The World Has Turned and Left Me Here
Summary: But you know what? Once you get going, you can never stop. You just keep owning up, and owning up, and owning up… like a fucking dam. You let out a drop, and out comes the entire river. DHr.
Author's Notes: Non-cannon characterization. No Brit-picking at all. Title belongs to Weezer. Plot twist alert! One-shot.
You're probably expecting something great to happen in this piece of shit. Like people falling in love and all that. People finding themselves, or finding religion, or finding hope. Solving problems after causing them. Some shit like that. I don't know. Because isn't that why you read books? To get away from the world – am I right? Once this woman, she was kind of old, probably around her forty's – she told me she burned this book once because it was just too real for her. She said, "I don't fucking read books to get depressed, okay? I read books to get away from my shit. And I don't need books giving me more shit."
And I bought her a drink, because the damn woman was right.
And we just sat at the bar, and she started talking to me – she'd come right in and just started talking, like I cared. I mean, I listened, all right, but it's kind of annoying when people take the initiative to keep bugging you. Granted, I did buy her a drink. Only because she was being honest – and you gotta respect that, no matter what. But then she put down her purse and kept talking. About her son, who's off marrying some hoity-toity bitch who can't even cook, and then about her husband, who's practically a vegetable. I just kept nodding along, drinking my drink, not saying anything. On occasion I would mutter, because I felt pity. But that was it. I mean, you could tell she was a sad sort of woman. The kind that prowled bars and had mood swings and probably a bad childhood – the too-sheltered kind, or maybe something else. Maybe she was abused or neglected. But she had that harsh way about her – her mouth had a lot of wrinkles around it, and the angles were way too sharp. Her eyes were as sharp as hell, too, if you get what I mean. They were blue – but like, ice-blue. The frigid kind.
"So what's your name, son?" she asked me, taking a sip of her vodka.
I looked at her that time, just because I'd been taught when I was a kid to always look at someone when they were talking it me. It was rude not too – so I did it on purpose sometimes, when I was ignoring someone.
"Draco," I told her. "What's yours?"
I looked at her.
"No way. Like 'Frankenstein' Mary Shelley?"
She smiled. Her lips were really thin – they reminded me of my mom's. And I looked at her lips and I thought about how it would feel to kiss a person with thin lips like that. I didn't think it'd be that different. It was some weird-ass shit to be thinking about, really.
"I change my name sometimes. But good you caught it. Usually people don't give enough of a damn, you know?"
That was true. And I was thinking, I don't give enough of a damn, either. I'd probably forget she existed tomorrow morning when I'm in bed with a terrific hangover. So I just sat there, and I asked for another drink. I got a refill. I thought about all the people you meet in seedy bars like this – most of the time they're pretty fucked up. I mean, you don't drink away your problems for nothing – you're drinking away your problems. But if bars didn't exist, and people couldn't wallow in their misery with other people – how else could they do that? I got to thinking that maybe everybody did have a private bar. Inside their head. You know, you go to it when you feel like shit, or like killing yourself or something. Kind of neat. I forget how great the human brain is sometimes.
"This is nice. Drinking. Isn't it?" she said.
"Yeah. I guess."
Then I knew something was wrong with her. With these things, you could just tell. There wasn't that smokescreen there usually was in public places, or like when you're meeting someone in some stupid café. You know, when you're so damned self-conscious that you can't even be yourself. But in bars there's no dignity, or any of that shit people spend their whole lives worrying about. I heard the tone in her voice and I knew it was the tone of someone who'd hit rock bottom. And how exactly do you climb out of that – rock bottom – anyway? Is there some rope or something, that'll magically appear out of nowhere and you'll hold on to it and it'll pull you back up?
The woman sitting next to me, she looked like the kind of person that'd had that rope a lot, and now it was just too damn short to reach her. It was a sorry thing to see, and I'd have bought her another drink if she hadn't start talking again.
"I slept with Ringo Starr once, you know. I was a groupie." She was smiling a little. "Wasn't too good, but hell – it was damn Ringo Starr, you know?"
I couldn't tell you how I knew this then, but when somebody starts remembering the good things in their life it's always supposed to tell you something. Especially if they're in a damn bar. And I just sat there for the whole night, hearing the jukebox play some slow 80's songs, and then she left, leaving some change on the counter. She didn't even say bye. But then she went to the ladies' room with her bag, and you wouldn't believe what happened then. I mean, I'm still gonna tell you and all, but it's the type of thing you only hear about on the radio or read about in newspapers or hear about on the TV.
Then, three minutes later, we hear this loud noise coming from the bathrooms.
I fucking jumped up in my seat and almost spilled my drink all over my lap, and the bartender – he gets all wide-eyed and then runs over to where we heard the noise. I mean, by then we're all pretty much thinking the same thing. We know the sound – how could we not? But while I sat there, and my drink was still cold but I couldn't really feel it, I swear my heart was pounding. I was sweating for some reason. And then the guy runs out, panting. There's some blood on his hands and he looked as panicked as nothing else.
"Call 911! Call it now!"
I forgot to tell you I was in a Muggle bar. Muggle bars are a lot simpler and more fun than wizard bars. Don't ask me why, because then I wouldn't be able to tell you. But I like to cross over when I'm feeling like shit. And I learned a few of those Muggle catchphrases over the times I'd been here, so I knew what to do and all that. But – and I still don't know why – I couldn't get out of my seat. Like my ass was glued down to the seat, and I just kept looking at his hands. Poor guy. He looked like he was gonna pass out. The worst thing about blood was the color. I mean, if you felt it, it felt just like water. If someone sprayed blood all over you and you had your eyes closed you wouldn't be able to tell it was blood – unless you tasted it or something.
But it was the color. It was a mean, intense color.
"What the fuck are you waiting for? Call the number! Grab the phone and call the number now! Now!"
So the guy's yelling at me, and he goes back into the bathroom. I stare after him, and after a minute, I finally get enough in me to get up, grab the phone, and dial 911. There was that clicking noise, and the plastic phone thing was cold against my ear. I looked down and the cords were shaking.
There was a voice on the other line – a woman. Well, hell, a woman. I'm pretty sure they always have women answer the phone at places like that because women are better at calming people down. And it's the truth. Ain't nobody gonna argue with it.
So I tell her what happened, and I tell her the address of the place. She tells me everything's going to be all right (see?) and to just hold on and not to panic. She asks me if there's still a pulse, and I sure as hell don't know as I'd not even stepped into the bathroom, so I tell her that. So she just tells me to stay put, and that they were already sending people to help.
Before I hang up, she tells me that everything's going to be all right again. And after that, I wait for her to hang up before I do.
And you know what the worst part is about a person dying?
The damn wait for someone to come and help.
They came in twenty minutes – which is bullshit, if you ask me. So it wasn't a surprise, really, when they fucking wheeled her into the ambulance and they didn't sound the sirens. She was dead. She'd shot herself in the fucking bathroom twenty minutes before – she was dead. Worst part is that she shot herself in the head – that's what I hate. I didn't even step into the bathroom before they came. I don't know what to tell you – I was scared. Or – I don't know. I wasn't scared of the blood. Thing is, I was scared that she might still be alive. There was nothing worse than seeing a living dead person. I mean, honestly? The worst part – and I know I keep saying this, but I mean it – about the whole process of death thing, or killing yourself, are those last few moments of consciousness. D'you know what I mean? I mean, you can't die instantly, no matter what anybody says. You live for about a second still afterwards, and it's enough.
But hey, maybe that last second of consciousness is just overwhelmed by shock. I wouldn't know – I haven't tried it. But I'd always thought about that, and how I would want an instant instant death. But, you know, maybe you just can't have that. Now we'll never know.
But anyway, the bartender had been there with her, holding her. When I saw him he was covered all over with her blood. Her gun was all bloody, too, and it was all the way across the floor. It'd made a trail, like a line. A finish line.
The bartender was still sitting on the floor, all bloody, when they put her in the ambulance. I was standing there looking at all the blood, by the door, and he was completely silent. The dead kind of silence – but the intense type, too. The kind that is fierce and all that. It killed me to stand there in that silence, but I couldn't walk away. You know that feeling? When you hate something, and you feel it in your gut, but you still can't turn away? That was how it was.
Then he looked up, suddenly, and he helped himself up. He looked at the blood on the floor – there was a pool – and then he looked straight at me. It was kind of insane, looking at him. He had blood on his face, and even on his hair. He looked sad, and pale. He was a pretty tall guy, good-looking too – he had a wedding ring, which was covered in blood. Looking at him he probably had a few kids and a nice wife – not too good-looking, but not ugly. The nice type that would be a good mother and would always be on the bottom during sex, and would always do it with the lights off. The insecure, nice kind of woman – who was only nice because she was insecure.
He walked right past me, without even saying a word. And I just stood there looking at all of the blood that was so damned dark on the white tiles. I could imagine in a few hours some of the cleaners would come in with some strong cleaning stuff, like bleach, and they'd clean it all off. And everything would smell like ammonia. The tiles would be whiter, and the stuff would smell so strong that it'd hurt to breathe, but nobody wants blood on their floors. I could really see it. In a few hours, it would all be gone, and everything would be back to normal. Isn't it just weird, though? How sometimes, after something big and life changing happens, even traumatizing – how quickly everything goes to being back to normal? Is that just how damn resilient everybody is? Or are we just some damn good liars?
It's some crazy shit, lemme tell you.
But a few nights later, I come by, and the place is closed. I mean it. The place is closed down. The sign's been taken down, and the doors are locked. I figure the guy just couldn't take it, you know? It's hard being there while someone dies. For some reason, even if she shot herself in the head, I couldn't believe that she died quickly. She had to be alive for a few more seconds. And when I saw it, I also thought about how maybe it made him realize how short life was for some people. Maybe he went home to his wife and kids – and he bought her a new necklace, and his kids some new toys. Maybe he took his wife out to a nice seafood dinner, and afterwards they came home and had sex – and this time he insisted on having the lights on. And he told her she was beautiful, or something like that. I don't know. Make something up. Something nice.
There was another thing, too. That night, when the woman shot herself, she dropped something when they wheeled her away. It was a ring – something old and not really worth much, at least, from what I've seen. It wasn't bloody because she had it in her pocket, like she was protecting it or something. And I picked it up. But, I mean, I wasn't gonna steal it or anything. I'm no criminal – at least, I don't steal from dead people. But after that day I kept it on top of my side table, and I always saw it before I went to sleep and right after I woke up. It would always just sit there, this ring of kind of rustic-looking gold. And it wasn't exactly the family's jewels, but I just got this feeling that it was pretty important. To someone, maybe that son of hers.
I know I should've just turned it in the day I got it, maybe handed it to the ambulance people who would then put it into some plastic bag. But it took them twenty minutes to get to the damn place – I hate to think what they'd do to the poor woman's ring. They'd probably take one glance at it, and then lay it down somewhere when they were out eating a fucking sandwich, and they'd forget all about it. That's what I hate about people. They just have no respect for the dead.
So one day, I get up, and I look up the woman. To see if she had any family members, and which were still alive, and who I could give the ring back to. I had to go through some records and shit, but I found her, eventually. Her real name was Diana Westerson. Two husbands. One miscarriage. Four kids, all grown up. She lived up in the country somewhere. But I looked through it and found her son's address – the living one – and wrote it down. I figured maybe he would want it, even if he was just gonna put it in some box and never look at it again.
I pocket the little scrap of paper and then exit the place, nodding to the lady at the front desk. I knew my way around Muggle towns by this time – I mean, I was no pro, but at least I knew where I was going most of the time. Sometimes I'd need a little help and ask a few citizens like some tourist, but it wasn't often. And lemme tell you something about the Muggle world: it wasn't so different from where I lived. I mean, sure, sometimes it was a little trickier because there was no magic and all that, but people still found ways around that, didn't they? They built machines, polluted their air, put preservatives in all their food. They're dumbasses when it comes to politics, but even I gotta admit they've got their shining moments. And they've got civil wars and segregation, but that doesn't make them any different from the wizarding world. Humans, you know. They're all kind of the same.
So I could bear this place now. I wasn't too fond of it back then. Back then, my world was a lot smaller, if you get what I mean. I was a pretty stiff guy – still am, even. But as time goes on… well, you know this part pretty well, I reckon. People change. Things change. It's just life's natural cycle, isn't it? Can't stay the same, even if you wanted to. It's such a kick in the ass sometimes. It's funny as hell, too.
So I take the taxi and tell the driver the address. He tells me that it'll probably take him twenty minutes if he went through the shortcut, then he drives off and he's got this jingly Christmas music on. And I look out, and I can't really tell you why, but I just noticed that it was snowing. It was a really light snow, but you could tell it'd probably been snowing for about an hour. First snow of the year, and I'm in a cab that reeks of marijuana, listening to Christmas music with bells. And I sit there and think: that's a mighty fine story to tell. You know, if I had anyone to tell it to.
He drops me off in front of a rustic-looking house. Pretty massive, with rosebushes in the front, and a fountain. There was a naked little cherubim angel pouring some jug, or something. But I give him his money for the first half, but tell him to wait a little, and he just nods his head and keeps listening to his Christmas music when I head out of the cab. It's still snowing, and it was a real pretty sight, actually. The kind that nature-loving people would like, I guess. Oh, like the kind you see in calendars. That kind.
So I head up to the door, climb the steps, and ring the bell. I stand there for about three second before I hear the clocks clicking from inside, and someone mumbling on the other side. Then the door opens, and – you couldn't possibly imagine how I felt then. I just stared at the person in front of me, and it was the kind of thing that you never see coming – the kind that life likes to throw at you sometimes, just to get a laugh out of it. But, so I'm standing there in the snow, and the door opens –
And there's Granger. You know, Hermione Granger, from school. The same fucking one. With the brown messy hair that kind of makes her look like a mouse – the smart ass. And I can't help but just stare at her for the longest possible time because I hadn't even thought about the bitch for the past two years. It was just amazing, is all, how life screws you up sometimes.
So you probably know what happened next, because it wasn't like we miraculously hopped into each other's arms or any shit like that. We just stared at each other and didn't say anything. I could tell she was just as shocked to see me. She probably hadn't even thought about me for those two years, either.
"Malfoy?" she finally says, squinting her eyes at me, like she just couldn't believe it.
"Granger," I say back to her, because I didn't know what else to say.
"What" – Pause. "What… what are you—"
She was still kind of as cute as hell, I gotta tell you. She still had that kind of rabbit nose that always scrunched up when she was confused and she hadn't changed a bit. No shit, man. She was still the same. Though, it isn't surprising at all, is it? Because cute bitches like Hermione Granger don't change. There could be some meteor that would hit the earth and totally obliterate everyone and everything, but while everything's back to single-celled organisms and "evolution" to try and get back to being homosapiens again, you'd see Hermione Granger walking upright, looking for a book to read or some shit like that. I'm not even kidding! She was just… different. Not good-different, or bad-different. But she was just one of those types that come in a million thousand. The kind that can't come in more in a million thousand – because you wouldn't be ready for it. She was meant to come so rare, you know? Because she was just as crazy as hell.
"I'm looking for Alfred Westerson. I have something I need to give him. From his mom," I say, answering her question before she could ask it. Then I start to think again, like my brain hit the 'PAUSE' button and then started playing on its own again. Because: what the hell was Hermione Granger doing in Alfred Westerson's house?
"Did he move?" I ask her.
"Oh, no," she says, still blinking. She starts to scratch her head, and her fingers get tangled up in the bird's nest she has. I remembered back to the time when I thought that was so damn charming. Her hair. She had Amazon woman hair. It was hella funny, but it was the kind of thing only she could get away with.
"He's here. He lives here, for sure."
"Then what are you doing here?" I ask her. And God, I hate myself for being so damn nosy all the time, because then you get answers that you don't want. I mean, I know this. I don't know why the fuck I still ask questions, though.
"Oh, right. He's… we're getting married."
I look at her face real hard to see if I heard her right. But now she's blushing, and looking nervous. And then I remember what the old woman said to me the night I met her, and I can't help but laugh right out loud. A straight-out, really obnoxious laugh.
Granger was the "bitch" her son was going to marry who couldn't cook!
Well, fuck me.
"Well, I realize it's funny, but there's no need to laugh," she says to me, and she kind of looks pissed.
"You're lying to me, Granger."
"I'm not." She purses her lips, and my eyes glance down to look at her ring finger. Nope, she wasn't lying at all. I see the engagement ring. Fucking enormous.
Then I remember the taxi driver, and I look behind me. He was smoking something in the cab.
I look back at her. "Well, then. I need to speak to your fiancé. I have something for him."
She nods her head. "Fine. He's in the den."
She leads me inside, and the house is pretty nice. Rustic as hell. But nice, nonetheless. I could see the old Ringo-groupie living in a place like this. It was comfortable. Anyway, Granger ends up leading me to this room down the hall, and she knocks on the door – to be polite, and shit. The guy sitting down on the desk looks up. I finally get a look at the dumb shit enthralled enough to want to put a ten-pound rock on her finger. Not too bad-looking, it's true. Blond hair. But some intense green eyes – and all it does is remind me of Potter. And I think, no big fucking surprise. Everyone knew Granger had a thing for Potter. Made sense she'd marry some ass with green eyes like him.
"This is Draco Malfoy," she tells him, and she gives me this side-glance. "He says he has something to give you. Says it's from your mom."
The guy freezes, and he looks at me for the longest time. It was mighty uncomfortable in that room, really, I ain't lying. He looks a little pale and kind of even stoic, like those marble statues you see in the museum. Then, finally, he clears his throat and says something.
"Good to meet you, Mr. Malfoy."
"You too," I say back.
Granger just nods at us and leaves the room, closing the door behind her. She was always nice like that. It always used to bug the living hell out of me.
"So… what was it that you wanted to give me?" he asks me.
"Right." I dig my hand into my coat pocket, and I take out the ring. I hold it up for him to see. "This was your mom's. It fell out when they were…" I don't finish the sentence, because we both knew what I meant, anyway. Sometimes you don't have to finish what you're trying to say when it comes to stuff like this. It's a way of being nice.
But I hand to him, and he takes it. He looks at it for the longest time, just staring at the ring. Thing was so old, it didn't even glint in the light. But I watch the guy, and obviously he's not at his zenith – emotionally, I mean. You could tell. He was a mess. He didn't look like he was going to start crying or anything, but the look on his face… it was like a piece of art that was trying to say something, but either the canvas was too rough, or there just wasn't enough paint. He was having a hard time, let's just put it at that. A really hard time.
And, just standing in front of him, I started to remember how it was when I lost my mom, too. I can't even explain to you what goes on when something like that happens. I mean, I know men try to act all independent and strong, but that's just shit. Biggest bunch of shit I ever heard. And it's kind of funny, because when I lost my mom, that was when I met Granger. Okay, so not really, because I'd known her for a long time already. But that was when I "met" her. When stuff started happening. Weird stuff.
"I thought she'd have wanted you to have it," I say.
"Thanks." He looks up. "Thank you."
I nod my head. "No problem." I turn to leave, but then stop. "I'm sorry, by the way. About your mom. I was there when it… happened. She was a nice lady. Don't know why she would have done what she did."
I hear him sigh behind me. "I know why." He's quiet for a few seconds before continuing on. "She was sick. Terminal illness. And ever since my dad died she's had it hard. It's just… hard. Sometimes you try to be there for someone, but they're just too out of your reach. Too much distance, you know? So they end up killing themselves in the bathroom of a bar." He sighs again. "I guess – I guess it was the only way she thought she could let go."
I remember this quote from something I'd read before. It went something like: Death is peace. Something like that. And I'd never really thought about it enough to figure out if it was true or not. Death was too mysterious and unknown to try to rationalize. I mean, like Heaven, and Hell. How were you supposed to really know about that stuff – if people who had already been there couldn't come back and tell you all about it? But I guess I could see where he was coming from. That was just another idea about dying. One of those ideas that make people happy, and make people look forward to getting old and stuff like that. So, why couldn't death be peace to people who were suffering?
I leave the room, and I walk down the hallway. I stop, though, when I look up and I see Granger at the end of it, standing up, leaning against the wall. She's looking down at the floor, and the hallway's pretty dim. It was a sight to see, really. The kind that made you sort of sad inside.
"When's the wedding?" I ask, and she looks up, looking towards me. She smiles a little – the halfhearted smile that people always do when you can feel something bad's going to happen, but they're trying to be optimistic and not think about it anyway.
"Three months," she replies, and I make my way over to her. "On the 16th."
"Are you having it in a church?"
"Yeah. Alfred wants it in a church. Reminds him of his dad."
I nod. "So how'd you pull this one in?"
This makes her smile – for real, this time. "Honestly? I don't know." She starts to laugh softly, and she puts her face in her hand, shaking her head. "I don't know."
"Must be love, then."
I leave the house a couple minutes later, and the taxi driver's so baked I just give him the money and I try to Apparate back to my place. That night, I'm sitting on my bed, and I look over at the place the old woman's ring used to be on my dresser. It looks a lot emptier than it was before. Things feel different, too. I don't know why.
I lay down, and I'm facing towards the window. The curtains are drawn closed, but I can hear the snow outside. If you'd ever heard snow, it kind of sings sometimes. It's really quiet, though. You really have to listen and have nothing on your mind. And it's hard for a lot of people, because usually they're always thinking.
So I fall asleep to the sound of the snow.
- - - - - -- - - - - -
The next night, you'd never believe who dropped by with their shit written all over their face.
Yeah. No shit.
See, I'm reading this book on the couch, and then I hear this knocking, so I go and answer the door. And I open it, and she's there. She looks a little quiet, if that makes any sense, because usually even just Granger's facial expression speaks in volumes. But – so, she's there. And I just have to ask her what the fuck she's doing at my door.
"I got your address from someone," she tells me, like it answers my question. Anyway, I end up letting her in, anyway, because I'm still kind of a dumbass when it comes to women.
She comes in, and she stands in the middle of my living room. I'm still by the door with my hands across my chest, wondering what the hell she's doing here. Then, like she read my mind, she turns around and says, "We're not getting married anymore."
Real shocking. Her fiancé breaks the engagement and she comes over to my place for consolation. After we hadn't even talked to each other in two whole damn years.
"Wait – lemme guess, Potter and Weasley are off vacationing in Tahiti."
She looks mad. "I came here because I don't fucking want them to know. Not right away, at least."
"Uh-huh." I tongue my cheek. "I still don't get it."
She sighs. Really loud.
"Granger, you're really going to have to fill me in here. We haven't even talked to each other in two years and you're just going to—"
"Oh, don't be a damned prat, okay?" she says to me. And I'm stunned to silence, because it's only then that I realize she's crying. Or, at least, tearing up. Her eyes were glossy. "Just let me stay here for a while. You don't even have to fucking talk to me. Just let me have a fucking corner and just sit in the fucking corner."
She's crying. In my apartment. About her fiancé.
This is some bullshit.
"Fine," I tell her. "Sit in the fucking corner. I don't care."
And she actually does it. She sits in the corner near the kitchen table, and she just sits there. I watch her for a while, but she acts like she doesn't know, and she just puts her head in her hands and just cries. Well, she doesn't sob or anything like that – I think she remembers I can't stand it when women give out those disturbing throaty wails. But she does it quietly, and after twenty minutes, I could have sworn she'd fallen asleep or something, but I head over to sit at my kitchen table, because I recognize that maybe I have it in me to talk to her now. Usually I have to wait a while before talking to a distressed person – I normally end up saying all the wrong things and getting the living shit beat out of me.
"Why'd he do it?" I ask her.
She doesn't raise her head. "He says he needs time. Because of his mom's death and everything."
"Well. That makes sense."
"I told him we could just postpone the wedding, but he didn't want to."
"Granger, it's not like you loved him, anyway."
She looks up. She looks like shit, by the way, but she still looks like Granger. Her hair's all mussed, and her nose is running. It takes a real woman to pull off that look. I can't tell whether she's pissed at me, though, because her face isn't showing it.
"Don't say that," she only tells me.
"Why not? It's true."
"You don't know that."
"Well, then, tell me what I don't fucking know."
But she doesn't. She just puts her head back down.
"Why'd you come here, Granger?"
Silence. She doesn't say a word.
"You still in love with me?"
Then, finally, she says something:
"Fuck you, Draco."
I sigh. "Look, I'm—"
"Don't talk to me about that shit, okay?" she spits at me, and her head's back up now. "Just don't."
"But it's pretty stupid, don't you think? Marrying some ass even though you're still in love with me, and now you're pissed that he called it off just because he's having a hard time dealing with his dead mom. Now you're just being a bitch."
She scoffs. "A bitch? You think I'm being a bitch?" She looks like she's going to throw something at my head now. And hell, she probably would have, if she had anything nearby to throw. "After you fucking leave, out of nowhere, not even telling me why or where, two years ago—"
"Hey, I wrote you a letter—"
"About what?" she yells. "About fucking what?" She lifts up her hands to her face. "God, Malfoy." She lets out a heavy sigh, and I watch her body shudder a little with it. "I hated that fucking letter. I burned it. I ripped it. I ripped it first, then I burned it. So don't talk to me about being a bitch. What you did to me was a bitch."
Now I'm quiet. Because to tell you the truth, after I'd left her, I'd thought about maybe sending her another letter or something. But no matter how hard I tried, nothing justified just leaving, you know? When things were going good? You can't fucking pack up your things and disappear and leave someone behind for a long time – and just come back, and everything was going to be as peachy as hell again. No, that just isn't the way things work. I left her because I couldn't be with her. No, I mean – I could be with her. I sure as hell wanted to. I told you before I thought she was as charming as hell. Couldn't get enough of her. The night my mom died, I fucked her like there was no tomorrow.
But – I don't know if I can explain this to you – sometimes things can be going great, just fantastic, but you still feel like a miserable fucker. The loneliest person in the world. That's how I was. You know, I'd be happy with her and all, but I'd just be rotting inside. Because there's a difference between being alone, and being lonely. So one day, I just left. I left her a note. But it was nothing, really. So I couldn't disagree with her when she called what I did to her a bitch. It was. It absolutely fucking was.
So I couldn't blame her for being pissed. Couldn't blame her for still being in love with me, either.
We just sat in silence for a few minutes, thinking.
"How come you never told me when you came back?" she asks.
Hard question to answer – kind of painful, because I know myself that the truth is shitty. The kind that's so true, but so embarrassing just because it's something a pussy would give in to. But I think I always knew I'd run into her someday, and she'd force me to answer this question. So I had a clue of what to say, at least.
"Because I knew I'd have to talk to you," I reply. "And I didn't want to." I look up to see her reaction, but she doesn't have any. Thing about Granger is, she could be as cold as ice sometimes.
"Because…" I sigh. "Because the truth is ugly."
"As ugly as you leaving?"
"Even uglier, if you can believe it."
She doesn't say anything for a while, but I can tell she's thinking. She's always thinking; that's how I know she's never heard the snow.
"You can stay here, if you want. If you really don't want to call up Weasley or Potter."
She looks me in the eye. "Something's going to happen if I stay," she says. And I nod my head, because she's right.
"That's a risk I'm willing to take, then."
Something does happen that night, though. I honestly can't tell you why. Maybe it was because even after those two whole years I still have a thing for her, and she still has one for me – and we were in the same place at the same time. She was feeling vulnerable and shitty. We had a history, to add to it all. And I can't remember how it happened, all I know is – I kissed her first. And things just led from one thing to another. It was just like the night my mom died.
When we get to my room, only half our clothes are on. We're kissing like we got nothing on our minds except fucking each other, and I remember how good she is at that. Kissing. She drives me crazy with how she works her mouth – probably from all the damn talking she does. But she's unzipping my pants, and I can't say I hate her for that, because I'm just about swelling to the point of pain. I hadn't had sex in two years, to tell you the truth. It's pathetic to say, but I'd been as depressed as fuck. So you can probably tell I was really eager to finally get off. All of this sexual frustration was building up, and because of that, I got a little rough with her. Which is no problem, really. If anybody liked rough sex, it was Granger.
I slip off her panties and I'm on top of her, but I don't rush in right away, even though every part of me is hurting from the want to. For a second I just look at her, below me, with her tangled hair and her sweaty face. God, I hadn't felt so turned on in what felt like a decade.
"Go," she told me, her eyes closed.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It was starting to snow again outside.
"You didn't come," I told her, afterwards, after we caught our breath.
"It's okay," she said, brushing her hair back from her face. And I just end up lying down next to her, staring up at the ceiling. It's winter, and I never have the fucking heater on, so all of the sweat on our bodies is starting to give us chills while we just lay there. I could hear the snow – but just a little bit, because I was starting to think again. I think about how long it's been since anybody touched me – and really, the last person who had was Granger. I remember everybody called her a crazy bitch – and they weren't lying, she was exactly what they called her. But the thing about Granger is that she doesn't really give a shit anymore. She's got her priorities all straightened out, which was one thing we fought about a lot, because I still didn't have a damn clue. But then I also remember that she was about to get married to that other guy – the guy who dumped her.
"Are you cold?" I ask her.
There isn't a response for a while.
"Yeah. Kind of."
I reach for my blanket, and brush off the clothes we'd thrown out, before giving it to her. She takes it, and her fingers brush against mine just for a second (they felt like damn icicles), and she wraps her body in it, shuffling around next to me. But she saves a little for me, and she throws it at me when she's done, not saying anything at all. And damn it. That's what kills me about her, too, you know? She's just so fucking considerate about everybody. It just made me look back on how I left her, and now she was giving me some of the blanket so I wouldn't freeze my dick off.
So then I make up my mind to apologize. She deserves it. And I never really know whether girls know about this stuff, if they're really intuitive like that – and she'd just been waiting for me to say it all along. But it's hard, really. Owning up to what you did – no, it wasn't that. Owning up was easy. The hard part was saying the part that came after you admitted you fucked up. The actual two words. I'm sorry. Two tiny little words, but I swear, they'll tear you up like hyenas. I swear.
"Uh-huh?" Her voice is kind of quiet now, and I'm still looking up at the ceiling. I only realize how dark it is.
"I'm sorry. For leaving you like that. I know it was… really fucked up." But you know what? Once you get going, you can never stop. You just keep owning up, and owning up, and owning up… like a fucking dam. You let out a drop, and out comes the entire river.
"I couldn't tell you why I did it. Probably for some really shitty reason. But I mean, you knew what you were getting into, didn't you? I'm a fucked up man, Granger. I can't make anyone promises. Not even you. I'd only end up disappointing you."
She doesn't say something for a long time, and if I didn't know better I would have thought she'd fallen asleep on me or something like that. I try to listen hard, to see if I could hear her breathe, but she's breathing really quietly. So I finally look beside me, and there she is. Even though it's dark, there's still a little bit of light from my window, and I can see her. She's looking up – straight up, at the ceiling. Her eyes are wide open.
"I know," she finally says, and it's like this large exhale of air. Like when morning comes, and the entire world sighs and that single breath rolls through every plain and every ocean and every city and wakes everyone up. The sun rises, and the sky lights up. For some really weird reason, it reminded me of that.
"But I never asked for a damn promise from you, Draco Malfoy. All I asked for was a little consideration." She licks her lips, but she doesn't look at me yet. "There's no harm in telling me you're having a hard time with things. Don't get it into your head that if you feel like shit, it's best to pretend like it's not there. Fuck that kind of mentality, man. Stop being a tortured teenager. You could have told me what was happening. We're adults. That's the only thing that separates us from being a bunch of damn kids."
It was at that moment she looked at me, right in the eye.
"The fucking balls to say what we mean."
I laugh, because I need time to think of what to say. But it's the kind of laugh that people give when they're not really amused, and are just doing it to fill the silence, or when they think you're just some dumb shit. And honestly? She got me. I thought hard to think of what to say so I could keep part of my dignity, but I got nothing. Nothing. I guess that's what you're going to have to be ready for when you say sorry to someone – to lose your dignity, at least temporarily. People have a hard time with saying they're sorry because – usually – it has to do with pride. You know, people are always trying to cling on to it like it's their statue of Jesus or something, but all it does is make it worse. There are going to be moments in your life when you absolutely just have to fuck your pride. And it hurts – hell yeah, it hurts. But you gotta do it.
Know why? Because life is just going to shove it in your face like some donkey's dirty ass over and over again if you don't.
Anyway, after that, we don't talk anymore. I don't look over at her again for a while to see if she fell asleep first, because that would just be as awkward as hell. But after an hour or so, I can hear her breathing loudly and regularly, so that's when I do. I turn my head, and I look right at her. No shit, she's asleep. And you know, there is an intense level of bitchiness in her that would be illegal in some states, but she's awful sweet-looking sometimes. Like when she's asleep. That used to drive me nuts about her, too, back before I left her. I know this is some pansy-ass crap to be telling you about – all I'm saying is, sometimes people look a lot less burdened when they're asleep. They say that's when you're most like a kid. When you're asleep.
But after a minute or two I turn my head back, and I close my eyes. I try to focus on the sound of the snow, but it never comes.
- - - - - - - -- - - -
When I wake up, it's still dark out. Not because it isn't morning yet – there was a blizzard overnight and the snow had blocked up all the windows. But I open my eyes, and I catch Granger dressing up, pulling on her panties from last night, fitting on her bra. She's in no particular hurry in doing in it, either. So after a second or two I just sit up, awake.
"There was a blizzard," she tells me, putting on her shirt. "You got anywhere to go today, I suggest you cancel." But then she gives me this smirk that tells me that she's read through me right clearly – maybe while we were having sex, or maybe while I was still asleep. Granger figures people out fast. She knew I wasn't the type to go out often. I told you she was a bitch, man.
But I just watch her fluffing out her hair, her crazy Amazon woman hair. She doesn't put on her pants from last night, though. She just heads towards my bedroom door and walks out in her underwear. I sit there for a while, rubbing my eyes and shit, and I look over at my side dresser. And would you look it – in the same exact place the old woman's ring used to be before I gave it to her Granger-dumping son, Granger's ten-pound engagement ring took its place. No joke. I stare at it for the longest time anyone would stare at a dumb ring because I just found it so uncanny and really weird. I try to figure out what it's trying to tell me, but it's too early in the morning to figure out damn metaphors.
I join her ten minutes later, where I find her in the kitchen with some coffee, reading my paper. She's sitting Indian style on my wooden chair on the dining table, just minding her own business like she was at her own place. I pour myself some coffee, watching her.
"How long are planning to stay here, Granger?"
"I'll leave in the afternoon. Hopefully. If the blizzard dies down, at least," she says, glancing up, before going back to the paper. And then she just stays quiet, finishing her coffee. But while she's doing that, I get up and place the ring right in front of her. She looks down.
"Wouldn't want you to leave it here," I tell her. "Could pawn it off and buy a beach house, or some shit like that."
She doesn't say anything, though. She just looks at it for a minute before looking back up at her paper, but I could tell she wasn't really interested in the current events anymore. I watch her from the corner of my eye while she's pretending to read the paper, but all she does is look pissed.
"You still mad about that, Granger?"
She doesn't look up from her paper. She doesn't even flinch. "Yeah. Yeah, I kind of am."
"Why?" I say, really curious. "Did you really love him? I mean, honestly this time. Prove me wrong. So, let's say you actually loved the guy. You put on your best dress and straightened your hair and smiled at his mom and dad. Cooked your best roast beef. Then his mom dies and he dumps you because he can't handle it all at once. If you thought he was the right one for you, you'd be looking like you are now."
"I don't think he's the right one for me."
"So… he has a big dick. Is that it?"
It was then she put down the paper. "It's about effort, you asshole," she says to me. "We worked on our relationship. It was good. He understood how it was. And for someone to just leave it all behind…" She trailed off, but it was more like she cut herself off on purpose, because she realized she was talking to me – the guy who had left her from the very beginning. But instead she just hardened her face. "Just because you are scared to death of being with someone doesn't mean we all are."
I'm pissed. I go off like a pistol.
"Well, fuck, Granger!" I start to yell at her. "I didn't ask for you to come here, okay? I didn't say—"
"Is it because you just don't give a damn?" she says to me, her eyes narrowed. "Or is it because you're really just a selfish bastard?"
"Why are you still here?" I shout. "Why the fuck did you come here? To make me feel guilty? To make me want to be with you again? I can't turn back time, Granger! You know that!"
"I'm not asking you to turn back time!" She's screaming at me now, at the top of her lungs. Her words are shrill and everything she's saying to me just crashes against my chest, trying to overtake me, throw me down to the floor.
"I'm just asking you to – for once, in your fucking life – to just give a damn about someone else other than yourself! You're not in this alone, you know! There are a lot of people feeling like shit all over the world, and you don't see them packing up and leaving people!"
She's crying again. Have I told you I fucking hate it when she cries? Even when she cries silently, or it's just tears, I can't stand it.
"I love you – I want to help you, but my God, I think…"
She's sobbing now. Her words sound choked up and she can barely talk. She's trying to wipe away her tears with the back of her hands, and she's shaking against my house. Everything. My fucking kitchen table, my kitchen. It blurs away.
"I think… I can't. You're just too far away…"
And it's funny, really, how I'm telling you this story. And I don't know if you're gonna get confused, or not get it, but I'm trying to tell you the best I can. In the way I think it'll make sense. But I can't be right all the time, you know. But the order – it's all messed up. Because you know what life is? Life is just a big old time machine that can't turn back time. I know now you're thinking I'm just telling you shit to fuck with your head, but it's true. Because after Granger and I fight that day, and she leaves me, I go to a bar. It's a bar I don't usually go to – but I'm just there this day because it was the first thing I saw. And my pocket's heavy – really heavy, but I'm thinking maybe it's just this psychological thing, and it's just heavy because I know what's in it. Like all that symbolic shit you read about and study in English class.
I meet this woman there. Old, in her forty's. She tells me she used to be a groupie and that she slept with Ringo Star back when the Beatles were the shit. She's got these ice-blue eyes that'll just freeze you over. Anyway, she just talks and talks to me, and she buys me a drink for saying something snarky. The jukebox in the corner is playing some slow 80s songs about some beautiful girl. Then I realize I really have to piss, so I head on over to the bathroom, leaving some change on the counter.
You oughta know where I'm going with this. Do you? Well, I'll tell you anyway. Right after I piss out the vodka I pull out what's in my pocket, and I look at it for a second. I don't even remember where I got it. And, like I said, it's really heavy in my hand. It's made out of that old-fashioned iron that's black and clunky. I try to position it the way I know how, and once it's up against my head I realize how absolutely fucking cold it is against my scalp. Anyway, I have my finger on the trigger, and I'm standing right in front of the bathroom mirror, watching myself. Watching my nasty-ass pale face. It's weird, watching you trying to kill yourself. But it's a brand new perspective, and I appreciate it. I mean, not a lot of people get to see themselves like this. Looking in the mirror while you attempt to do something in-fucking-sane.
And while I'm looking at myself, I really have to tell you, I look like shit. My face is all ill-looking – like one of those kids that hadn't gone outside in the sun for ten years. There are ugly, monstrous purple bags under my eyes, and my lips are chapped. Just – I was just fugly in that moment. And it's funny, because I used to be one of the best-looking people out there. Like, in the entire universe. I could have probably won Miss Universe if I wanted to. You know, beat all those silicon bitches to shame.
They say when you're about to die you're supposed to see your life flash before your eyes, like your brains are just trying to vomit everything out in the last second, maybe like a reminder of "Here, this is what you did, this is everything that's happened to you, be content with it, because now it's gone" – that kind of thing. And I was waiting for that to happen. Honestly? It didn't really come. I actually had to think about my life. I felt like a damn hamster in a broken hamster wheel.
But see, I end up not doing it, because the bartender suddenly comes in to take a piss, and he sees me with the gun. I don't do it. I don't pull the trigger and blow my living brains out like I planned to. He's a nice guy, though, really nice – you can tell he's the type with the only moderate-looking but real sweet wife and the nice kids. He brings me to the hospital and he checks me in. But really, besides that, I can't remember a single damn thing. Everything's fuzzy and I try to check out the nurses decked all out in white, and it hurts my eyes. Then I start feeling really heavy. Like a really fat kid in a deflating air balloon. I'm guessing they put me on some narcotics, or something, because when I wake up, it's weeks later. I feel like shit – really, like shit. My mouth's all dried up and crusty and my eyes hurt like fuck to open – it even hurts to see. Everything's too bright.
But when I get adjusted to seeing again, I realize I'm really kind of stupid, because the lights are off, anyway. I'm confused at why it was so fucking bright at first, though. Then I started to wonder if it was that blinding white light people always talk about when they're dying. What the hell is that, though? That white light?
I look over to my side, and I see someone sitting there. It's still hard to see because it's dim, but I didn't have to see her to know who she was. She was just that kind of girl. Her bitchiness was at such an intense level even a person under narcotics could feel it.
"Hey," I say back, but my voice sounds like shit. It hurts my throat to talk, so I make a face.
"I heard you tried to kill yourself. Damn stupid move, kid."
"I'm alive, aren't I?" I say, but it doesn't come off as funny as I want it to, because she doesn't laugh, or even smile. In fact, it takes her a whole minute to say something else again.
"I want to take care of you."
Then, suddenly, someone walks in. Someone tall. I recognize his voice, and he puts his hand on Granger's shoulder.
"Honey, the nurse is asking if you want to spend the night."
I look at Granger's hand, and see the rock on her finger. Then I look back up, a third visitor's entered the room. It's the old lady from the bar – the one that slept with Ringo Star. She's smiling at me.
"Hey kid. Feeling better?" she asks. "I'm Diana. I was there at the bar with you, remember? Thought it'd be nice if I stopped by. Then again, I was surprised to hear that you knew my son's fiancé. But she says you two haven't talked in two years."
This was all real. One hundred percent tangible. There was Granger, and her fiancé, and the mother-in-law that hated her because she couldn't cook. All standing in my hospital room. It's really fucking painful to see, and for a second, my brain hurts. Then the doctor comes in and tells me my brain wasn't sending out enough chemicals and I started to hallucinate, and things that I thought were real, weren't. This was before. Around the time I was standing in the bathroom of a bar in front of the mirror about to shoot myself with some Muggle device. And while the beefy doctor's standing in front of me with the funny mustache, I look at the other three people there, too. God, everything felt so undone. You can't imagine the massive hole I felt in my chest – not even if I tried my best to explain it to you. I was just at a loss.
The doctor said most of the hallucinations I had most likely dealt with role-reversal, where I started to pin certain aspects of my situations on other people I'd met before. Something like that. I can't really tell you for sure, because it was then my head started spinning again, and the last thing I felt was a warm hand clamping down on mine. And I even felt the band around her ring finger pressing up against my knuckle, embedding itself into my skin, and it felt as cold as it would've felt if hell froze over.
It's in the middle of the night when I wake up again. It takes me a while, because I'm still just about as discombobulated as nothing else, but everything's quiet. I try to squint around to see people, but there's only this dark blob beside me. I reach out, and I feel hair – the kind that your fingers could really get tangled up in. I tap her on the shoulder, and she starts to move, sitting up.
I hear her yawn.
"Granger. What time is it?" I ask. My voice isn't any better.
"Late," she tells me, softly. "Probably around one in the morning. You feeling any better yet?"
"No. Not really. I still feel like shit."
She laughs quietly.
"Where's your fiancé?"
"He's back home. He's got work to do. But he's stopping by in the morning."
"How come… you never told me when you got back?"
I try to smirk, but it only ends up splitting my lips. I try to lick them, but I only end up tasting the blood. "I didn't want to talk to you."
"Well, you kind of have to talk to me now, don't you?" she snorts.
"Yeah," I reply.
"Why didn't you want to talk to me?"
"Because… the truth is ugly." I stop. Inside my mouth, it's just dried salt. "But I wanted to say… I'm sorry. For leaving you. You didn't deserve it. I… just…" I sigh. "It's hard to explain my shit to you. But you're smart, so I'm just going to leave that up to you. If you want to know, ask me in a few days. But if you don't, that's fine, too."
I can see her head bobbing up and down in the dark, but she doesn't say anything back. We stay silent for about three minutes – which, if you're quiet, almost seems like three hours. But she kind of just looks at the hospital window, with the thick curtains draped over it. I try not to focus on it, but somehow a small beam of light from the window made the diamond on her ring twinkle a little.
"Granger," I say again. I swallow hard. It burns my chest. "You aren't really going to marry that guy, are you? You don't even love him."
She doesn't answer for a long time, but when she does, I feel the binds in my chest come a little loose. And afterwards we just sit there, and I suddenly feel her hand holding mine. And I swear I think she heard the snow for the first time.
Reviews would be greatly appreciated. Wrote this a while back and but it was only posted on my livejournal, so this is pretty old. Also, to those who were going to ask me for an explanation for the ending or the story or whatever: I don't think I'd be able to tell you. Too much energy. It's pretty much open interpretation, and I know some folks don't like that, and if you don't, sorry. Thanks for reading anyway.