, but it stood no chance to those blue eyes and that croaky voice. I violently walked a tear from my cheek and pushed past him to stand by the fireplace, “What do you want, Ronald?” I asked not facing him. My amazement at seeing him again when I thought I never would had faded into anger; how dare he show up here after not even telling me goodbye?
I didn’t hear anything for a good minute. I must have shocked him into silence with my harsh tone. Then I heard my name again, “Hermione.”
Can he quit saying that? I turned, “What?” I cried. “Why are you here? What do you want from me?”
“I don’t want anything from you,” he said slowly. “I just… you.”
I looked at him utterly confused. “What?”
“‘Mione, you were right when you said we couldn’t be friends.”
Oh, so you came here to tell me I was right and that we couldn’t have any contact. Wonderful. I continued to stare at him.
“That’s not what I meant,” he said angrily as he began to pace a few yards from me. He finally stopped and looked up, “What I mean is that,” he stopped and turned pink. “IstillloveyouandIdontwantyoutoleave.”
I didn’t know what he said, but the tension in the air told me it was important. If only I knew what language he was speaking I might be able to decode it… “Sorry,” I said softly, “I didn’t catch that.”
He sighed in frustration. Well excuse me. “I said.” He paused. This was getting annoying. He was here and my heart was shattered but each piece somehow still hurt so couldn’t he just spit it out? “I still love you. And I don’t want you to leave.” He looked at the ground as my jaw dropped. My mouth hung open at him.
As the words sunk in, tears started to fall down my face. Why me? Why? I wanted to run at him and tell him that I loved him and that I never wanted him to let go of me. But at the moment I couldn’t move. And I was married, too, so…
He looked up, “Please say something,” he begged.
I shut my mouth and then thought of a way to make my words legible. “I…I…” I tried. The words threatened to choke me. “It’s too late.” I finally said.
“What?” his face fell, if possible, more.
“I already left, Ron,” I said gesturing around. “This isn’t England, you know. If you didn’t want me to go then you either should have told me that before I left about two days ago or,” I said, practically sobbing, “you shouldn’t have left me to begin with!”
We sat there staring at each other for a while until I had to turn and wipe my eyes. How dare he do this to me? He… he couldn’t? What the hell had Ginny and Harry told him that night in his room!?
I felt a rough, warm hand on my shoulder. Ron spun me around to face him. His face was hard to read. “Hermione,” he started again. Merlin, I loved the way he said my name. For a fleeting second I wished I could record it just to play it back whenever I wanted. Then I remembered the situation. “I don’t know why I left you that night. I… I must have temporarily lost my mind, though I won’t make excuses.” I snorted. Making excuses was his forte. “And this is really corny but I swear on my mother's life that I have regretted it every day of my life. Even when I was in denial, I regretted it. Even when I was in Scotland and one of those rare moments passed where I wasn’t thinking of you, I regretted it.”
“Well bully for you,” I muttered.
“And I didn’t come after you that night because I didn’t think that you would leave. I didn’t think that you could do what I did.”
“Oh, so now you’re telling me I screwed up?” I said raising my voice and tearing away from him. “Well, Ronald, there is a little difference between when you left and when I left. I have a husband!” ‘and you being here isn’t helping my marriage!’ I wanted to add to the end with a whole lot of expletives.
He stared at me as if this were news to him. Then that look left and was replaced with one of determination. “That’s not what I meant. It’s just that I love you, Hermione. I love you more than I can even tell you. And I know that you still love me, too. And I don’t want this to come between us again.”
This was unbelievable. It was making me feel too many confusing emotions, “And by ‘this’ do you mean a country or my marriage?” I asked sarcastically.
He seemed to be stuck. Then he sighed and shook his head. “Ginny was wrong. This is useless,” he looked into my eyes. I gasped at the fact that Ginny had started this. “Look, all I can say is that I love you more than life itself; yes, its cheesy but it’s true. And more than that just be happy. And if he makes you happy, then –”
“I don’t.” I jumped at the new voice and looked over Ron’s shoulder to see Viktor standing in the doorway. Again, my heart stopped but in a different way than before.
“Viktor,” I breathed, taking a step back from Ron. “I…I…”
“Save it,” Viktor said shortly.
I was shaking my head and walking around Ron and towards him, “No, listen, this isn’t –”
“No, you listen,” he said. Then stepped past me and stood between me and Ron as he stared at the latter. I felt like I was being torn in half; like I was about to drop dead. I probably would have embraced that last option. He held up his hand and for the first time I noticed that there was a stack of paper in it. He looked away from Ron and back to me, “I want a divorce.”
Out of all the things that had shocked me that day, and there were a few, this one just about killed me. Again, my mouth dropped open and I barely noted that Ron looked like he was about to fall over. My legs didn't feel too steady, either, might I add.
Finally I found my voice, “No, Viktor, why? What did I do?” I started to cry again. Well, the tears leaked out of my eyes. I couldn’t let myself lose it completely.
Viktor’s hard face softened. He hated to see my cry, I knew that. “It’s not anything you did, Hermione.” He said, “I just… you don’t love me.”
My mouth opened and closed so many times my jaw started to hurt. Viktor’s eyes saddened. “See?”
“No,” it broke forth, “Viktor that’s not true, I do love you, I do!” I said honestly. “You’re my husband! I love you! I moved to Bulgaria for you!”
Viktor shook his head, “Hermione,” he took a step forward and put his hand under my cheek. “You might love me, but not like you love him. And you didn’t move here for me. Not all, anyway. You moved to get away from him.” I tried to shake my head and he held it still. “I’m not thick, Hermione, and I don’t like you pretending that I am. You do everything lately for him.”
“Viktor,” I breathed, tears leaking onto his hand.
He sighed, frustrated and angry, “Look,” he let go of me and backed up. “And be honest, Hermione. If you weren’t bound to me; if we weren’t married, who would you pick?”
I looked from my husband to Ron, whose eyes were so wide they were about to fall out of his head. He looked so shocked… and so beautiful. And with that thought I knew that I couldn’t lie to Viktor. Not anymore. I looked at the floor.
“I think I’ve just proven my point,” Viktor said, his voice only revealing the heartbreak in the end. It hurt me to hurt him like this. But, with a pang of guilt, I realized it was pain I could live with. I am such a terrible person!
“Viktor, I married you,” I said, trying in vain.
“Only because he made one really dumb mistake and left you.”
He sighed again, this time dejectedly, “Look, I didn’t want to have to do this but I’ll claim infidelity if you don’t sign the papers, Hermione.”
“No one will believe that you cheated on me,” I said softly to the floor.
“But if they see you look at him,” he pointed over his shoulder at Ron, who was still rooted to the spot in awkward, unbelieving shock, “they’ll believe that you cheated on me.”
I looked up in shock, “You would…”
“Only if you make me, Hermione,” he said. “I don’t want to, but if you don’t sign the papers…” he looked away. “Damn it, I’m trying to do this for you!” he almost yelled. “I want you to be happy. Really happy. And I can’t make you that kind of happy.”
I looked at Ron, “I think you should go.” I told him clearly. He nodded, stumbled to the fire place to take a pinch of floo powder, and was gone. I’m sure that he didn’t have a doubt in his mind about how this would end. I hated that I didn’t either.
I looked back at Viktor and sighed, “I’m only keeping what I had when we got married,” I told him firmly. He nodded and held out the papers. I took them and walked into the kitchen. He followed me. I took a self-inking quill from a basket and looked at him. “I do love you, Viktor. I always will.”
He just nodded.
I put the papers on the counter and held the quill above them, “You know, I moved here so that this wouldn’t happen.” I admitted as a tear fell and I looked up at him.
“You moved here so that this wouldn’t happen on bad terms,” he told me softly.
I chuckled completely inappropriately. “You know me better than I know myself,” I said as more tears fell and I signed on all of the right lines.
I stood outside the flat very late that night, tears running down my face with three bags of luggage at my side and a strong feeling of deja vu. I knocked on the door and waited for the door to swing open, “Hermione!” Ginny gasped, just like last time, “What’s wrong?”
I took a deep, steadying breath. This was something I could handle, “Viktor…” another breath. “Viktor and I just filed for divorce.”
And then I rushed forward and collapsed into her arms.
However, this time, I knew that I would be better. I knew that magical divorces were quicker than muggle ones, especially if both parties consented and were famous. I knew that Ron and I would end up together. If – after he leaves, she gets married, stays married for a year, he comes back, she leaves him, then she gets a divorce – two people can still love each other, they must be made for each other.
The only thing I didn’t know was if Viktor was going to be okay. I hoped he was; he wouldn’t have me complicating his life ever again. Hopefully whomever he chose next wouldn’t be as stupid as me.
A/N: SADD. IT'S OVER! well, except the epilogue that i have NO clue when i'll get up. but yes, i finally wrapped it up. I hope that it wasn't like too fast or whatever, i'd been planning this for a while so its not like i just wanted to finish it so i wrote it in one chapter. Anyway, i can't believe that it's done! I finished it in less than a year, but i can't believe that it's been almost that long since i started it! wow. and i cna't believe all the reviews and praise that i've gotten for it. its every fanfiction writers dream, i swear. haha. I have another story/stories in the works but school is SO crazy so i don't know what i'll do with them. and you all better love me because i'm suppsed to be studying for an AP chem test, doing 2 hours of AP bio and precal homework but i submitted this first. is that dedication or what? hah.
i also want to give a shout out to the aweosme staffers who validated all the stories and opened the queue so fast, YOU GUYS ROCK!! =]
Please review. I am so grateful to all my readers!
love you guys.
over and outt.
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