Chapter 11 : His Letter Part Two
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. . . . What actually happened is that I learned how to respect someone, actually respect them. So I tried not to be a terrible person to you. I succeeded only in not doing it as often. I was more horrible to Potter and Weasley. And when I called you a Mudblood, I only did it to infuriate them. I tried not to direct it at you.
Fourth year, I did whatever I could to avoid you. Especially after that stupid ball. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of you; I knew that, should I see you around Krum, I would be boiling with jealousy. I’m not quite sure when the respect became attraction, and I doubt I ever will be.
Fifth year, I was mad. I’ll openly admit that I was absolutely, one hundred percent, crazy. I knew that Potter was telling the truth, my father had seen to that. That was the year that I had actually started hating my father. He never even noticed. He was too wrapped up with the Dark Lord, too distracted to even notice that I was beginning to think Potter had been right all along. He didn’t even notice my hesitancy sixth year when I was given my task.
I don’t suppose you’ve forgotten it, but truth be told, there it was more than killing Dumbledore. I was supposed to kill Dumbledore and convince Potter to follow me into the Forbidden Forrest, where He waited, that night. I didn’t want to do either. It was all meant to happen that night, but I tried to, you know, before that night. I figured if Dumbledore was already gone, then He wouldn’t need me to get rid of Potter, and I wouldn’t be responsible for two deaths. I knew that Potter was more important than Dumbledore, so I made the only choice I felt I had. But then none of them worked, and Snape killed Dumbledore and we ran and Snape made Potter stay behind. I’ll admit it, I was absolutely terrified. For me and for my mother. She’s still alive, by the way. I lied when I said that my family was dead.
The truth is I’m dead to them. My father hates me for failing him, and the Dark Lord, but mainly for what “failing myself”. He believes that I failed myself because I couldn’t be what I “was meant to be.” And because he hates me, my mother hates me. And now, I'm lost to them.
I joined the Dark side because my father told me to. I fought for Potter in the end because I wanted to. I believed, and still do, that that was the right decision. I realized that the Dark Lord was a power hungry, sadistic, madman, who didn’t deserve the right to live. No matter what horrid existence it would have been. I helped Potter find those Horcruxes, but he never knew it. I was the one who sent those cryptic messages because I had my own way of finding where they were located and how to get through those barriers.
After the War, I went to America, took over the life of Andrew Reynolds, and spent four years in college. After that, I spent a year travelling around America, ending my travels in New York, where I got the job that I’ve spent the past three years at. Working for you.
I think it’s quite odd that you never noticed who I was, not in three years. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is now you know everything that’s important, well, almost everything. There’s one other thing, but that’s only important if you want it to be. If you decide that even now you want to continue with this marriage, I will. But if you’ve realized how outrageous this is, how they will hate you when they find out who I really am. If you’ve thought over every little thing, and made the best decision , then I understand.
I will forever understand whatever you decide.
It had been a little over a week since Hermione had last seen Draco. Actually, it had been one week, one day, four hours, and seventeen minutes since she had last seen him. Eighteen minutes.
When she had finally wrapped her mind around the fact that he was no longer there, she began to think of where he might be. Her first thought was back at work. When she didn’t find him there, she looked up his apartment. He wasn’t there either. She tried to think of places he would have gone. She tried going back to England and Diagon Alley, but there was nothing. Then she tried Hogsmeade, but he wasn’t there either. She returned to America without any more ideas. She didn’t know any of America’s counterparts to Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. She wondered if he even did.
So she was counting away the minutes. She was surprised that she hadn’t had to use any magic to keep her job. She hadn’t done anything since her return. She hadn’t even bothered talking to the immigration office about the wedding. Now that there probably wasn’t going to be one. She shouldn’t have even suggested it to him.
She curled into a ball beneath his sheets. She had been staying at is apartment, hoping that if he returned, he would come here…when he returned. She was beyond the point of even denying that part of it was also because she could smell him. She could smell him in the pillows, in the blankets, and even in the sheets. She could smell him in the couches, the dining room chairs, and most especially in the bathroom. His cologne was ever abundant. She would shower with his necessities simply because she would nearly smell like him. Nearly. No one could ever match his scent, no matter how they might try.
She was curled beneath his covers, taking in his scent as she buried her face in his pillows. She was so wrapped up in her wallowing that she didn’t even hear the pop of someone Appaperating into the apartment. She didn’t hear the footsteps approaching the bedroom, or the sound of the door opening.
She noticed nothing as she counted the time until the covers were gently pulled of her body, instantly causing her to shiver. She didn’t say a word as she heard that voice she had been longing to hear for one week, one day, four hours, and twenty-three minutes whisper, “I didn’t mean to wake you.”
Her mouth was sewn shut as she continued to breathe in his pillows. She felt him settle in behind her and draw the covers up around them. His arm came and draped around her waist, ever so lightly, as if he were scared to touch her. She did the only she could think to do in that moment: she turned her body into his and snuggled into his chest, reveling in the freshness of that scent that could only ever belong to him.
As the clock in her head continued, she realized something very important. She could turn the damn thing off right now.
When she woke up, she reached for his body, only to find it no longer there. For a moment, she thought she was still dreaming. Then she thought him coming back last night was what had been the dream.
A moment later she heard someone moving around in the kitchen. Without another thought, she jumped out of his bed and raced into the kitchen. The moment he turned to look at her, after hearing the noise she had made, she jumped into his arms and pressed her lips against his. He dropped whatever it was he had been holding and swung her around a moment, before pulling away from her, albeit a little hesitantly.
Trying to hold back his smile as he leaned his forehead against hers, he whispered, “It’s good to see you too.”
“Where were you?” she almost laughed at how absurd of a response that was. She hadn’t even really said anything to him, hadn’t spoken to him in… well, it had been more than a week. He chuckled and whispered, his head still against hers, “I was visiting my mother.”
“And you're father?”
“No. From what Teena said, he’s been dead for seven years.” She could hear the anger in his words, no matter how hard he tried to cover it up. She pulled fully away from him and leaned against the counter as she asked, “Why are you angry? I thought you hated him.”
“I hate him more than words can describe. But I’m not angry with him, at least, I don’t think I am. I'm angry at myself. For seven of the eight years I’ve gone without visiting, my mother has been alone. I could have helped her, if only I’d gone back before now. Now it’s too late. There’s nothing they can do for her.”
“Nothing who can do for who?
When they entered the private room in St. Mungo’s, Hermione gently squeezed Draco’s hand. He gave a gentle squeeze in return as they approached the only bed in the room. His mother was lying on the bed, sleeping, somewhat peacefully.
Hermione looked at the woman, and didn’t really know what to feel. Should she be angry? This was the woman who had allowed torture to run rampant in her house. This was the woman who had allowed Voldemort in her house. This was the woman who had allowed harm to come to Draco. Should she be sad? This was Draco’s mother, a woman whom he had grown up with. A woman that he loved very much. This was a woman who had gone crazy at the loss of her husband. Should she feel safe? This woman was no longer a threat to her, or her friends. Her husband was no longer a threat to, well, anyone. There were a million possible feelings, and she didn’t know which one to feel. But she decided that it didn’t matter what she felt. All that mattered was what Draco felt.
Not that he knew what he felt either. Or even what he was supposed to feel.
“Yes, Mother?” he said as he watched her begin to wake up.
“Where is your father?”
“I don’t know, Mother.” She was blinking as she started to sit up. And then her eyes landed upon Hermione.
She narrowed her eyes as she said, “What do you think you're doing here, mudblood?”
“I invited her here, Mother.”
“Ah, yes. I had forgotten, you work for that… thing.” Her last word was spoken with utter disgust and disdain, accompanied by a look of pure superiority. She turned to look back at Draco and said, “Why, exactly, do you work for her? You are her superior, she should work beneath you, should you grant her that thing some might consider her life.”
Draco shot Hermione an apologetic look as his Mother spoke. When he looked back at his Mother, she began to speak again, but this time, she wasn’t looking at Hermione or Draco, she was looking behind them.
“Do you see what filth your son has brought into our house? His little whimsy, you said, a whimsy! Do you see what you've allowed to happen?”
There was a pause, as if someone was responding to her, before she said, “Yes, yes. Draco, do as your father says.”
“What did he say, Mother?”
“Draco! You should learn to listen to your father! He said, you should either take this filth out of our home and never return, and do away with her, as you should have done when you saw her during the War!”
Hermione had dropped out of the conversation a minute before, but now her interest was piqued. She hadn’t seen him during the War, and she wondered whether this was something his mother had imagined, or if he actually had seen her.
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