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Chapter 19 : Insecurities
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A huge thanks to all my reviewers from chapter 18: dracos lover, Ravenclaw77, MsJacksonMalfoyMellark, Krupickaj, AriesGirl40, granger_, drummajorswagg, Eranasialla Peur Etoile Noire, MadiMalfoy (also my amazing beta), and of course, We Are Padfoot and Prongs.
Draco pulled back the instant our lips had touched, his eyes wide.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered as my brain tried to grasp what had just happened. I, Hermione Jean Granger, had just attempted to kiss Draco Malfoy.
The shock of it all was starting to hit me and he merely sat there, staring at me. His eyes searched mine, looking for some sort of answer. I knew it wouldn’t be possible for him to find one, however, seeing as I myself didn’t know the reasoning behind it. All I knew was that it had felt, well, right.
“Why are you sorry?” he asked quietly after what had felt like an eternity. His eyebrows were now pulled together in confusion.
“For everything,” I started, “for this whole situation, for you having to babysit me all summer like some sort of child, for having to deal with Dolohov like this, for being such a burden, and for just… everything.” I said, trailing off as tears filled my eyes and I blinked, attempting to stop them.
“I should be the one who is sorry, Hermione, not you.” His voice came out as a mere whisper, but my heart skipped a beat nonetheless when he said my name.
I shook my head and opened my mouth to argue as a single tear slid down my cheek. He’d held his hand up to stop me from arguing but now he hesitantly reached out and brushed the tear away with his thumb, leaving behind a trail of fire, once again causing me to lose my breath.
His hand fell away from my face quickly as if he’d regretted the gesture already and my heart seemed to drop into my stomach.
“There’s no use arguing with me,” he said flatly, “this is all my fault. I shouldn’t have been so insistent on having you here. I took you away from your friends and your family to keep you safe. I thought it would have been the best and most thorough way to protect you, but as it would appear, I can’t even do that. I-”
“No,” I cut him off, “I would have left my family regardless. Me being sent here was merely the push I needed to keep them safe. Yes, there’s a small chance I would be with my friends right now, but is it really the end of the world? We’re in the middle of a war for goodness sake! You’ve done a fine job protecting me.”
“I haven’t though. He cursed you, Hermione! It could have been so much worse than it was. I should have stopped him before he even had the chance to do the damage he did. What if he’d kept going and you hadn’t passed out? What if he’d ki-” he broke off and shook his head, unwilling to continue.
“Killed me?” I offered quietly and his eyes met mine. They held so much emotion right now; I couldn’t even begin to attempt to read them.
“What if he had? It would have only made it that much worse. It would have merely proved that I really am nothing. That I couldn’t even do what I’m supposed to be doing, protecting you. That’s the only thing I’m supposed to be doing right now and we’re not very far and I’ve already managed to fail at that.” He said, his voice catching several times.
Her brown eyes stared up at me like melted chocolate, glistening as they searched my own.
“But you haven’t failed,” she said, placing her hand on my cheek. My eyes searched hers now, terrified that at any moment she would transform into a horrible beast and I would awake to find it all a nightmare.
“There’s no need to lie to me, Granger,” I said, suddenly upset with myself for this whole damn situation. “I’ve messed everything up,” I said, turning my head as she dropped her hand.
She seemed to hesitate for a moment, before she placed both hands on my face this time, one on either side, and turned my head so I was facing her directly.
She leaned forward slightly, her eyes wide with an emotion I couldn’t read, and said, “Why are you so hard on yourself?”
Images and words coming from my father danced around in my head, and I winced, wanting them all to disappear.
“Because it’s all true.” I said, not understanding why or how she thought any differently.
“No. It’s. Not.” She said slowly, emphasizing each word, her eyes full of a sadness I didn’t understand.
“It is, though. You can’t tell me that it isn’t. If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t have been hurt and you wouldn’t have to deal with me,” I said, not knowing why she couldn’t seem to grasp it all.
“If I weren’t here, I would have lived my whole life believing you were someone who hated me and my friends. I would have thought you hated everyone that wasn’t pureblood and that you didn’t care for a single person aside from yourself.”
“And you don’t see me as that? Wouldn’t life be easier if it were that way? If you still believed me to be that horrid person?”
“Easier? I suppose it would be familiar and normal, but that doesn’t make it easier. I’d far rather know you as I do now. I’m more frustrated with myself for not being able to see the true you all those years.” She shook her head and I found myself wanting nothing more than to kiss her right now.
“It was my duty to hide it, I suppose. Far too many spies and people making sure I wouldn’t slip up. Wannabe death eaters looking to prove themselves, hoping to catch one of us slipping up so they have their opportunity.”
“Well, you did a fantastic job hiding it all those years. Or was it really you who found me and my friends to be so horrible and disgusting?” I asked, wanting to understand where everything was headed and how everything had really been all those years.
“I hate to admit, it was a combination of both. The first few years, I’d truly believed that anyone who wasn’t pureblood had no right to be at Hogwarts. I was a Slytherin through and through. Then you and your friends started standing up to me and I realized that wasn’t the case. It took me far too long and I’m ashamed of who I was.” He said, looking at me with pleading eyes, as if he hoped I would understand.
“But you’ve changed,” I said slowly, “and that’s all that matters.”
“Is it?” he asked, his storm gray eyes for once looking hopeful.
“Yes.” I whispered before he leaned down and kissed me.
You know the drill, make me a happy writer!
Until next time,
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