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Help for broken by Helengrace
Chapter 1 : The lost
 
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“I can’t breathe. Please, I can’t, I can’t breathe.” She tried to push through the cloud of smoke that had settled on her chest but it continued to smother her, seeping into her lungs and blocking her from taking in air.

“Please, stop” she begged.

Hermione sat in a warm room she knew well. Though it was decorated with intricate tapestries of woven golds, blues and greens, most of it couldn’t be seen due to the large portraits of old Hogwarts head teaches lightly snoozing in their frames. In the past she had always liked the paintings, the soft snoring they emitted was soothing to her, calming her nerves at times it hadn’t seemed possible. But not today. Not when the new headmistress, Professor McGonagall, was staring at her trying to tell her that her parents were dead.

“I’m very sorry Hermione, but after you wiped their memories we struggled to find them, to protect them.” The Professor kept staring at Hermione’s face, as though trying to convey all the sorrow she felt at her parents’ murder through her eyes. “I’ve got no idea how He did, let’s just be grateful that he didn’t use them against you.”

Hermione jumped up at how McGonagall had worded her speech. ‘Grateful’ she’d said. ‘Grateful!’ How was she supposed to be grateful for the loss of her only family? The people she’d been raised by? Who’d always been there for her, despite her complicated set of abilities? In truth, she couldn’t be grateful for that tiny kindness, so she left. She heard her chair thud against the floor as she span round, heading for the exit. McGonagall had barely started her apology when Hermione slammed the door behind her and slid down the hard wood to the tile beneath her feet.

Head in her hands, she tried to focus on something that wasn’t the memory of war, her parents or her friends. She had lost so much and sometimes she thought that everything they’d gained wasn’t worth enough to justify the death of her loved ones. She knew it was selfish, but she couldn’t seem to find anything she wouldn’t trade away for just one last hug from her mother.

“Granger?” A voice echoed from above her shaking form.

She glanced up to find Draco Malfoy stood looking down at her, looking as uncomfortable as is physically possible and undoubtedly wondering how to deal with the now crying girl he had stumbled upon. She would ordinarily have brushed the tears from her face, stood and flounced away to cry elsewhere, but this grief was still barrelling attacks at her chest; she was completely immobilised. She’d done many things, survived so much, but this feeling would kill her. So instead of standing, she stayed put and let the attack have her body.

She let it tear her to shreds.

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He didn’t know what to do. He just stood staring at her shaking form as emotions he’d never seen her wear before attacked her from the inside out.

“Granger, umm, what’s? Are you? Can I?” He stuttered, changing his mind after each sentence opening left his mouth, thinking the words were wrong, that nothing he could say would ease that kind of grief. He’d seen it before of course, those tears were being shed in every corner of the country and further. And what could a death eater do to help stem the tears he’d helped inflict? He had no right to stand anywhere near her, never mind witness the reason for his guilt on her shattered face. And yet he hovered.

He should help. His mother had been telling him to be brave; that he’ll need to be in order to help rebuild his life from the pile of rubble it had become. That he had become. And if he was honest to himself, helping a girl he had helped break would take the most amount of bravery he could imagine possible. So he stifled the urge to rub his arm, his mark, and sat beside the crying girl.

Lost in her own world of pain and misery, she didn’t seem to notice as he slid his arm around her shoulders and began stroking her face and hair in what he hoped was a comforting way. Truth is, he had never tried to help her, or anyone else, deal with their sorrow other than his own mother, and he wasn’t even sure he’d helped her, but he was trying, and that’s what he needed to do in order to get better himself.

He needed to forgive himself. And, if Hermione’s sobs were anything to go by; so did she.




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