A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 24: Pain Personified –



Hermione was blissfully happy. She felt she was happier than she had ever been in her life. She felt she was happier than she had a right to be. She couldn’t wipe the smile from her face. She looked at her reflection in her bathroom mirror the next morning and she pointed at herself and said, “Stop grinning like an idiot!” Then she continued to grin. She twirled in place and jumped in the shower.



They had made love all night. Draco was so sweet and tender. In the middle of the night, she lay beside him, staring at him, he opened his eyes and she hurried to shut hers. He said, “I caught you staring.”



“Oh hell,” she said with a laugh. He reached over and stroked her face. He couldn’t get enough of her. He had been touching her all night long, and he wanted nothing more than to touch her all the days of his life. He leaned over and kissed her mouth. What a sweet mouth. So full, wet, and wonderful. He leaned back on the pillow and she leaned forward and kissed him.



And so it went. For the next two hours, until the sun rose, they touched, kissed, and talked. They made plans. She was going to move in with him. He had his own house. He wanted to continue with his education. So did Hermione. They would work, live, and be happy.



They would talk to Theo together. She cried a bit when they spoke of Theo. He held her, stroked her hair, and told her that Theo would understand, not really knowing if that was true. He thought of how he believed he would never forgive Theo, but then realized that when he wrote the letter to him, that he had. Now, it was time to show Theo a little faith, and hope for that in time, Theo could and would forgive him. Forgive them both.



Hermione held Draco’s hand to her heart. She shut her eyes and sighed. “I hope he doesn’t hate us.”



“Theo doesn’t hate,” Draco stated.



“Yes he does. He hates himself, so much sometimes,” Hermione said. “What was in the letter you wrote him? Please tell me.”



He didn’t know if he could. All he said was, “I just told him some truths. It’s time he faced the truth. It’s time he remembered some things. Maybe it’ll help him in the end.”



“I hope so. I don’t want to hurt him. I still love him, you know.” She spoke so softly, he could barely hear her. Her head was on his chest. He kissed her hair.



“I love him, too.”



Draco had to go home early, because he had to work. He had promised to meet her later for lunch. They had both decided that they would tell Theo about their relationship tonight. They were also going to beg him to get some help, and if he refused, they would force him. That part was Draco’s idea. Hermione didn’t think someone could force another person to get help if they didn’t want help. She knew that her mother had tried everything with her father. She had begged, pleaded, threatened, cajoled, coerced, lied, left him, came back, everything under the sun. Hermione had already used an arsenal of things on Theo, even agreeing to marry him, and still he hadn’t wanted help. He didn’t think he needed help.



Perhaps this time would be different.



She dressed and ate a muffin, and then as she opened her door to go to work, she saw two Muggle police officers.



“Are you Hermione Granger?”



“Yes.”



“Do you know a man by the name of Theodore Nott?”



“Yes.”



“We’re so sorry to tell you this…”



Her sudden happiness came crashing down around her. She fell to the ground and screamed. She asked them what happened. They told her that he died in a car crash. They said there was no skid marks, no signs that he tried to brake. They apologized and told her it appeared that he meant to run off the side of the road, and down into the ravine below. They said it appeared he accelerated as he came to the bend, instead of slowing down. He killed himself. The younger officer helped her to her couch. He handed her a letter. It had blood on it. At first, she wondered if it was the letter that Draco had written to Theo. She wondered if it was so horrible that it caused him to kill himself.



A closer look revealed that it was written by Theo, and addressed to her. One of the officers told her that they had already read it, and they would need to take it back for evidence, but that she may read it first.



She did. After she read it, she understood. She understood why he killed himself. She knew it was her fault. He told her that he was sorry, and that he would never forgive himself for what his father did to her. He said that he knew she must hate him. He said that he deserved to die, for the sins of his father. When she came to the last line, she understood why he wanted to die, because that very last line even broke her will to live. He wrote, “I saw you with Malfoy last night. I know I hurt you, Hermione, but know this, you literally broke my heart. I don’t know if I can forgive you, either.”



She clutched the letter, rocked back and forth, and cried. The police had a social worker come to talk to her. She didn’t say a word to the man. She just cried. They found her mother’s number, and called her. She came, but was beside herself as to what to do for her daughter. By the time her mother came, the police had left. So did the ‘evidence’ of her sins. She would never tell anyone that she was the reason Theo died. She wouldn’t vilify him that way, nor did she want anyone to know what a horrible person she was. She told her mother that Theo died in a car accident, because that part was the truth, just not the whole truth.



Her mother called Harry Potter, who was an Auror. He came right away. Hermione cried for an hour on Harry’s shoulder, and then she asked Harry if she could use his mobile phone. She didn’t want to use her own, because she didn’t want Draco to have her number, but she knew she had to call him. She took Harry’s mobile, and went into her bathroom, shut the door, and called Draco.



“Draco, it’s Hermione,” she said. “I have terrible news. Theo had a fatal car crash. He’s dead, Draco. He’s dead.”



Then she hung up, not waiting for his response. She knew what she had to do. She walked from the bathroom, handed Harry her phone, locked herself in her bedroom, packed a bag, and vowed that she would leave everyone and everything she loved behind, because her love was poison. She could not live with the regrets. She could never tell Draco the truth. She would not have him feel the pain and the remorse and the guilt that she felt. She loved him too much for that. There was no way she could ever face Theo’s mother, or even her own. She heard her mother in the other room there talking to Harry. They all still believed she was engaged to the man. They felt sorry for her. They should be blaming her, not feeling sorry for her! How could she tell them different? How could she say, “No, don’t feel sorry for me, people! I broke his heart, slept with his best friend, and then he found out that his father raped me, and when it all became too much for him to abide, he killed himself.”



Life was a bitch, full of irony and despair. She would take all the blame herself, tuck it deep inside her, and never tell another living soul what occurred. She took one last look around her bedroom. Her heart ached. She almost had second thoughts, but then she heard Draco’s voice out in her living room. She heard him ask her mother where she was. Her mum told him that she was resting in the bedroom.



Hermione placed her hand over her mouth to stifle a cry, and then disapparated away.



That was the last time Draco saw her, until that day he found her to tell her that her mother was dead.



Life went on without her, but it was an empty life. He became an Auror. It only took him two years. He worked hard, because he had nothing else in his life. He had no friends, no girlfriends, no outside hobbies or activities. He talked to his mother about once a month. He talked to her mother about the same. He could have found her. It would have been easy. Her mother knew where she lived, and so did Potter. But if she didn’t want him, then he didn’t want her. He understood her pain, because he shared it. He almost wished he could hate her, but he could never hate her. He knew that the moment they finally made love. He would love her forever, no matter what.



The moment he told her that her mother died, all he wanted was to pick her up and run away with her. He wanted to protect her from everyone and everything. He wanted to shield her from any more pain. He just didn’t know how.



He was having one of his infrequent phone calls with her mother one night when she said, “I got a letter from Hermione, Draco. She wants to come home. She wants to reenter everyone’s life. She said she knows she’s been away too long. She’s coming tomorrow. She’s going to stay for the holidays. Isn’t that wonderful?”



His heart was so full he didn’t know what to think or feel. He wanted to punish her for leaving him, but mostly, he just wanted to love her again. When he heard she was coming home, he lowered the wards that he had placed on her mother’s home, so that she could enter.



He had arranged with her mother to meet with them the next day. Have dinner together. That would have been nice, but it never happened.



End of Part III

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