Chapter 16 : A True Love Lost
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Though, as Sunday rolled around, James’ anxiety kicked in. He had never expressed to his father his true feelings towards his mother, or the thought of leaving. He knew it would be devastating to his dad, but it would’ve been even more catastrophic for him to stay and be miserable. Hermione, sensing her son’s distress, told him that she’d go over to Harry and tell him. James wondered if that would’ve been a good idea. She hadn’t seen him since that fateful day in February which was four months ago. She shook her head and messed up his hair, ignoring her son’s comment and stepped into the fireplace.
Harry had seen the Daily Prophet article, scowled at it and tossed into the fireplace without a back glance. She was going to marry him and only after two weeks of being single again. She’s had eight years with him, why should I be surprised? He thought angrily, ran his fingers through his hair and sighed heavily.
Despite how it looked at the moment, Harry was doing better, or at least compared to four months ago he was. After Hermione left, he was fed up with life. Nothing mattered to him because she was his life. Everything he did it was centered around her, for her…and without her what was there for him to do? Nothing, he concluded, and did nothing worth wild after that. He stopped working, stopped going out, and stopped talking to people. The four walls of his bedroom were his companions and to him that was all that he needed. Clara and the others were worried naturally, and tried daily to snap him out of his reverie. His daughter cancelled her flat searching and stayed at home with him, but of course, she couldn’t take off from her job like Harry had done with his. So, to counteract that, Ginny, Dean, and Dennis moved in with them.
Even though he didn’t show it, Harry appreciated it. It showed him that there were still caring people out there and gave him the opportunity not to completely lose hope. So it helped in a way, but not by much. He left his bedroom at that point, but he still wasn’t leaving the flat, nor was he talking much to anyone. One night Clara sat outside on the patio with him. She wasn’t hiding the fact that she was gazing at him steadily, nor that she had something on her mind that she was bursting to say. After what seemed like hours, Clara finally took a deep breath and came out with it:
“Dad, you need to snap out of this. I know that it hurts. It hurts me too, and James, but you have to realize something. Mum isn’t broken up about this. She isn’t home, lying in bed, crying about how much she’s hurt you or the rest of us. For Merlin’s sake, she’s lying in someone else’s arms and standing on top of the world. It’s blunt to say, but it’s true. If she’s not in pain, why should you be? If she doesn’t care, why should you? Mum left that day and hasn’t looked back, too preoccupied in her new life while you’re stuck in the old one. It’s not fair and you know it. Please, dad, can’t you just free yourself?”
After her rant, Clara got up and went inside of the flat. At that point Harry sat up straight and furrowed his brow. He thought about everything she had just said and realized that she was right. Hermione wasn’t thinking about him. She wasn’t stricken with grief or thinking about the life she left behind, so why should he be torturing himself? It took him a full two months to come to that realization, and enough was enough. Harry had gotten up from his seat and went back into the flat. With his wand in his hand, every picture of Hermione he discarded with a few flicks of his wand. They came from all parts of the flat, and flew into garbage cans and the roaring fireplace. It shocked Ginny to see him do such a thing but Harry smiled and turned to his friend saying that, “It had to be done.” That was the first full sentence he had said to them since February, and wasn’t the last.
Things kept going upward after that. He refused to step a single foot into his bedroom telling them that he’d been in that room long enough. Instead he slept on the sofa in the living room for a change of scenery. A few days after that, Harry sent for divorce papers, signed his part and forwarded the papers to Hermione. Later on that night, he told everyone of the flat that he was fine, thanked them and said that they didn’t need to baby sit him anymore. It brought tears and a smile to Clara after he said that and was glad to see that her father was getting over things. She and Alex went back to their flat searching and settled on a place while Ginny, Dean, and Dennis moved back into their own place. Everything was better, Harry concluded, until he was reminded of it all by that Daily Prophet article.
“It doesn’t change anything.” Harry said aloud, sighed and went into the living room at the sound of Floo Flames. He expected to see James since it was Sunday and he was supposed to come back, but he couldn’t stop his mouth from dropping and his face from turning red out of anger at the sight of Hermione walking out of the fireplace.
“Hello, Harry.” Hermione said a bit hesitantly. She crossed her arms and took short breaths. He looked different: less coordinated, messy, as if he had lost a chunk of his life and was now getting it back.
“I wasn’t expecting you to come through my fireplace.” Harry said irately. She nodded, almost moving to sit down, but thought it a bad idea.
“Yes, well, I-”
“Where’s James?” He interrupted, refusing to let her get a single word in.
“He’s at my flat.”
“What? Why? Your weekends with him end on Sundays. He should be here.”
“And he would’ve been if he hadn’t expressed to me that he…doesn’t want to live here anymore. Harry, he said that wants to live with me.”
“Over my dead body,”
“Like hell you’re taking him away from me, Hermione.”
“It’s not like I decided this.” She argued. “It’s what James told me and it’s what he wants.”
“It doesn’t matter what he wants.” Harry defended. “It was decided by court. You can’t change that.”
“Says who? Anything can be changed; especially when you have a fiancé who has more authority than the Minster of Magic.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that Draco can get me whatever I want. And as James’ mother I strive to get him whatever he wants. As of right now, he wants to live with me and that’s what he’s going to get no matter the cost.”
“I’ll fight it.” He said firmly with clenched teeth. “Whatever you plan to do, I’ll fight it.”
“Don’t bother. You’ll only lose.” Hermione told him calmly. “Besides, what’s the big deal? It’s not like I’m going to keep James away from you. It’s just for the summer. You can have him on the weekends and before you know it he’ll be eighteen and courts won’t matter.”
Harry shook his head and stared at the ground. He could feel fresh tears swell in his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. He refused to see him look so weak, but here she was again, taking away another part of him and it didn’t even seem like as if she cared. He could hear her begin to go back to the fireplace, but he called her back with a small burning question he thought would either settle his nerves or bring him back to the lowest point in his life.
“What happened to you, Hermione?” Harry asked her quietly. She stopped and turned to face him. She could tell he was pleading even though he was trying to hide it. Hermione sighed and shrugged her shoulders.
“Sometimes I ask myself that same question.” She answered honestly. “But there’s no answer for it, believe me.”
“But is there something we could’ve done? Was it something that I did? Were you just not happy anymore?”
“I was never truly unhappy, Harry. To say that I was would make me a liar. I suppose the only fair thing to say is, if Clara and Alex hadn’t become friends, everything could’ve been avoided. But as selfish as this sounds, I’m glad that they did.”
Hermione and Malfoy decided to get married in August. They didn’t see the point in waiting. It wasn’t like as if they had a huge guest list since the only close people they would’ve have liked to be there, would never in their life show up. So they decided to have it on the lawn of a ridiculously large mansion that Malfoy bought “Just for the hell of it,” with Christina as their petite flower girl and James giving his mother away. To their amusement, or Hermione’s rather, a few of Malfoy’s friends who had undoubtedly heard about their engagement said that they would take pleasure in attending. Excluding the children, it brought the guest list up to approximately twenty which bumped up to nearly fifty, when they were contacted by several newspapers about going to the wedding so they could take pictures. Malfoy, being the attention grabber that he was, immediately agreed without his fiancée’s consent and felt no regret about it only after Hermione’s silent treatment dissolved.
As July rolled on and the guest list was about fifty, it shifted up further to a little over a hundred, including the photographer’s families and friends who Malfoy had once had the pleasure of meeting when he was younger and had forgotten. “So much for a small wedding,” he told Hermione, but she simply laughed it off and shook her head, “No, I love it. It’s getting grander by the second.” Though in her mind it would only be made absolutely perfect if Clara was able to swallow her pride and attend if only for a moment. But no, she was just as stubborn as Harry.
A Wedding Underway but Where are the Families?
Wedding bells are a-ringing and today is the big day! Hermione Potter and Draco Malfoy will be tying the knot on this August 1st afternoon at their newly bought mansion in Marais, France. There will be reporters and photographers from all over England and bits of France to witness this event. The guests have been totaled to an average of two hundred, mostly close friends and acquaintances, but strangely enough, none of the guests are relatives to the couple with the exception of Draco Malfoy’s daughter, Alexandra Malfoy, and two of Hermione Potter’s children, James and Christina Potter. Where are the rest? Parents? Uncles? Aunts? No such family members have been reported showing up, nor on the bride and groom’s guest list. We, the Daily Prophet, are wondering why. One of our reporters who has been invited to witness and report this event asked Ms. Potter why this has occurred, but among servants and a busy day ahead, she only had this to say: “I suppose they just had something better to do. But it doesn’t matter. I’m sure they’ll read about it anyway-”
“Ugh,” Clara said as she tossed the article into the fireplace. “The media is going crazy over this. They don’t even know the truth.”
“It’s the media Clara, that’s what they do.” Harry told her as he gave her a cup of tea. “It doesn’t matter if they have the whole truth or not just as long as they have a good story.”
“…I still can’t believe that she went to the wedding.”
“Who else..? She sprung it on me this morning when she came out of her room wearing a dress-”
“And then you came to your father’s flat to seek refuge?”
“More or less,” Clara laughed as she sipped her tea. “You hate her don’t you? Mum, I mean.”
“Hate is a strong word…”
“But you feel something right? It’s not just me?”
“Why are you asking, Clara?”
“Because I feel like as if I’m the only one reacting properly and everyone else is just under-reacting. Or maybe it’s the other way around and I’m just too bold with my feelings.”
“You can’t help how you feel.”
“I know, I know. I just wish it wasn’t only me who was ripping her hair out.”
“If it makes you feel any better,” Harry said as he put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I want to pull my hair out too.”
Clara left him a few minutes later to head to work. Harry sat back in his chair with his hands behind his head, staring at nothing in particular. He glanced at his fireplace, spotting the remnants of the Daily Prophet article his daughter threw into the fire. Harry knew Hermione and Malfoy were going to get married two months ago, but the fact that the day was finally here made him cringe. She wouldn’t be “Hermione Potter” anymore, and even though he had made a successful transition from thinking day and night about her, it still made him hurt inside to know that she left him, to know that she loved someone else, and to know that that someone else was Draco Malfoy of all people.
Malfoy… He snuck into Harry and Hermione’s lives like the devious snake he was and took her right from underneath him. It was subtle, clever, and so slowly done that it was unnoticeable until that Valentine’s Day six months ago. Damn that Malfoy! How was he able to steal her away from me? Harry sighed and shook his head. Although it sounded like as if he would kill to get Hermione back to him, it wasn’t so. He was done with her and wouldn’t take her back into his life even if Merlin himself gave Harry twenty million galleons. But what got him good was that he’d rather Hermione live out the rest of her days single than marry a bastard like Malfoy. Of all people he didn’t deserve her and it was at this moment that Harry hatched a plan so that Malfoy would never again have the pleasure and would cause Hermione to go back to her senses.
Harry was battling between what he was planning to do from the moment he came up with the idea and the moment he apparated to the plush lawn and was casually walking across it.
Keep away from photographers… They’ll have an even bigger field day if they spot you here. What am I talking about? I’m invisible. Harry told himself as he shook his head and laughed a bit. He looked down at his hands and remembered that he was transparent and all he had to do was make sure not to bump into anyone and arouse their suspicion.
The mansion they bought was huge; much larger than the Malfoy Manor and probably bigger than most palaces. The crowd seemed much bigger than two hundred, and there were magic-cams going off every ten seconds. As he walked further onto the grounds, he saw plenty of chairs, an archway, and someone to perform the ceremony. A second glance in that direction and Harry saw Malfoy, standing there triumphantly with an arm behind his back. There weren’t enough words in any language to express how much hatred was coursing through Harry’s veins, but his anger disappeared as quickly as it came as he looked toward his left and saw James and Christina dressed to perfection. Walking up to them he saw a woman fixing James’ necktie and playfully scolding him. It was only after hearing Christina say her name did Harry realize that it was Malfoy’s daughter, Alex. It was the first time he was seeing her in all of those eight years. A Malfoy without a doubt and obviously on her father’s side of the story as James was with his mother.
Loud music began to ring in Harry’s ears. Soon people were rushing to their seats and James, Christina, and Alex went to their positions. The music switched once everyone was settled and Alex along with some gentleman who looked much like a Zabini, locked arms and walked down the aisle. A second later came Christina, and it brought a small smile to Harry's lips to see her with a small basket and sweetly tossing flowers to the ground. Just as fast as the music had begun, the wedding march started, and everyone stood in their seats to watch Hermione being led down the aisle by James.
Harry watched in amazement at how she looked. Her hair pinned back with a few loose curls about her face, no veil, and a strapless wedding gown that fit tightly from chest to waist, and then puffed out slightly at the hips until it touched the ground, leaving a lovely trial behind her. He didn’t want to say it, but couldn’t deny what he saw: “She looks beautiful.” Harry told himself. All the more reason Malfoy didn’t deserve to have her. All the more reason to disrupt the wedding and get down on his hands and knees and make Hermione see what she was doing was wrong. To grab hold of her dress and make her realize that she made a mistake and that to, of all people Draco bloody Malfoy, after all that he did and what he was bound to do, she shouldn’t give the light of day to. Eight years was enough, why give him more? Until death..? No, he couldn’t let her do that.
Harry, still invisible, walked boldly down the aisle. He was going to do it. He was going to stop his wife from making the biggest mistake. But as he got close enough to them to smell her vanilla fragrance, Harry saw her do something he hadn’t seen her do properly in years: smile. Hermione was giving a true and genuine smile that grew wider with every breath she took. She was happy. At that moment she was the queen of the world and he was there to destroy it. Harry reached out to touch her, but then stopped, retracting his hand and taking steps backward. She’s not yours anymore… He thought bitterly. She hasn’t been for eight years…
Without a back glance Harry walked away from the wedding just as the pastor was giving his “If anyone objects,” speech. Once he was far enough, Harry disapparated, silently crying that Hermione was indefinitely no longer his.
Author's Note: hey there! chapter 16 is here and i hope you enjoyed it as much as i enjoyed writing it. to be honest i was a bit teary-eyed at the ending! plz remember to review, you guys are so good at that :)
p.s only 4 more chapters left!! *tears*
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