All characters belong to JKR
Summary: Was it more painful to remember or to forget? Draco Malfoy wanted nothing more than to forget how to feel. Hermione Granger wanted to try to remember what it felt like to feel. Their pasts were intertwined and were the reason for their ambiguous feelings, and yet perhaps they could both help each other, with feelings unknown. Dark subject matter, deals with rape and suicide.
A Feeling Unknown
Anne M. Oliver
Chapter 1: Breathe in, Breathe Out:
Breathe in, breathe out. It was a pity she had to remind herself to breathe, but she felt as if the walls were caving in and she was suffocating, and the only thing that broke her from her despair was to remind herself to breathe in, breathe out. She took her own advice, taking a deep breath in, and another one out. She repeated the action once more. Soon, she felt calm enough to enter the house.
She hadn't been to this house in three years. It wasn't that she had been too busy. She kept promising that she would come soon, but she hadn't, and now it was too late. She wouldn't have come now, but she really didn't have a choice in the matter. She walked in the foyer and noticed that not much had changed. The same grandfather clock, which chimed every hour, was still in the corner. The walls up the stairs were still lined with pictures of her childhood. She took a step forward, but faltered. She wasn't sure she could do this alone, yet whom else did she have, but herself.
She walked into the living room and looked at the floor. She wondered where they found her. Was it there, by the couch? Perhaps over there by the fireplace. Hermione looked at the fireplace. Her trophies and ribbons adored the mantel. Her mother was proud of her. Hermione wished she felt the same pride for herself that her mother felt for her.
She stopped in the narrow doorway, which led to the other sitting room. When Hermione was younger, this was her favourite room. The telly was still in the corner. Her father's chair still by the wall. She walked through this room to the dining room. She opened the pocket doors, and gasped. Somehow, and she wasn't sure how, but somehow she knew this was where they found her. She turned quickly to run out of the room, a strangled cry on her lips. She ran all the way outside, and into a strong set of arms. She didn't even care to whom the arms belonged. She just needed someone to hold her. Anyone.
Her mother was dead, and it was all Hermione's fault.
When Draco Malfoy got to work this evening, it seemed like a typical enough day. Nothing special. He was already bored. He almost took the day off work, but at the last moment, he decided to go in. He knew that Potter was on his honeymoon, and that Weasley was off sick. That meant they would be short handed. He hadn't been an Auror long. Not as long as Harry and Ron. He felt he had a lot to prove to the others. After all, old prejudices died hard.
A bloke by the name of Timmons snuck his head in the door and said, "Is Potter here?"
"Honeymoon," Draco said.
"Are you the only Auror here?" he asked.
"Well, besides you, I suppose I am. Most of the others get the comfortable day jobs. What's up, Timmons?"
"There's been a murder," the younger man said.
Draco stood. "Do we know who?"
"We need Potter," Timmons said.
"Bloody hell, man, just tell me. I'm the senior Auror on duty," Draco said, frustrated as hell at the lack of respect. It was nothing new, but it still frustrated him.
"A woman by the name of Dr. Evelyn Granger," Timmons said.
Granger? Could it be a relative of… before Draco could finish his thought, the other man said, "It's the mother of Hermione Granger. A Wizard killed her. We have to get there before the Muggle Police."
At the crime scene, Draco and two other Aurors searched for clues, while another Auror called their contact at the Muggle Police. Hell yes, she was killed by a Wizard. There was no denying that. One only had to look at the body to know that. Besides, there was a witness. Apparently, the gardener walked by the window, saw a flash of red light through the windowpane, ran up to look in, and saw the killer disapparate.
The gardener was a squib. It was almost too perfect. If he had been a Muggle, they would have all sorts of additional problems. As it was, problem number one was to tell Hermione Granger that her mother had been killed.
Draco walked into the living room and picked up a picture of Hermione from the side table. She was a teacher now. She apparently worked for a Muggle University. His thumb grazed the frame surrounding the photo.
His mind wandered to a time when they were young.
It was the final battle. Three Death Eaters cornered her. He didn't want to remember this nasty little memory, but seeing her picture forced the memory to the front of his mind. Thankfully, the sound of Timmons calling his name from the other room broke his concentration, and he forced the memory back down.
He walked toward the other man and he said, "The Muggle Detective wants to know if we want to tell the daughter, since she's a witch."
Draco didn't want to tell her. Damn Potter and his damn honeymoon. From what he had heard, Hermione had all but given up magic. He knew that occasionally Potter received a letter from her, but he also knew no one had seen her in years.
No, he didn't want to tell her. Nevertheless, he would.
Draco and Timmons, along with the Muggle detective, decided to give Hermione some time alone in the house. Her mother's body had already been removed. It was a damn cold night, and snow was starting to fall. He decided it wouldn't hurt if he stepped inside the foyer, for a bit of warmth. He approached the house just as Hermione ran outside and straight into his arms. He held the hysterical woman and he didn't know what to do, or how to proceed. He was never good at comforting people. He patted her back awkwardly. Earlier that evening, when he went to tell her about her mother's death, it was raining, almost sleeting, and he drove up to her house in a car, since she lived in a Muggle neighborhood.
He rang the doorbell. A moment later, he saw movement in the window by the door. He knew she had looked out. He knew she had to recognize him. It was painstakingly cold, and he just wanted to get the deed over with already. Open the door, Granger, he willed. Open the door.
"Malfoy?" she asked. She sounded concerned already. Hell yes she would be concerned. She hadn't seen him for years. Did she even know he was an Auror?
"Is something wrong? Why are you here? Is it Harry or Ron?" she asked.
Yes, she knew he was an Auror.
He said, "May I come in, Gr, Hermione?" He almost said, 'Granger'. He should have. Just the fact that he used her given name caused her face to drain of all blood. She took two deep breaths, almost as if she was willing herself to breathe in and out, and she opened the door to him.
Then he told her.
Then her world changed forever. Again.
Now wrapped in his arms, really, a stranger's arm, trying to seek comfort there, she felt lost and confused. Why would anyone want to kill her mother? Her mother was a good person. A lovely person. A well respected member of the community, whom Hermione hadn't seen in over three years.
"I don't know what to do," she said.
"I don't know what to tell you to do," Draco said, holding her.
"Where do I go? Should I go home? Do you need me here? I can't stay here at her house, knowing she was killed here. I have to call a funeral parlor. I don't know how to plan a funeral. I was young when my father died. What do I do?"
He stroked her hair, and all he could say to comfort her was, "I don't know," not that those were comforting words. He continued to stroke her hair, until her crying subsided. "You need to stay close for a few days," Draco said, finally going into Auror mode. "We need to question you a bit. If you want to go home, that's fine. We can come there to speak with you."
"I don't want to be alone," she said sadly.
"Do you have anywhere else you can go?" he asked. Please say yes. Please say yes.
"No," she said.
He was afraid she was going to say that. Without asking permission, and without regards to the fact that they were in a Muggle neighborhood, Draco disapparated them both on the spot. Hermione seemed unaware when he removed his arms from her body and said, "Home, sweet home."