This story is rated M (for your mom, but also for MATURE). The story contains sensitive themes as well as bad language. You've been warned.
When I got back to the Burrow that night I walked straight past Harry and Ginny, ignoring their salutations, and into the drawing room. I was friends with Draco Malfoy. I was friends with Draco Malfoy. What the hell had I been thinking?
At Hogwarts, Draco's friends were more like lackeys, and in recent years, I hadn't seen him to have any friends. Actually, Crabbe and Goyle had seemed rather absent since our Hogwarts days. Maybe he'd been offing all his friends and that's why he had none. Maybe Administrator was just his cover life. Maybe...
Maybe I was reading way too much into this.
Without realizing, I had begun to wear down the carpet. I stopped pacing just as Harry and Ginny appeared.
“Hermione, hey,” Ginny said, her tone indicating that I had been rude and just because I was suicidal it didn't make it okay to be rude.
“Hey, Ginny,” My voice was too high, too excited. I looked pointedly at Ginny – I still hadn't exactly spoken to Harry since he had saved my life. The truth was, I kind of hated him for it. Just like I kind of hated Draco for it. What was it with these “friends” of mine, and them constantly keeping me from dying?
“Did you want a slice of cheesecake and some pumpkin juice?” She offered. Ginny was very much like her mother in that way. It was very much a Weasley trait, thinking that desserts fixed even the most hopelessly broken-hearted. Which is how they saw me.
The thing is, I was not exactly broken-hearted. Hopeless, maybe. Run-down. Spiritless. Heavy of heart. No longer the vivacious girl they knew. But either it was not in me to be broken-hearted, or I simply hadn't had the opportunity.
“I could do with some firewhiskey, rather than pumpkin juice,” I informed them. Before my “incident”, as people liked to call it, I had relied heavily on firewhiskey to solve my problems. And it worked for quite a while. It was more for its calming effect than its dulling one that I indulged so heavily. When I was worked up like this, I couldn't figure anything out, or think straight. With a couple shots of firewhiskey gone down, I could make even the most difficult of situations seem simple.
“I'm sorry, Hermione, the Healers won't let us give you any. Something about regression and alcohol abuse,” Ginny informed me quietly.
“I wouldn't say it was abuse; I treated it very kindly,” I snorted at my own joke before Ginny and Harry shared an uncomfortable look.
“It was a joke. I tried to kill myself, I get it; it's very depressing. I can still make jokes without being deranged.”
Ginny and Harry chuckled nervously. No matter what I said, they were not convinced. They didn't realize that I just wanted to go back to my normal life. But they were making that impossible, with their never-ending boundary issues and continuous questions and constant need to be awkward.
“Cheesecake will have to do,” I said to Ginny.. Throughout the conversation, I had not turned to look at Harry. I already knew what look he wore. I knew he was worried for my safety, so his brow was furrowed. He was worried that I would never forgive him, so he was tight-lipped, biting the inside of his cheek. He was unsure of what to do, so his eyes shifted every which way trying to catch mine, then falling to the floor when it proved an impossible task.
I passed by him now, following Ginny out the door. I briefly looked up to catch his eye, and saw they were full of grief, as I knew they would be. I gave no hint of recognition as I turned my head away, toward the sound of Ginny's voice. She was telling me about her latest purchases in Diagon Alley. You'd think that was normal, like she always told me these things, and absolutely nothing had happened to alter our relationship. But Ginny had never once spoken to me about shoes before. We used to talk about feelings and dreams and everything. Now, I suppose, anything so heavy would be left until my full recovery. It must have been a daunting task, being my friend.
Ginny cut two slices of cheesecake and placed them on the table, before taking her seat next to me. She looked up expectantly, her smile verging on creepy. I took a fork in my left hand and sampled her newest marvel.
“This is delicious, Gin,” It was possibly the most truthful thing I'd said to her since my “incident”. I realized how completely pathetic it was, that I could only be truthful to my once-best friends when speaking of their baking skills. Still, I had to start somewhere.
“We should do something tonight,” she suggested suddenly. I looked over to her. The order that I was not to have alcohol was ringing through my head. Maybe if we went out, I'd have an opportunity to sneak off and finally indulge.
“I don't think -”
My sentence was cut off by the drawing room door swinging open. Ginny and I turned our heads toward the noise, expecting Harry. Instead, Ron stood in the doorway, breathing a bit too heavily for someone who had just floo'd and then walked ten feet to the door.
“Hermione, can I speak with you please?” He asked, not bothering to excuse himself for the intrusion. However, it was very much like Ron not to realize he was even interrupting.
“I suppose so,” I sighed, suddenly feeling a bit morose to be leaving the kitchen. I knew it had more to do with the cheesecake than with Ginny, though, and I hoped it would still be there when I came back. I hadn't spoken to Ron in a while. Much like Harry. Our communication was through other people, though I hadn't exactly done much communicating at all. Except to a certain psychiatrist and a certain administrator.
He didn't look behind him as he walked up the Burrow's many flights of stairs, but he knew I was following. At least, I hope he knew. Otherwise, it was very rude of him. I followed Ron to the attic, where he had taken up residence following the departure of their ghoul. It was always quiet up here, and it was something I used to enjoy. Now, the quiet brought chills. I knew we were going to have that discussion. I didn't want to. It was easier to believe that everyone knew what was happening.
Naturally, though, everyone was about four steps behind me.
“Hermione, it's been a week,” Ron started, vague as ever.
“Pardon me?” I knew what he was trying to say, but I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of saying it for him.
“It's been a week since the incident-”
“You mean that thing where I tried to kill myself? Just fucking call it what it is,” I instructed. Maybe I was a bit more upset with my friends than I let on.
“Fine. It's been a week since you slit your fucking wrists and decided to abandon everyone, like the selfish bitch you are. ”
“Better,” at least someone was admitting it. And maybe I was trying to rile him up. It seemed to be working; it never did take long to get old Ronnykins pissed.
“I just wanted to know if you were going to end this relationship, or whatever the hell we have right now. You know, because I assumed that our relationship ended when your life did, but your life up and started again, so now I'm a bit confused.”
“Our relationship was over long before my life was. You just didn't know it,” there it was again. The honesty. I truly didn't know what had come over me. But it was nice. Not having to pretend anymore. I mean, they already knew I had tried to kill myself. What else could I have to say that wouldn't pale in comparison to the realization that I had no will to live?
“Well, at least now I know where we stand. Please get out of my room.” With pleasure. I opened the hatch, shoved the ladder down, and followed it to the staircase. All I knew was that the excitement of the day had taken my mind off my Draco conundrum. Also that the cheesecake had better have waited for me.
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