A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 28: Shattered Glass:

Her question still in the air, Harry still on the phone, and Draco still in a state of shock, she came to sit beside him on the couch. She let the blanket drop from around her shoulders, to reveal that she had put her pajamas back on, or rather the clothing he gave her to sleep in the first night. When Draco saw that she had put on the old nightclothes, he thought, ‘One step forward, two steps back.’

“Draco?” she inquired.

“Hey, Potter, I’ve got to go,” he said closing the phone.

“Is there a connection between Theo’s suicide and what happened to me? Do you think that perhaps he didn’t really kill himself? Do you think that whoever killed him is now trying to kill me?”

No, what he thought was that her question was ridiculous. What a farfetched theory. He said, “Theo definitely killed himself. The Aurors came to the same conclusion that the Muggle police did, so that thought never crossed my mind.”

“Then why did you tell Harry that you thought there was a connection?” she asked.

“I didn’t mean that there was a connection in the sense that you’re thinking.” He was grasping at straws. He wasn’t sure there was a connection. He especially wasn’t prepared to tell her about his assumption yet.

“What did you mean?” She stared at Draco and reached out for his arm. He stood abruptly and walked over toward the telly. He turned it on. He started to flip through the channels with the remote, his back to her. Maybe she would be able to tell that he was dismissing her. Maybe she would give up and go back to bed. Maybe pigs would fly.

“Draco Malfoy, what did you mean?”

He closed his eyes, and made a face, then flipped the television back off before he faced her. He answered, “Maybe someone is retaliating for Theo’s suicide, and they blame you. Perhaps they saw the suicide note. I don’t know. It’s a stretch, but it’s a possibility and something we should consider.”

“But who would that be? He had no siblings, his father died in prison years ago, and when he became engaged to me, he became slightly more estranged from his mother, because she didn’t approve. I believe the last time he saw her was at graduation, and then he died a few months later.”

“I think Potter and I should have a talk with his mother,” Draco concluded. He also thought that Potter should find out who stole that file, and right away.

“I barely knew his mother. I met her a total of five times over the years,” she said.

“And she would have a motive – grieving mother, who wants revenge on the woman who wronged her son by breaking his heart and sleeping with his mate. Alternatively, she could be the avenging wife, making the person who sent her husband to prison pay. It makes a semblance of sense,” he stated. He really hadn’t even considered that until that moment.

“It was a man who attacked me,” she said. “And the witness at my mother’s murder was certain it was a wizard, not a witch, who killed her.”

“Well, one could hardly expect her to soil her own hands,” he concluded.

She stood up, dropped the blanket completely and ran her hands through her hair. She made a frustrated sound and said, “I swear, if someone killed my mother because of me, I will explode!” She kicked at the blanket at the floor and stomped through the living room to the kitchen. He was right on her heels. She seemed angrier than he had ever seen her. He was almost intrigued by her anger. It was a welcomed change.

She walked around the room aimlessly. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“I hardly know!” she shouted. “I want to hit something, or someone, or destroy something, but this isn’t my house, and so I can’t! Thanks to my enemy, I don’t even have a single thing to destroy that’s my own! I can’t destroy another person’s house!” She turned to him, rushed up to stand in front of him, grabbed him by the shoulders and said, “I don’t even have a house to destroy! Someone even took that away from me!”

“Break a glass or something,” he said with a shrug. He didn’t mean for it to come out flippantly. He was actually quite serious, but it came out wrong, and she seemed even angrier because of it.

“Break a glass? That’s your freaking suggestion?” She pushed him aside and walked to his sink. He followed her slowly and stood by the table. She went to the cabinet above the sink, opened the door, grabbed a glass, and threw it toward him. He dodged it easily, and it crashed against the wall and shattered. “There’s your broken glass, Malfoy!”

She reached inside and threw another. He actually felt that one graze his cheek as it flew by his face. He ducked instinctively and said, “Now that one was a bit close, Granger! I said one glass, anyway!”

“AARRGH!” she screamed. She pulled down another glass and let it crash on the floor by her feet. She reached for a fourth and threw it on the floor at the other side of her feet. She reached up for the fifth but he was already behind her, holding her arms to her sides, and keeping them in place. She was barefooted, and there was broken glass all around.

He held her tightly, standing behind her as he was. He kept her arms at her sides as she continued to struggle. She continued to make unintelligible grunts, groans, and moans. She struggled hard to get out of his grasp. He struggled just as hard to keep her still.

He let her turn around, so she was facing him. She fought until she was wrought with exhaustion. He moved them out of the way of the glass until they were standing in the corner of the kitchen. She finally stopped struggling and placed her head on his chest.

“It hurts, Draco. It really hurts,” she said, pain lacing each word.

“That’s good. You’re starting to feel again,” he surmised.

“I don’t want to feel again, not if pain is borne from feeling, then I don’t want to feel, because I don’t want the pain. Make the pain go away,” she cried.

He held her perhaps tighter than he had ever held another person, but then his hands suddenly went to her face, seized it tightly, and he practically put his nose to hers and said, “Pain if good. Pain is real. Pain is life! You have to feel pain to live. I won’t let you hide away from your pain again! Pain brings other feelings. Don’t you want to feel the other feelings, too? Like happiness and love?”

She didn’t answer his question. She just said, “I don’t want to feel again.”

“Feeling is good. That’s all I can say,” he whispered in her ear. He removed his hands from her face and held them tightly around her body again. He could tell that she was so distressed that he was practically holding her upright. He said, “I just want you to remember, and feel again. I want you to love me again.”

He didn’t mean to say that last part. That sounded desperate. He felt as vulnerable as he was sure she felt. As much as he hadn’t intended to say that, he was glad that he did because it was how he felt, and unlike her, he didn’t hide his feeling away. They surrounded him like a gale-force wind, surrounding and drowning him. “You’re exhausted. I’m exhausted. Let’s just go to sleep. Come with me to the bedroom. We’ll just sleep. We won’t talk or fight, I promise.”

She averted her gaze from his, pushed away with her hands, but with his arms once again around her waist, she didn’t have far to go. She felt desperate, pathetic, and alone, and for far too long. If she let herself feel again, then grief would overwhelm her, consume her, and she had worked too long to stop feeling. With feelings came hopelessness, fear, worry and pain.

“I want to be alone,” she said. It was her mantra. She had lived by those words for so long that she believed it, even though it wasn’t true. She had fought hard for too long. She had weaned herself from her mother, her friends, her work, and the one man she had loved more than life itself. Being alone made her strong. It helped her to live. She had convinced herself that she never needed anyone ever again, and she wasn’t sure she was ready to admit that it had all been a lie.

The joy she once felt in Draco’s arms, and at the thought that he loved her, was short lived and forgotten. He said that he wanted her to love him again, but she didn’t know how to do that. She looked at him again and repeated her mantra, without conviction this time. “Please, let me be alone. I want to be alone.”

“I’m not sure you get to decide your future this time,” he said seriously. “It concerns me too, and I’m not ready to be alone. I don’t know about you, but I hate being alone. It scares me senseless. I can’t let you go again. Call me selfish, or a bastard, or an old-fashioned romantic, but hell, Granger, I just said that I still love you, and all you can say is that you want to be alone. A small part of me, the part that still has pride, wants to throw those words in your face, and leave you alone to wallow in your loneliness. Don’t let that small part of me win, Granger. Help me be the bigger man. Help me love you again.”

He let go of her arms, and as he retreated from her, he said, “It doesn’t matter at this point what you want. You can’t leave. I hid your wand when you were sleeping, and I changed my wards. You’re a prisoner here.” He looked at her from the hall and said, “But then again, you’ve been a prison for such a long time, so that shouldn’t matter to you. You can be a prisoner in your loneliness, or you can be a prison here. Be careful not to step on any glass. I don’t want to clean up blood in the morning.”

He went to the bedroom and threw himself on the bed.

Then he heard another glass crash to the ground. He winced. Good, she was still angry. Anger was a passionate emotion. He could live with anger. It was better than apathy. He heard a second one crash. That one made him smile. When he heard the third, he laughed aloud and yelled out, “Good luck stepping around that much glass, Granger!”

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