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Chapter 1 : Mirror, Mirror
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The sky was pale. Dark. Giving me a sinister look every time I glanced up at it. The booming thunder sounded as it sat close to me, sending vibrations through the earth and my spine. The atmosphere flickered a light on. Off. On. Off as the striking lightning bellowed in a far off distance, hovering over the Black Lake like it was protecting it. Daring my to challenge it.
The wind. It played games with me. Swaying maliciously from all different directions, tousling my short hair ever so slightly as it went, but tangling my robes in every which way. I felt like a ghost. I looked like a ghost. A very dark ghost with my black clothing flying around me. The biting air, sending shivers down my neck and raising the hairs on my body, froze me into place. Not allowing me to move. Not at all.
But I didn’t need the icy air to hold me into place. I was good to stay. Right here. Where I sat on a small, stone bench in the main courtyard. I was alone. In so many ways I was alone. There was not a sound, not a trace of human life anywhere around me with the acceptance of myself, of course. But was I human? Was I even good enough to qualify for one? I couldn’t consider myself to be one. And I doubt anyone else who knew me, or even looked at me could either.
So what brought me here? And why? I couldn’t answer that question without shaking uncontrollably. Without roaring to myself in disgust. I couldn’t access the sense of tranquility or peace. Not now. Not ever. But how could a monster like me ever feel such a calming, welcoming gift such as peace? How could I ever deserve it? Peace of mind. Peace of heart. I didn’t care if the world that knew me hated me. I didn’t care if I’d ever see peace from them. See the look of forgiveness in their eyes as they bored into my own. I didn’t care if another human being never spoke to me again. I didn’t care if I ever felt peace from the outside world. All I asked for was peace from myself. Peace that never allowed to me to feel hate again. Peace. Just peace.
Stiff as a board, my feet settled on the ground. My back was hunched over my body as I stared at an odd angle to the rotting stones beneath me. Any second now it felt like they would just give away. Like the ground, the only thing holding me up, would just collapse into an unknown space. I would fall. I would never stop falling. I would feel the real pain I deserved of not knowing when, where or what I was. I would just fall. In utter blackness. I would fall.
I clenched my wand tightly as I rested my elbows on my knees. Both fists grasped the tiny stick I held tightly, as if I was about to enter a battle. Truth was, I was already in a battle. A battle with myself. With who I was. With time. But no magic could defend me from what I was fighting though. Not one spell in the world could compete with the darkness I was enclosed in. The darkness filled with hate. Sorrow. Loss. Rue. Evil. No spell could cure it.
I tried not to think. I didn’t want to think. There was only one thing I would be able to think of. But I wouldn’t go there. I was sick, wrong. In a dangerous position with desolation and defeat. But I was stable. I was stable without my thoughts. If someone with the highest skill of Occlumency decided to pry into the likes of my treacherous mind, they would find nothing. Only blankness, and possibly some memories…
Memories. They were all I had now. They were all I had of anything. There was no now. Only a then. But the past was precisely what I was fighting. I wouldn’t let it enrich my mind. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Not with everything that happened. No.
I sat so still. So silent for God only knows how long. I could have sat, unmoving, for weeks, months, years, and I wouldn’t know it. For the sense of time had escaped me. Escaped me and taken all that I had left to hold me up. All I had left to live my life. But there was no more life to live. Not for me.
I felt a sudden tide roll in. A wave of water surround me. Drowning me. I could feel the pressure of the power that belonged to the sea, crush against my achy lungs, blocking air. Not allowing me to breath. That’s what I deserved. I deserved to not feel the warmth of air fulfill me. It was too good, and I was not good.
It was only then did I realize I was not drowning. Not by the ocean anyways. It was only raining. Just raining. Huh. I guess I’d been so oblivious that I’d forgotten where exactly I was sitting. Not even my Hogwarts, my home, my sanctuary could protect me from the evilness I was filled with. Great. Just bloody great.
I couldn’t do this. Not anymore. I couldn’t sit and not think. I couldn’t experience the thoughts of nothingness. The foggy, blackness that filled my brain every square inch was starting to frighten me. I was going to go insane. I probably already had. But what could I think of? What good emotion did I have left in me to save me, or at least protect me for a short moment from the emptiness? I could only think of one…
No. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I shouldn’t. Not her. I couldn’t bear to open the door and let the memories of her walk in, paining me beyond relief. I wasn’t stupid enough, foolish enough to do that to myself. I couldn’t let my body cope with anything more harmful than what I already felt. But then again, that’s what deserved right? That’s what the bane of my existence was meant to do. To suffer, right? Maybe I did deserve the thoughts. The thoughts that would pull me away from darkness, only for a second. The thoughts that would warm me, wrap me in a soft, cotton blanket, heating me to the bone. The thoughts that would make me think. The thoughts that, I was sure, would be the death of me.
Her. Her face. Her eyes. Her lips. Her hair. Marvelous. Simply and irrevocably marvelous. But that didn’t even seem to cover it. There were so many words to describe her. So many words, definitions, that could paint a picture of her beautiful existence. So many words I could scarcely think of.
Despite the events that fogged up my brain. Despite everything that had happened, I could still remember. I could still remember every feature of her face. Every glossy hair that lay on her head. Every smile that she had worn. Every tinkling laugh that had to belong to angels. Every swift, graceful step she took. Every shimmer in her deep, copper eyes. Every breath she breathed. I could remember it all. I could remember Hermione.
I pictured the image of her. It was so cloudy in my head. Yet I could see her, standing tall and strong and proud. For that was what she was. A strong being. A proud being. And I marveled every aspect of her. Her intelligence astounded me. Her beauty, everlasting. Her positive, kind attitude towards life was something I couldn’t even dream of having. I’d always been jealous. Always wished I could be more like her. I wished I could have been good like her. Kind like her. Pure like her. But she was meant to be all those things. I was not.
I remembered every thing about her. Everything I had seen from her. And with every memories came outsiders. With every precious moment I could remember, there came interference. Whether it was with Potter or Weasley or some stupid, hovering little first year or a teacher walking by, I remembered everything around her. The cruelest thing I remembered about her, that surrounded her memories, tearing them up limb from limb, was me.
I hated it. I hated me. I hated that I had to have the memories of myself along with the memories of her. They were not good. I was never good. All the things I had said, all the things I did to her. They were not things I was proud of. For I was not proud of anything. Nothing I had done in my life deserved gratitude. A pat on the back. A job well done. Especially what I had done to her.
The terrible things I had said to her. Oh why! Why did I ever say them? Under all my jealousy, my lament, all the things I envied about her. All the things I cared about her for, how? How did I ever find the mordacity to say those things to her? This question boggled my mind. I hated it. All the things I had said to her, I hated with a fiery passion. All the pain I had caused her. All the tears I had made her shed. How? Why?
My foggy picture of a smiling, happy Hermione faded even more. I gasped in defeat. No. Please. Give me time. More time. I need more time to think of you. To see you. Please. Don’t go! But just as I plead to myself, plead to the figment Hermione not to leave me, I realized what was happening. She didn’t just fade away. She was moving. Not just moving. Walking, and my mind followed her. Her placid steps, so gentle. My mind struggled to keep up. But then she stopped and my vision changed.
I didn’t feel like I was sitting on the cold, hard bench in the Hogwarts’ courtyard anymore. My body was still there but my mind had drifted off somewhere else. It was so bright. Bright! Like the sun was right there, in front of me. Blinding me. I’d sat in the dark, the wet outdoors for so long, I had forgotten what the light looked like. I’d forgotten the sun. The magnificent warm sun. Had it always been so vivid? Clear? I heard a muffled sound, interrupting my blunt thoughts and turned to see Hermione walking on. The grass beneath her gently ruffled as she made several, graceful steps. My mind continued to follow.
It took me a while to realize there were people. More people. In my mind. Just random people running about, screaming, yelling. A wind chime in my ears versus the vice wind that had hissed in my ear before. My mind followed Hermione to a familiar place. A place it felt I had been to before, but I could not place the name.
It dawned on me then. Memories. This was all a faint memory. I was on the Hogwarts grounds. The scene was cloudy, but still discernable. I had started to get used to the shimmering sunlight. I looked around, trying to place exactly which memory this was. Which thought had I blindly placed in my mind? Or rather, the thought that Hermione had placed in my mind.
She suddenly came to another holt. My own two feet stumbled behind her as I stopped too. I felt so close to her now. Though her face was turned away from me, I still could see. I could almost touch her. Feel her long, curly locks of dark, golden hair run between my fingers like they once had. I was a few inches away from her hand. I was so close to being able to touch it. To hold her soft, tender hand. To feel the warmth it would evoke on my cold, bitter skin. To feel the goodness of her touch me. I was close. But not there.
The two of us stood quite still for a while. A long while. The only movement I could feel and see were the many students around us still running. Still laughing. Still talking amiably. I could also see her breathing. Her small, square shoulders moving up and down. The air at which she breathed in. It was something I felt I would never see again. It was so beautiful. So magnificent. Just watching her breathe.
She suddenly turned to me. Her face was placid and calm. Her eyes stared at me softly. Her smooth lips parted from each other as she opened her mouth ever so slightly. I thought she was about to speak, but she didn’t. She raised her hand and gestured away from us, pointing to a small area by one of the Hogwart’s courtyards. I recognized more of where I was now. For it was most definitely Hogwarts. There was the large oak tree behind me. The glistening lake in the distance. The Owlery perched on a high top hill in the distance. Yes. I was for sure on the Hogwarts grounds.
I followed her gesture. She didn’t take her eyes of my own, but I could tell she wanted me to see what she was pointing to. I looked. I didn’t see anything but random people walking by. Only at first though. I soon saw a group of Slytherins march out from a door. They were all dressed similarly in Quidditch robes. I recognized all of them, too. There was Flint the Quidditch captain. But what was he doing here? He had graduated from his seventh year at Hogwarts just when I was a second year. How-?
That’s when I saw him. Saw myself. But not how I looked now. I was very small. Just a boy. My white hair was sleeked back, plastered to my head. Not a hair stuck out. It was me in my second year. I was amongst the small crowd of Slytherin Quidditch players, so puny to the size of the rest of them. It felt so odd. Seeing myself. Like looking into a mirror of what you were in the past. There was a look on my twelve-year old face. A look I was very familiar with. It was a smirk. A proud smirk. I remember feeling so proud to be on the team. Like I’d finally gotten recognized for my greatness. I snorted to myself now. Greatness. It was funny to think there had actually been a time when I’d thought I was great.
I scrunched my eyebrows together. Why had Hermione brought me here? To this faint memory?
As if she could read my mind, she lowered her extended hand that had been pointing to the Slytherins and signaled me to come closer. My feet automatically walked forward, almost happy to get the chance to be closer to her. She turned away from me the moment I started walking towards her though. She was now staring at another entrance from the inside of Hogwarts to the grounds. Was she expecting someone? Who?
Before I could even issue my question allowed, I saw them. Another group of students all huddled together in Quidditch uniforms walked out onto the small area of grass. They were all dressed in red and gold. Gryffindors.
I could feel that familiar look at seen on my younger self’s face. I could feel my own, older smirk forming at the sight of his. At the sight of Potter. Potter. For so many year I had hated him. Striking at him with any chance I got whether it was something harsh that I’d said with my words or when I’d actually fired a spell at him. How ever much I had hated him then, I couldn’t help but feel ashamed of myself now. I had never liked him. Not one bit. But for so many years I had wasted putting my hate on him rather than the someone who really deserved it…
A loud shout broke me from my momentary thoughts.
“Flint!” the Gryffindor captain, Wood, shouted. I watched the Slytherin team stop and turn to see the Gryffindors standing there. “What are you doing?”
“Going to Quidditch practice,” Flint snorted, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Gryffindor has the field booked for practice. McGonagall’s arrangement.” Wood explained proudly and harshly. I saw Flint roll his eyes.
“That’s too bad, then,” he said, stalking closer, leading his team to stand face to face with Wood’s team. “Because we’ve been given permission to have the field.”
As he said this, he pulled a long scroll from his robes and waved it in the hair. Wood stared at him with an evil look.
“You can’t take my team’s time to practice, Flint,” Wood continued. “We’ve had this practice booked for two weeks.”
“You’re right, Wood,” Flint replied, mockingly. “I can’t take you’re practice away, but Professor Snape can.”
Wood turned his evil gaze from Flint to the parchment he held in his hand. Flint did the same and opened the scroll to read.
I knew all too well what this was now. What memory I was living. I knew all the words that were to be spoken next. Wood’s. Flint’s. Potter’s. My own.
My own words.
I no longer held interest to the rivalry between Wood and Flint. I turned my gaze to two other students sitting on a bench not far from the two teams. I recognized them both. Ron Weasley and a younger Hermione.
As if my calling their names inside my head called them over, they stood up, muttering to each other as they walked to stand by Harry.
“So you’ve got a new Seeker then? Who?” Wood was saying, uninterested.
I then saw my younger self step out of the small clump of Slytherins. They made a small circle for me as I emerged to stand by Flint. I vaguely remembered how much of a king I had felt then.
“Malfoy,” Harry stated glumly.
“Malfoy’s father was kind enough to instate the team with Nimbus 2001’s,” Flint gloated. I saw the Gryffindors eye all of the sleek, black broomsticks the Slytherin team held. It had been like Christmas had come early for me, seeing their faces grimace as they compared our Nimbus’ with their tattered old Clean Sweeps and Comet 260’s. Now, though, I honestly couldn’t care less what they thought. I knew what was coming soon enough. I didn’t like it.
“Looks like Slytherin will be taking home the house cup, again,” my younger self said, as I’d proudly held tight to my broom. “With these things, nothing can beat us.”
“At least no one of the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in. They all got it on pure talent*,” the sudden voice of the twelve-year old Hermione retorted smugly. Everyone, both on the Slytherin and Gryffindor team, turned to stare at her. I quickly glanced between her and the older Hermione that stood beside me. I found that she was looking at the ground. She remembered what I was about to say next, too.
“No one asked what you thought,” my younger self started. I didn’t even look at him. I didn’t want to admit it was me. “You filthy little Mud-Blood*.”
Twelve-year old Hermione flinched, her face suddenly contorted. As I heard him say the words, I couldn’t help wince. This was the first of the many times I had hurt Hermione Jean Granger.
The rest was all just a distant echo to me as I focused my full attention to the Hermione that stood by me now. She continued to look at the ground, her face blank. When my thoughts had first followed her here, I was happy, overjoyed even to feel as though I was living in a moment, a happy memory with her. Now, all I wanted was to be back in the present and feel the pain, and emptiness I deserved.
I continued to stare at her. Long enough that the conversation with the Gryffindors and Slytherins had ended. The younger Harry, Ron and Hermione walked toward us, Harry and Hermione holding up Ron in-between them as he continuously vomited up slugs. It looked like they didn’t even notice the older Hermione and me’s presence. The three of them walked straight through us as though we were invisible ghosts and continued right on walking. I didn’t look after them. My gaze was set on the Hermione beside me.
“I-,” I started to say, but she turned to me so abruptly then that I was sure she didn’t want to hear me speak. She breathed heavily, sighing. I wanted to tell her. Right now. How truly sorry I was for saying those nasty, cruel, menacing words to her. But I knew it wouldn’t do any good. She didn’t want to hear my stupid apology. And even if she did, it still would not matter. Though my mind, so convinced that I was with the real Hermione right now, I knew it wasn’t really her. Like my younger, second year self that I’d seen, like the younger Potter and Weasley, like the younger Hermione, they were all an illusion. They weren’t real. However authentic they looked to me now, I knew where all them were now. The real Hermione wouldn’t hear my apology. She never would.
The scene changed. I was so sure that the figment Hermione would surely leave me now. It seemed all part of a plan. Come to Draco when he’s hurt, pained and lost in the dark and make him remember some of the cruel things he had done, just so it really sets in his mind. Just so he knows what a monster he is. I didn’t need this memory to tell me that though. I knew what I was. I just earned more pain.
But I didn’t see myself back on the bench, in the rain, under the black sky as I had been before. Hermione was walking again. Walking through a clouded haze. My mind followed her once more. Even though I was sure she was just going to take me through every bad thing I had done, make me witness and hear all the hurtful words that came out of my mouth, I still followed. Because anything. Any reason there was. Any opportunity I had to be with her, even if it wasn’t really real, and even it just hurt me more, I needed that time with her.
We stopped again. This time in a very unfamiliar place. I couldn’t recall seeing anything like the room we stood in now. Hermione hung back a few paces so that we were side by side again. Which of my spiteful memories had she taken me to now?
I surveyed the room, trying to piece together if I remembered any of it. It looked like a dorm. But it wasn’t the one I had stayed in during my Hogwarts years. The room had sort of a golden glow to it while the Slytherin dorms looked rather green and dark as we lived under the Black Lake. The beds were placed in a half circle instead of rows like my old dorms. There was a small fire place in the center of the room as well where a few pieces of clothes hung. No. I had definitely not been here before.
I heard Hermione sigh loudly again. Not a sad sigh as before. More of a pay-attention sigh. I followed her eyes, and jumped a little. For I hadn’t noticed that there was a third person in the room. Across from where we stood, there sat a small girl. She was sitting up, cross-legged, her back towards us. Her hair was big, brown and very bushy. The muffled sobs I could faintly hear from her didn’t tell me who she was, though. I knew.
“Hermione,” I said outloud, staring at the small girl. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the older Hermione nod once.
“Why is she- you crying?” I asked hesitantly towards the Hermione standing next to me. She turned from her younger self to stare at me. She said nothing, but raised her eyebrows and nodded again towards me. Right. Of course.
I sighed and grimaced. I known all along that I had made her cry at some point. Back in my school years I hadn’t cared of course. But to see her, hear her actually hurting over something I said. It was too much.
We stood there for a long time. How long? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I felt something. Something different from what I had felt when I had been sitting alone on my bench. I was on my own, and pained then, but it was nothing compared to how I felt now. My stomach felt like a hippogriff was standing on it. My knees felt like pudding, barely able to hold me up. My head was pounding. Throbbing, like the worst headache imaginable. Hermione’s cries from across the room sounded in my ears. It blocked out any other noise from the room. I couldn’t even hear my self think let alone breathe.
The scene changed again and I was forever grateful of it. The older Hermione walked once more through the blurry haze between my memories. My mind followed again. It was like tiny strings from my head were attached to her. I was a puppet. I had to walk where she walked. I had to go where she would go. But that’s the way I wanted it. I wanted to follow.
Like the first two memories, the third one appeared gradually. Things were put into place one by one until it formed a whole scene in my head. I searched my surroundings once more.
I was standing in one of the Hogwart’s corridors. It was rather empty and dull looking. But it was still loud. I could hear panicked shouts coming from all directions on floors above me and below me. I heard several crashes and booms, like the world was crumpling all around me. But the hallway I stood in was so still. Until…
Darting around the corner, faster than the speed of light were a couple of students. They weren’t anyone I knew. Just a couple of Ravenclaw seventh years.
“Go! Faster!” the girl Ravenclaw shouted. I could detect every harsh breath each of them took as they ran and ran down the corridor. Pounding their feet faster and faster. Harder and hard against the floor. Louder crashes and sounds of spells firing followed them, though no one was chasing them. The two were so close to each other. They held hands. The boy continuously looked back to check to see the girl was still there, even if his fingers embraced hers. He wasn’t watching where he was going and ran right through me, without noticing a thing.
I watched them run on, their backs towards me. I had only realized now that Hermione wasn’t here. My imaginary Hermione was no where to be seen. My head turned in every direction, searching for her. She could not be gone. She had led me here. She could not have left.
I was only faintly aware of where I was. Or what time I was in was more like it. It had to be the night when it all happened. When the whole world had spun in and out of proportion. When it all changed. The battle of Hogwarts.
I could hear heavy footsteps pounding closer to me, like the two Ravenclaws’ follower was finally coming. I was started to get scared. Not because of the enclosing person, but that I didn’t know where she was. I couldn’t place or find her.
“Hermione!” I suddenly yelled. At first I hadn’t realized they were my own words. I hadn’t heard current my voice in so long. But I needed to find her. I shouted her name once more. “Hermione!”
“Let’s go! Hermione, run!” a distant echo sounded from behind the corner of the hallway I still stood in. The voice mimicked my own.
“Harry! I can’t find Harry or Ron!” Hermione’s voice shrieked just as loudly. I ran towards it. Ran as fast as I possibly could. I rounded the corner to face another open corridor.
There she was. And there I was. The two of us, looking the exact way we did now. Almost the exact age, just a couple years younger. An exact replica of the Hermione that had led me through my memories. I looked at the scene like I had before when I saw the twelve-year old me. Only this time, it literally was like looking at a mirror.
“We need to go!” the Draco with Hermione shouted as he was knelt down beside Hermione. She was sitting up from the ground, rubble and ash toppled around her. Her head bore a large gash that was bleeding down her dirty face. She was nearly crying.
“But I need to find them!” she pleaded, her voice piercing the air malevolently. “I need-”
“You need to get out of here, Hermione. Let’s go!” On the word ‘go’ the Draco with Hermione hoisted her on her feet. His hand locked tight around her wrist and she held to him the same way.
“Draco, I need to find them!” Hermione called once more as she and the Draco with her ran past me, right back down the corridor I had just come. It had only dawned on me now, the footsteps I had heard after the two Ravenclaws was just the two of them. My past self and Hermione.
“We will find them as soon as you’re safe and away from here!” Draco shouted. It was still very loud over the muffled screams and shouts that continued to issue through out the whole castle.
I ran after the two of them. I remembered this moment I was in, but I still wanted to see. I wanted to follow what was going on. My other self still held tight on Hermione’s wrist as his other hand supported her staggering steps by her shoulder. She was hurt, I could see and remember.
Hermione didn’t protest. I didn’t know now as I hadn’t then if her silence was because of the pain she was succumbing or by my simple words that told her we would find Harry and Ron. Draco ran with her and guided her all the way down the many staircases, through many hallways and corridors and finally into the Great Hall.
My other self now half carried her to an empty bed that was set in a long line of beds. The once bright and cheery dining area now looked like a nightmare. There were hospital beds lined everywhere. Many were occupied by injured students and countless other witches and wizards. I followed Hermione and my other self still.
“No, Draco! I can’t just sit here! I have to find them!” Hermione was shouting again over the loud crowd around us.
“Hermione, there’s nothing you can do for them in the state you’re in,” the other Draco replied forcefully. I remembered my words quite well now. I remembered the feelings and thoughts I’d felt at this exact moment. How worried I had been for her. Her forehead was still bleeding and her leg looked off set. I remember wracking my brains for some kind of charm, spell that would fix her, but my mind was too muffled by the commotion around me to think.
“What are you even doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be with your Death Eater pals killing us all off?” Hermione shouted angrily.
I had been quiet for a moment, taking in the words she had said. I finally opened my mouth to answer.
“I was wrong. I was wrong Hermione. That was not the path I should have chosen. I didn’t think I had a choice, but now I realize I did! I don’t want to be with them anymore. I won’t fight with them! My allegiance is only for the good side.” the words scrambled out of my other self’s mouth, toppling over like a volcano spewing lava.
Hermione looked at my other self, her eyes wide in shock. I saw my face, pained and sweaty, breathing heavily after the long dash from upstairs to here. I remembered how badly I had wanted her to believe me. To believe my words and accept them.
“You’re for our side, then?” she said, not really so much a question but as a statement. To really make sure I wasn’t lying.
“I am. I was so wrong for choosing that direction. But this is what I’m choosing now,” my voice quieted a little. It wasn’t as panicked as before. Hermione looked at my other self with a mingled expression. The Draco I watched braced himself before beginning to speak again.
“You are what I’m choosing now,” the Draco that stood next to Hermione’s bedside choked out.
Hermione’s mouth opened just a bit, not understanding my once said words. I remembered feeling so stupid for saying them. How stupid they must have sounded to her, but it was true. On that night I had made my sure decision. I loved Hermione Granger, and whatever side she was on. Whatever good she fought for, I couldn’t stand to fight against her.
My present self waited for her reply. I remembered what it was. I remember the exact look on her face she had finally replied. But I still wanted to watch it. I wanted to see it again. See for the first time, something I had only dreamed of having. The look upon Hermione’s face as she forgave me.
When this memory had really happened, I had no idea why she actually had forgiven me. She had no right to. And I hadn’t been looking for her forgiveness. I had wanted it. I wanted it so much, but I never ever imagined I would actually get it.
But before I could watch the recurring scene it faded just as the first two had. I watched Hermione and my other self side by side. Hermione resting her whole back against the bed looking up at me, embracing my hand as my other self embraced hers. They became a blur. Fuzzy. Fuzzier and then they were gone.
I had thought that had been it. I really thought I would quit these thoughts and go back to my lonely self. But the scene annoyingly changed again. This change was a bit more abrupt than the first three. What guilt would it bring me this time?
I found myself in a house. Not any house. My house. The house I had bought myself not too long after the war had ended. I had been angry with my parents for what all had happened. I didn’t blame them at all for the side I had been on. That wasn’t their fault. It was mine. But because they were so willing to fight for the Voldemort’s side, I nearly hated them. My father had been locked up in Azkaban while, and I had left my mother alone in the old mansion.
This was, of course, my most recent memory. At first I had found myself alone as I watched the scene. I looked around, analyzing everything I found familiar to my home. It was rather small compared to the mansion I had grown up in. My mother had insisted on giving me money to live in a nice, big house and live the natural ’pure-blood’ way, but I refused. I had refused to take anything from them. I hadn’t wanted anything to do with them anymore. I still didn’t.
I suddenly heard footsteps. I looked up to the top of stairs to see a second Draco once again. A mirror of the recent past.
He walked down the stairs. One by one. More like trudged actually. I remember the feeling when I’d actually done it. Everything had felt meaningless then. I had left my family. Ignored every owl from them. I had held a small, private funeral for Crabbe as well after his life had been lost due to the war. I had watched as the rest of the people around me had moved on. I had watched Potter and the Weasley girl move on, happy as can be from the war. I had watched Hermione move on.
I had felt too hopeful after the battle had ended that night at Hogwarts. Hermione had forgiven me. I took care of her during the rest of the time the battle went on. We talked. Talked about a lot. She had questioned what all I had gone through on my side and I painfully answered. After all had been explained, we just talked some more. Not particularly about what had happened to us through the course of the previous year. Just talked. I tried comforting her about Potter and Weasley, telling her they were ok. Huh. Comforting her for them. Something I had never thought I would do. But I think it helped her. I think it had impressed her that I was trying to push the past behind me. Yes. It was almost like we had been friends. Almost. Not quite.
I continued to watch the other Draco linger about. He went to the kitchen, poured himself a cup of tea then retreated back upstairs. I didn’t follow him. I started to wonder. Why this memory? My figment Hermione was still not here, guiding me through these memories. Was I on my own now? Was the rest of my life just going to be living through every memory I had ever known? If so, this was a pretty boring one…
Then the doorbell rang. I turned to it and instinctively walked towards it like I was going to open it. I reached for the doorknob, but found it impossible to open. My hand simply went right through it like a ghost. I scrunched my eyebrows in defeat. At the same time, the other Draco had come back downstairs and opened the door. He and I now stood side by side. I saw the person on the other side of the door.
“Hermione,” the other Draco and I said in unison.
Though I remembered all of this very well, I still could not get over the shock of seeing her. It had been such a surprise then, when it really happened. But every glimpse of her, even it was fake, felt comforting to me.
I stared at her face for a long moment. So did the other me. I analyzed every feature. Her soft eyes now looked red and puffy, like she’d been crying. Her hair was standing out in every which way just as it had in her youth. She wasn’t in very formal attire. On the whole, she was actually wearing sweatpants and a gray T-Shirt with a black cloak tied around her neck. I couldn’t imagine it was particularly comfortable. It was in the middle of winter. She had to be cold. Just as my other self was about to invite her in, she spoke.
“Let’s go,” she choked urgently.
“Go? Go where-” the other Draco started but was interrupted by Hermione.
“I don’t care where. Let’s just go.” As she said this, she walked in through the doorway around the other me and walked through the house straight to the coat closet.
“What are you talking about Hermione? What happened?” my other self continued as he followed Hermione. She grabbed a couple things hanging in the closet. A couple cloaks, some gloves. She then spun around and headed straight for a small, round table that was set against the wall. She picked up a thin, black and brown stick lying on the table, my wand and headed towards the door again, grabbing my wrist and towing me along in the process.
“Hermione, what are you doing?” the other Draco protested, though he still followed her out of the door into the bitter cold night air.
“I need to get out of here,” she said shortly. She didn’t release my wrist as we trotted at a brisk paste down the stony path to the road.
“Why? Hermione what happened?” my other self finally planted his feet on the ground, grabbing Hermione’s wrist with the same hand that was in her grip. She halted at the same time, spinning around to face him.
Her eyes bore into his own. They were pained and broken. I couldn’t place the shine they had once given off at this moment. They seemed dull and dark now. Thick droplets of water welled up in them. She blinked a couple times, trying to hide them.
“Please. Just come with me,” her voice was shaky. Clearly she didn’t want to explain. But stubborn old me just had to have an explanation….
“Hermione, just tell me what happened,” my other self said, worry in his voice. Hermione looked away from him to stare at the ground. A small, muffled sob broke through.
“I don’t want to talk about it-,”
“Did he hurt you?” the other Draco said, the soft, worrisome tone in his voice had now become an urgent, harsh one.
Hermione looked at him again.
“N-no,” she sobbed, though her eyes showed that it wasn’t the truth.
“He did didn’t he?” my voice still held its severe tone. I remembered the anger that had boiled up inside me. Even now, as I watched the scene before me, I couldn’t help but feel furious.
“No, he didn’t-he didn’t hurt me,” Hermione continued. “I didn’t let him touch me.”
So he hadn’t hurt her physically. But emotionally… oh, I wanted to kill him.
“What happened,” my other self demanded. She continued to stare at him, the tears now running down her cheeks.
“We had a fight,” she said, her voice still shaking. “When I got home from work, he wasn’t home. I didn’t know where he was.”
She paused for a minutes, breathing heavily. I waited impatiently for her to speak again.
“I owled the Ministry to see if he was out working late there, but they said he had left. I sat by the door for hours, waiting for him to come home. Finally I heard a pop and he had apparated inside the house. I could spell him. Smell his breath the moment he came in. He’d-he’d been drinking.”
Her voice continued to grow shakier and shakier. Her words were barely discernable over her unstable sobs. I listened more for that she had to say.
“I said his named. ‘Ron’, but he didn’t turn around. He had his back towards me, a bottle of whiskey in his hand. I called him again. When he didn’t answer I had walked over to him and took the bottle out of his hand. He didn’t object. He still faced away from me.
“I was scared. I was scared that something had happened to him. He didn’t talk for several minutes. I tried talking to him, asking him what was wrong. Finally he said spoke.”
By now she was fully crying. Her eyes were soaked and as red as ever. The over me loosened the grip on her wrist and now took her hand. She embraced his tightly. I remembered how that had felt. Her hand. So warm and comfortable. I was proud to hold it. To be there to hold her hand while she hurt.
“What did he say?” the other Draco questioned. His voice was quieter, but still forceful.
“He said it was h-his f-fault,” Hermione sobbed harder, shutting her eyes. “He said it was all H-Harry’s fault. That he was the r-reason for Fred’s d-death. That he had c-caused it to h-happen. That’s why he had been d-drinking. There’d been something at work about the b-battle at Hogwarts. And R-Ron l-lost it.
“He s-started screaming and yelling. H-he stormed around the house, c-cursing and shouting H-Harry’s name. I t-tried to get him to c-calm down. I tried t-telling him it wasn’t Harry’s fault and he only g-got a-angrier. H-he said I was choosing H-Harry over h-him. That I was c-choosing a m-murderer. He started b-breaking things and f-finally told me to l-leave. He t-told me to go. That he n-never wanted to see my f-face again.”
She stopped talking again. I knew she could not say any more. The hurt in her eyes, the tears streaming down her face. The only time I had ever seen her cry was because of something I had done. But to know that someone else had done this to her. It angered me beyond anything.
Her knees buckled weakly and the other Draco caught her by her arms, pulling her towards him. She buried her face in his chest, staining his shirt with her tears. But he didn’t care. I didn’t care. I had just held her in my arms. Something I had only ever dreamed of. She continued to cry into my other self. Choking on her own sobs. I had placed my arm on the back of her head, brushing her long, frizzy locks with my fingers. Entangling them into my hands.
“I’m sorry,” was all I had said. “I’m sorry that he hurt you.”
For I was sorry. Sorry that she had to feel this way because of him. I was also sorry for him. Sorry that if I ever saw his face again, I could surely rip it off. Blast him into a bazillion pieces for doing this to her. All that time I had wasted when I was younger. All the time I had wasted hating Potter. He wasn’t the bad guy. I had wasted all my time into making his life miserable. It wasn’t him that had deserved it. It was Weasley’s.
“Please, can we go?” her voice just managed to break out. She pulled her head away from the other me’s shirt and looked into his eyes. He nodded surely.
“Yes.” was all he said. He then grasped her arm even more firmly, preparing to apparate away but she stopped him.
“I took my car,” she shook her head. “We can’t leave it here. If he comes looking for me- he can’t know I was here.”
The other Draco nodded his head. Why she had taken such a slow, Muggle transportation vehicle I had no idea, but I would do what she wanted. Anything she said. Anywhere she wanted to go, I would take her.
We climbed into the car, Hermione in the driver’s seat and the other me in the passenger’s. I had never been in a car before then and would have probably been astounded at the way it worked if it was not for the worry and concern I felt for Hermione now. I hopped in the back seat and Hermione pulled away like the speed of light.
It was silent for a while. Her continuous crying had stopped, but her face was still contorted and red. I didn’t take my eyes of hers. I couldn’t.
“I’m sorry if I bothered you,” she said suddenly, her voice surprisingly even now. I shook my head at her words.
“You could never bother me, Hermione,” I said gently and assuring. She glanced over at me for a split second, the corner of her mouth curved up into somewhat of a smile. A smile that ended up looking like a grimace.
“I didn’t know where else to go,” she said, her eyes peeled to the road. We were on a busy street now, Muggle cars all around us. “I though about going to Harry’s but, he would have just about killed Ron for blowing up the way he did and Ginny would be right along side with him. They would have just angered Ron more and… they could have gotten hurt.”
“And you think I won’t go kill him myself?” the other me said incredulously. Hermione pursed her lips.
“I figured you might…eventually, but you would hold off longer than Harry. Ron didn’t blame you for anything so I though it might be a better idea to see you since you weren’t involved.”
I didn’t reply. I should have been happy that she had more faith in me than Harry to have more self control. Me, the ex Death Eater/murderer, hold off on killing someone who had hurt her against the wizard world hero. I could have been happy about that. But again, I was too worried for her to feel any other emotion.
“That and I just wanted to see you,” Hermione said after another minute.
The other me blinked a couple times. It had been a shock when she had first appeared at my door, but to know she had actually wanted to see me. That was a whole different surprise all together. Ever since the battle at Hogwarts, all I had heard from her was from a letter in the mail saying ‘thank you for helping me in the battle’. Then she had gone off to be with Weasley and all her good friends. This was the first time I had actually seen her since then.
Hermione smiled a bit. A real smile. Not a forceful one. It was small, and almost imperceptible, but it was a smile none the less. My other self smiled. And me, in the back seat smiled.
“I wanted to see you too,” I said in unison with the other Draco. “I have wanted to see you ever since the battle.”
“I’m sorry.” Hermione said sincerely. “I’m sorry I didn’t see you. I should have visited. You helped me that night. I’m sorry I didn’t give you a real thank you.”
I gave a soft sigh. “It’s ok. I don’t really blame you for not wanting to come see me.”
Hermione smiled too. Then looked at me. Not the other Draco in the front seat. Not the memory Draco. She looked at me.
“Draco?” she said simply. “Thank you.”
I knew what she meant. I couldn’t help but smile again. After everything. After all the terrible things I had done and said to her. After everything I had done as a person. Fighting for the dark side. Fighting against the good. Fighting against her. She was thanking me. I hadn’t saved her that night during the battle. She had saved me. I needed to thank her.
“Hermione-” I started to say, but before I could get out any more words. The scene vanished. Completely. No fuzzy haze. No blur. It just darkened and vanished.
I found myself back on the bench. Back in the Hogwarts’ courtyard. It was still raining just as hard. It was still as dark as it had been before. I was alone again now. IN the exact position I had been left in. I blinked a couple times, raindrops falling from my eyelashes down to my face.
That night had been the last time I had ever seen Hermione Jean Granger. That was the last memory I had ever had of her. The last time I had seen her eyes. Her hair. Her face. The last time I had ever been with her. The day after the car ride, she had gone back to Weasley. He had been sorry for what he did to her and she had readily forgiven him. They had patched things up. Harry had never known what had happened. Weasley had never known that Hermione had come to see me. Come to see me when he had kicked her out. He never knew any of it.
I had planned to visit Hermione a few weeks later when she had owled me to come to a New Year’s Eve party. I had planned to go but didn’t. As much as I had wanted to. As much as I needed too. I did not go. Hermione was so much happier without me. She had forgotten all about me after the battle. She had seemed to forget about me after she had come to me after the car ride. Yes, things seemed good when we were together. For all the two times we had been happily together. But when we weren’t. it was out of sight, out of mind for her. I didn’t want to penetrate her happiness. As much as I wanted to see her again, I also wanted to be with her forever. But I knew I could never do that. It was easy to say she was better off without me.
And then six months later, Hermione passed away. She had been ill with a fatal wizarding disease. I hadn’t heard of her sickness till a day before she died. I had gone to see her, but it had been too late. Harry, Ron and Ginny all stood beside her bed along with the whole lot of the Weasleys. I had stood outside the room inside the hospital. Her body was blocked by her surrounding friends and family. I couldn’t go in. They would not want have wanted me to come in. Instead I had left my bouquet of flowers I had bought for her right beside her door. I had written a small note attached the ribbon that held all the assorted flowers together. I turned my back to the room. From all the people who stood in it, hovering over Hermione’s lifeless body. None have them had noticed me, and I kept it that way. I walked away from them. I walked away from the lovely, vigorous, beautiful, marvelous Hermione. I walked away and didn’t ever turn back.
Thank you. Thank you for everything you have given me. Thank you for being that light at the end of the tunnel that I needed, but never deserved. Thank you for forgiving me. Out of the darkness I had come from, out of everything I had done to you, you still forgave me. Why, I will never know. You are a miraculous person, and no matter what, I could never forget you. You gave me a second chance at life. You gave me everything I could have ever dreamed of. You are so beautiful in every way, and I never deserved anything you gave me. I am so irrevocably sorry for all the pain I have put you through. I am so sorry I caused you so much trouble. And I am truly sorry for not having more time to spend with you. You may have forgiven me, but I will never forgive myself. You don’t deserve to have someone like me in your life. I couldn’t bear to penetrate your happiness. You are more of a person than I could ever be. You are the stars in the heavens. You are the light in the darkest of night. You are the moon that guides people in the right direction. You are, and forever shall be, my everything,
Draco Abraxas Malfoy
Author's Note: So, what did you think? Like it? Hate? Think it was the weirdest thing you had ever read? Let me know! I just started typing away, not really knowing where this story was going to go with only the title Mirror, Mirror in mind. I really loved writing it and am quite proud of it, though so all in all it was a succes right there! Thanks so much for reading everyone!
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