A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 19: Desperate:


Another cough racked his body, and he swore that if hair felt pain, even his hair hurt. There were only five weeks until graduation, and there was far too much to do, and getting sick wasn’t one of them.


She did this to him. She got him sick, and now she was all like, ‘la de da’, happy and well, and he felt like death warmed over on a hot summer day.


By the way, he was hot. He threw the sheet off his body and coughed again. She walked into his room and picked the sheet up off the floor. She shook it out and then placed it back over his body. He kicked if off again. She made an exasperated sound, picked it up again, and placed it at the end of the bed. She looked over his body. He only had on a pair of boxers and nothing else. He thought he saw her blush.


She sat on his bed, beside him and felt his head. He knocked her hand away. She placed it back. He knocked it away. She placed his face between both her hands and said, “I don’t care if you are sick, Draco Malfoy, if you don’t stop acting like a spoiled baby, I’m going to hex your balls off!”


‘You’re not very good with sick people are you?” he asked.


“You’re not a very good sick person,” she retorted back. There was actual truth to his statement. She had never been good with sick people. That was why she always avoided her father when he was unwell. That was why she avoided him the day that he killed himself. She often had fleeting thoughts that if perhaps she had taken the time to check on him when she first got home that day, or at least knocked on his door and said, “Daddy, I’m home,” maybe he wouldn’t have felt alone, sad, and depressed. Maybe he wouldn’t have killed himself.


She remained on his bed, her hand suspended in air, as these and other thoughts swirled around her brain. He looked at her with concern, and then he placed his hand over hers and put them both on his forehead. She seemed to come back to earth and she smiled at him, but just as quickly, she frowned.


“You’re burning up,” she said.


“If other words…”


“You’re hot,” she said.


“Meaning…”


“Bloody hell, Draco, I mean you have a fever,” she said. She leaned over him again, her t-shirt covered chest against his bare chest, and his thoughts became muddled in his brain. Why was she so close? Was he delirious? Was he having delusions brought on by the fever?


Yet, when her lips grazed his forehead lightly, he knew it was real, unbelievably. She sat back up and said, “Definitely. My lips were warm. You have a fever.”


“You kissed me,” he said.


“I was checking your temperature,” she explained.


“With your lips? Were your hands temporarily out to lunch? You had just felt my head with them, declared I had a fever, but still, you had to touch my head with your lips?” He was rambling.


“I’m sorry I kissed you,” she said softly. She started to stand up, but he had her arm in his clutches, and he wasn’t about to let her go. He liked it when she was close. He liked the feel of her weight on his chest. He liked her.


“Check again, you might have been wrong,” he said.


The corner of her mouth turned up slightly, but she fought the smile that threatened to come over her face. She said, “I don’t need to check again. You have a fever. I need to get you some fever reducer. Stay here.” She tried to stand again, but he still held her tight.


“It’s your fault,” he whispered.


“I know. I was sick first, and I gave it to you. I’m sorry,” she said back. She picked up a wet cloth she had brought in with her from his bedside table and wiped his brow. His hands moved from her arms to her back, so she was free to use her arms, but not free to leave him. He shook his head.


“That’s not what I meant,” he explained.


“What’s my fault, then?” she asked. She leaned against his chest, as both his hands went back to hold her arms. The wet cloth was now resting on his warm chest, and the cold from the compress felt good to his fevered body, but nothing could put out the fire in his soul.


“It’s your fault that I’m like this,” he said.


“I know, so you said.”


“I don’t mean that I’m sick, although theoretically, that’s your fault as well,” he lumbered on, “but what I’m talking about is that it’s your fault I’m here. It’s your fault that I’m like I am, and that I can’t even think straight, or have a good night sleep, or dream happy dreams.”


She looked at him painfully. “So all your problems are my fault?” She wasn’t sure she liked a sick Draco. She struggled to get out of his grasp, but even sick, he was strong.


“Shut up and let me finish,” he huffed.


“Don’t ever tell me to shut up!” She pointed at him, her arms still in his hands, her elbows resting on his chest. When she pointed, her index finger touched his cheek.


“Please,” he said. He shut his eyes for a moment. Even he wasn’t sure what he was trying to say, so how could he expect her to know. Maybe he was delirious. He wanted to tell her everything that was in his heart. He didn’t want to wait to tell her at graduation. Who came up with that stupid idea? What if that was too late? What if he died before then? What if she died before then? Why did he just think about her dying? That was a morbid thought. What if instead of them dying, something even worse happened? What was worse than death?


“Draco? You have a far off look in your eyes,” she declared.


He tried to clear his head. He was rambling even in his mind. He looked her in the eyes again, and again he said, “Please.” He closed his eyes once more.


“Draco?” He had his eyes shut for so long she thought he went to sleep, yet he was still holding her. She finally rested her head on his chest. He let go of her arms long enough to place his arms around her back. “Do you blame me for the fact that you are no longer Draco Malfoy, heir apparent to all things Malfoy?”


He didn’t answer right away. Only Hermione would think that. What he was trying to say was that she was his salvation. She was never a detriment. She gave him something real, and she didn’t even know it. How could he tell her that? How could he tell her everything that was in his heart? She lifted her head and looked back into his face.


“I love…” he started. No. He would wait until graduation. He shut his eyes, swallowed hard, and then coughed again, releasing her from his arms as he turned to his side. While he coughed, she stood beside him and lightly stroked his arm up and down. He longed for her touch. He wanted to know her touch intimately, daily, and completely. He finished his sentence finally, but not with what he was first going to say. “I love you taking care of me. Go get me something for my fever, like a nice little nurse.”


She stroked his fringe of bangs off his hot forehead, and went to the other room. In just a few weeks, she would truly be his. He would tell her that he loved her, she would say it back, and they could start their lives together. Either he was becoming a sentimental fool, or he was having fever-induced illusions, but either way, that was a very nice thought.


Hours later, she sat on the couch of Draco’s flat as Theo walked in. He smiled at her and asked, “How’s the patient?”


“He went from cranky to talking out of his head, to now sleeping,” she explained. “How are you?”


“I have no signs of the illness, yet,” he told her. He plopped down on the couch next to her. “I’m really glad that you and Malfoy are good friends again. Last year everything was strained and weird. What happened that summer at the resort, Hermione?”


He had asked that of her many times. Maybe it was time he knew. Maybe if he knew, it would better prepare Theo for when she told Draco that she loved him at graduation. She clarified by saying, “Draco and I were becoming closer than friends. It came on gradually, but that summer we finally declared our feelings.”


Theo looked at the floor. He asked, “You told each other that you were in love?”


“No,” she started, “but we told each other that we had mutual feelings beyond friendship, and we even kissed a couple of times, and one day, just two weeks after we arrived at the resort, he was finally going to tell you.”


Theo looked at her. “He was going to tell me?”


“Yes, but then something must have happened, because he never did and that night he went off with some girl, and that was the end of our ‘more than friendship’ stage, and he never told me why.” Theo looked her deep in the eyes and he thought she looked sad. He also thought he knew why. Draco had tried to tell him, but instead, Theo finally admitted that he was in love with her, and Draco ended up never saying a thing. Theo felt both sad and remorseful at that thought.


“Do you both still have feelings for the other?” he asked.


“I don’t know about him, but I might,” she admitted.


Theo’s thoughts became dark. He couldn’t lose her. She was the only thing keeping him alive right now. He felt pressure and pain in his chest at the thought of losing the only bright thing in his life. He sat back and placed his head on the back of the sofa, sighed, and closed his eyes.


“Are you okay? Maybe you’re getting sick after all,” she said, putting her hand on his forehead. He reached up and took her hand. He brought it to his mouth and kissed the top.


“Do me a favour,” he asked desperately.


“Anything,” she promised.


He wanted to ask her not to tell Draco that she loved him, but he couldn’t really ask that of her. What could he ask, though, if not that? He wanted to cry, and he wasn’t sure why. He pulled her to him and all he said was “Help me.”


He started to cry. She held him and stroked his back. “I’ll do anything that I can.”

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