Chapter 6 : Did you fear what I would find?
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“Malfoy? Did your parents ever tell you that they loved you?” I asked spontaneously one Saturday afternoon. We had been sitting for an hour or so in our common room, the only sounds to be heard was the scratching of quill on parchment. We had come to some sort of compromise after our...interesting train ride and now almost four weeks into term civility had been ensured.
“Let me get this straight, you are asking me if, Lucius Malfoy, Voldemort’s little side kick, the most emotionless parent in the world, if he ever told me he loved me?” Malfoy scoffed in retort.
“You have a mother, do you not? Because I would be very scared if you didn’t, because that would imply that your father carried and gave birth to you and the would be ridiculously creepy”
“It’s creepy that you even thought about that Granger seen as you have met my mother at least once”
“Well has she ever told you that she loved you?”
“Why are you asking me?”
“Call it curiosity”
“You’re lying Granger”
“And how to you know that?”
“You’re biting your bottom lip.”
“I am not!” But I was. “Ok, so what if I am, how do you know I do that when I lie?”
“Call me observant”
“Care to explain?”
“Not really” I glared at him.
“Why would you, Draco Malfoy pureblood elitist, EVER observe me, Hermione Granger mudblood know-it-all?”
“Every time you have spoken to Ginny this term, you have lied to her at least once, or was it twice.”
“The amount of homework you’ve got, Head’s duties, who gave you the roses, not feeling well, practising you-“
“How do you know I was lying about who gave me the roses?” I interrupted him. “I don’t even know who gave me the roses”
“Don’t you remember the first day you brought them out?”
Three weeks prior.
“Engorgio” I muttered, pointing my wand at the small black box that contained my shrunken down roses.
“Those are some beautiful roses Granger” Malfoy said strutting down the stairs to his dormitory and walking over to the coffee table that my roses sat upon.
“I know, I only wish I knew who they were from” I said with a sigh.
“You don’t know? Haven’t even formulated a guess?”
“I’ve been preoccupied”
“How can you remember little things like that?” The only response I got was a shrug of his shoulders. “Anyway, you’re very good at distracting me, are you going to answer my question?”
“I want to know why you asked me before I answer”
“I told you I was curious”
“And I know you were lying”
“And your point is?”
“I want to know the real reason”
“We have time, it’s a Saturday, it’s not like we have to be anywhere, Potter and Weasley aren’t here, the Weasley girl believes that you’re doing homework, like you do every Saturday, she must think you have no life, Pansy didn’t return so no-one is going to come looking for me, so spill the beans... Is there something about your parents never telling you that they loved you Hermione?” The extra emphasis on my name sent shivers down my spine.
“I have a life thank you very much! It’s just not very social these days.” I retorted, ignoring the last part of his comment as much as I could.
“Yet again, you are avoiding my question”
“What is there to say?”
“Just answer my question”
“All of them” I took in a deep breath, his one question had spawned into a few intricate and delicate ones and their corresponding responses in my head were all too intimate for me to share with him. Or rather, I thought they were.
“It can’t be that hard girl, you never seem to be able to shut up other times and now you won’t even speak.”
“What were you’re questions again?” I was trying to stall him, in the hope he would forget the most important question of all but I knew I would have no such luck.
“Why did you ask me that question, the original one, about my parents telling me they loved me? If you want me to answer you, you have to answer me. I want to know why. I also want to know if your parents told you that they loved you.” His tone was demanding and assertive, more of the old pre-war Malfoy, than the post war Draco.
“I... I... It’s just so complicated! Sometimes I just want to scream, I don’t understand how Harry copes! I’ve had no parents for almost two months now and I’m still a wreck, he never had any and he turned out fine!”
“Potter has had almost nineteen years to deal with it. There’s a big difference”
“But... ARGH! I just don’t know what to do!”
“Might I ask what this has to do with my parents telling me that they loved me?”
“EVERYTHING!” I screamed at him standing in front of him, tears starting to leak from my eyes. He stood up next to me and put his hands on my shoulders, their coolness awkwardly relaxing.
“You’re allowed to be upset, no one is telling you that you can’t grieve for them.”
“You weren’t at the Weasleys after the war, it bloody felt like they were. When I returned from finding my parents, I’d gone alone, it felt like I didn’t have a place there anymore. No-one wanted to talk about relatives dying, they’d lost enough already and I needed to talk to someone.” I collapsed back onto the couch, tears were flowing freely again. “Sorry, I haven’t cried this much since the day before I left for Hogwarts” I muttered.
“What are you apologising for? I’m not cold hearted enough to get angry at you for crying anymore.” I smiled at him, a real smile, my first in a long while. “Anyway, you said you needed to talk. How about you talk to me AND answer my questions?”
“You’re not going to let it go are you?”
“Nope and if you thought Gryffindors were stubborn, you obviously haven’t dealt with a Slytherin’s stubbornness before.”
“I don’t know if stubborn is quite the right word for you, I think manipulative suits better.”
“That hardly fits. Now talk because we are very good at getting off topic”
“You said we had plenty of time so what’s the rush?”
“We do, but you need to get out of this common room for once in your 7th year life and it’s a beautiful day today.”
“It’d raining Draco.”
“Are you saying rain isn’t beautiful?”
“Rain is cold... and wet”
“Oh really? I never knew that” He responded sarcastically.
“Glad I could teach you something.” I poked my tongue out at him. “Ok, I guess I should answer your questions but I don’t know where to start.”
“Wherever you are most comfortable”
“The day I left the Weasleys, I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t stay there, I went home but all the memories kept flooding back, I spent hours upon hours going through photographs of them, I never got to say goodbye and I was so scared that I would forget what their voices sounded like. There are so many moments that I will never have with them now and it’s all my fault for sending them away in the first place. I thought I was doing the right thing, I didn’t expect him to be able to track them and I don’t know how he did it either.”
“Nobody blames you for their deaths Hermione, I doubt they would have either”
“Don’t you get it? People can say that it’s not my fault, that no one blames me, but I know it was my fault.”
“They would have died if they had stayed here”
“You can’t know that for sure.”
“Yes I can actually.”
“The Death Eaters knew where you lived. All your details, every ones, are at the Ministry of Magic, which Voldemort had infiltrated”
“They knew where I lived?” I whispered and Draco nodded.
“But they didn’t raid because you were all gone. Odd, I know, it’s more their style to destroy everything so I don’t know why your house was left intact. Now do you believe me? It wasn’t your fault at all”
“No, no guessing, you kept them alive by sending them to Australia, it kept them alive for a lot longer than if you had left them here.”
“They’re still gone...”
“Yes, but do the ones we love ever truly leave us?”
“Draco Malfoy, quoting Albus Dumbledore, I never thought I’d see the day.”
“Ohshuttup.” He muttered quickly.
“Five minutes ago you were telling me to talk.”
“Yeah, about you, not me so do continue.”
“Demanding aren’t you?”
“I am Slytherin.” I sighed at this somewhat lame response of his and opened my mouth to continue my story.
“Everything hit me the day I left to return here one last time, my children would never meet a set of their grandparents, my father would never walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, all that sort of stuff. I’ve been having bad dreams ever since and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“What have these dreams been about?”
“It’s the same one over and over again, there is a massive storm and I’m drowning in the river near my house, both my parents are standing on dry land just watching me, laughing and telling me that I couldn’t be there to save them so why should they save me.”
“Almost every night, sometimes it’s only ever second, but if it skips a night, the next night its worse.”
“Have you thought about taking a dreamless potion?”
“I’ve already tried that. Madam Pomfrey doesn’t understand why it’s not working”
“I’ve never heard of a dreamless potion not working.”
“Neither have I and that is what’s scaring me the most. What if there is something wrong with me?”
“I am sure there is nothing wrong with you Hermione”
“That’s for you to say! I’ve lived my whole life being treated like the scum under everyone’s shoes, I couldn’t ever do anything that was good enough for anyone until I came to Hogwarts and then the people I needed to prove this to didn’t understand what has going on because they aren’t like you and I.”
“Your parents never told you that they loved you did they Hermione?” He was blunt and straight to the point. It sounded so much harsher coming out of his mouth that it did as poison in my mind.
“No... I never heard them say it once, it was never said” I whispered, wrapping my arms around myself. Draco just looked at me, like he didn’t know what to do but with him being who he was I wasn’t exactly surprised.
“I guess that makes two of us then” He replied quietly.
“You were never told either?”
“Nope, my father wasn’t one to express his emotions and my mother was restricted by him, I lived in a very secluded life being an only child.”
“Did you ever wish you had siblings?”
“When I was younger? Pffft, no, I had everything I wanted, spoilt little brat, but more recently yes, I wish I did. You?”
“A brother or sister would have lifted the expectations off my shoulders so much, my parents, both being dentists expected me to follow in their footsteps. My being a witch was something they had not expected, sometimes it was almost a disappointment to them, like I was a disappointment.”
“You know what” Draco said absently.
“I need to take your mind off these things for you”
“I don’t understand...”
“Your parents, their expectations of you, your expectations of yourself, it’s all that is in your head. You need something else to fill that space in that ridiculously large brain of yours. Put some shoes on, we’re going outside”
“Are you insane? It is raining outside.”
“I tried to kill Dumbledore, of course I am insane. Hurry up”
“I’m not so sure about this”
“Don’t you trust me?”
“Excellent.” I shook my head, he was demented, I always knew he was. Whoever knew Draco Malfoy would ever try and help me, war does funny things to people. I ran upstairs and grabbed a pair of black boots, they wouldn’t be black when I got back, I knew that for a fact. I pulled them on and walked cautiously back down the stairs. He was watching me, kind of creepily, but with a concerned expression of his face.
We walked in silence to the doors. I sighed as I saw the rain belting the concrete no less than ten metres in front of me. I watched Draco walked straight out into the rain and down the path to the quidditch pitch.
“Are you coming or are you going to stand in the doorway looking like a loser all afternoon?” I shook my head at my idiocy and ran after him.
“Race you” I said as I ran past him. Stupid, stupid idea as he easily caught up to me. He stopped out in the middle of the quidditch pitch and waited for me to catch up. I was out of breath when I got to him and I hadn’t accounted for the slippery grass as I tried to stop. Emphasis on the tried to stop because stopping entailed me colliding with Draco and knocking both of us to the ground.
“Brilliant Hermione” Sarcasm dripping off every word as he wiped the mud from the back of his head.
“Oh my, I’m so sorry” I spluttered, trying not to laugh. He was glaring at me and I couldn’t control myself. I slid off him and onto the wet grass.
“I find rain so relaxing” He said, staring up at the dark sky.
“I think I understand what you meant when you said that today was beautiful. It is beautiful, in a dark, twisted way.”
“It is not dark or twisted. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, everyone will look upon the same item and see it in a different way”
“I would never have picked you as a philosophical person”
“It’s another one of those ‘war changes people’ type things I guess” He replied with a shrug. “Hermione, I know I’ve said this before but I want to say it again and hopefully today proved it. I’m really sorry for everything I’ve ever done to you, all the names I ever called you. All I hope for is that one day you can forgive me for it all but I’d understand if you don’t.” He brushed a strand of my wet hair out of my face as we sat in the middle of the quidditch pitch in the pouring down rain. “And I know who sent you those flowers.”
I looked at him eagerly, only half expecting the response I got.
A/N. Thanks for reading. :) I hope you enjoyed it. You have no idea how much I love seeing the reads count go up everyday.
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