A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 4: Bad things should only happen to bad people:

She stretched her arms over her head. The sun was much too bright this morning. Was the sun always this bright? At first, she was confused as to where she was. Then everything came crashing down on her.

Her mother was dead, and she was in Draco Malfoy’s bed.

It was morning and it was time to face some unpleasant things. It was time for uncertainty again. She hated uncertainty. She always liked to know exactly what was going to happen and exactly when it was going to happen. She lived an orderly life, and she liked it like that. She hated anything that disrupted her order.

Ergo, she hated all of this.

She fell back on the bed, and covered her head with a pillow. She heard him come in the bedroom and then she smelled coffee. He said, “I thought about doing that very thing to you last night.”

She threw the pillow off her head and sat up. “Do what to me?”

“Suffocate you with a pillow, but then I figured that I would be charged with murder, and the paperwork is a mess,” he said. He handed her a cup of coffee.

“If you were the perpetrator, they surely wouldn’t make you do the paperwork,” she said, taking a quick drink, and then gagging and making a funny face. “Gee, that’s strong.”

“It’s how I like it.” He went to his closet and pulled out a clean shirt. He already had on the rest of his clothing.

She said, “Will there be a lot of paperwork for my mother’s murder?” He winced. He knew he shouldn’t have mentioned anything. She added, “Don’t worry, I’m not crying right now.”

“Listen, Granger,” he said, slipping on a navy shirt, “You had every right to cry last night, and I was just joking with you.”

“I know you really didn’t want to kill me,” she said. She threw the covers off and stood up.

“No, I wanted to kill you last night,” he said with a grin. “I meant I was joking when I said that you shouldn’t cry last night.” Hermione huffed at him and walked to the kitchen. He followed and he said, “Breakfast is on the table.”

She picked up a single piece of toast. She looked at him with the toast in her hand.

“What?” he asked, “Should I butter it for you?”

She put the toast back on the napkin, because he hadn’t even put it on a plate, and she went toward the bathroom. She said, “I need to get dressed.”

“Your clothes aren’t in there,” he said. “My elf took them to be cleaned.”

She turned back with a smile and said, “You live in a small, one bedroom house, and you have an elf?”

“My mother insists, and it lives behind the incinerator in the crawl space in the basement,” he said.

She looked shocked. Her mouth was open. He laughed and said, “You are so gullible. No elf, no basement even. However, your clothes are neatly folded on the vanity in the bathroom.”

“Funny,” she said, though she found it not at all amusing. She dressed, brushed her teeth with her finger, and then combed her hair with his comb. Walking out of the bathroom she said, “What do we do first?”

“Do you want to stop by your house first, and change into clean clothes? If you do, that’s fine. We have to meet Potter at the Ministry at 8:30,” he told her. He helped her with her jacket and she nodded.

“That would be nice. We’ll have to drive again. I left my car at my house, if you remember. You do have a car, right? I’m just assuming, because you drove to my house last night,” she stated, and then reminded, “I live in a Muggle neighbourhood, so we’ll have to drive.”

“Can’t we apparate?” he asked.

“I have wards up,” she said.

“You can’t even get by them?” he inquired.

“They are just general wards. No one can. I didn’t ever want to be tempted to use magic for convenience,” she stated, heading toward the front door.

He put his coat on and said, “Yet you can use it to keep yourself from using it. Wards are magic, Granger. Bit of a hypocrite, perhaps?”

She smiled and said, “That’s merely semantics.”

“That’s a yes, Granger,” he said. “And I do indeed have a car. A very nice one. A bit of a sports car, actually, not that stupid black Ministry car I used to pick you up yesterday.” He walked over to his shed, his feet crunching in the new layer of snow, and he opened the door.

“You have a black Porsche?” she asked with surprise when she saw the shiny black sports car.

“Yes, so?” he said. He opened the passenger door for her.

She chuckled and said, “Your neighbours must think you are so strange. You live in a small bungalow, and your car is worth more than your house.”

“Funny, Granger.” He started the car and pointed to his perfectly straight face. He said, “See my smile. OH, that’s right, I’m not smiling, but I assure you, I’m laughing on the inside.”

She continued to laugh. It felt good to laugh. She needed to laugh. She couldn’t even remember the last time she laughed. She said, “You always were good for a laugh. Remember that time you and Theo and I…”

Before she could say anything else, he stopped the car at the end of the lane. He came to such a sudden stop that she jerked backwards in her seat. He turned and looked at her and said, “No offense, Granger, but I really don’t want to talk about Theo with you. Please understand. It’s not an insult to you. I just can’t do it, okay?” He started the car again and turned on the next street.

She nodded and turned her head to look out at the passing scenery. He felt badly again. He was mean to her again. Her feelings were acute right now. He should have more understanding. He looked over at her, and she was trying hard not to cry, he could tell.

Fine he thought. They can talk about Theo. Why can’t they talk about Theo? He knew he thought about the man almost every day. She probably did, too. He said, “I remember one time you cooked for us, and you were so proud, and you made this bloody wonderful pasta salad and you served it to us on these fancy, little, glass plates, and you poured the wine, and poor Theo, bless his soul, was the first to try it.”

She smiled and turned to him. She remembered this incident clearly.

He continued, “And then he took a big old bite, and we all heard this crunching noise, and he cried out in pain, because he broke his tooth. You looked at him shocked and he yelled, ‘Hermione, you were supposed to cook the pasta first!’ and you threw your fancy cloth napkin at me, because I was laughing, and you said, ‘the cookbook didn’t say that!’ That was so funny.”

She laughed along with him and she said, “Well, I’m sorry, but it didn’t say to cook the pasta anywhere in the instructions. Shouldn’t that be like step one or something? Cook the pasta for the pasta salad?”

He smiled and said, “Maybe they just assume that people are smarter than rocks.”

“His poor tooth,” she said, laughing.

They continued their drive for almost another hour. When they finally reached the exit to her turn off she said, “I hope my next door neighbour, Mrs. Delano, isn’t too worried about me.”

“Why would she be worried?” he asked.

“Well, she’s become like a surrogate grandmother to me, and she looks in on me every few days, and she’s bound to have read about my mother’s death in the papers. I mean, it will be in the Muggle newspapers won’t it?”

He nodded and said, “Probably. The Muggle police had to be called, and she will have to be treated as a homicide by them, too.”

She hated how that sounded. Homicide. She continued with, “Yes, well, I live in a double, she’s next door, and she’s bound to see my car out front. She probably thinks I’m home. She’s probably been banging on my door since this morning.”

She directed him to her street, but when the reached the end, there was a barricade. Draco parked the car and Hermione got out and walked up to a police officer before Draco did. She asked the young woman, “Excuse me, officer, but I live on this street. What’s going on here? Why the barricade?”

“There’s been a gas explosion. Two joined houses are fully engulfed as we speak,” she said. “The fire trucks are there, but it’s not a pretty sight.”

Hermione looked back at Draco, and somehow, she just knew. He did as well. She ran past the barricade, and Draco was close behind. The young officer yelled at her to stop, but Draco yelled back, “It’s her house!”

She reached as smoke, fire, and water consumed what remained of her house, and she could only stand and stare. She was more than numb. She was in a state of shock. Draco rushed up to her just as a firefighter walked up to her. “Excuse me, Miss, this is a dangerous area, you have to step back. There may be more gas in the air.”

She turned to Draco for help. The look in her eyes was a look he had seen before, so he knew expressly what she wanted. She was pleading with him with that expression. Her look said, “Help me, Draco.” Therefore, he did. He said, “This is her house.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Miss,” the man said. Hermione turned to him and then she finally realized that it was also Mrs. Delano’s house. She started toward the house, running actually, and Draco reached her before the firefighter did.

She turned to Draco and frantically said, “Mrs. Delano!” She turned to the officer and said, “Did my neighbour get out? The old lady that lives on the other side?”

“I’m so sorry,” the man said again.

She sunk to the cold, icy, snowy ground and watched everything she loved, and held dear, and was precious to her, go up in flames, and then she fell on her face, and knew that she couldn’t cry any longer. No more tears would come. She was without sensation, and completely numb. She didn’t even know what she felt. She had a feeling unknown.

Draco took off his coat and placed it on her shoulders, even though she had a coat. He didn’t know what else to do. Why was this happening? Why did bad things always happen to good people? They should only happen to bad people. He was beginning to wonder if it was really a gas explosion. What if her mother’s death and this explosion were related? He would have to send some Aurors out later to investigate, once the Muggles all left.

He rubbed her back and said, “Get up, Granger. I’m taking you home.”

She looked at him and said, “See, you’re good for a laugh, because I don’t have a home any longer. Not in any way, shape or form.” He picked her up by her shoulders and steered her toward the car. One of the police officers told him that she would have to stay to answer questions. Draco felt like disapparating with her on the spot, but he knew he couldn’t. He told the man he would merely place her in the car until they wanted to talk with her.

He took several steps ahead of her and then he reached for her hand and started once more toward his car. He gave her hand a little squeeze and he opened the door. He smiled at her and shut the door. Then, he looked up at the gray morning sky and he said, “What in the hell is going on here?”

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