A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 30: Sweet:


Sitting on the kitchen floor, surrounded by four boxes, Hermione held up a little green and white saucer. How odd that something like this would survive an exploding house intact. Even odder was the fact that Harry thought she would want to save it. It was just a saucer, which didn’t even have a matching teacup any longer. She started to put it in the box she had put aside for trash, but then set it in the box of salvageable items instead. It was a nice little saucer, after all.


She pulled the third box closer to her, having already gone through the first two. It contained pretty much the same things. Knick-knacks, pieces of pictures, parts of books. Hardly anything was worth saving. She pushed the third box away from her and got up on her knees, to look back in the box of the things she had saved. Nothing in there was important to her. Nothing. She picked up the box and emptied the entire contents into the rubbish box, save for the little green and white saucer. She picked up the saucer, placed it in Draco’s sink, and walked toward the bedroom.


Draco was sleeping. He had gone back to bed a few hours ago. It was understandable. They didn’t get much sleep last night. After her attack, then her temper-tantrum, then their heart-to-heart talk, and then two hours of sleep, followed by an early morning visit by Harry to take a report of what happened last night, she was sure that Draco deserved his nap.


After Harry left, Ron came by and got her boxes for her. Sweet Ron. Draco grunted when he arrived and reminded him that he could have gotten the damn boxes. Sweet Draco. She almost laughed aloud, certain that he would hate it if he ever knew she thought of him as ‘sweet’. She stood before him and reached out to brush his bangs off his forehead. She leaned closer to him. He really did looked somewhat sweet when he was sleeping. He looked younger when he slept. He looked untouched by turmoil and despair. He looked happier when he slept. She sat next to him on the bed and reached out for him again, but pulled back.


Now that she was in her right mind, she was embarrassed that she let him ‘bathe’ her last night. She was completely naked in front of him and the thing that embarrassed her most about that was that she wasn’t embarrassed about it. She felt comfortable being nude in front of him. She felt safe sleeping in his arms. What was happening here? Were they a couple again? Were they ever a couple? Were they still in love? Were they ever in love? Were they living together? She was so confused. She lay down next to him and watched his face, content in the moment. Right now, she didn’t want to decide what they were, or what was happening. She just wanted to look at him.


She reached out once more, pulled back, reached out again, and he said, “Either touch me or don’t, but stop being so damn indecisive.”


“How long have you been awake?” she asked.


With his eyes still closed he said, “I’m not awake. I’m talking in my sleep.”


“Really?” she asked, amused.


“Yes,” he answered.


“Do you always talk in your sleep?” she asked.


“No, I usually just sleep in my sleep,” he said. She smiled and reached for him, to pull back her hand again. Before she could retract it completely, he reached for it suddenly, and pulled her on top of him. He opened his eyes.


“Good morning,” he greeted.


“It’s afternoon,” she said.


“Then I amend my statement. Good afternoon,” he corrected. “What have you been doing?”


“Going through the four little boxes that Harry salvaged from the house. I still have to go through the four little boxes from my office, and then after that, maybe, just perhaps, I might have one little box of belongings to call my own,” she said.


“You poor indigent thing,” he said. It occurred to her that he was still holding her on top of him, that his one hand was in her hair, and his other hand right above her bum, and she rather liked it. More than that, it felt right. “I shall make you my charity case.”

“That would be nice, although, I think you already have. You’ve already taken pity on me and given me a home, and bought me clothes. You really are rather sweet.”


He made a funny face, as if he tasted something sour. “Gads, sweet? Me? Please, never, ever refer to me as sweet. That’s an absolute insult, Granger. I’m handsome, sexy as hell, intelligent, with a dry sense of humour. I am not ever, nor will I ever be, sweet.”


“Duly noted,” she said. “However, even you said you were being sweet last night.” She moved in his arms slightly so that she could kiss his chin.


“Why did you kiss me?” he asked.


“Because you’re sweet,” she said.


He rolled them over and propped himself above her and said, “Take that back this instant!”


“Draco Malfoy is the sweetest man I’ve ever met,” she shouted.


He put both her arms above her head and whispered in her ear, “Say that again, and suffer the consequences.” He was about to kiss her, but when he brought his head up from the crook of her neck, he saw the most panicked look on her face. He immediately let go of her arms and rolled off her, reminding himself that she had to take baby steps. He sat up, his back toward her, and he said, “Sorry bout that.”


She reached up and stroked his bare back. His eyes shut; and almost melted at her touch. She said, “No, I’m the one that’s sorry. I can’t stand to be held down.”


“I remember. I mean, I forgot, but now I remember,” he mumbled. He cleared his throat and scooted off the bed, still not looking at her. He went to the bathroom and she heard the click of the lock. She remained on the bed and stared up at the ceiling.


She wondered if things would ever get better. Would the feeling of anxiousness and fear at being confined ever go away? It was Draco. He wouldn’t hurt her. Why did she let bad memories ruin new ones? She put one of the pillows over her head and screamed as silently as she could, bunching the pillow in her mouth to stifle the sound.


She threw the pillow on the floor as she heard the shower start. Damn it all to hell. She wanted to be normal. Why couldn’t she just forget the past? She tried for so long, and so hard, to forget and now all of the sudden, she was remembering EVERTYHING! Not only the good things, but also the bad. She rolled off the bed and walked back into the kitchen to look in her rubbish box. She decided to sort through the items again. Maybe she would save a few more things. She needed more than just a saucer in her life, didn’t she?


She was almost finished with her task when she came upon a picture in a frame in the very last box. It was the picture from graduation. It was a wonder that it survived the explosion intact. Taken on the same day as the picture Draco had in his living room, it was of all three of them…Draco, Theo and her. Her Mum took it. They were smiling and waving. The Draco in the picture smiled at the camera, and then looked at the Hermione in the picture and smiled at her. She turned from looking straight at the camera and smiled at him. They smiled at each other. She touched the picture. It almost hurt to realize how much in love they were even back then, and the fact that they didn’t declare it to each other.


Draco walked in the room, after having dressed, knelt down, and took the picture from her. He stood back up and walked in the living room. Hermione leaned back to watch him. She lay down upon the floor, on her back, and said, “What are you doing with my picture?”


“Come see.”

She rolled over and stood up. She walked to the living room. He had placed her picture on the shelf over the telly, beside the picture of him and Theo. Then she watched as he walked over to the closet in the hall, reached for a little wooden box on the top shelf, opened it, and withdrew what looked like another picture. He walked back in the living room, and placed this third picture to the left of her picture. It was one of just her and him, also taken on graduation day. He did still have it. He saved it all this time. She assumed that he hadn’t.


As they both stood back and looked at the three pictures, all on the shelf, in a row, she asked, “What does this mean, Malfoy?”


“What do you want it to mean?”


“Do you still love me?” she asked hesitantly.


He smirked and looked at her. “I thought I already told you that, but I’ll answer your question if you answer mine. Do you still think I’m sweet?”


“Heavens, yes,” she said with a laugh.


“Fine,” he said, with feigned abhorrence. “I guess I still love you, then.” He reached over, put his hand on the back of her neck, and pulled her toward him. He placed his arm around her shoulders, and they remained like that for several more minutes, her arm around his waist, his around her shoulder, staring at what they used to be, and hoping for what they might become.

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