A Feeling Unknown

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Chapter 9: Intimate Moment:

They were about to leave to go to the University when Harry walked up Draco’s drive. Hermione froze. Draco walked up to his fellow Auror to find out what he was doing there.

Before Harry could explain why he was there, Draco decided to explain why they were leaving. “We were just leaving. Hermione wanted to go to the University to see if she can take some more time off work.”

“That’ll have to wait,” Harry said, moving to the side to peer around Draco to look at Hermione. “How is she?”

Draco shrugged. “Why are you here?” Draco felt that was the more pressing question.

“I need to take her to her mother’s house,” Harry said.

“She won’t go. She wanted to go there the other day, but then chickened out. She couldn’t even open the damn door,” Draco explained. He looked over his shoulder at her. She had to know they were talking about her.

“That can’t be helped. I need her to see something, and I also need her help with something,” Harry said. He walked past Draco toward Hermione.

Draco felt a sense of possessiveness rise in his heart and he reached out to stop Harry. Harry looked at the hand on his arm, and then back to Draco’s face. Draco dropped his hand and said, “What does she have to see? I tell you she can’t go back there right now.”

“You can stay here, or go with us, but she has to go. We found signs that her mother’s house had wards up. Just trace magic. We need to figure out who put them up, if it was Hermione or someone else, and who would be able to disarm them to enter. We also need her to see a letter we found at the scene. It’s supposedly from Hermione to her mother. I need to see if it’s genuine.”

”Bring the damn letter here for her to see,” Draco argued.

Ignoring his request, Harry walked back to Hermione, with Draco close behind. “Hermione, I need you to come with me. You need to see something.”

“Where?” she asked. “What were you two discussing over there?”

“Your mother’s house had wards up, did you know that?” he asked.

She smiled a bit and then said, “That’s ridiculous. No it didn’t. I didn’t put any wards up. I mean, I did during the war, but they were lowered long ago. I wish I had put wards up and perhaps she would still be alive.”

“No, we found trace magic that wards were definitely put up all around the house, and then lowered right before she was killed. I need you to come with me,” he said. He reached for her hand.

She stepped backwards. “Why do I have to go there? I told you I didn’t put them up! I don’t know who would have done so! Even if I did, why would I have to go there? You can’t see protection wards! I don’t have to go there!” She continued to back up until her back was pressed against Draco’s garage door.

Draco walked over to Harry and said, “She’s right. It’ll serve no purpose for her to go.”

Harry whipped around and said, “Maybe it will help her to heal, Malfoy! Staying here, wallowing in sorrow, with you as her enabler, isn’t helping! She needs to face things! She needs to move on. She can’t hide away this time!”

Hermione stomped her foot and said, “Stop talking about me as if I’m not even present! I can’t face going there again! It was too hard the first time! Just thinking about how terrified she must have been makes me so angry that I can’t see straight! I walk in there and I imagine her body on the floor! Please don’t make me go back there. Not yet!” She was shaking all over.

“You used to be strong,” Harry spat. “Where’s your courage? I remember how brave you were when your dad died. I remember how smart and resourceful you were when you helped me with the Horcrux search! I remember how brave you were during the final battle. Show me some courage, Hermione! Stop running away! Stop being a scared little girl and be the strong woman you used to be!”

One part of Draco wanted to hit the man in front of him for saying such cruel things to her, especially as her pain was so raw. He was pouring salt on an open wound. However, another part of Draco wanted to applaud the man and say, “Bravo!” He almost envied Potter’s way of setting her straight. Where was he three years ago?

Hermione looked crushed. She nodded. Draco wasn’t sure why she was nodding, but when Harry took her hand, he knew that she was agreeing to go.

Draco followed without question or invitation. Harry got in his car, and Hermione got in the backseat. Draco debated for one second, and then crawled in the back seat with her.

Their hands were both on the seat between them. Their little fingers were touching. He lifted his hand and was about to grasp hers, when she placed both her hands in her lap and looked out the car window.

They arrived at her mother’s house and Harry and Draco got out of the car. She remained in the car for such a long time that Draco finally said to Harry, “Shall you pull her out, or shall I?”

As if sensing this was their plan, Hermione walked out of the car.

Harry walked up to the porch and opened the door with magic. Police tape was around the banisters. Draco ducked under the tape, just as Potter did, and turned to watch her as she did the same. She was careful not to touch the tape. Harry opened the door and walked in, expecting them to follow.

Hermione stood on the porch, turned to Draco, and said, “Did I ever tell you that I was the one that found my dad?”

Draco was afraid to ask her to clarify. He merely stood right in front of her and allowed her to elaborate. Harry walked back to the door and said, “Its freezing outside, come in.”

Ignoring him, Hermione said, “I was sixteen years old. It was right after fifth year at school. I was to spend most of the summer with the Weasleys, but I came home for two weeks right after school finished. My mother told me that my father hadn’t been well for the last few months. The truth was that he had been ill for a long time.”

Harry shut the door and joined them on the porch. He had never heard this story either. All he knew was that her father died of a heart attack that summer, and she didn’t even tell any of them until they were back to school that fall.

She took a deep breath and looked at the floor. She said, “He suffered from terrible depression most of his life. The thing was, he was the kindest, gentlest, funniest man I ever knew, but when he would have what my mother called, ‘one of his dark spells,’ he couldn’t work, eat, or even function. He would lock himself up in his room for weeks at a time. Then, suddenly, my dad would reappear, and the sad creature that impersonated him would be gone. It was like that all my life.”

“That summer was no different. My mother met me at the station by herself, so I knew my dad must have been having one of his spells. She took me home, told me she had some business to finish up with at work, because without my dad there she was extra busy and that she would be home in time to make dinner.”

“I went up to my room and unpacked. I wrote to Harry and Ron, and then I read a bit. I played with the cat. I took a walk around the block. I decided to go make dinner for my mother. The truth was I was stalling. I was avoiding my Dad’s room at all cost. I felt guilty about it, but seriously, he wouldn’t have opened his door to me anyhow.”

“My mother called to tell me that she would be late. I told her I already made dinner. She asked me to see if my father wanted anything to eat. I was afraid she would ask me to do that.” She walked up to Draco, looked up in his eyes, reached for the collar of his jacket with both hands, and bunched the material tightly in her fists. She said, “I opened the door to his room, and he was already dead. He killed himself. He put a gun to his head and blew it away.”

Harry gasped. Draco even flinched, but she remained calm. Her voice was so quiet, her tone almost silent, the men had to strain to hear her speak. “I’m not sure I even remembered that until now. I don’t even know what I did after that. I suppose I must have called my mum. I might have called the ambulance. I don’t remember.” She let go of Draco’s jacket.

She took Draco’s hand and said, “I don’t want to remember anything else. Please. Don’t make me go in there. I don’t want to remember anything else!” She was suddenly frantic again.

He pulled her into his arms. He kissed the top of her head. She didn’t cry, she merely continued to mumble, “I don’t want to remember.”

Harry Potter felt as if he was witnessing an intimate moment that he shouldn’t be witnessing. Draco had his arms around Hermione and was rubbing her back slowly, up and down, with one hand. Her head was resting on his chest. Her eyes closed. He was whispering things in her ear that were unheard by Harry. It was one of the most intimate things Harry felt he had ever seen and he wondered why he hadn’t noticed it before now.

They were both still in love with each other.

Harry shut and locked the door and said, “Let’s take her back.”

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