Violently it Changes
Disclaimer: Not mine. Only the Plot
Summary: "Harry would have wanted you to be happy, Hermione," Draco inserted quietly, looking her in the eye.
"Not with you," she replied, looking back. (Draco and Hermione)
I wrote this One-Shot a while ago when I was in a rather interesting mood. The writing style is a bit different but it has the same mood as my other stories. Though this is not a songfic, it was inspired by the song Down with the Sickness by Disturbed. Hope you enjoy. And, as always, I appreciate your reviews.
my own reflection
When suddenly it changes
Violently it changes
She looked down at the body; the pale skin, the familiar scar. There was no emotion on that face. If she hadn't seen him fall herself, she would have argued that he was merely sleeping.
But what was one more death out of hundreds? Had she any right to mourn now when she barely flinched as she watched the others die?
No, she did not. Hermione took a step back and closed her eyes. She still heard the screams.
"He died a hero, Hermione," Lupin murmured from behind. She felt him stand beside her.
She wanted to curse him. Harry could have lived a hero instead.
"There was nothing we could do. I'm sorry for your loss."
Bullshit, she thought; all of it.
"Come now, Hermione, let's get you healed and cleaned," he said, grasping her forearm. She jerked it away. He took a step back, defeated.
"This was a war, Hermione. You have to understand that."
She didn't respond, but heard his retreating footsteps as he walked away. That's when she turned and left in the opposite direction.
She found him under the shelter of some nearby trees. He sat causally, leaning his head against the trunk. His platinum hair was dimmed by dirt. His usually pale, soft skin was caked with mud. It was an unfamiliar sight to her.
She approached him silently, and took a seat by his side.
"I hear Potter's dead," Draco began bluntly. Her jaw clenched. "Ending the Dark Lord's life too a mere moment before the end." He gave an arrogant chuckle. "Always the hero wasn't he?" He said, mockingly.
Hermione regarded him coldly. Four days of battle and he emerged with hardly a scratch. She was surprised his immaculate appearance had been soiled at all.
"I hear your father's been taken into custody." She wanted to return the pain. "They say he surrendered himself right before defeat."
She turned fully to him and watched the vein in his temple pulse. His pale skin reddened. Was it anger or shame?
He jumped to his feet suddenly, dusted off his robes, and left her. Hermione realized it had been her victory.
"In assessing the casualties and damages from the war, it can be concluded that we came out lucky," the Minister spoke before the room.
Lucky, Hermione thought bitterly. She couldn't take the optimism. Her hands clenched beneath the table.
"The casualties, though few, were unfortunate but unavoidable…" he continued.
She felt the blood rushing to her head, pulsing through her veins, and finally exploding into magic.
The iron chandelier suddenly fell from the ceiling, crashing to the table and splintering the wood. Sounds of surprise echoed around the room. The occupants of the table jumped back in alarm. Hermione looked at the ruined structure, dead calm.
"Calm down, everyone, please," the Minister commanded desperately. "I'm sure that was nothing, just an accident of some sort. Please, let us continue."
His wand was waved, and the table cleared. He proceeded with the discussion as if nothing had occurred. Only Hermione caught the glance he sent her.
They filed out of the room after the meeting was adjourned. Hermione was first out the door, practically running towards the exit. She felt Draco's eyes follow her, causing heat to rise in her cheeks.
He caught her in a few paces. Grabbing her by the arm, he pulled her into a side hallway.
"What are you doing!? Let go of me!" She fought him with no result.
Draco pressed his lips to her's and she was silenced. He grasped her wrists and she couldn't pull away. He broke the kiss and looked her in the eye.
"It wasn't your fault," he said.
"I know. It was our's."
She watched as he turned his head away. He looked at the wall behind her, the floor, the ceiling; everywhere but her face, everywhere but the source of his guilt.
"That has nothing to do with his death," Draco snapped.
Hermione just shook her head, and pulled away. She left him standing alone and turned back into the main hallway. She collided with the Minister's passing secretary after rounding the corner.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Bernice," she began instantly.
"No, no, it was my fault, Mrs. Potter," Bernice said with an apologetic smile.
Meet me for dinner at 6:00
Hermione glanced at the note before crumpling it up. Things were different now. It couldn't continue. Why couldn't he acknowledge that?
She pushed the message from her mind, and grabbed more paperwork instead. She had been spending more and more time at the office lately, working well into the night after everyone else had left.
She browsed through files, reports of war, statistics, accounts of deaths, until at last she came to Harry's. Her eyes scanned the document.
Hit in the chest with the killing curse, it said.
A tear hit the paper. Hermione wondered where it came from before realizing she was crying. She removed the file from the stack, and stuffed it in her bag.
The names and numbers began blurring before her eyes. Neville died from intense torture. Bill perished after being hit from behind with a stray killing curse. Ginny, Lee Jordon, Fred; all gone, all dead.
Hermione closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the cool desk. Sweet unconsciousness became her savior.
She was startled awake when a hand brushed her shoulder. She looked up and read the displeasure on his face before anything was said.
"Didn't you receive my note?" Draco demanded tensely.
"And you ignored it," he persisted.
Hermione looked away, and refused to respond. Suddenly she was pulled from her chair and into his arms.
"Why are you doing this, Hermione?" He asked her, softer, almost pleadingly.
"Harry's dead," she responded quietly, "we destroyed him."
"Damnit Hermione!" He screamed, shaking her. "The war killed him, not us!"
"We killed him all the same."
Draco looked at her hard, piercing into her guilt-consumed soul, her tortured thoughts. And, she looked back, seeing nothing but anger on his face, nothing but frustration at the fact that she was at last denying him. Where was his guilt? Where was his conscious to tell him that they were wrong?
His hold on her tightened, bruising her skin. He pulled her in, and kissed her fiercely. His tongue invaded, and she was lost in the familiar need of him. His hands traced her back, causing her to shake in his arms. That's how he wanted her right? Weak and desperate.
He broke away for a second and she regained her breath.
"We're not responsible for his death, Hermione," Draco murmured in her ear.
Hermione flinched. He soothed her with a kiss on the temple.
"We did nothing," he continued, his voice laced with silk.
Bullshit, she thought, her anger rising. She pushed hard against him and freed herself from his hold.
"We did nothing!? What about all the dinners!? What about all the times we were together when I should have been at home with my husband!?" Her voice rose to a shrill quality. Her face had become flushed and contorted. "And now you speak as if we did nothing wrong." She raised a finger accusingly at him. "You've shown no remorse for his death. You've acted like nothing has happened. You don't care at all, you soulless, selfish, son of…"
"Harry would have wanted you to be happy, Hermione," Draco inserted quietly, looking her in the eye.
"Not with you," she replied, looking back.
"Those who were forced to go into hiding at the start of the war will now be allowed back into their homes…" the Minister reported.
Hermione sat, eyes lowered, fingers tapping the table, her mind elsewhere.
Draco had left, immediately following her statement, not bothering to defend himself or respond. And, she had stood there, staring after him, long after the door was closed.
"Mrs. Potter?" A voice jerked her from her thoughts.
Yes, I'm sorry, what were you saying?"
"Are you sure you're alright, Mrs. Potter?" The Minister inquired. She wished he would stop calling her that.
"Yes, I'm fine, just tired. That's all," she replied, seeing Draco glance at her from the far end of the table. He had avoided her all week. She was grateful.
When the meeting adjourned, the Minister requested that she remain behind for a moment. Hermione tensed, but agreed.
"Hermione, we are very concerned about you," the Minister began, pacing the floor. "Of course you have suffered a terrible loss and we would understand if you needed some time off. Just say the word, and you will be temporarily relieved of your duties."
"Thank you, Minister." Hermione forced a smile, and accepted the offer.
Hermione sat on her bed listening to the clock tick to the rhythm in her head. She looked around the room which had been her and Harry's haven. Photographs of them littered the walls. His clothes still hung in the closet.
She had been absented from the Ministry for two days, and in that time she had confined herself to the safety of her flat. She ignored the owls sent from concerned friends. She let the dishes pile in the sink and the dirty clothes litter the floor.
Another owl pecked at the window as she sat staring blankly ahead. She forced the sound form her mind.
A minute passed, maybe two. The bird persisted. Hermione glanced at it, and realized who it was from. Slowly, she stood and approached the window, wondering what he could have to say.
The window was opened, the note detached and read.
Meet me for Dinner tomorrow.
Hermione gave a strangled laugh, startling the bird into flight. It seemed her words had been ignored.
He was inhuman, she decided. He was cold, arrogant, soulless, cruel. He didn't feel guilt or pain. He cared not for the deaths of others as long as he lived. He cared not about betrayal. And, together they had invited eternal damnation upon themselves.
"We killed him," she whispered to herself. It didn't satisfy her. "WE KILLED HIM!" She screamed at the empty room. Comfort still evaded her.
Her eyes were drawn to a photograph on the wall. In it she was smiling radiantly. In it Harry was grasping her hand as he stared at her with love. Her dress had been a pure white gown. Their wedding picture had hung on that wall since the day they moved in.
He had loved her, Hermione thought. He had actually loved her and trusted her. And, look what she had done. She felt as if the photograph was changing before her eyes. Harry's easy grin contorted, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. It became the face of a man who distrusted. It was the look on his face the day she realized he suspected.
She blinked, and the image was gone.
Draco didn't care about Harry, she decided. Draco didn't care about her either. It had been their guilt, but he refused to accept it. No remorse for the dead man you hurt, Hermione thought bitterly.
She realized she had to see him, her dead husband. Standing hastily, she pulled a coat over her shoulders and left the flat.
The cemetery was quiet as she neared. Hermione shivered as the wind whipped her hair and chilled her decaying heart. With icy hands, she opened the black iron gate and slipped through silently. Carefully, she closed it behind her before turning around to look towards her late husband's grave.
Standing there, before the tombstone, with his back to her, was Draco. White flowers lay on the ground by his feet.
I guess with the ending I was going for a sort of hopefulness. There's a possibility of happiness, and that's enough. Let me know what you think. Please Review.
(Edit: Thank you all for the nice reviews! I've made a few corrections based on your comments. Please, keep reviewing. I need to motivation be begin my next story.)