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A Life Not Loved
(A companion piece to "A Sudden Awakening)
1 - Forgotten:
Hermione Granger turned the corner of the Muggle street where she lived, with the feeling that someone had been watching her. She felt that way a lot lately. She knew she was being silly. No one was watching her. There were no Death Eaters at her door. She had given up the magical life. She had all but forgotten magic, and it had all but forgotten her.
She had left her friends behind, because it was for the best. She was either a constant reminder of what they had lost (Ron), A constant reminder of more they had to do (Harry), or a constant reminder of what they would never have (Draco). Draco Malfoy told her she should leave, and that everyone would be better off without her. He was right. They would be better off without her. She had been a burden on her friends for too long. The world was a dark, empty place, and the sooner Hermione realized that, the better off she would be.
She left the only place she had called home for the longest time, which was really Harry's home, to try to make her own way in the world. She did what she had planned. She wanted to give life back to Draco Malfoy, to repay him for giving her back her own. She did that. The day she heard his sentence was commuted, and that he was once again a free man, she knew her duty was over. He was free, and now so was she. He told her he hated her. She never thought he would feel any other way, so she would accept his hate, as long as he never knew that the hate he felt for her was not reciprocated.
That first day she had seen him again, after all those months he had spent in prison, she felt his hate. Hermione couldn't even make eye contact with him. Well, that was until everyone else left the room, and she was forced to confront him. He called her Mudblood, more than once, and made her cry. What else was new? That was their pattern. That was familiar. She was tired of the way everyone else treated her as if she might break if someone just said, "Boo." He didn't care if she broke. He acted as if he wanted her to break, and he wanted to be the one to do it.
She was such a fool to think that she had changed him. He could never forgive her. She realized that now, so that was why she left. She changed her name. She took her mother's maiden name, Parker. She gave up magic. She hadn't even held her wand in months. She had a small inheritance that was left from when her parents were killed. She lived on that for a while, until one day when she was walking down a street, and saw a poster in a window of a bookstore. It read, "Assistant Manager Wanted". Hermione walked in, and ten minutes later was offered the job. She had already found an apartment just two blocks from the store. She didn't know how to drive, but that was no matter because she didn't have a car. Therefore, the fact that the store was two blocks away was good, except for one small detail. Her leg.
Hermione had been injured, rather, tortured, by Lucius Malfoy during the war. He injured her leg so badly, that neither magic nor Muggle medicine could quite put her right. She had to walk with the aid of a metal brace, and most of the time, a cane. She had pain everyday, but the pain was just something she learned to live with. So even though the shop was only two blocks away, it would still be somewhat difficult for Hermione to get to work everyday, but she was a determined woman. She could do anything she put her mind to.
She had been working at the shop for two months when she started having the feeling that someone was watching her. She couldn't put her finger on the exact reason she felt this way, but she knew she did, and she was rarely wrong. The owner of the children's bookstore where she worked, a lovely older widow named Virginia, told Hermione that a man had been in asking about her. Since she knew no Muggles, and none of her wizard friends knew where she was, she was somewhat concerned.
That was the first day she saw him. Hermione was standing at the kitchen window in her little flat on the third floor when she looked outside, at the dark night, and she saw a familiar looking man standing under the streetlight, across the street. There was no mistaking that silhouette anywhere. It was Draco. Virginia told her that the man who asked about her was a middle-aged black man, so Hermione could only surmise that Draco had hired a private detective to find her. How interesting. What did he want? Why did he care? The last time she saw him, he told her he hated her and he never wanted to see her again. Hermione turned the light out in her kitchen, and stared at the figure for a little while longer. Finally, he left.
The next night he was back. Standing under the street light again and twice crossing over to her side of the street, but then going back over. What was he doing? She turned out all the lights in her apartment. It was only 9:00 pm, but maybe he would think she went to sleep.
Hermione didn't know if she could face seeing him again after all that had happened. Draco killed his own father to save her life. He claimed he did it for himself, not really to save her, but she knew the truth. She killed Severus Snape for the same reason. He was about to kill Draco, so she killed him. Okay, that was a lie. She had told so many people that she had killed Snape, that sometimes she forgot that she really didn't. Draco killed Snape. He killed Snape because he confessed to killing Hermione's parents, and he claimed he did it for Draco, to avenge the fact that Draco had to kill his own father for the Mudblood. Snape wanted Draco to turn himself in to the Order. Draco was sick when he heard Snape's confession, and how much disregard he had for Hermione and for her parents. Draco told Snape he could not live with lies any longer, and when Draco drew his wand at Snape, Snape drew back. Draco was quicker and killed Snape. Draco had no idea that Hermione witnessed the entire exchange. The Order arrived right after, and Hermione finally found the way she could repay Draco for saving her life. Therefore, she told everyone she killed Snape. The truth was, she wanted him dead, and might have killed him anyway, if Draco hadn't done so.
Why was Draco following her? What more could he want from her? She decided to really turn off her light, and try to get some sleep.
It was the third night in a row that Draco was outside her apartment. She decided if he were there again tomorrow, she would definitely confront him. She left work early that day because her leg hurt so much. It was raining outside, and her leg always hurt more when it rained. Too bad she lived in rainy London town.
She sat on her couch and rehearsed what she would say to Draco when she confronted him tomorrow. Not if, but when. She bared her soul to him. She told him her deepest darkest secrets. He told her that it would not change how he felt about her, but he always was a liar. He was repulsed by her. When she finally revealed to him the extent of the torture his father inflicted on her, including carving Draco's initials on her abdomen, she thought he might react badly. She never imagined he would be repulsed, but he was. He was so repulsed that he went into the bathroom and vomited, and then he spent the rest of the night on the bathroom floor crying. She wanted to go to him all night long, but she didn't know what more she could say to him. She was not even sure if he was crying for her or himself. He may have felt guilt, or hate, or any number of emotions, but she would never know. As soon as she found out he was free to leave 12 Grimmauld Place, and that he was no longer under house arrest, she decided she did what she set out to do, so she left. She left before he did. She left without finding out why he was crying that night. She left thinking he hated her. Moreover, and most of all, she left thinking she would never see him again.
To think that she was on the verge of making love to him just a few nights before she told him the truth. It would have been ten times worse if she had done that. Thank goodness, Harry came into Draco's room and stopped Hermione from making perhaps the biggest mistake of her life.
She went back to the window and he was gone. Thank goodness. She sat down on her couch and turned on her television. She had missed having a telly at Harry's house. She had her books, but sometimes it was nice to get lost in an old movie, or a simple comedy. Someone was ringing her buzzer. She was almost afraid to answer. It must be him. He must not have gone. She let it ring for a moment longer, then got up and answered.
"May I help you?" she asked. She tried to sound nonchalant. No one answered. Maybe he left. She said, "Is anyone down there?"
She suddenly heard Draco's voice. He said, "Granger, it's me, Malfoy, let me in."
She felt a sudden wave of anxiety. She thought it was Draco, but reality sank in, no, reality hit her upside the head with a club, when she actually heard his voice. She didn't speak. Maybe he would go away. As soon as she thought that, she knew how stupid the thought was. If she knew anything about Draco, she knew that he would not leave her door until he came to say what he wanted to say.