Chapter 9 : there's blood in my mouth, cause I've been biting my tongue all week
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Contains the usual warning of Mature. This time for SWEARING. Oh noes.
I took a taxi. It wasn't something one usually did in London unless they had money to spare. But seeing as Malfoy lived a ten minute drive from Harley Street, I figured my pockets could take the hit and I just didn't feel like being around as many people as could manage to fit on the train that particular day.
“West End, thanks.”
“Shopping today?” The cabbie asked. But of course he would assume that. He picked me up outside Malfoy's ridiculously expensive looking house, and the West End was renowned for its shopping centres, culture, and entertainment.
“Something like that,” I'd heard somewhere that cab drivers were the new therapists, but I was unwilling to share my secrets with anyone that wasn't properly licensed for the task. I chewed my tongue as he prattled on about a few of his earlier customers, making typical cab driver small talk. I'd grown used to this; words that did nothing but fill the silence. Everyone at the Burrow was becoming an expert in small talk. I couldn't help but feel a bit guilty for this. Normally it was so full of life and laughter. Lately, it had been hushed tones. And I knew it was me causing it. I only hoped that while I was at Malfoy's, they could restore a bit of joy. Just because I tried to kill myself didn't mean I didn't care.
Most of the time it seemed I was a jumble of contradictions. I wanted to try and fix myself but knew it was a losing game. I wanted to be alive and experience joy but it seemed I was always beside it rather than included in it. I wanted to be happy but how could I? Every time I closed my eyes, I thought about everyone who died for me, for their family, their friends. Even those who died for nothing. And why couldn't I have been one of them? I, Hermione Granger, had always been determined. But right now I couldn't decide if I wanted more to overcome this, whatever it was. Or if I just wanted to surrender and give up, like I tried to do a few weeks ago. It certainly felt easier then.
And now that I was being forced to rehabilitate myself, what could I do? I didn't exactly like to be made to do anything, but I had always risen to a challenge. Now, it was just an internal struggle of fight versus flight all over again. Some days it's harder.
I got the cabbie to drop me off a few roads down from the office. It was still in shopping territory and I had plenty of time to walk the rest of the way. No reason to let him know where I was going. Just because I wasn't famous in the muggle world didn't mean I was okay with him knowing my business.
I arrived, still too early to see Dr Gorner, and was left in the lobby with her receptionist. I gave her a cursory nod and a “what's up?” to kill the silence. I didn't like her very much. She smelled like hairspray and cigarettes and always gave me a fake “how ya doin' today, sugar?” that always rattled me a little before my sessions. Who called anyone sugar anymore?
As if on cue with my thoughts, she smiled, all lipstick and teeth, and said “how ya doin' today, sweetheart?” Okay, sweetheart was a step in the right direction. But still. I'd never let Ron called me sweetheart, let alone someone I wasn't dating, or even friends with. It was just weird.
I'd been at Draco's now for two days. Two peaceful days where I saw almost no one and slept in once and could shower for longer than two minutes without someone being alarmed, thinking I had slit my wrists with a razor. The original agreement was two or three days but Draco had given me until Saturday night. If progress hadn't been made by then, changes would be made. Extra sessions would be doled out. He even threatened to put me in a special wing at St. Mungo's.
“Now, I'd never force progress upon one of my patients, but I've also never let one stay at my house before, so if I mention this in my formal report, and it was all for naught, they might make inquiries into the matter,” he had said before running off to work. He also might have asked me to pick up some Hob Nobs, since it was the only edible thing his cupboards contained, until I changed that. I'd be sure to make a quick stop at Sainsbury's on the way back.
“Camelia's ready for you, hon,” And the receptionist, whose name I never cared to learn, ushered me into the office.
“Now, Hermione, when you left on Monday, I urged you to speak with Ron about his current lifestyle. Have you made any progress there?”
“Not as of yet, no.”
“Hermione, I know this is only our fourth session, but I'd hoped you would at least take it seriously. If you don't want to be helped, I'm wasting my time.”
“I just mean that I haven't had the chance. I've never shied away from any confrontation when it came to Ronald. But we haven't been in the same house, much less the same room lately, for me to even broach the subject.”
“Where is he staying then?” Dr. Gorner's eyes narrowed slightly, genuinely curious.
“Well, he's still at home. But I've been staying with a friend. Draco Malfoy.”
“You mean your Administrator?” Obviously. Dr. Gorner often spoke with Malfoy about my progress. After all, they were working together toward the same goal. I nodded.
“I see. You're avoiding Ronald,” she began, her fingers copying something down.
“No. Not avoiding him. See, I think spending time with my Administrator is important. I think he can help me to problem solve in a creative manner and to-”
“Cut the bullshit, Hermione. If you were so invested in getting better, you'd have invited me to these little sleepovers. You'd actually be trying to, I don't know, be honest with me. And maybe you'd actually begin to understand that you're just a spoiled little brat and you don't realize what your actions are doing to everyone around you. Reality check: These people want to get on with their lives. Harry and Ron and Ginny and Malfoy, and every single person in the magical and muggle world has lost someone they care about. Everyone else moved on. What the hell makes you so special that you can't get your head out of your ass and get on with your fucking life?”
I sat in stunned silence. I had been asking myself the same question since it all started. Maybe it was a vitamin deficiency that had me feeling tired and sluggish all the time. Maybe it was laziness, or a pity party that just got way out of hand.
“You're not a little girl anymore,” she said quieter, maybe realizing yelling hadn't been the way to go, “you can't expect people to clean up after you. If you really want to kill yourself, if that is hand to God the only thing you want, by all means. But don't expect everything to be solved by leaving a note. You have to actually say goodbye. Go to Harry. Tell him everything you feel. Every reason why you did this. Then go to Ron, and do the same with him. Your mother. Your father. Cousins, aunts, uncles, anyone who was in your year at Hogwarts, anyone who was in any year under or above you and looked up to you. You're fucking it up for them, too.”
And maybe this was the truth. But I didn't try and kill myself for them. I did it for me. And maybe that was the problem. I was doing everything for myself. At some point along the way, I stopped caring about anyone else's feelings or opinions and only focused on my own. And that was my greatest downfall. Maybe the only reason to keep fighting was for everyone else. But I didn't know how.
“Can I go now?” Okay, so I'd only been there for about ten minutes, but I felt this was all I needed to get out of today's session.
She nodded, disappointed, and I left.
One of the advantages of having grown up in the city was knowing the high and low streets so intimately I didn't need a map. It was a forty minute walk back to Malfoy's, which I might be up for, but only twenty minutes by public transportation. If I caught the right train, I could make it in fifteen minutes. There was always invariably a stop somewhere in the middle. I opted for the simplest option and just walked. I had the time now.