Chapter 20 : Resentment
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How are you supposed to act after you separate from someone you could not possibly be more in love with? How do you compose yourself around the person, knowing how much it hurts both of you? Do you talk? Do you even look at each other?
Questions haunted me and tore me apart. Even after weeks of pain, the uncertainty wouldn’t go away. Like so many times before, my world with him disappeared, and I returned to the way it was when it was just Harry, Ron and I. I returned to my seat between Harry and Ron during our classes and I continued spending most of my time with the two of them as well. The only thing that had changed was the amount of time I spent with Elle, who was in my life now more than ever. I appreciated her company because I could actually talk to her about Draco, unlike my two best friends.
For the longest time, however, I was so nervous to tell her that I had broken it off with him. She had looked up to us for our ability to defy everyone around us, and I had walked away from him because we couldn’t do it anymore. She asked me frequently why I wasn’t spending time with him anymore, and she tried to conceal her surprise and disappointment when I told her the truth.
“We decided it was for the best,” I explained miserably.
“But Hermione, aren’t you in love with him?” she asked me weakly.
I nodded back unhappily, shrugging at the same time. “It’s not enough, though,” I mumbled.
She looked as though I had just crushed her hopes and dreams, making me want to start crying right then and there. “I thought…” she mumbled, trailing off.
“I know,” I said, my voice breaking.
Elle looked up at me, her face somber. “I’m sorry…I just believed in the two of you so much,” she said.
I shrugged again. “I did, too,” I responded. I watched her face fall in response, and she didn’t know what to say further, so she dropped the subject. As we sat there in the silence, my mind drifted.
It had happened just days prior; during one of our classes, I could feel Draco’s eyes burning a hole somewhere between my shoulder blades from where he sat a few rows behind me and to my left. His presence was impossible to ignore, no matter how hard I tried. I could just sense it: the constant reminder of what we had.
I took a deep breath and turned to face him, twisting until I was looking over my shoulder and directly into the grey eyes of the person I loved so much. We were so close, and yet a world apart as we sat there and looked at each other. What more could we do but just that?
He mouthed the three words that I would have understood from any distance. “I love you,” he said silently. I did everything in my power to restrain myself. I wanted to say something back to him, but with a miserable frown inscribed on my face, I lowered my eyes away from his and ducked my head. I felt as though I was being pulled towards him- the opposite ends of magnets attracting- as I lifted my head back towards the front of the classroom. I closed my eyes.
If I could have stopped the world for ten seconds, I would have. I would have rushed over to him, jumping desks and tables for the shortest route. I would have thrown myself at him and pressed my lips to his, as though was the last time I ever would. I would have run my fingers through that hair, feeling it soft and rich between my fingers, tipping his head back just enough to get lost in those silver eyes. I opened my eyes before I could dream any further. Before our ten seconds were up. Before I could see us be ripped apart again, only this time by the return of the world spinning.
The touch of Elle’s hand woke me, snapping me out of my dream within a dream. “You’ll get through it,” she said to me quietly. I nodded at her, not knowing what else to do as I gathered my books and walked off to class.
Defense Against the Dark Arts had intensified even more in the following weeks, and a lot of the work began to shift towards actually using defensive spells. Initially I was thrilled that the classes no longer revolved around verbal lessons like they had all year, but all of the hands on work required more essays than I have ever written in my life. I began to miss listening to Raglow drone on about how terrifying and powerful the Dark Arts were. But despite everything, I was learning a lot.
One week, Raglow presented a massive project to the class, where there was a huge stress placed on self-taught defense. She told us to create a situation where we would be required to use defensive spells, and then learn spells we would use accompanied by a hand-written explanation.
“This is one of the most difficult assignments I will give you this year, but it will strengthen not only your ability to learn spells but also your confidence when conjuring them,” she said, pacing back and forth behind her desk as she always did. “Please refer to your textbooks tonight and compile a list of spells that you have not yet learned how to conjure and wish to learn more about. You do not know any spells past page 345 in your textbooks,” she informed us. I already had my book open to that exact page.
Dean’s hand shot up in the air, and Raglow immediately addressed him. “Mr. Thomas?”
“Will we be learning spells during class?” he asked.
“Not exactly. I will offer limited help to you in the coming weeks if you so need it. Other than that, you will be teaching yourselves on your own time. Please refer to the sheet you were given in the beginning of class for instructions regarding that matter. We don’t want anyone getting hurt,” she said.
Dean nodded in understanding. She continued to explain the details of our task, even outlining the homework assignments and class work for the next week. Even though I was less than thrilled about the large amount of labor that was fast approaching, I was thrilled to finally have some control over what I wanted to learn. Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled.
She let us start our homework after finishing her explanation and taking questions. The first thing I needed to come up with was a situation that would require the recall of defensive spells. I stared at my untouched piece of parchment paper, the sound of quills buzzing around me. The only thought that crossed my mind was discovering that your boyfriend was a Death Eater. I sighed heavily and dipped my quill into the inkwell beside me.
“Malum Revealo,” I muttered quietly, my finger drawing an invisible line beneath the writing in my textbook, guiding me through. “An incantation that, when used properly, will reveal the use or location of dark magic by burning the magic at it’s source, similar to the result of a fire. Requiring precise wand control and timing,Malum Revealo is known as one of the most difficult charms to conjure, given the simplicity of the end results.”
“Brilliant,” I muttered to myself.
I was immediately drawn into this charm, knowing that I wanted to use it in my project. There was something about a difficult spell that made attempting to conjure it that much more appealing. I read the description multiple times slowly and carefully, taking notes furiously on the parchment beside me.
I spent the next few days in a controlled environment, attempting to conjure the spell in all of its complexity. I tried countless times to execute the wand movement properly, but failed every single time. Every day I tried and failed, I got more and more frustrated. Although the last thing I wanted to do was ask Raglow for help, I wanted more than anything to conquer the spell all on my own. I hoped to myself that perfecting it would put me in the good graces of the woman who seemed to dislike me so much.
After a long period of hard work in class, I gathered my school supplies and found the nerve to speak to her. I approached her desk, where she was standing and organizing papers.
“Professor Raglow?” I asked quietly, my voice sounding a lot higher than I wanted it to. I fumbled with my wand in my free hand as her dark eyes locked with mine.
“Miss Granger?” she responded sternly, raising her eyebrows at me. I grasped my wand so tightly that my knuckles went white. I paused until the last few students filtered out and we had the classroom to ourselves. After watching the door shut behind the last person, I turned back to her.
“I was wondering if you could give me some advice about a particular spell,” I started, my voice quivering only slightly as she broke eye contact and returned to tidying the mess on her desk.
“Now is not the time for that, Miss Granger. I clearly stated that questions should be asked during class time, not during my personal time,” she answered, her voice firm. I opened my mouth a few times, trying to find the right words, but I couldn’t. She continued moving about as though I didn’t exist.
I retracted a few steps, considering giving up, just as I began turning around, I changed my mind and looked back at her. “Malum Revealo,” I started, letting the words hang in the air. She slowly lifted her head to gaze at me.
“A very difficult spell. What about it?” she asked curiously, her hands pausing after several minutes of constant moving.
“I need help with the wand technique,” I responded, my tone pleading slightly.
She shook her head at me. “The clear purpose of this project is for you to learn these things on your own.”
“But you said we could come to you for help,” I returned, determined to get what I wanted despite her overbearing presence.
“Not with something like that,” she said, her head still shaking back and forth. I took a step towards her.
“I’ve been trying for days. Please,” I begged. A long sigh escaped from her lips. She looked at me for a few moments before slowly pulling her wand from the depths of her mahogany cloak. I held my wand up, recalling the hand position given in the description of my textbook.
She looked at me wave my wand about, and shook her head at me again. “You’re doing it wrong,” she told me. I wanted to tell her that I knew that already, but decided it would be in my best interest if I kept my mouth shut. I lowered my arm.
“Let me show you something,” she said.
She centered the wand on the tip of her index finger, letting it rest perfectly on that spot. “This spell is all about knowing how to balance the wand,” she said, concentrating hard before throwing it up into the air and catching it completely in the other hand.
After resting my books at the edge of the desk, I placed my own wand carefully on my index finger, taking a few tries to steady it before successfully balancing it.
“Very good,” she said. “Know how to balance your wand and you know how to conjure the spell.”
My mind focused on the feel of the wand as I held it in my hand. Once it felt right in my mind, I waved it in the air and said the incantation, sure that I would do it right this time. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Raglow hold up her hands in disapproval, but it was too late.
An orange flame shot out of my wand and circled around the room, the circumference getting smaller and smaller as it circled its target. The light should have long since disappeared, but it continued to move about with speed and power. I watched in shock as Raglow ran around from behind her desk, her face scrunched up in anger. She was yelling at me.
“How dare you?” she shouted furiously, but I was too distracted by the orange light to pay attention to her. The light was circling around Raglow for a few moments before diving onto the fabric covering her left forearm. I raised my eyebrows in wonder.
She screeched out in pain, the flame burning her clothes. She tried to pull her arm out of sight, but it was too late. I had seen what the orange flame had revealed; it had destroyed precise pieces of the fabric framing the Dark Mark, which was illuminating brightly in contrast to her dark cloak. So brightly that I could feel the heat on my face as I met eyes with her.
“Oh my God,” I muttered in shock. She continued to glare at me, the orange reflecting off of her face.
Professor Raglow. A Death Eater. When it hit me, I didn’t know what to do at that moment besides run. She was dangerous and I knew her secret. I was no longer safe at Hogwarts; I could tell just by the look in her eyes. I sprinted as fast as my legs could take me while Raglow was still recovering from the pain. The last thing I saw when I looked back was Raglow snatching her wand and taking a step towards me. I only had my wand with me now, but it was all I would need anymore. I needed to escape and I knew there was only one person that could help me. I needed to find Draco.
I sprinted through the halls, my mind racing so quickly that I didn’t know where to even begin looking for him. I had a limited amount of time before Raglow would find me, and the mere thought of what she would do to me sent shivers up my spine. She wanted to destroy me; I could just tell by the way she had glared at me. I ran to the Great Hall, ignoring the strange looks I got as I rushed by students walking in the corridors. I paused just past the threshold, my eyes scanning the room. I couldn’t find him, though my heart faltered when I laid eyes on the bright red hair of Ron Weasley. I sprinted up the aisle towards where my two best friends were sitting.
“Ron! Harry!” I said between heavy breaths. I ran up to the table and leaned in close to them.
Both of them turned to look at me, and they knew immediately that something was very wrong. “Hermione? What is it?” Harry asked in a concerned tone.
“Listen, I can’t stay here long. She’s after me,” I answered, looking back towards the large entrance to see if she had found me yet.
“What?” Ron asked, equally shocked and confused.
“You have to tip off McGonagall for me! You can’t tell anyone what you know,” I said so quickly that I wasn’t sure they understood. I continued to look at the entrance, my whole body quivering with fear.
“But we don’t know anything!” Ron shot back, his ears going pink with anger and frustration.
Harry grabbed my arm and yanked it so that I would turn towards them. “Hermione. What is going on?” he asked fiercely.
I lowered my voice. “Raglow. She’s a Death Eater,” I whispered shakily.
“What?!” Ron exclaimed. Harry’s eyes went wider than they already were. I could tell that he was deep in thought.
“I can’t stay here. I have to go. I have to find Draco,” I said, peeling my arm away from Harry, who was now standing.
“Wait, wait, wait. What does Draco have to do with any of this?” Harry asked, his voice angry. I shook my head at him.
“I can’t talk about it right now. Do what I told you, okay?” I ordered, taking a step away from them. Harry took a step towards me.
“Hold on , where are you going?” he asked me, suddenly sounding the slightest bit frightened.
“I have to leave. I have to get out of here before she gets me,” I took another step away from them, but Harry was persistent.
“Hermione, you don’t have to leave. We can fix this,” he said.
“No we can’t,” I responded, beginning to walk away from them, but Harry caught up and stepped in my path. I pushed him away from me gently. “You have to except that you can’t fix everything, Harry. It’s too late. I know too much,” I said, and then I ran away from him, not once looking back. They knew what they had to do now, and I knew what I had to do.
I ran into the library, and immediately ran up to Madame Pince when I didn’t immediately spot him. “Madame Pince, have you seen Draco Malfoy today?” I asked her forcefully, still trying to recover from all of the running I had done.
She narrowed her eyes at me. “Keep your voice down Miss Granger,” she returned.
I didn’t have time for this. “Yes or no?” I returned in frustration, not worried about etiquette at the moment. Her eyebrows lifted high, her forehead wrinkling significantly more than it already was.
“I have not seen him,” she said, surprised at the tone I had taken with her. I was already sprinting away before she could say anymore, though I was sure she had added something about being corrupted by troubled students under her breath. I was too busy to respond.
I narrowly dodged Raglow in the corridor on my way to the Slytherin dormitories; I could see her pacing, looking around with narrow eyes and a look of determination on her face that made my knees weak with fear.
“Miss Weasley?” she had said, pulling Ginny aside. “Have you seen Miss Granger anywhere?”
I ducked out of sight before I could hear a response. I quickly took a right down a smaller corridor and went down several flights of stairs until I reached the bottom floor. I could see the entrance to the Slytherin dormitories from where I was standing, and as I started to run, I realized that the password had probably long since changed and I had no way of getting inside. I leaned against the wall in frustration and decided that the only way I could get in was if someone opened the door for me.
My miracle came in the form of Pansy Parkinson. I waited carefully out of sight until she walked up to the door and uttered a code under her breath. The moment the door opened to let her in, I rushed in beside her, crashed right into her, and continued moving before she had a change to stop me.
“GRANGER!” she screeched as she bent down to retrieve quills and parchment off the floor, while gaping at the ink stains on her robes. I realized after all this time that she had never yelled at me for kind of being the “other woman” and I wasn’t going to stick around to hear anything from her.
“What the hell are you doing in here?!” yelled people who I rushed by too quickly to see their faces. I sprinted by them without a second glance.
“Get her out of here!” screamed a girl somewhere to my right. I could care less about the chaos breaking out around me; I still needed to find Draco and wasn’t going to let anyone get in my way of that.
I rushed up the staircase towards the boys dormitories and threw the door open. There he was, writing something on a piece of parchment, books scattered around him on the bed. I saw him look up at me; his face underwent a metamorphosis of expressions right before me. He looked happy, then surprised, then sad and then confused. A small thought that had been rattling my brain suddenly blew up in my mind as I took a step towards him. There was no metamorphosis for me as I stood there, feeling as though my lungs were about to burst. I felt only one emotion: anger.
“Hermione, what are you…” he started while placing his parchment to the side, though he trailed off. I could hear several people coming up the steps, the news of my appearance in the dormitories clearly spreading throughout the students. I quickly slammed the door shut and cast the imperturbable jinx on it. Finally, I was able to sink down to the floor and let my entire body go slack. My heart was pounding against my chest, my calves burned and my arms were weak.
Suddenly there was silence as we stared at each other in the empty room. He stood up slowly and began inching towards me as I leaned against the door, my cheeks burning. The anger continued to spread in my body as he got close enough to kneel in front of me. When he got close enough, I couldn’t stop myself from lashing out at him.
I leaned forward suddenly and I slapped his face with all of my might. For a few moments, we sat there looking at each other in equal surprise. Then, started flailing my arms about, hitting him wherever I could as he retracted from my arm span.
“Hey!” he exclaimed in shock, almost falling over as he reflexively dodged my sorry excuses for punches.
“You knew didn’t you!?” I screamed at him while I continued to hit him. Something inside me thought that he had known Raglow was a Death Eater all along. Lucius’ words resonated within me. I have my connections within the walls of this school. Had Draco responded to that? Had he known whom his father was talking about? It had to be true, didn’t it?
“Knew what?” he yelled back in complete wonder. This only made me angrier. I started hitting him harder.
“Liar!” I screamed in frustration, hot tears now beginning to rim my eyes. Even in my anger, I had missed him so much. I loved him so much that I didn’t want to believe anything my mind was blaming him for.
“Stop it, Hermione!” he said. Draco tried several times to grab my wrists before succeeding. When he did, he pushed me so that my back slammed against the heavy wood door behind me. As soon as I was deemed immobile, my screams became sobs. For a few moments, it was all I could hear echoing of the walls of the bedroom. My lungs were sore, my mind spun and my heart ached.
Draco kneeled down again in front of me and leaned forward before slowly releasing my hands. I immediately brought them to my face, embarrassed about what I had just done. He moved slowly and carefully around me, bringing one hand slowly to my face and the other to my upper arm. I faltered at his touch, my body aching to be held by him again as I slowly removed my hands from my face, struggling not to slid them around his neck, where my heart was sure they belonged.
He tilted my head up to look at him, and though my eyes were filled with tears, I could still see the beauty illuminating off of his perfect face. I had missed him beyond words.
“Hermione,” he said softly, his voice smooth and velvety, “what’s the matter?”
I watched the way his lips pouted when he frowned. I watched how he cocked his head to the side in worry. I watched the way he analyzed my face for an answer. For the first time in a long time, I felt safe.
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “Did you know about Raglow?” I said quietly, letting my hands rest against my knees as I sat there, curled up against the door. He watched me carefully, his eyebrows furrowing.
“Raglow? You’re hitting me over Raglow?” he asked in confusion.
“She’s a Death Eater,” I explained. Even though the look on his face told me that he really had no idea, I couldn’t help but be angry with him. It was the first time I had really resented him for being none other than Draco Malfoy. It wasn’t his fault, but I still felt the urge to blame him for the stress. I let my feet slide against the floor until my legs were lying flat on opposite sides of him. This allowed him to get closer to me, just where my heart wanted him to be.
“Hermione, I didn’t know. I swear,” he said, sliding towards me, still on his knees. He was unbearably close. He could have kissed my face right there, and I knew that if he pressed his lips to mine, I would have given in. His other hand made contact with my cheek, the warmth immediately relaxing me. He gave me that smoldering look of deep desire and longing as he inched his lips towards mine. I turned my head away and closed my eyes, not allowing him to come any closer. I could sense him hovering over me in disappointment, his hands slowly sliding away from me. After a pause, Draco addressed me. “How do you know about this?” he asked intently.
Without looking at him again, I told him about the spell, how I had asked Raglow for help. How I had cast it, not thinking there would actually be a dark magic in the room we were in. It had hit her arm, revealing her Dark Mark. I told him that she was after me, asking people where I was and searching the corridors.
He was silent for a few moments, and then he looked away from me and started shaking his head. “This is my fault,” he said quietly, his voice agonizing over the situation at hand. Any other day I would have denied such a claim, but for once I looked on in silent agreement. I wiped a tear away from my cheek, wishing his thumb had done the deed instead of me.
After a few moments, he stood up and began throwing clothes into a bag. I stood up slowly, my hand still gripping my wand. He was packing to leave. “What are you thinking?” I asked softly.
“I’m taking you away from here,” he said determinedly. I walked up to him quickly, trying to think of a plan that would work. I couldn’t come up with anything.
“But Draco, where are we going to go? How would we leave?” I asked him. He walked right past me towards a closet, where he fished around for a few moments before pulling out his broom. He gripped the wood before tossing it onto his bed beside his bag.
“Good thing I keep this in my room against the rules,” he added with a half smile, completely ignoring my question. I would have smiled back, but it wasn't the time or place. My eyes were still puffy as I followed him around the room. He went to the window and pushed it open before climbing out with his broom and bag in tow. I watched him in wonder, grateful and relieved that he had some sort of a plan. I was truly lost without him.
“Hermione?” he called from the open window, though I could no longer see him. I walked over to the edge, my arms crossed over my chest protectively. I feared flying so much that it made me shake in fright. I peeked over the edge, and though we weren’t far from the ground, I knew that we would be soon. He lifted the broom so that it was level with the windowpane, his hand reaching out for me. “You can trust me,” he said quietly.
I knew that I had no other option. I took his hand and climbed over the threshold, very carefully straddling the broom behind him. I wrapped my arms around him and held on snugly, though I knew in that moment it was not in either of our best interests to be as close as we were. When he took off, however, I couldn’t help but hold onto him even tighter and I pressed my cheek into his toned back. He rose up high in the air and circled around the castle until he reached the Gryffindor towers.
“Which window is yours?” he asked me over the wind whipping around us. I analyzed for a few moments before pointing in the right direction.
“I think it’s that one, three down from the top,” I said, and he nodded before zooming in the direction I had pointed him in. He slowly turned the broom until it ran parallel with the windowpane. I looked inside and saw my bed; the coast was clear. I was thrilled to be exempt from any explanations, but I couldn't help but think about everything that I was missing.
“This is it,” I said, pulling out my wand and muttering the incantation that made it fly open. Draco lifted me inside the room and I quickly gathered some items in the same bag that he had thrown his clothes in just a few moments earlier. I could smell his scent as I lifted tossed the bag into the room and became intoxicated for just a few moments before coming to my senses again. I threw everything in sight that would fit. As I handed the bag back to him, I took one last look at my room and everything that I was leaving behind. I wondered just for a second if it was all worth it. I looked away and came face to face with Draco, who was extending his hand out to me his expression calm and collected. I took his hand without another thought.
He helped me back down and I shut the window behind us as though I had never been there. I pressed my body against his again, unsure of where we were going or if we would even get away with it. All I knew was that I trusted him. As he sped up and the wind whipped around us, I swore I heard him mutter about how much he had missed me. When the tears came, I wasn’t sure if it was because of his words or because of the harsh, cold wind.
I pressed my face in between his shoulder blades, hoping that he wouldn’t notice the wetness. “I missed you, too,” I responded sincerely, though too quietly. Instead of allowing him to hear the words, I let them be swallowed by the howling winds enveloping us as we flew into the horizon.
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