Chapter 1 : Unlike the Owls
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You sigh. Your shoulders rise and fall with the breath. I know you’re not going to say anything. You never really do. I know you’re listening though.
“I miss you,” I whisper. I’m trying not to cry but I can’t help it. The first tear rolls and the others follow. He puts his hand on top of mine and gives it a gentle squeeze.
“I miss you too, Hermione.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “I just can’t… you’re married.” There was pain in his eyes. “We should have never started. I was happy with you, trust me. And now I’m miserable without you. But you can’t afford to leave him. And Draco is Scorpius’ father… I can’t be a father figure to him.”
“I never expected you to be his father,” I said, raising my hands in the air and then letting them drop again. “And I told you before Draco and I even got married that I was willing to drop everything for you.”
It’s starting to rain. I can feel the drops getting bigger and soaking into my clothes and my hair going into instant frizz mode, but for once I just don’t care. I was losing the man I loved and I could do nothing about it.
“You’re married, Hermione. Very recently married, too.” The rain was starting to pour heavier. “No matter what I felt, or thought, believed, you will never be mine. Divorces take time. And you need to get on your feet. Finish school. Get a better job than a book seller. Be the best mother you can be for Scorpius. You’ve got a rich husband. Make your own money and then leave him. Or work on your marriage and love him like you did before we started.”
The tears come faster now. This is goodbye.
“Ron, please,” I start to beg. The rain is at a torrential downpour now. I have to yell for him to hear me, even though we’re right next to each other. “I’m unhappy. You’re my everything. You’re my best friend, and you make me feel so safe.”
“It’s over, Hermione!” He screams. His red hair is matted down and his hands are in tight fists. “The day you married him was the day we ended.”
“So was this about finally getting me into bed, then? Is that what it really came to? Finally bedding Hermione Granger?” I screamed. I knew it wasn’t true but I needed an excuse to be angry. He was hurting and I could tell. But I needed the validation.
“No. This is about Hermione Granger choosing her baby’s father, and rightfully so, but also about her choosing a self-righteous git that doesn’t see what he’s got. He’s a prick, and a rich one at that. So enjoy living comfortably, while I help my mother find more food for my siblings.”
“How dare you pull the money card!” I screamed. “You know that I would give you money in a heartbeat if you asked.”
“I’m not accepting money from Draco Malfoy and his wife!” He yelled back. “This isn’t about money! I loved you! And you say you loved me too but the same day you told me you loved me was also the same day you said ‘I do’. So please excuse me for being heartbroken because I don’t feel like waiting around for you to get sick of him mistreating you.”
“I am sick of him mistreating me.” I whispered. “You know that.”
“Then I don’t know what to say to you, Hermione.” He wiped his eyes. “I do know that he will never love you the way I did. Do. He will never know what makes you shiver. What makes you melt in an instant or what makes you feel like you’re on cloud nine. He’ll never appreciate the freckles on the inside of your thighs or that rubbing your ears makes you fall asleep instantly.”
Instinctively I ran my hands over where the freckles were and sighed.
“He’ll never notice that when you pass a mirror, you don’t check your reflection. You don’t need to. Your hair is always the same frizzy, beautiful mess it always is and your face is flawless. You pick your nails when you’re nervous and the rain makes you restless.”
I was starting to freeze so I cast a heating charm on the both of us. He waved his charm off and ran his hands through his hair.
“I love you. But I need to focus on me. I’m saving up for a house, and going back to school. By the time I get that figured out, you would have time to decide whether or not you wanted to leave Draco.”
He grabbed my hand and forced a grin. I ripped it away and looked the other direction. I burst into tears and waited for him to say something. I looked over my shoulder and he was gone.
How dare he leave me stranded like this! Alone in the rain. I grabbed my wand and Apparated home. I walked inside and saw Draco playing with Scorpius on the couch. He looked up and his eyes got wide.
“Hermione, you’re soaked to the bone. Where were you?”
Having my heart broken. Losing my best friend. Sitting in the rain listening to all the things that he loves about me that you don’t even notice.
“You’ve been going out a lot recently. Late at night, or in strange weather. Are you okay?” he asks with concern. He puts Scorpius in his playpen and walks up to me. “You’re freezing. Go change and lay down with a heating charm on. I’ll bring you some tea.”
“Thank you,” I whisper. He really is a good guy. I just… I don’t love him. I can’t love him. Not when I’ve got Ron as comparison.
I walk to my room and pull my wet clothes off. I contemplate throwing them in the fire pit but I really do love this sweater and just because I got my heart broken in it doesn’t mean I should get rid of it.
I get into my sweatpants and my oversized sweater and sit in my comfy chair next to the fireplace and wrap a blanket around me.
Draco walks in with a steaming cup of tea and hands it to me and sits in the chair next to mine.
“Hermione,” his eyes have pain written all over them. “Please talk to me.”
“I’m fine, honey.” I lie. “I just have been feeling so overwhelmed lately. It’s hard being happy when everything keeps going so wrong.”
“I understand.” He kisses me on the forehead. “I just ask that you talk to me if you feel too overwhelmed. I’m your husband. I love you.”
I almost burst into tears but I keep it together.
He walks out of the room and I grab a piece of paper and a quill. I dip the tip into some ink and start to write.
“I erased your address out of my address book and am getting ready to burn all of your pictures. I’m not angry with you. I just can’t move on if I’m still waiting for you to want me again when it’s obviously over. It hurts, especially since you say you love me so much. It gave me hope. I’m not going to go looking for you at work and I’m not going to try and be your friend. I’ll always want more. I never wanted you to put your life aside or stop trying to save up for a house and I never wanted to serve as a distraction… I liked being your friend that could be that little something extra that loved you so unconditionally. I’m so sorry about everything. I miss you like crazy and this sucks but this is what needs to be done. You were my everything. And you’ve broken me.
Sincerely, Hermione Granger-Malfoy.”
I fold it neatly, put it in an envelope, and walk to where our owl, Mugsy, is sitting. She dutifully sticks her leg out, and I tie it to her.
“Don’t wait for a response, just deliver it and leave.” I tell her. She nips my fingers in response and I open the window.
The beautiful thing about owls is that they don’t mind at all as to whether or not it’s raining, sleeting, one hundred degrees or below zero. They know that it needs to be done and don’t question the motives behind it. They do it with honor, grace, and beauty, and they know it. Plus, there’s guarantee of a little snack upon the return, so there’s that too.
I sit back on my chair and pick up a book. I don’t feel good. I don’t feel better. But writing that letter and feeling like I had the final say as to whether or not we were done did put me more at ease. I’m a fickle creature. I’m smart, witty, and I always get the final say. Always. And that makes me feel good.
So I sit by the fire, my book in hand, and let a tear fall. Because I love Ronald Weasley and always will. And maybe someday, we’ll meet on the street, and I can smile and nod my head and he’ll smile at me back and say “Hey” or maybe just smile because he knows his voice is a weakness of mine. Maybe in a few years, he’ll still remember that. Maybe he’ll be married with a baby on the way and it won’t hurt when I think of it. Maybe I can be happy for him.
Maybe I can let go and work on my marriage with Draco. Be the best mother I can be to Scorpius. Quit my job at the bookstore and put my degree to good use. Just like Ronald told me too. And maybe he’ll smile when he sees it in the paper (because my life is always in the paper lately, thanks Harry) and show his Mum and Dad.
I feel much more at ease. I crack my book open, smell the dust on the pages, and sink into my chair.
I think I’ll be fine.