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Chapter 2 : The Mirror
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When Hermione opened her eyes some hours later she was laying on an extremely comfortable bed, surrounded by other beds like hers. It was in the middle of the day, she could tell by the light that was streaming from the open windows. A chill autumn breeze touched her cheek and Hermione shivered.
«Ah, you're finally awake.» Madam Pomfrey's friendly voice reached Hermione's ears and she turned to see the nurse walking toward her bed. She carried a tray of food, and put it on the nightstand by Hermione's bed. Hermione sat upright as Madam Pomfrey took her wrist to check her pulse.
«Eat. You lost a lot of blood, and you need your strength back before I let you out of here.» She spoke slowly, making sure that Hermione understood everything she said. «Your nose was broken, so I had to give you some Mending Medicine and it dehydrates your body. So drink this.»
She gave Hermione a glass full of something that looked like muddy water. Hermione hesitantly took the glass and eyed it carefully before drinking it all in one gulp. When she was finished she gave Madam Pomfrey the empty glass as she grimaced. Madam Pomfrey was about to leave, but turned to look at Hermione again and smiled.
«Oh. And if you feel dizzy, get small headaches or lose the feeling in your nose, don't worry. It's only some small bi-effects from the Mending Medicine.» She smiled again and turned again to leave, but Hermione was confused.
«Er, Madam Pomfrey?» Her voice was hoarse, and she cleared her throat.
«Yes, dear?» She smiled, revealing the wrinkles around her kind eyes.
«Erm. I was just wondering, you see. About how I got here, and I thought that you would know. I don't remember anything, and...-» The look on Madam Pomfrey's face made Hermione trail off.
«Oh, yes.» She smiled a knowing smile. «Master Malfoy came in carrying you in his arms.» She winked at Hermione and left, this time not returning.
Malfoy..? And then Hermione remembered. He was the reason for her broken nose! He had just stormed into her room and knocked her over with the door. Git, she thought, she pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. But she was interrupted by a growl coming from her hungry stomach, and threw herself at the food beside her bed.
When Draco looked back at what had happened, it was actually kind of funny. He laughed a low laugh, as he looked out the window. He was sitting by the open window in the Head's common room with the woollen blanket around his shoulders. He shivered, as a chill breeze touched his cheek and he drew the blanket tighter around his body. A furry creature chose that moment to jump onto his lap, requesting to be achnowledged.
«Hey, Crookshanks.» Draco started to pet the furry, orange cat, making it purr and fall asleep.
Outside the window, dark clouds drew nearer and nearer, covering the sun and making the light almost disappear. Small drops of rain fell through the open window, sending shivers down Draco's spine. He bent closer to the window and closed it.
With a sigh he put the cat on a chair beside him and went to his room. After five minutes though, he went to sit by the fire. In his restlessness he couldn't make himself being able to stay in the same place for more than a few minutes, so he walked back to the window. He repeated the pattern a few more times before he stopped in his tracks and looked into space.
He had the most peculiar felling; he missed Granger. He missed the reassuring sound of her footsteps when they walked the halls of the school, obeying their given duties together. He missed when she raised her perfectly arched eyebrow at him when he made a sarcastic comment. The thought made him laugh, then grimace. Was she okay? It was his fault that she was hurt...
No! The voice in his head objected. How were you supposed to know that she was standing so close to door?! It's her own fault!
Draco nodded along with the thought, and snorted. Stupid, Granger... He thought and went to get a book from the bookshelf. But he found himself not able to read the titles. They were all one big blur. Draco shook his head, and grabbed a random book.
The fire warmed his cold toes as he sat on the floor and read the book he had chosen. He didn't remember the title, but he continued to read. Before he knew it he had read an entire chapter, and was by then captivated by the story of a young man whose family owned a large manor, and were obsessed about their wealth. The tale of the man had woken an interest in Draco, and he continued to read until he came to the page where the young man met a young woman, and fell in love with her at the moment their eyes met.
With a grimace Draco closed the book and threw it on the mahogony table. He snorted as he removed the woollen blanket and stretched his palms out to the warmth emerging from the fire. In his peripheral vision he could see the book laying on the table. He forced his eyes to look at the back of his hands, but turned his head slightly and stole a glance at the book. The warmth from the crackling fire spread through his body, giving him goosebumps. He growled as he shot a glance at the book again.
«Stop looking at me!» He hissed, and made himself look into the fire. «I don't want to read anymore!»
But he sighed as he got to his feet and picked up the book. He looked around the room before opening it, not knowing exactly why he did it, and started to read.
«Miss Granger? Dear?» The sound of Madam Pomfrey's voice woke Hermione. It was morning again, and the rain was now falling in buckets, she could hear the raindrops tapping on the windows. She opened her eyes and looked up into the nurse's smiling face.
«I'm letting you leave today. I believe you're nose is in the best state it ever will be.» She chuckled and helped Hermione to her feet.
«What time is it?» Hermione's voice was hoarse again, and she cleared it as her feet hit the floor.
«It's 10:30, dear.» She gave Hermione the sweater she was wearing the day before, still smiling.
«Oh, no! I'm late for class!» Hermione hurried to look after her shoes under the bed, but the sudden movement made her dizzy. Madam Pomfrey took her arm and stabilized her with a concerned look.
«I don't want you in class yet, you need to rest your mind. The Mending Medicine is not to be taken lightly. You need to relax. Can I trust that you will do that, Miss Granger?» Madam Pomfrey looked into Hermione's eyes.
Hermione nodded and took the shoes from Madam Pomfreys hands. She couldn't wait to get away from her concerned eyes.
It would be nice to sit by the fire in the common room, and at that moment she was happy to share a separate common room with Malfoy. Yes, he was her mortal enemy and all that, but he wasn't one to crave that much attention. Not from Hermione, anyway.
She made her way through students walking to their next class, and envied them. With a slight pout she went up the long staircase alone and spoke the password as she faced the painting of the talking bear.
Once inside the common room, she went to the bathroom and started filling the tub with warm water and exotic smelling oils.
With a sigh of contempt she lowered herself into the soothing water, and closed her eyes. She drew a deep breath before starting to sing in a low voice. It was the lullaby her mother used to sing to her when she was younger, and it always made Hermione feel a little better. After long days by herself and not having anyone to talk to (No one who wants to, she corrected herself), no one to share her thoughts and feelings with, Hermione had begun to sing that lullaby an awful lot.
If Ginny had been here it would all be better, she thought and felt the tears pressing behind her eyelids, wanting to submerge from the deepest part of her lonely soul.
A lump at the size of her fist settled in her throat, making it very difficult to keep singing, so she stopped and opened her eyes. Her ears started to ring, and the room started spinning. The white walls were not in their ordinary places, and dizzying Hermione further.
She closed her eyes again, not letting her sadness get the best of her, and forced the tears back into her blackened soul. Slowly, but surely, the lump in her throat went back to it's normal position – in her stomach.
After long moments of controlling her breathing, she opened her eyes and found that the room was now in it's original state, and the walls were where they should be.
Hermione let out a long sigh, got out of the water and dressed herself in a comfortable pair of pajamas. She was on her way out of the lavatory when she caught a glimpse of something in the mirror. For a few minutes she just stood in the middle of the bathroom and looked at her own reflection in the mirror on the wall in front of her. What Hermione saw, though, she would never have guessed to be her own face. The girl she was looking at had dark rings under her tired eyes, and a worried wrinkle on her forehead. Her eyes had no spark, no light. It was as if she met the eyes of a person whom had lost the willing to live. Lost everything she loved, and as that thought ran through her head, her lips trembled and the room went back to being a blur.
Her knees met the floor as she let out a repressed scream, and felt the tears falling down her cheeks. The sound of tears dripping onto the floor reminded her of the rain that met the windows. Trying to dull the sudden wave of emotion, she curled herself into a ball as the sobs made her spine shiver. The pain ripped through her and cut her like a thousand knives all over her body.
She was alone.
With that thought, she screamed louder than she had ever screamed in her life, now embracing the pain with open arms. Her spine shivered and protested with each heaving sob that erupted through her chest. It was as if she could hear her own heart shattering to pieces, and she didn't even care to pick them up. Emotions flew through her as she thought every thought she had swore never to think again, and letting the tears flow in rivers down to the floor.
Hermione couldn't open her eyes. Even if she did, she wouldn't be able to see more than the blurred walls that surrounded her. Her dizzyness made her stomach queasy, and she felt like throwing up. Suddenly she felt as if the floor beneath her had dissapeared.
I'm dead? She thought, but the sobs didn't stop to rip through her heaving chest.
As suddenly as the floor had disappeared, it had found her once again, but this time in a form of something much softer than the bathroom tiles. Hermione's uncontrollable sobs continued, and her heart was still breaking into those small pieces she knew she would never find again.
«Breathe, Granger!» Draco watched as the person he loathed most of all fell into pieces in front of him.
He had found her curled up on the bathroom floor, crying and screaming her lungs out. After trying to calm her, he had lifted her up and carried her to the loveseat where she now was curled up again. Granger was now holding her breath as the quiet sobs made her whole body shiver uncontrollably. Draco had no idea of what to do, and her face slowly turned a terrifying shade of purple. He felt the panic overwhelm him, and drew his wand.
«Breathe! I – I – I'll hex you if you die on me, Granger!» He yelled at her while pointing the wand at her shaking figure, but it wasn't working.
Granger's face darkened, and her eyelids fluttered. She was fainting.
No, he thought. Please, no.
The panic made his eyes water, and he threw away his wand as he sat down so her face was only a few centimeters from his own. He touched her cheek soothingly with his sweaty hand.
«H-Hermione, I want you to listen to me,» He was whispering in her ear, slowly emphasizing every word. «You have to breathe...» He swallowed as a lump appeared in his throat, making it harder to speak. «If not for yourself, then – then for me. Okay? I'll be lonely in this big common room all by myself.»
Granger's eyes opened. With a horrible sound she drew a long breath, and the purple colour disappeared. Draco closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the soft cushions of the loveseat. He sighed.
«Thank you...» He whispered and struggled to hold back the tears that were threatening to emerge.
After a while, Granger's sobs became more controlled, and the shivering had stopped. Draco felt it was time for him to leave. She was gaining consciousness for her surroundings, and he didn't want to be there when she told him to sod off. So he decided to «sod off» before she would tell him to. He got up from the uncomfortable position by the loveseat and started to walk to his room.
A small, hoarse voice whispered from behind him. If he had been more than three feet away he wouldn't have heard her.
But he did.
Draco turned around to find Granger in a sitting position, clutching a pillow.
«I won't.» He whispered back as he sat down beside her.
Tears were still streaming down her face, but she didn't bother to dry them away.
At the moment he had sat down at her side, she curled up against him and rested her head on his shoulder.
And you know what? He liked it.
...This was a strange day.
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