A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 39: Dead, but Still Alive:

Hermione was shaking all over, and Draco was yelling into the phone at Harry. “Potter, I thought the wards would keep everyone out! I thought you were the best in the business, and my measly little wards were no match for yours, so you set new ones, but he still got in! He could have murdered us while we were making love!”

Hermione looked up at him and slapped his arm. “Don’t tell Harry we were having sex.”

Draco gave her a funny look, and said, “Is that all you have to worry about right now? Make yourself useful and put up some protection spells so he can’t come in the bedroom!”

“Let me up and I will!” she harked. He still had his hand on her shoulder, so that she couldn’t stand up from the bed.

Harry said from his end of the phone, “Will you both shut up and tell me who’s in your house!”

“Who did Hermione stun in the battle at the Department of Mysteries fifth year, Potter? Who attacked her at Hogwarts during the final battle? Who is trying to kill her now? Merlin’s beard, man, is there a brain behind that scar of yours?” Draco sputtered.

“So it’s Theo Nott’s father?’ Harry asked, not believing a word. “But it can’t be!”

“Really, tell him that, he’s sitting on my couch as we speak!”

“We haven’t had time to exhume his body yet,” Harry started.

“Well don’t bother now, because I’m pretty sure he won’t be in the grave, since he’s alive and well and sitting ON MY BLOODY COUCH!” Draco held the phone away from his hand and screamed!

He folded the phone and said, “Potter is a moron, agreed?”

Hermione shook her head no and finally struggled out of Draco’s grasp and said, “Let’s just disapparate away from here.”

“That’s a problem, thanks to Scarhead. He made anti-disapparating wards so that you couldn’t leave. I can, but you can’t,” Draco explained.

“Harry is a moron,” Hermione said. She crossed over to the other side of the room and added, “Why is he just sitting out there. He could have easily killed us! How long do you think he was out there?”

“No clue,” Draco said. “Listen, I’m going out there,” he decided.

“NO!” she shouted. “Please, no, don’t leave me!”

“I have to,” he said, “because this is ending, here and now. I’m tired of the Notts dictating my life.”

Hermione said, “Wait a moment.” She ran and got her wand and then she pulled on her pajama pants. She pointed the wand toward the wall opposite the bed and said a spell so that the wall between the bedroom and the living room appeared transparent, and they could see the man as he sat on Draco’s couch.

“That’s a handy spell,” Draco said.

“I do have my moments,” she gushed.

They both walked up to the ‘window’ in the wall and spied the other man in the living room. He was sitting on the couch, but he wasn’t moving. He wasn’t doing anything. He was merely sitting there, staring at something in his hand.

Draco said, “He’s not even moving.”

“I know, it’s odd,” she answered. She pulled on Draco’s arm. “He didn’t seem to see us when we were in the hall, either. He’s just sitting there staring at something. I don’t think that’s a real person,” Hermione stated.

“Maybe he really is dead. Maybe he’s an Inferius,” Draco stated. Draco leaned even closer and he added, “He does seem a bit stiff, but then again, he has been dead for years.”

Hermione slapped his arm and said, “He’s not an Inferius, or a ghost. I can tell. He’s breathing, see? Do you really think this is the time for jokes, anyway?”

He smiled slightly and said, “I don’t know the proper time and place for anything anymore. This whole thing has me on edge.” He turned back to look at the man. “He’s not moving a muscle. If he’s not a corpse, and he’s not a ghost, and he’s not an Inferius, then I think it’s a hologram or something.”

Hermione said, “Do you mean a three-dimensional photographic image of an object that is a photographic record of light interference patterns produced using a photographic plate and light from a laser?”

Draco stared at her with an open mouth and then finally said, “Must you show me up at every turn, when there aren’t even other people present? Can’t you just accept that I’m smart, too, without having to give the exact dictionary definition of a Hologram? I mean, who is even here with us to impress with your brains, Hermione?”

She bit her bottom lip, then smiled, and said, “You’re right, I’m sorry.”

“I’m going out there,” Draco repeated. “If this is someone’s idea of a joke, then it’s not funny.”

She stopped him as he walked toward the door and said, “It might be a trick. Let’s wait for Harry, please.”

As they were discussing these things, their hologram theory went up in smoke as the man on the couch stood and walked over to the shelf above the telly. That was when they saw that he had a picture in his hand. It was the one of Draco and Theo, which Draco had removed from the shelf above the television, and had placed on the mantel. Hermione gasped and turned Draco around to watch, as the man reached up to the shelf and took down the other picture of Draco, Hermione and Theo on graduation day. Hermione placed the picture there, because Draco had removed the one of just him and Theo.

The man stared at the picture for several long moments, and then stared at the first one in his hand again. He compared the pictures, then he reached up and put the first one on the shelf, and he took the one of the three of them, turned toward the doorway that led to the hall, and walked to the bedroom door. Hermione stood behind Draco, and they both faced the door to wait.

The man was at the threshold, and pushed the framed picture in the crack under the closed door. He asked, “Was this picture a lie?”

Draco looked at Hermione and she shook her head in confusion. What did the man mean? Whom did he mean to answer? Draco walked up to the door and then pointed toward Hermione and whispered, “Do your little see-thru spell thing at the door.”

Hermione pointed her wand at the door and it became transparent. The man was leaning against the door, with his forehead against the wood. Draco walked up to the door and said, “That picture is a real picture, if that’s what you’re asking.” He bent down, picked up the picture, and tossed it on the bed. Hermione stood behind him.

“No, what I mean was, were you really Theo’s friends? Were both of you his friends?” he asked.

Hermione assumed that he hadn’t heard their conversation about ‘hating Theo’ earlier, so she said, “Yes, we loved him a lot,” because after all, that was also the truth. She said, “He was our best friend.”

“Yet you both betrayed him,” he said.

Draco frowned and said, “We didn’t betray him. We tried to help him at every turn for years. He was ill. He was sick and depressed for a long time. He killed himself, we didn’t kill him.”

“That’s not what I heard,” he said. “My wife told me that you both killed him with your lies and betrayal. She said it was in retaliation against me for what happened to the Mudblood at the final battle.”

Draco looked back at Hermione and then turned toward the door and said, “Let me ask you something, how long have you been alive, well, I mean, Theo’s mum told Theo and all of us that you died in prison years ago.”

“That was a lie she fabricated,” he answered. “We worked out a way to make it seem that I died, and then she brought me home and kept me a prisoner once again, only this time my accommodations were a bit better.” He moved away from the door and leaned against the other wall. “She told my son I died. I longed to see him, but she said that we couldn’t tell anyone that I was alive, not even Theo, because he was involved with the Mudblood, Hermione Granger.”

Draco reached back for Hermione’s hand. They moved closer to the door. The man said, “She made me believe that Theo was tricked into falling in love with her by you both so that you could seek revenge against my son for my transgressions against the girl. His mother said that you killed him. She wanted revenge for our son’s death against the Mudblood for so long, but the girl all but disappeared for three long years. Finally, years after my son’s death, she came up with a plan to kill the Mudblood’s mother, so that the Mudblood would have to reveal herself, and then I was going to kill her. Neither of us blames you, Malfoy. You were tricked by the Mudblood, too.”

Draco was angry and he said, “No one tricked anyone, and your son really did kill himself. You can see the bloody Auror’s report if you want, but he used magic to make sure that his car went off the embankment, and it crashed, and he died, because he was sick of being sad and depressed. That’s the truth.” Well, there was a bit more, but the man didn’t need all the details.

Hermione sighed and went up to the door. Draco grabbed her by the waist and stopped her. She turned in his arms and said, “I just want to tell him something.” He nodded, but kept one arm around her waist as she approached the door.

“Mr. Nott,” she started, “I loved your son as much as I sometimes hate him for the things he did. He should have gotten help. Draco and I tried to help him for so long, but he refused. He manipulated things the way he wanted them to go, thinking that it would help him be happy, but nothing helped. That’s not my fault, and that’s not Draco’s fault. To blame us for his death would be wrong, but I’m sure you don’t care what I have to say. Goodness knows I don’t care about you. You raped me when I was a young girl! You taught your son nothing but hate and lies, but somehow he still had compassion and love, although I’m sure that your indoctrination of hate to him from the time he was a child was at a constant war with the good side of him.”

“That was probably the reason for his later depression. I think that when he thought you died, he was secretly happy, but to admit as much would go against what he was supposed to feel, because as much as he loved you, he also hated you, and that was a lot of guilt for him to handle.”

“But that’s neither here nor there. You killed my mother, you have tried to kill me for weeks, and I’ll tell you something, you will pay for those sins. You’ll pay, and you’ll waste away in prison, where you should never have left, and you’ll have to live with the fact that things you did attributed to Theo’s death just as much as anything you imagine Draco and I did. That’s the truth. We were his friends. We loved him and we miss him everyday, and his death has skewed our lives for too long, and we won’t have it any longer.”

Draco smiled and kissed the back of her neck. He was so proud of her. Theo’s father remained motionless once more. He seemed to be a broken and bitter man, and he seemed confused as to what to do next. The decision as to what to do next was taken out of his hands when a flash of white light blinded them all. Draco shielded Hermione with his body, and though a wall and door separated them, with the ‘transparent’ door, they were still overwhelmed by the flash of light.

Harry Potter and a team of Aurors surrounded the man and bound him magically. Draco and Hermione turned back toward the door just as Harry was pointing his wand toward it. Harry yelled, “Hermione, Malfoy, are you two okay?”

Draco opened the door and Hermione ran out into Harry’s arms, just as Ron and two other Aurors were taking Theo’s father away. Draco couldn’t help himself; he placed his arms around both Hermione and Harry, and held them both tightly.

Harry looked up at Draco, who was behind Hermione, and he said, “You know, your earlier suggestion that we use Hermione as a sort of bait gave me the idea to lower the wards so that he could enter your house, although I had no clue he would enter so soon after I lowered them. I should have told you. I was really outside with the other team members when you called me. You were in no danger at anytime.”

Draco removed his arms from around them both, and pulled Hermione away from Harry. He said, “And to think, I was about to change your name in my phone from Scarhead to Potter! Now I’ll change it to Stupid Bloody Wanker!”

Hermione turned to Draco and said, “You wanted to use me for bait?”

“It was an errant thought and a half-arsed suggestion, and by the way, I think you should blame Potter for this, not me. I didn’t know he was going to do that,” Draco said.

“Oh well, it worked, and its all over, and that’s all that matters,” Hermione said with a shrug.

“Are you kidding me?” Draco spat as Hermione went back into Harry’s arms. “You are kidding me, right? Potter lies and manipulates us and you aren’t even angry? Everything is fine! You should hate the stupid prat!”

“Oh Draco,” she began, as she left Harry’s arms and put her arms around Draco’s waist. “Hate is a wasted emotion, remember?”

Since when did she ever listen to him? Draco frowned at Potter but held her tight. She had a point, however. It was over. It was all finally over.

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