Why Should It Matter?
Disclaimer: Don't own it. Fiction is now AU with the sixth book being out.
Sorry I took several months to update again. Life's been confusing. I haven't had any time to write. I should have more time now. Enjoy.
Chapter Sixteen- Time to Come Clean
It was completely overwhelming and confusing. The girl wasn't positive on what had happened, but she was convinced it was something serious. All of the faces gleaming brightly gave her a slightly eerie feeling.
Ginny Weasley's head was throbbing, watching everyone in the room swarm around her (with the exception of her mother, who was still passed out). For the life of her, she couldn't remember anything from before school was released for summertime. She knew things had happened since then, but she couldn't remember a thing.
"All right, you lot, clear out!" Madame Pomfrey yelled at all the other people. Ginny was grateful for the nosy nurse for the first time ever. All the Weasleys and Hermione cleared out very begrudgingly. Dumbledore stood at the right of Ginny's bed, sending a very knowing look toward Snape.
"What can you remember, my dear?" Dumbledore asked the confused-looking Gryffindor.
"Everything's completely blurry. I know events have occurred since school got out, but I can't remember a thing." Her voice was hoarse, making most words difficult to understand.
Dumbledore smiled, "Someday, you'll be informed of everything that has happened since the beginning of summer until now. But I believe Madame Pomfrey believes today isn't the day. And because she's the medi-witch around here, her wishes must be granted."
Ginny nodded, "Will I be able to see my family?" She threw a pleading glance toward the stern-looking Pomfrey who was probably considering a negative answer.
"It won't do much harm." Dumbledore said cheerfully. "I have important matters to attend to Miss Weasley, but I shall check on your progress later."
Madam Pomfrey looked at Ginny, "I really don't want to let your family members in yet. You're still in a very fragile state."
"All right, well, can my parents come in then?"
"I suppose so." The older witch walked over to the door and called Ginny's parents in. Her parents quickly rushed to her side and smiled thoroughly. Mrs. Weasley wrapped her arms around Ginny, making Ginny feel completely safe through and through.
"How are you feeling, dear?" Her mother asked quietly, still holding on to her daughter.
Ginny smiled at the love her mother was displaying to her. "I'm feeling slightly confused about everything and slightly tired at the moment." Mrs. Weasley pulled away from Ginny.
"That's all expected, dear. You've had some rough days recently."
Her father gave her a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. "We worried about you, Ginny. But everything's better now." Ginny smiled lightly, she loved her parents so deeply. She yawned with that thought.
"I'm feeling rather tired, do you think I can get some sleeping draught?"
At that point, Madam Pomfrey came bustling out of her office with a potion in hand. "Here's a sleeping potion, drink it when you're ready." Ginny nodded, before watching the elder witch move back into her office.
"Will you two be around when I awake again?" The youngest Weasley asked her parents innocently. Her confusion of everything yearned for her parents to remain at her side. She wanted her parents to be around when things were explained to her.
"Of course, darling." Her mother said joyfully, smiling at her daughter. Ginny removed the cork from the vial that Madame Pomfrey had given her. Drinking the liquid, she felt herself quickly slipping into a darkened abyss.
Ron and Hermione made their way back to the Gryffindor Common Room after finding out that Madame Pomfrey wasn't going to allow them to visit with Ginny. Hermione had never seen Ron so gleeful in the entire time that she'd known him. The brunette had to admit that she was pleasantly glad about Ginny's recovery as well.
Without Ginny's horrible incident burdening her soul, Hermione's thoughts slid into her sudden budding romance with her best friend. Everything that Harry had mentioned the night before was absolutely confusing, yet perfect at the same time. This deeper relationship was something that she had wanted for quite a while. They weren't officially dating, of course, but Hermione felt like the twosome had a chance.
Once Ron and Hermione reached the common room, they found Harry sitting by the fireplace, staring into the flames. Hermione frowned, wondering if something was wrong with him.
Just seeing Harry in solitude had taken Hermione's frivolous feelings and crushed them completely. Ron rushed over to Harry and Hermione followed close behind. Ron sat in the chair across from Harry, while Hermione found herself setting herself down in the chair closest to Harry's.
"No tears, I suspect that Ginny's all right." Harry said, as soon as Ron had opened his mouth to say something similar. When Ron had nodded, a smile appeared upon Harry's lips. "That's great news. I wish I could have been there when she woke up."
The redhead bit his lip. "You were sleeping and I didn't want to bother. I figured that you went to bed much later than I did." Hermione saw a small flicker of skepticism in Harry's eyes.
As soon as the skepticism came, Harry masked it. "Yeah, I had a hell of time sleeping last night. I'd love to sit around and chat, but I need to speak with Remus before he decides to disappear from his classroom." Harry abruptly said, before exiting the common room.
Ron, who had watched Harry leave the room, turned back to Hermione. "Is it just me or is Harry acting peculiar?" Hermione didn't want to tell Ron about what was going on between the two of them, for obvious reasons. There were too many reasons Harry could be acting the way he was. Hermione really couldn't pinpoint anything.
"I'm not too sure, but I'm going to find out. I don't know if I'll find anything out though." Hermione said, getting out of her chair and walking toward the portrait. When she walked out, she was shocked to see Harry standing a few feet from the portrait, seemingly waiting for her. An inquisitive look passed Hermione's face before she opened her mouth to say something.
Harry smirked and kissed her softly before she could get a word out. When he pulled away, he said, "Let's just say that I knew you wouldn't be too far behind me. Miss Granger, you're very predictable. Now, I really need to visit Remus, so let's head toward his classroom." She nodded and started moving, walking along side her 'boyfriend', or whatever he was. She wanted to slip her hand into his, but the last thing Harry needed was the rumor mill to start up like it did in their fourth year. A comfortable silence reverberated between the two as they made it to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Remus was once again found at his desk, going through papers. Hermione didn't have much of a notion on why Harry wanted to visit Remus, nor why she was accompanying him.
The werewolf looked up, his face lacking the smile it usually donned when Hermione and Harry appeared in the classroom. Hermione had a queer feeling that Harry had told Remus something important during his visit the day before. As a customary gesture, Remus got up from the desk, and motioned for them to follow him. They wound up in his office, a place that Hermione rarely saw the inside of. Remus plopped down in the large plush chair, while Harry sat down on the couch. Hermione felt foreign and as she uncertain of why they were there, she remained standing.
That was until Harry tugged at her hand, forcing her to sit down beside him.
"Now Harry, you told me you had something very important to discuss with me." The green-eyed Gryffindor sighed. Hermione glanced at her best friend, but turned it into a stare when she noticed him rolling up his sleeves. Inflamed cuts ran skewed across his thin, yet muscular arms. A loud gasp came from the werewolf as he moved toward Harry, examining his arms.
"Why did you tell anyone sooner, Harry?" Remus' tone was simply full of concern.
"He did." Hermione said, sounding little. Remus turned his attention toward Hermione. "I knew he was doing this to himself. But, I promised Harry I wouldn't say anything until he was ready to admit it."
Remus sighed, sounding irritable. "That was completely irresponsible, Hermione." Hermione lowered her head; she knew that she was going to hear it. "But very Gryffindor of you." She looked up. Remus didn't look angry, more disappointed than anything, but not angry.
"Remus, you can't be angry with Hermione. You can't be angry with me, because I can't control it." Harry's voice sounded strong, but his expressions said otherwise.
Remus nodded, "Addictions are hard to control."
Harry sighed, "That's not what I meant to say. I physically can't control my urges. I'm not the one controlling myself when I do that."
Remus looked at Harry unbelievingly, "What do you mean? You can't possibly think that Voldemort has something to do with it."
Hermione saw Harry's demeanor drop. That's precisely what he thought and with Remus' disbelief, Harry was just going to end up withdrawing himself again. "That's exactly what I was thinking, but since you're not going to believe me, you might as well throw me into a mental institution and throw away the keys." The underlying pain within Harry's voice stung Hermione's heart deeply. She could only imagine what those words had done to Remus.
"I never said that I wouldn't believe you. I'll arrange a meeting with Dumbledore later for the four of us. I know how you both feel about Dumbledore, but this matter needs his touch." Hermione nodded, but Harry didn't budge. His eyes were set in anger at the mention of Dumbledore.
"We should be going then." Hermione said, noticing Harry's apparent anger. Remus nodded before leading them out of his office. The duet walked out of the classroom, with uncomfortable silence brewing between the two.
Harry stopped Hermione, "I'm going out for a walk. You're free to join me, but I need get out of this castle and unwind." Hermione nodded.
"If you really don't mind, I'll join you." The green-eyed boy smiled and began walking toward the exit of the school. Once they reached the large doors, Harry felt instantly better. The warm breeze collided with his face; bring energy to his spirit. He loved being outside, especially when the sun was shining merciless upon the Earth. Harry looked at his companion, who was staring in the other direction. He wasn't completely sure about his feelings for Hermione. He didn't understand them anymore than he understood the feelings that he used to have for Cho Chang the previous school year. They ended up underneath a tree by the lake.
"I'm glad you decided to join me." Harry said, sitting down, resting his back against the tree. Hermione sat down beside him. Harry had so many things that he wanted to say and discuss with Hermione, but was currently content remaining quiet for the moment. The breeze was slightly cooler coming off of the lake. But overall, it was a beautiful sight.
Harry sighed, closing his weary eyes. He wasn't looking forward to when they spoke to Dumbledore. He didn't want to face Dumbledore for numerous reasons, but mostly because he felt like Dumbledore had betrayed him. Without notice, he felt Hermione grab his hand and gently squeeze it. He opened his eyes, looking directly into her eyes. Nothing but love was concealed within those addictive brown eyes.
"It'll be all right, Harry. And I'm very proud of you. I didn't think that was what you needed to speak to Remus about, but I'm glad you told him. Even if you're going to need to talk to Dumbledore, there might be a solution. And if there isn't an immediate solution, I'll be there for you, through thick and thin." Her voice was soft, barely above a whisper. Her elegance and beauty at that moment was enough to drive the dark-haired Gryffindor insane. He wanted to tell her that she was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes on. But his words failed him. He removed his hand from Hermione's and wrapped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her closer to him. For that moment in time, everything was wonderful. No cutting, no suicide, no maliciously evil dark lords invading his mind, and no tragedy.
He was just there, existing by his own terms for that moment. There was no control, other than his own.
And he liked it.
It had been a humid evening, one of those evenings when riding upon a broomstick in the still air was unbearable. However, he was riding on his broomstick. It was his only escape, the only way he could free himself the manor. His mother was frantic about his father's capture, unsure if her husband would ever be released or escape. This made his mother more irritable than usual, which annoyed the teenager more than anything.
After three hours of flying around, Draco sailed into his bedroom window. His Quidditch robes clung to his sweaty body, extenuating every muscle Draco had on his body. Sweat rolled down his face, making him feel extremely dirty. He went to his dresser and removed a fresh pair of boxers and a long sleeved white shirt. Once equipped with his clean clothing, he moved toward his bathroom. Once inside of the bathroom, Draco had to literally peel the clothing he had been wearing off. Egotistically, he stared at his naked body in the mirror. 'Perfection,' the young Malfoy thought. His skin was unmarred, even though he had encountered his father's fury more than once in his life. His father. He couldn't believe his father was in Azkaban.
For some time, Draco had thought his father was invincible, but it seems as though he might have been incorrect about that. Turning on the shower finally, after stalling for so long, the warm water was welcoming. All the grime and sweat from his flying session was running off his body. Draco sighed deeply. This summer was slowly proceeding, which aggravated him to no end. He wanted to return to school where he could torture young students and find amusement. The manor had emptiness without Lucius threatening his life every few minutes.
Once he finished washing up, Draco shut off the shower and grabbed one of his large black towels. The texture cloth felt nice against his skin. Dropping the towel, he pulled on his boxer shorts and eventually pulled the long-sleeved shirt over his head. Leaving the dirty clothing on the floor, Draco waltzed out of his bathroom, only to gasp loudly. His father was sitting on his bed, eyes set in a sadistic manner. Draco was frozen to his spot, unable to breathe. His father was in Azkaban, not sitting before him. But as much as he tried to convince himself, Lucius was very real.
"Where's your respect, Draco? Have you simply forgotten all of the manners your mother and I have taught you through the years?" The classic Malfoy smirk was plastered within his father's voice, making Draco mentally shiver. He didn't hate his father; he just hated his father's lessons and punishments. "Follow me." His father said, walking in great strides, exiting the room. Draco found himself following his father, not by choice, but out of great fear. Lucius led Draco into his office. Draco took a deep breath, he hoped that his father wasn't going to led him into the dungeons. When Lucius moved toward the large wooden door, Draco's fears were confirmed. His father was taking him into the dungeon.
Once they arrived into the basement, Draco braced himself for a vicious attack. His father suddenly turned around, his eyes ablaze.
"You're a disgrace! Nothing will become of you!" Lucius said as he grabbed Draco by the neck, slamming the boy into a stone wall. Concealing a gasp, Draco closed his eyes, containing the pain that was now throbbing through his body. He didn't even know why Lucius was raving madly against him, it didn't make any sense.
"Father, I don't understand!" Draco shouted, only to get slammed against the wall again. This time, his head cracked up against it, making a sharp pain ricochet continually. Opening his eyes, his vision stayed blurred as he watched his father pull out his wand. "Crucio!" He screamed with the uttermost hatred. Draco's body hit the ground and his arms started flailing around crazily trying to get his mind off of the pain. But he couldn't. The curse felt like it was tearing apart all of his organs and muscles within his body. He couldn't breathe. All he could do from screaming out was biting down painfully on his bottom lip. His body kept smacking hard against the ground, succumbing to the painful convulsions. He couldn't let himself scream out. He couldn't show his father that he was weak. But it happened. A blood curdling scream came from Draco's lips. It was the scream of disappointment, of sadness, and of disbelief.
Lucius relieved his son of the curse. Draco had little time to catch his breath before his father started beating him relentlessly with his cane. Draco could feel the cane ripping through his thin shirt, leaving deep wounds upon his body…
Draco found himself shuddering and shivering manically. Lost within his nightmares, he realized that he was lying in his bed. Feeling nauseated, he ran to the bathroom as quickly as legs permitted him to move. Collapsing in front of a toilet, he felt surges of bile rise within this throat. The bitter tasting substance found itself in his mouth and eventually in toilet in front of him. Gasping, he forced himself to stop throwing up. Wiping his mouth, he closed his eyes, trying to control his body racking shivers.
"What do you want, Blaise?"
"With you rushing into the boy's lavatory, right passed me, without noticing me, and then emptying the contents of your stomach in the toilet, I imagine I'd like to know if you're all right."
Draco opened his eyes, staring at his companion. "I'm fine." The blonde flushed the toilet and limped passed his friend, realizing how much the running and throwing up aggravated his injuries. He laid back down on his bed. He closed the curtains around his bed and pulled his blanket up to his chin. He didn't want to be alive at that point in time. He simply wished he was dead.
Harry and Hermione walked toward the school. They had sat outside for three hours, basking in the warm autumn air. As soon as they reentered the school, hands clasped, Hermione could feel Harry's demeanor change instantly. His grasp and his stance completely changed. Hermione stopped him and turned him to face her.
"It'll be all right." She kissed him tenderly, the gutsiest move that Hermione had ever done when it concerned a boy. "No matter what happens in Dumbledore's office tonight, I'll be there with you. And I'll be there for you afterward." Harry smiled, as he visibly relaxed. "Now, let's go see Remus and find out when that stupid meeting is." Hermione's sudden audacity shocked even her, but she wasn't going to let anyone take advantage of Harry, especially not Dumbledore.
The couple quickly walked to Remus' classroom to find Ron sitting in there, talking with the werewolf. Hermione felt her heart racing, especially since Ron hadn't known anything about Harry's condition. What if Remus had asked him about it, only to be clueless?
When Hermione saw the look on Ron's face, the Gryffindor knew that Moony had told Ron about the secrets Harry and she had been withholding from everyone.
"I suppose I'm not good enough to know anything." His voice was anything but defeated.
Remus interjected before could go on, "Now Ron, I thought we decided you'd handle this matter maturely. Hermione and Harry had excellent reasons for not saying anything." Hermione was in disbelief; Remus didn't completely believe those reasons were valid earlier
Hermione looked over at Harry; this was one of those times where she couldn't read his expression. His eyes laid as dead as they had the first time she had seen him that summer.
"Why didn't you tell me anything?" The female Gryffindor knew that the question was more directed toward Harry than herself. "Am I that untrustworthy? Am I not important?"
Hermione could see Harry getting angry, for what reasons she didn't know. "Why is everything about you! You want know why I didn't tell you anything! I didn't tell you anything because I'm tired of my weaknesses being known by everyone. Then I get pity and sympathy from my friends and my acquaintances. I don't want pity or sympathy from anyone. I just want to be Harry. I don't want to be Harry Potter; I don't want to be The-Bloody-Boy-Who-Lived! I just want to be me and with everyone constantly knowing that there's something wrong, it's harder to pretend that everything's all right! I'm sick of everyone playing with my weaknesses. I'm just sick of everything. I don't want to save the effing world from Voldemort. I don't want to live this life. It's nothing but hardships and death. How would you like it if someone you loved died because of you? Ron, you wouldn't like it! Your sister, who I know you blamed yourself for, ended up being all right. Sirius isn't all right. Sirius is dead and gone forever. WOULD YOU LIKE THAT ON YOUR CONSCIENCE?" His face was completely red with anger, and his breathing was labored. "Remus, when is the meeting with Dumbledore?" His calm façade fell back into place.
"After dinner," Came the simple response from Moony. The green-eyed teenager nodded and walked out the door, indicating to Hermione he wanted her to come with him. She was torn because she felt like she should explain some things to Ron, but her instincts told her to leave with Harry. Sending Ron an apologetic look, she strolled out behind Harry. A silence once again found the two. Hermione couldn't find herself saying anything after Harry had blown up like that.
Harry stopped walking, "I've never heard you so quiet before." There was amusement within his voice, but Hermione just couldn't shake the words he made bluntly stated in Remus' classroom. "What's wrong?"
Hermione didn't trust her voice; she didn't want to say something wrong. Angering Harry further wouldn't help anything at all. "Your words were bitter."
"Did you expect anything different?" She shook her head. "That's how I really feel."
"Then why are you utterly shocked by my behavior?"
"I would prefer to discuss this somewhere else, possibly somewhere privately." Harry nodded, knowing exactly where they could go. The Room of Requirement wasn't too far away from where the couple was standing. Once at the spot, Harry walked past the spot three times thinking of somewhere to have an important conversation. When the room appeared, it was perfect. The room was small and quaint with a large sofa and a roaring fire. The teens entered the room and positioned themselves on the couch.
"Now, why were you shocked by my behavior if you know that's how I really feel?"
Hermione looked at Harry, unsure if her words would sound correct, "Ron's one of your best friends, Harry. I felt pretty distressed after your ranting, how do you think Ron felt?" She looked down, avoiding eye contact with her companion. Hermione imagined that Harry saw her purposely avoiding his eyes because he moved closer to her and lifted her head to face him.
"He wanted to know the truth. He doesn't think sometimes, you know that. He didn't consider anything except why he wasn't informed about my newest catastrophe. His concern was with not being told, not where it should've been. He should have been concerned about the hardship that I'm currently facing. I'll patch up my friendship with Ron, I always do. However, right now, I feel socially inept, where I don't want to communicate with everyone that claims concern or compassion. I need to figure out what's wrong with me before I can continue on like nothing's wrong." Hermione nodded, understand what Harry was trying to say. "Besides, the only person I currently need is right here with me." She smiled, laughing lightly.
After that, the two remained silent. Dinner was hours away, but they felt most content sitting in the Room of Requirement, cuddling close to each other, staring into the fireplace.
Once again, sorry about the long wait.