A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 22: Remember –

Theo clutched Draco’s letter and struggled for a deep breath. No. The letter was a lie. He would remember something that terrible, or else Hermione would have mentioned it to him. After all, they were engaged to be married. He loved her. She loved him. She would have told him if all of these things were true.

Why would Malfoy tell him such terrible lies?

He wanted Hermione for himself, that’s why. As soon as Hermione got home from work, he would ask her. He sat in her living room to wait.

She walked in her apartment, threw her keys on the table, and then stopped cold in her tracks. She looked at him on the couch and said, “Theo, what’s wrong? You look like someone died.”

He wanted to ask her about Draco’s lies. He wanted to ask her about the letter. Instead he said, “Why do you want to marry me?”

She bit her bottom lip. She walked up to the couch, sat down, and took his hand in hers. She leaned over at the waist and kissed his hand. She stayed bent partially over his body and kept her cheek on his knee. She said. “What’s wrong? Is that Draco’s letter, the one you told me you received two days ago? I thought you weren’t going to read it.” She sat back up, looked at him intently, and asked, “What did it say? Why are you so upset?”

“You wouldn’t lie to me, would you, Hermione?”

“No, never,” she said.

“Never?”

She closed her eyes for the briefest of moments and then said, “Please, tell me what’s wrong.”

“Why did you agree to marry me?” he asked.

When she didn’t answer right away, he had his answer. He stood up, letter in hand, and said, “You don’t want to marry me, do you?”

“Theo, I want you to get help,” she answered. She stood up beside him and said, “You promised me that after school you would get help.”

He dropped the letter and shook her shoulders. “FOR ONCE TELL ME THE TRUTH!” he shouted.

“Fine,” she said, defeated. “I agreed to marry you because I thought that would make you finally see that you needed help. I was afraid to tell you no. I don’t love you that way, Theo, but I love you as a friend. One of my best friends, and if something happened to you, I would just die inside.”

“You should hate me, you know,” he said reflectively. He looked at the letter lying open on the floor. He knew in that instant, it was the truth, but why didn’t he remember? He picked the letter up, folded it, and stuffed it in his pocket. He said, “I don’t want you to marry me if you aren’t in love with me. You love him, don’t you?”

She nodded. “I wrote him, you know, after you received that letter two days ago. I wrote him that you wanted to meet with him. I don’t know if he’ll show up, but I intend to go there in your place. I have to find out why he left me.”

Theo shook his head in disgust. He was disgusted with himself. He said, “He didn’t leave you. I took you away. You go meet him, Hermione.”

“When I get back tonight, I want you and me to go to that hospital finally. Will you agree to go?”

“Whatever you want,” he said, placating her, but not meaning a word. Instead, he was going to try to find a way to remember, because if Malfoy’s letter was true, he didn’t think he could live with the pain or guilt. He didn’t think he would ever be able to look at Hermione Granger again.

He let her go and he sat down on the couch and read the letter one more time.


Theo,



I'm sure you're surprised to hear from me since I haven’t spoken to you in months. I will forgo with the niceties such as, ‘How are you doing,’ and instead I will get straight to the very reason I am writing you this letter.



Five years ago, give or take a few months, my life changed forever. Five years ago, Hermione Granger’s life changed forever. Five years ago, your life changed forever. The only difference in all of these life changing occurrences is that while they all happened on the same day, and at the same moment, only Hermione and I seem to remember it happening. Either you’re in denial, or you really don’t recall, so that’s why I’m writing. It is time for you to remember.



The final battle of Hogwarts was one of the scariest moments of my life. We were both working with Death Eaters, too afraid to refuse, too loyal to our parents. We knew that the end was near. We both knew our parents were somewhere on the grounds, and that Potter and Voldemort were soon to have a showdown to rival all showdowns.



You and I had just decided that we were going to try to sneak out of the dungeons to go to the forest, and that no matter what occurred we were going to find our parents. After all, we were just children. We tried to leave by one entrance, to find it guarded by fellow students. We snuck to another, to find it guarded as well. Then we went back toward the dungeons, our intention was to find the stairs near the Hufflepuff dungeons, near the kitchens, and to sneak out that way.



Fate had other plans.



We ran down a hallway and that was when we saw them. WE SAW THEM, Theo. Not just me, but you saw them, too. Three Death Eaters had a young girl in the corner, by the dorms. She was on the floor, begging for her life. Two of the men stood above her, laughing, calling her names like, “Mudblood” and “Tainted Bitch”.



I wanted to leave. I pulled on your sleeve and said, “Come on, let’s get out of here." I knew it was Hermione Granger. I'm ashamed of the fact that I wanted to leave, but I did. However, you said, “No, we have to help her.” As soon as you said that, the third man stood up, straightened his robes, and said, “That’s right, Mudblood, beg for your life.”



I know you remember that, Theo. How could you not? It was a wonder that we weren’t discovered. We were close enough. The wall hid us partially, as the one hallway led to the other. I looked at you and you looked at me, and I know you knew in the instant that you heard the man’s voice that it was he. I knew, so you had to know.



It was your father, Theo. You father raped Hermione Granger, and would probably have killed her.



I started down the hall, wand raised, and hand shaking in fear. I looked to my side, thinking that at least I had my friend by my side. You weren’t there. You ran away. You left us. You left her, and you left me. Whether it was fear or embarrassment, I’ll never know, because we’ve never discussed it, but you left me. I didn’t blame you. You were just a kid, too.



I had two choices at that moment. Turn and run away with you, or for the first time in my life, stay and fight.



While I considered my options, Hermione looked at me from her place on the floor. She was the only one to see me. Being the bigger person, the brave one, the shining light in a valley of darkness, she told me to run.



Instead, I stayed and fought. Without a second thought, I killed one of the Death Eaters as he began to disrobe. The other two looked at me, too shocked to know what to do. Hermione reached inside the robe of the dead man, and took out her own wand, which he must have taken from her earlier, and she killed one of the other men. That left Hermione, your father, and me.



He walked toward me and I swear evil personified radiated from his whole being. He said, “Care to watch, or to join, young Malfoy? If you don't want to watch, perhaps you want to die.” He pointed his wand right at my chest.



Before I could do or say anything, Hermione sent a curse toward him. He fell over. I didn’t find out until much later that he didn’t die. I wished he had. It didn’t matter, because thanks to my testimony, he was sent to prison for life, and I was given a full pardon.



When I approached Hermione, torn, tattered, beaten, and worn, I was at a loss of what to do. I had never had a kind word for her my whole life. I took off my robe, placed it over her body, and helped her stand. I rushed her down the hallway. I remember that she kept looking back toward the men as some lay dead on the floor, and one remained living but unmoving.



At that moment, a feeling unknown to me before, rushed over me in a tide of emotions and I felt like I had been reborn. I knew from that moment my life would be different. Maybe not better, definitely not worse, but different.



I walked with Hermione up to the Great Hall. Just outside the door, I realized I still had my arm around her. I let her go and started to walk down the hall. She called me back. “Draco?” She said my name for the first time in my memory. She had always been, “Granger” and I was always, “Malfoy,” however on that day she called out my name, in the form of a question.



Swallowing hard, I turned to face her.



She said, “Thank you.”



I said one thing in return. "You're welcome."



Then I left. I never found a way outside. I hid until the final battle was over and I would probably not change one iota of that day, except for one thing - I would have stopped you. I would have made you face your father. Because Theo, you ran away that day, and you have been running ever since, and it’s time for you to stop. Stop running. Stop running from the memories, no matter how painful they are.



After Hermione and I became friends, we found a way to discuss that day without pain and fear. She told me that it took her a long time to heal, but she did. She spent the year after the war in therapy. She found solace with others who went through similar atrocities, and she came out on the other side a changed, but stronger, person. She wants that for you, Theo. She’s always wanted to talk to you about it, but she knew that you either really didn’t remember things, or you were in denial. Whichever the case is, it is time to face the truth. Face it head on, so you can then come out healed.



What other choices do you have? You can continue to deny the truth, and let the guilt of your actions, and the sins of your father, weigh you down until you drown in despair, or you can rise above it, face the consequences, and finally find peace.



You can bring that lovely girl down with you, or you can a let her go find the love and happiness she deserves, while looking for your own.



I started this letter for one reason:, to hurt you, but I end it with a different intent. I really do want you to find peace and happiness. You see, Hermione changed me for the better, too, and I cannot just be a selfish bastard who wants to hurt you. I care for you too much. Find a way out of the deep hole you’ve dug for yourself, Theo. I’ll help if I can. So will Hermione. You don’t have to be alone, but neither do you have to take us down with you. We’ll help you up, but I refuse to let you bring either of us down with you.



Think about it.



I do love you as a friend. I always will, no matter what happens.



Draco


The weird thing was that the memories didn’t rush in like a tide after Theo read the letter. It wasn’t as if he reread the letter, and then the memories came crashing down on him. No, that would be too poetic, something fictional and unreal. Instead, he started to cry, and as he cried, he saw glimpses of memories. He saw him and Malfoy running down the hall. He saw Hermione lying on the floor. However, for the life of him, he still couldn’t see his father. What if Malfoy was lying? What if he was lying to try to steal Hermione from him? He had to find her and have her tell him if it was the truth.

If the things Malfoy wrote in that letter were true, and she had never once confronted him, then he wasn’t sure what he would do. He didn’t know if he would survive. He wouldn’t want to.

He got in his car, and went to go to try to find her. If he couldn’t find her, he would come back to her apartment and wait for her to return.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Draco drove with Hermione in her car to her apartment. Draco opened the passenger door of the car, stepped out on the pavement, and walked over to the driver’s side. She seemed nervous. He knew he was nervous. He held her hand and helped her to stand from the car. He said, “We don’t have to do anything but be together. That’s enough for me. I just want to be with you.”

He meant that, and she appreciated it.

She took his hand and led him into the entryway of her building. She led him down the hallway, to her door. She said, “This is my place.”

“Nice,” he said. He smiled. She fumbled with her keys. She dropped them. He reached down, picked them up for her, and unlocked her door.

They walked through the door and she said, “Home, sweet, home.”

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