A Feeling Unknown

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Part IV:

Chapter 25: Trying to Understand:

Draco and Hermione were in his car, discussing Heaven and Hell, which in and of itself was a surreal discussion to begin with, when Draco asked Hermione if she thought Theo was in Heaven, since she had just proclaimed it a real place. Her answer: for a long time, she didn’t think so, and now she wasn’t sure.

“Why would you think that he wouldn’t be in heaven? He was a good man,” he asked.

“Just something I overhead a friend of my mother’s say once after my father died,” she answered. “She said that when someone killed themselves, they didn’t go to heaven.”

“Why would she say that?” he wondered, “And what does that have to do with Theo?” She let go of his hand. He said, “What do you mean, Hermione?”

“Just that Theo died like my father died, by his own hand,” she said softly.

Those words swirled around in his mind. Theo died of a car accident. Hermione knew that, because those were the very last words she spoke to him, until this week. She called him that day, he remembered that he smiled at the sound of her voice on the phone, just remembering the night they had shared, but his smile vanished the moment that she told him that Theo had a fatal car crash. That was all she said. He went right over to her flat, was told she was resting, and when Potter went to check on her an hour later, she was gone and Draco didn’t see her again for three years.

What did she mean by that? Theo didn’t kill himself. He died in a stupid accident. He looked at her confused, and then turned away. He shook his head, and then he looked at her once more. She turned to look at him, with tears in her eyes, and all he thought was that her pain went deeper than he ever imagined, and that someone must have lied to him about Theo’s death, and it had to be her.

He continued to think about what she had said the whole ride home from the University.

When they got home, Draco stopped the car in front of the house. When Hermione started to open the passenger door to leave, he reached over and held the door handle. He said, “Before you make your escape, kindly explain to me what you meant when you said that Theo died by his own hand.”

She knew that the silence that had ensued after she had said that didn’t mean that Draco hadn’t heard. It didn’t mean that he was going to ignore the fact that she said it. All it meant was that he was thinking about things, ruminating all the words around in his head. She knew she shouldn’t have said it the moment it left her mouth, but by all that was holy; she was so tired of hiding things. She was tired of trying to protect Draco and his feelings, and Theo’s reputation. She was tired of being alone and lonely. She turned her face away from him and placed her hand on his arm as it was in front of her body. “Please let me open the door.”

“No, not this time, there’s no running away this time. You have to tell me what you meant,” he demanded. He let go of the door handle and twisted his arm so that his hand was now holding her arm. She was so surprised by the action that she turned to look at him. She tried to wrench her arm from his, but he was too strong, too determined to hold onto her. Unknown to her, he had no plans to ever let her go again.

“Draco,” she said. “I didn’t mean anything. I didn’t. I don’t even know why I said that. He died in a car accident. You know that. I just wanted to blame him, that way I don’t have to feel guilty.”

“Why would you feel guilty?” he asked.

She took a deep, long breath. She was making things worse. “Let me go!” She sounded desperate. He let go of her arm, but then he held onto the sleeve of her coat. He opened his car door and jerked her so that she had to come out of the door on his side of the car. It was awkward, and he practically dragged her across the seats, and over the gearshift. He started up the walk with her sleeve still tightly in his hand, and she pointed toward the car. “What about my things?”

“Why do you care about the things from your office? You told me to get rid of all the things that Potter salvaged from your house, so why care about some musky old books and things. Let them rot. I don’t care.” He was angry and not sure why. No, that was a lie. He knew why. He was angry with HER! He was angry that she apparently had kept things from him. He was angry that she had left him for three years, and there was never any reason for her to leave, even if Theo did kill himself.

Draco opened the back door and pushed her into the house. Her foot became tangled in the doormat and she tripped and fell. He reached for her hand, to help her up, but she slapped it away. ‘Fine, stay on the floor,’ he thought. He felt frustrated, and he wanted to hit the wall. Therefore, he did. He hit the wall, and probably broke his hand. He stepped over her and said, “Get up, Hermione.” He went into the bedroom and slammed the door.

What had he become? More importantly, what had become of them?

He paced in front of his bed for ten minutes. He didn’t want to have all of these feelings again! He had been fine these past three years without her. How dare she come back in his life, make him feel again, make him remember, make him love her, and then pull some stupid crap about Theo killing himself! He threw all the covers off his bed. He was still so angry that he couldn’t see straight, but he came to recognize that he wasn’t angry with her, and he wasn’t angry with himself. He was angry, once again, with Theo, because somehow he knew that she was telling the truth. The stupid bastard killed himself, and in the process, almost killed the rest of them. He counted to three, slowly, and then opened the bedroom door. His anger had not abated, not one bit, but he had to make sure she was okay. If nothing else, she still came first.

He expected to find her still on the kitchen floor for some reason. He should have known better. She wasn’t a damn rug, for Merlin’s sake, even if she did allow people to walk all over her. Having such unsolicited thoughts about her made him only feel worse, if possible. He walked toward the living room, only to turn back around when he noticed that the back door was opened. Damn her.

He walked out the door, cradling his broken hand, and looked through the falling snow for her. She came walking back up toward the house, her boxes in her hands. She shouldered past him, walked in the house, and threw the boxes on the floor. He stood in the doorway, partially outside, and said, “You shouldn’t leave the house alone.”

“I walked to the car, I hardly think I made a trek through the Andes by myself,” she said.

“What?” he asked. “Never mind. Heal my hand.” She glared at him. He rolled his eyes. “Please, heal my hand.”

“I don’t think so. You should feel the pain. Lord knows I’ve felt it long enough. It’s time for you to feel it,” she mumbled, half under her breath. She was angry, too. She went to the icebox and got out a bottle of water. She opened it. She got it partially to her mouth when he knocked it away with his good hand.

“You think I don’t feel pain? I have felt pain every minute of everyday since you left me!” he yelled.

Suddenly, her eyes went from stern to soft. She brushed the water off the front of her shirt, took out her wand to clean the mess from the floor, and then approached him. She took his injured hand in her left hand, and touched his hand with her wand. She said a silent spell, with her eyes closed. After the pain left his hand, she continued to hold it. Her eyes were still shut. It was the perfect time - so he leaned over and kissed her lips.

Her eyes popped open; she dropped his hand, and said, “That should be all better.” She would ignore the kiss for now. She reached for her lips, touching her fingers to them slightly, and then got another water from the icebox. With her back toward the room, and her body partially in the refrigerator, he walked up behind her. He leaned toward her, his warm breath on her neck. He reached his arm around her waist. She leaned against him. It was amazing how easily she fell back in love with him. It astounded her that she sought his comfort the way she did, especially since she had been avoiding it for years.

She said, “I know I’ve caused you a lot of pain. I’m sorry.” She sighed and almost melted into his embrace.

“The pain you caused was unintentional, I’m sure,” he said, his words partially muffled as he spoke against her neck. “I’ll try to keep my anger at bay, but please, tell me what you know about Theo. It might even help with your mother’s case.”

She turned slowly, his arm still around her. She placed her head against his chest, and stated, “What happened to Theo has nothing to do with what happened to my mother.”

He knew she could be right, but somehow, he felt it might. He put both arms around her, and kissed her cheek. He loved her so much. He said in her ear, “Tell me.”


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