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Otherwise Engaged by majamariamaja
Chapter 20 : Hand On Your Heart
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 80


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beautiful ci by KatDaniels here at the site :)
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Chapter 20. Hand On Your Heart






«Well, Draco Malfoy,» I started, anger painting my words blood red. The tall, blond man quickly turned around, eyes completely clouded with alcohol...and lust. This was the final drop. «Fancy running into you here.»

«Hermione,» Draco whispered. He didn't make any excuses, he knew very well that this was exactly what it looked like. But I still wanted him to deny it. To explain that it was all a big misunderstanding.

But he didn't.

He just stood there, one hand still on Annie-The-Intern's hip. She was looking confused from me to Draco, not quite sure how to react, or what to do. Those big eyes of hers were just as clouded as his.

I swear I would hex her from here to eternity if she as much as said one single word.

Dimwitted brat.

Draco then very suddenly realised where his hand was located, and quickly broke all contact with the young girl's narrow hips, even taking a long step away from her.

Yeah, like that would help erase the image of the two of them from my mind. I would have clawed my eyes out if I'd thought it would help get rid of the memory of them.

«No, please,» I said coldly. «Carry on. I'll just get out of your hair.» But I didn't move.

«Hermione...» Draco stepped toward me, hand outstretched. But all I could think of was where that exact hand had been just a second ago, and I jumped back. «I-I'm.. This is nothing. Just a big mistake.»

«Yes, I bet. But you still thought that 'nothing' over there was worth risking us for.» I was being a little hypocritical, but I blame it all on the hormones. And I knew I'd go ballistic if Draco even hinted at the irony, something he luckily avoided to do.

«No, it's not, this isn't... I thought we -»

«Don't go all Ross on me, Malfoy, and blame this on 'we were on a break', because it's not going to work.»

«I wasn' t-»

«I can't discuss this now.» I held up a shaky hand and began walking slowly backwards out of the alley, struggling to keep the tears from falling. «I just... I just have to get away from you.»

After hurrying to round the corner again, going back the way I came, I didn't give a flying fart in space about the muggles around me, turned on the spot and Disapparated.






«What's wrong?» Martin had heard me crying in the hallway outside our apartment and was now cradling me in his arms. I don't think I've felt such an overwhelming, immense pain in my entire life. Shattered pieces of what I'd imagined my world to be were raining over me like glass splinters, and I had no protection against their sharp edges. Nor did I care to find one.

«My love...» he was whispering over and over again, tightening his hold on me and tenderly kissing the top of my head. But his attemps of keeping me glued together were futile. «My dearest...»

The strange thing was that it didn't matter whether Martin was there or not. I was still going to scream my lungs empty, sorely trying to force the pain out of my body. So I drew a hysterical breath before ripping my lungs apart in a scream that threatened to tear apart the building. The hoarse, desperate howls didn't stop, but Martin never let me go, instead he pulled me so close that I could feel his pounding heartbeats racing along with mine.

I never would have anticipated that it could possible to feel secure in a moment such as this, but it was slowly creeping into my being along with the heat Martin's body was transfering into mine. It was then that I realised that I was shivering as if being frozen to my core.

I turned and buried my face in between his chest and arms, muffling my continuous screams, and only then found myself to be exhausted to the point of nearly fainting. A sense of calmness slowly took the place of hysteria, and I was suddenly very quiet. Martin and my own breath were the only sounds I could hear, and the bitter-sweet silence was oddly comforting.

Martin was still holding me very tightly, and was also rubbing my back with his one hand. I focused upon his steady movements and found my muscles relaxing because of it.

That was what Martin was, I just realised. Steady. He would never hurt me like...-

I couldn't think his name.

And just like that, I'd made up my mind.

«I'm here,» Martin whispered tenderly into my ear, then gently kissed my neck.

«I know.» My voice was barely audible from all the screaming, but I needed to say it. I needed to let those words out of my mouth, to tell him somehow that I was choosing him. «I love you.»

«And I love you.»

And that was that.

My decision was made.

And I prayed to some higher power that it was the right one.






«Stop calling me!» I hissed angrily and tried to ignore the never ending ringing emitting from my mobile. And as if he heard me, Draco's name was replaced by '18 missed calls' on the small screen. «Finally.»

But when it began ringing for the umpteenth time only ten seconds later, I growled and turned the sodding thing off. At least I wouldn't constantly be interrupted by his name appearing on my phone this way.

The bitter silence following this act was actually causing more pain than it cured.

«How are you, darling?»

I turned around at the exact moment Martin wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my neck. Ever since my breakdown last night, he hadn't left my side, but he hadn't asked why I'd acted as I did either, something I vastly appreciated.

«Good.»

«Good,» he repeated and kissed me again before letting go and walked into the kitchen. «You hungry?»

«Starving.»

«Pancakes?» he asked and I smiled at him.

«Sounds perfect.»

With a soft smile on his lips he turned to add ingredients into a large bowl. I turned back to watch the television and pulled the blanket I was curled underneath up to my chin.

Suddenly Martin appeared beside me, leaned over and put something on the table before kissing my temple, and then walked back into the kitchen.

It was a glass. With a milky-brownish liquid.

Chocolate milk.

My heart was fluttering. I ripped my eyes away from the glass and turned to look at Martin. He was humming absentmindedly to himself while flitting about the small kitchen, and the smell of pancakes filled my senses.

«I love you,» I mumbled, mostly to myself. And tried to convince myself that I was talking to Martin. Not someone else.

The pregnancy was still messing with my body, but I had until now kept the worst nausea under control.

I was dreading the moment when I had to tell Martin.

I was actually toying with the notion of waiting until after the wedding, tell him some time later that I got pregnant on the wedding night. It was the best I could come up with at this time, but it seemed like the most ideal way of handling the situation. I think.

I didn't exactly look forward to telling Ginny though...






«What?!»

«Yes,» I said firmly, but quietly. The others were in the next room, waiting for me and Ginny to bring out dinner.

«What a fucking wanker!»

«Yes.»

«And you're not telling him?»

«No.»

«Instead you're going to lie to Martin and tell him the baby's his?»

«Yes.»

There was a long pause where our eyes bore into each other.

«This is fucked up.»

«What's with all the cursing?»

«This pregnancy is getting on my last sodding nerves. I'm amped up pretty much all the time.» She sighed. «And I'm nervous as hell. My due date is in three days.»

«How's Harry handling it?»

Ginny snorted. «He's a ray of fucking sunshine, he is.»

I couldn't contain a small laugh, and had a moment where I actually forgot about my 'fucked up'(to quote Ginny) situation.

«Hey, sis!» Ron called from the dining room. «Where's the grub? We're starving!»

«Shut up, you poof!» she screamed back, and his made me smile again.

Ginny grabbed a plate of potatoes while rolling her eyes and gritting her teeth. I took another one filled with turkey legs and together we walked out of the kitchen.

«..are you completely barmey, Ro-?!» Harry's green eyes were shooting Ron warnings, but when we entered, his head suddenly snapped up and he gave his very pregnant wife a gleaming smile. He got to his feet and went over to her with his hands outstretched, wanting to help her with the plate. Ginny rolled her eyes again and pushed past him.

«Just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean I'm incapable of carrying a sodding plate,» she growled as she put the plate on the table. When she sat down, huffing and puffing as she did, Harry walked quietly over to his own chair, making sure not to make any sound that would further anger his hormonal monster of a wife. I giggled silently.

«What are you all waiting for?» Ginny added angrily as she shuffled potatoes onto her plate. «Do I need to ring a bloody bell for you to know dinner's served?» She held up an imaginary bell in her hand and shook it. «Ding, ding, ding! Now - eat

We immediately reacted and threw ourselves over the table in order to get food on our plates as fast as physically possible.

But the hurried movements, and the even faster way I began eating, made my stomach churn threateningly. I immediately knew what was coming, and there was no way of me avoiding what was about to happen.

«I-I need to go -» I began, but suddenly had to cover my mouth as I felt the sick already pushing its way up my throat.

«What's the matter?» Ron asked. «Is it the food? Did she put poison in there?!» He looked wide eyed from me to Ginny and spat out a mouthful of half eated potato into a napkin.

«It's not the food, Ron. Stop being disgusting,» Ginny muttered and sent him a scolding look.

«Is it the food, Hermione? Don't let Ginny's crazy hormones -»

«What did I just tell you?!» Harry hissed to his best friend, eyes bulging.

I tried to swallow the impending lump in my throat, but it was no use – if I didn't run to the nearest bathroom I would empty the contents of my stomach all over the dinner table.

«No, no, don't you dare!» Ginny warned me and pointed to the loo around the corner. «Don't throw up here. Go to the -»

«Throw up?» Harry looked at me with concern, and then back over to the pregnat woman beside him. He involuntary glanced at the food on his own plate and swallowed nervously. «Ginny? My love. Did you... Ehm, add any special ingredients to this?»

Ginny was becoming furious, but I couldn't move. I was absolutely sure that if I moved even a single muscle I was definitely going to throw up. But I was also equally sure that if I didn't reach a toilet soon, the same exact thing was going to happen.

I was damned if I did, and damned if I didn't.

«Absolutely not!» Ginny sneered at her husband.

«Ooh!» Ron suddenly exclaimed, clutching his stomach. «I feel really sick. I'm poisoned too!»

«Stop being so damn dramatic, you ignoramus. You're not poisoned!»

«Then why is my stomach cramping and I feel like throwing up, huh?!»

«You're not sick!»

«Why is Hermione green in the face, then?!» Ron groaned and wrapped his arms around himself in 'pain'. «Oh, no. It's getting worse! I need a Healer!»

«No, you do not

«Yes, I do

«No, you don't, because Hermione's not poisoned!»

I still hadn't moved, and my hand was firmly covering my mouth, my eyes only half open. I could hear Ron groaning, and he was now writhing in a pain he wasn't aware that didn't really exist.

«So why is she only seconds away from releasing her sick all over us? Answer me that!» he exclaimed.

«Because she's pregnant, you sod!»

At the second Ginny said it, her hand flew up to her mouth.

«She's what?» Harry whispered in disbelief.

Ginny sighed and then removed her hand from her lips. After sending me an apologetic look, she turned to the boys.

«She's pregnant.»

«You are?» Ron asked me.

I didn't answer, instead I ran away to the bathroom and let my stomach empty itself. And after I was done, I sat on the floor for a while, leaning my throbbing temple against the chilly porcelain.

«Hermione?» Ron knocked on the door. When I didn't answer, and since the door was unlocked, he opened it and peeked inside. «You okay?»

I closed my eyes and tried to nod.

«You're really pregnant?»

Another attempt at nodding.

He didn't say anything more, he simply sat down beside me, grabbed some toilet paper and gently dried my mouth with it. I always knew Ron hadn't completely gotten over me. As a matter of fact, his reaction to me getting engaged was storming out of the room, so I knew this couldn't be easy for him.

Tears were only a few seconds away, and I put my head on Ron's shoulder so he couldn't see them when they soon began falling. But he saw right through that, thought he didn't say anything. One of his hands found one of mine and his fingers interlaced with my own. The act was so tender, so sweet, and it was the final drop to make the tears begin to trickle down my face. There weren't a lot of them, but they still made Ron's shirt slightly damp.

«Congratulations,» he whispered, but his tone made what little that was left of my heart break all over again. The pain was evident.

I didn't answer him.

«Martin must be very excited.»

Still no response.

«He doesn't know yet, does he?»

My head shook on its own accord.

«Oh...» Ron mumbled, then drew a ragged breath. «You're going to.. you know.. have it, right?»

«Yes.»

There was a long silence where our breathing were the only sounds in the room.

«If it's a boy...» he said in a low voice, and I heard how he was just about to make some sort of joke. I found myself smiling at this and eagerly awaited what would come next. «... Can you promise me to not name him Ronald?»

I gave a little laugh.

«What about Bilius?»

«If you want the poor lad to be teased for the rest of his life, then by all means.»

I smiled and let out a low chuckle.

«I love you, Hermione.»

Wow. That certainly came out of thin air.

I didn't know how to respond to this.

«You don't even believe in love, Ron,» I tried to joke the awkwardness away.

«That's not true!» he said and squeezed my hand. «I think love is the most important thing in the world, it's just that, well, Quidditch is pretty good to, isn't it?»

The relief of him going along with my joke made me smile happily.

«But I really do love you though.»

With a sigh I snuggled closer to him. «And I love you too, Ronald Bilius Weasley,» I replied truthfully.

«You're not allowed to use the word 'love' and my full name in the same sentence,» he complained, but didn't sound even remotely annoyed. Instead, he kissed my forehead before resting his chin on top of my head.

How easy everything would have been if Ron and I never split up. How different.

But it was too late now.

At least I'd always have him as my friend. My best friend.

And, actually, that was enough.






So now Harry and Ron knew. I just hoped that they wouldn't go ahead and congratulate Martin. At least not until after the wedding. If they did then I was royally screwe-

«'Ello, Miss Granger! Still in here, are we?»

I looked up. Bernard had rolled his trolley into my office to deliver the mail earlier that day, and now he was standing in my doorway again, but this time without his trusted wheels.

«Oh, hi.» My voice was hoarse form lack of use, so I coughed. «Hi, Bernard. Where's your trolley?»

«I'm finished with my rounds. Everyone's packing up, you know, considering that it's Mr Lipman's birthday. We're all leaving a few hours early.»

«Oh. So we're done for the day?»

«Aye.»

«Ehm, great,» I muttered and leaned over to turn off the computer, but Bernard was still standing in the doorway, shuffling his feet nervously. «Did you want something?»

«Er, actually, I was supposed to give you a message.»

«Oh? Who from?»

«Mr Malfoy.»

My finger was hovering over the off-button.

«He told me to tell you that he'd be waiting for you at the park with the fountain, whatever that means. And he said he'd wait for as long as it takes for you to come. And that.. Ehm..»

«What?» I got to my feet, my hand clutching my purse. «And what? Did he say anything else?»

«Yes, well...» Bernard was blushing fiercely, and he looked down. «H-He said to tell you that he, ehm, that he l-l-loves you, Miss.»

My brain was buzzing. My heart torn.

I wanted so bad to see him again.

Wanted to be held in his arms.

Because, truth be told, I'd already forgiven him for that whole Annie-situation. I knew why it happened. He was hurt and confused and frustrated, and she just happened to be there. I knew that he was dying of regret and that he despised himself.

But...

This whole experience had left me with the realisation that Draco was nowhere ready to be a father, to handle the responsibility of a baby. Maturity just wasn't Draco's strong suit, apparently.

I also knew that I could never tell him about it. Because he'd claim that he was ready, even though he wasn't. I couldn't be the person to disrupt his life like that.

No. He definitely wasn't able to be a parent, but Martin, on the other hand, was more than able.

Of this I was very sure.

I still had to officially break it off with Draco, though. And I would have to blame it on what he'd done, because only then would he understand and give up. He'd respect that decision because he knew how it felt to be betrayed.

«Miss?»

«Huh?» I realised that I hadn't moved or said anything in several minutes, and Bernard was looking at me with a worried wrinkle on his freckled forehead. «Oh, yes. Well, thank you for telling me.»

Bernard nodded and left the office, and the second he left, as did I. Only I was travelling magic-style.

«You came.»

My feet had just hit safe ground when I heard his voice.

«You got my message.»

«Yes.»

«I didn't think you'd come.» Draco walked over to me, careful, and forced himself to stop before he got too close. «I'm glad you did.»

My body was shaking, and I realised that it was because I was craving him. His arms hadn't held me in such a long time, his lips hadn't touched mine – and it was all I could do to keep myself still and not hurl myself at him.

And right then, what I was afraid would happen, happened.

Doubt was washing over me.

Maybe Draco and I could make it work? Would it really be the right decision to end it with him? I certainly loved him with a passion that made my comfortable relationship with Martin seem boorishly bleak in comparison. So wouldn't it only be right to give Draco a chance to prove he was ready for a baby?

«I'm so sorry.» The pain was clearly noticeable in his voice, and I knew that he meant it. Little did he know that I'd already forgiven him.

I guess love really did make one blind... Pregnancy was a real eye-opener, though.

«You have to know that I love you, and that I'm absolutely disgusted with myself for hurting you like that. I never meant for you to -»

«You never meant for me to what?» I interrupted, not at all pleased with his choice of words. «See you? To witness it?»

«No, that's not what I meant.» His hands were trembling and he put them in his pockets to try and hide it. «I just meant that I never deliberately meant to cause you any pain. When I left your office that day I was so sure that it was the end. And I was in a really bad place -» he interrupted himself before I had the chance, «- and I know that it's not an excuse, believe me, I know. It's just an explanation.»

«Well, it didn't take you long until you found someone else.» As I said those words it became clear to me again. He really wasn't mature enough. I'd been right to doubt his abilities to be a responsible father.

But even though I trusted my judgement on this decison, I never thought I'd be able to break it off with him. Ending my relationship with him, cutting him out of my life would be like ending my own existence, cutting apart my being.

Draco was my life, my soul. And how could I possibly survive without my life? I cannot. And I cannot live without my soul. He had a hold on me, a hold that would never ever let go, or even weaken.

«Please,» he said, voice shaking. «Please give me another chance.»

We really were as one. I was aware of it now more than ever. It would never cease to be so either. Even when I was an old woman with gray hair, my heart would surely ache with the same intensity at the thought of what I was about to do, as if I was still living in this very moment.

But was love enough?

«I just wanted you to choose me. And when you didn't say anything, I went insane, I snapped...» Draco still stood there with his hands in his pockets, not taking a single step toward me. Just letting his words do the touching, letting them speak for themselves. «Because I wanted you for myself,» he was pleading me, «choose me.»

Tears were now flowing in rivers down my face, and I did nothing to stop it. I didn't even attempt to dry them away. Our eyes were still welded to each other, and then, without blinking, sighing or wincing, it dawned on Draco.

«I've already lost,» he started whispering, «haven't I?» His voice broke on the last words, and my heart was ripped violently out of my chest, leaving me a hollow shell. This was the end of me, I knew it.

After spending most of my adolescence with Harry Potter, I had seen, felt and experienced a vast amount of horror, countless painful moments. But none of them had ever made me feel as powerless or lost as I was feeling right now. The sound of Draco's broken voice was more than my poor heart could bare, so it simply stopped functioning. It was gone, and left a stench of cowardice and pain in its wake. It would never be healed again either, that much I could already tell.

«How can you do this?» he whispered and tears were streaming down his face as well. They were falling onto his heaving chest as if his pain was actually being tattooed onto him. «I can't live without you. You are...» He exhaled in order to stabilize his strained voice, but it didn't work. «You are my life.»

«I'm sorry,» was all I could say. He didn't reply. «How easy everything would be if we never met -»

«Stop,» Draco's voice cut into my words with a tone as clear as day. «I will never regret loving you. And I won't ever apologize for it either.» With that he finally took a step toward me, but was still a few feet away. So close, but yet so far from where I was. Not really within reach. «Me falling in love with you wasn't my fault, I had nothing to do with it. You had to come popping into my life and then alter it completely , and quite frankly, I-I..-» He sounded angry, but now that he met my eyes again, I only saw indescribable despair. «Quite frankly I loved every sodding minute of it. But it's still not my fault.»

«Draco,» I began, and knew that I had to stop him from saying anything else, because if I didn't there was no chance I'd ever be able to do what I came here to do. But since breaking Draco's heart meant the very end of my own, the ultimate and final nail in my coffin, I didn't exactly want to rush into it.

«Draco, it's one thing to fall in love, but that's not enough, is it? Because it's a whole other thing to actually make it last.» The blatant, obnoxious lie left a bitter taste in my mouth. I'd always love Draco. But I didn't want to force him into being a parent when he was clearly not ready for it. I couldn't live with myself if I did.

«And you're saying that this thing with Martin will last?»

«I'm saying that what I have with Martin is safe. What you and I had -»

«Have

I drew a long, shaky breath. «What you and I had was like a fairytale, and even though I've loved it, and even though I love you -»

«Brownie, if you really love me you wouldn't end it like this.»

«And if you really love me..-» and now for the final blow, «-...you'd let me go.»

Neither of us said anything. We could both hear my last words playing over and over again in the air around us, the space between our bodies filled with the pain they brought.

I wanted to scream to him that he had to continue fighting for me. That he couldn't give up, because I couldn't live without him. I wanted him to figure out that I was pregnant on his own and then prove to me that he could handle it. That he'd be happy about it -

«I can't believe this...» he muttrered and let his hands out of the pockets. «I won't believe this.» With that he walked deliberately over to me and grabbed onto my shoulders. Those smoldering diamond eyes burning into my own. I'd surely go blind by the intensity of his stare.

«Look into my eyes.» It was an unnecessary demand, because I was already losing myself in them. «And put your hand on your heart.»

I did as he said, not posessing any willpower whatsoever. There was no part of me that would reject his commands at this moment.

«Now...» he said and held me even tighter. «Tell me that it's over.» He drew a breath that almost seemed to be vibrating. «I won't believe it until you do.»

I knew the words. They were on the tip of my tongue. But I couldn't say it while looking into his eyes, it was physically impossible. So I lowered my gaze and gently put my hand on his chest, removing it from my own, and wanted so bad to fully lean into him. But I didn't. Instead, I closed my eyes and prepared myself for the end of my existence.

«Draco, I -»

Draco suddenly jumped backwards, ripping away from me as if being scolded by fire.

«You were really going to say it!» Panting, he looked at me with a crazed expression. He'd been so sure that I wasn't going to go through with it. That it would be impossible for me to do it.

And it really was. But I still had to. I had to.

«Why are you doing this?» he whispered to me, pleading for me to take everything back. «Most people don't even get the chance to experience what we have. Don't you know how rare this is? I thought you did. I thought you felt it.»

Shaking, he stepped to me again. I didn't back away. How could I? I needed him as I needed air. Yes, I could hold my breath for a while. But I couldn't keep away from breathing him in when I got the chance, because if I didn't... I would perish.

...What was I supposed to do without him?

He was so close now, and I could, amazingly enough, feel my heart again. Life was tickling my soul, reminding me of how it could so easily be repaired again if I only changed my mind. If I chose him after all.

«How can you...-» Tears were shimmering on his pale cheeks, and he took my hands with a touch that was filled with so much tenderness that I stopped living for a second. Slowly, he leaned his forehead against mine while interlacing our fingers. My heart was actually working overtime again. Something it hadn't done since it broke several days ago. «-...how can you end this?»

The words were whispered against my skin as he kissed my forehead, and I could feel a few of his tears dripping into my hair.

«It's like I said, Draco,» I began, reminding myself, as much as him, of what I had to do. «We were like a fairytale. But the thing is that I don't need a fairytale now, I need something real.»

«This is real,» he muttered against my hair, and kissed my forehead again. When I didn't answer, he sighed. «You do realise,» he began, his tone lighter now, «yhat if we are the prince and princess in a fairytale, then that makes Martin the evil stepmother who's keeping us apart, right?»

This actually made me chuckle, but it didn't take long until I became more quiet than ever before. I couldn't drag this out any longer. I was losing my resistance.

«...Don't make me laugh now. This is serious.»

«How in Merlin's name could I possibly take this seriously?» He leaned away so he could stare at me. «You're saying that you're leaving me for a man you don't even love!»

«Please, Draco..-»

«Don't you 'please Draco' me,» he said and stepped all the way away from me, letting go of my hands in the process. That act felt exactly like as if someone had abruptly cut off my air-supply, and I had to struggle to take breath. «Do you love him?»

I had to answer truthfully. «...No.» Draco was just about to say something, but I wasn't finished. «Not like I love you. Not in the crazy, passionate, frightening, all-consuming, world-altering, bitter-sweet, explosive way I love you... But -»

«No buts.»

«Although -»

«That's just a fancy but.»

«Draco!» I shouted at him. «Would you listen to me?!»

He scowled at the ground before sighing. «Go ahead.»

«He... he's like a..-» My thoughts were crumbling, and I shook my head. «You are like the wild and adventurous ocean, but Martin is the safe harbour.» It wasn't completely true. Draco was really both. But this pregnancy had turned it all on its head.

I didn't even know this child, but it had already managed to alter my life in every single way.

«You don't trust me.» It wasn't a question. It was a statement. I could easily see how it ruined him to say those words, and all of me wanted to run and throw my arms around the broken man in front of me. I wanted to say that I had forgiven him about what had happened that night even before he apologized, and then we'd kiss...

But I had made up my mind.

So even though it crushed all that what was left of me, leaving me beyond all repair, I nodded in agreement. It wasn't considered a lie if I didn't say anything, right?

I let myself buy that ridiculous idea.

«It's because of what I did.»

Yes, what I saw him do had made me see that Martin was the safer, wiser choice, but it wasn't because I didn't trust Draco. I knew he'd never do anything like that ever again. It was actually hurting him more than it was hurting me by now. And, besides, I wasn't one to talk when it came to infidelity... This was just a drop in the ocean compared to what I'd been doing to Martin. No, the reason for me choosing Martin was just about how Draco wasn't ready to handle adult issues. Hell, I wasn't ready to handle adult issues, but then again, I was sort of stuck, wasn't I? The baby growing inside me and all.

I understood why he slipped, why he momentarily just gave up, but if all it took to make him give up were us having a huge fight, I could only imagine how he'd handle a thing like a baby.

I nodded once again, feeling more and more how the life was ebbing out of me. My lungs almost completely empty now.

«Right.»

He had given up. I could see it. He thought that what he'd done with Annie was the reason to all of this, and he understood that. I wished that I could tell him the truth, that it really wasn't because of what happened, but I couldn't tell him the real reason without telling him about the baby.

And I couldn't do that.

He wouldn't judge me for ending our relationship if he thought it was because of what had happened that night, so I went along with it. Now, he had already given up fighting. Secretely, or not so secretely, I wished he hadn't. I wanted him to continue trying to change my mind about this whole damn thing.

«I didn't want this to happen...» I almost couldn't hear him. His voice was filled to the brim with so much agony that his words couldn't be said in anything louder than a choked whisper. «I really... I...»

«I know,» I said. Actually tasting the grief I was feeling, the salty tears having made their way into my mouth. «Me neither.»

«Hermione, you have to know, I never wanted to-... I'm just so sorry.»

«I know that too.»

He was getting closer to me again. The feel of air rushing back into my lungs made me dizzy. He took my face, wet from the never ending crying, in his hands and lowered his head until we were so close I could see small drops of tears hanging from his eyelashes.

«Do you also know that I love you?» he asked me.

I couldn't resist. If this was the last opportunity I had to be this close to him, to touch him, to kiss him – then I was going to memorize everything in the little time we had left. So I lifted my face slightly and softly grazed my lips against his. It wasn't teasing. It was savouring. I was savouring the short moments before our lips would actually meet in a kiss, because it, like every other part, was just as important and irreplaceable.

He was the one who leaned in the rest of the way, and when his mouth was tenderly pressed against mine, I swear that I was entering another level of existence. Another level of being.

There are first kisses, and there are passionate kisses, desperate kisses, sad kisses, kisses that you wish would never end, and kisses you forget to remember.

This was none of them, but also every single one.

This was a last kiss.

We both knew it. Felt it.

And when it, like everything eventually does, ended, we gazed into each others eyes. The knowledge of how this moment would never be forgotten by either one of us etching itself into our connected souls.

It would never be over, would it?

My heart would forever be his.

He didn't beg of me to change my mind, nor refuse to let me go. Instead he held our gaze until the very last moment.

Until I Disapparated. Splinching myself, my heart, my soul, into a thousand pieces as I did.

And no amount of magic could ever repair those particular wounds.

Ever.


-----
A/N:

Yes. That happened. But before you get mad at me, and/or begin to write hate-mail, just know that THIS IS NOT THE END. There are still several more chapters left(four to be exact).

I won't say anything other than that.

But please tell me what you think!

Much love,

*Maria

(Btw, I totally cried my eyes out as I wrote this. Used up a whole pack of tissues. Seriously. And the song that inspired me was: Hand On Your Heart – Jose Gonzalez. Thereof the title of the chapter.)



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