Hello My Dearest Readers,
This update may be a shock or a pleasant surprise? I hope it is a pleasant surprise. It has been four years. I'm so sorry. I never meant to leave it hanging like this, although it's comforting to read from some reviews that they like how the story stood at chapter 23.
It has been so long and yet I never quite forgot this story. I am so amazed at the reviews that came in the last four years, always reminding me and pleading for me to finish this story. This story does have an ending and it deserves one, doesn't it?
I'm a little afraid since I'm so much older now and so rusty in writing. But really, because of the heartfelt reviews, I shall try my best to update this story. So, Hello, Yes, I'm Alive and I hope you are doing well too!
P.S. To make up for the really long wait, I wrote the chapter as long as I could.
Chapter 24: A Few Seconds of Eternity
Harry treated me quite coolly in the first few days since I officially "returned" to Gryffindor. He never told Ron about what he had seen that night… about Draco… and Ron was too raptured with Alena to notice that Harry and me were not quite the same.
Although I did want to explain to Harry about… it all, I was secretly relieved that he did not broach the topic. Draco, the new He shall not be named. My feelings for Draco was not just a knot in my hair, but a wound so tender I didn't even dare to feel its edges.
The curse that held Draco and me within a 3 m circumference had now changed to one in which I could not bear to be near him within a 3 m circumference. I made swift turns in corridors every time I spied a blonde hair in the crowd and my heart lurched every time I felt him near.
I have not seen Draco's face for a week, but still I can see his face when I close my eyes. His presence is that marked in my head. He is always there in my mind's eye.
I sometimes wonder if this is Draco's last kindness to me. By avoiding me as much as I avoid him. But I laughed, because not only is that foolish thinking, it is wishful thinking – that my presence actually affects him.
Harry and I sit quietly at the table in Gryffindor's common room, supposed to do our assignments, but our heads were both lost in our own thoughts.
Harry raised his head suddenly. "I hope Alena likes the present Ron got her."
Ron was not with us as he was busily being a dutiful boyfriend. "I'm sure she does," my voice had an envious tone I could not hide.
"Do you envy Ron and Alena?" Harry asked.
"You don't?" I asked back with a smile.
Harry didn't answer but gave me a thoughtful look. I smiled and said, "Perhaps it's because you still haven't met love, or more likely you don't desire romantic love now."
"And you do?" Harry asked.
"Yes. I want love. I want simple love. Simple ordinary love!" I smiled. "So simple and so ordinary, no one else would notice or want. Like a glass of water. A useful household object. I want a love so daily and so necessary."
Harry didn't say anything, so I continued. "The kind of love I can tell my best friends about… like it's the best thing that happened to me… the kind of love that doesn't have to be a secret."
Harry looked deep into my eyes. "Was he that important to you?"
I look into Harry's eyes, just as deep, just as sincere. "He still is."
Harry's face recoiled slightly from the shock.
I reached out for his hand and he did not recoil this time. "But Harry, you and Ron, are just as important. Or maybe more so. I cannot imagine my life without you guys and I don't want to. Him, on the other hand, I cannot imagine a life with him."
Harry looked like he wanted to ask more for a moment but decided not to. He patted my hand. "I'll always be here, Hermione."
I laughed and laughed. And in that moment of laughter, I momentarily forgot about the sadness. The sadness of loving someone who could never love you back, the sadness of loving someone you could never trust, the sadness of loving.
"Thank you, Harry," I smiled and really meant it.
Still, nothing could have prepared me for what happened the next day.
Draco got a new girlfriend.
Everyone thinks Tiffany is my new girlfriend. The stupidity that surrounds me is overwhelming. Why would I ever like a girl who "customizes" her robes with lace and swarovski crystals so that it will be fit for a princess?
She is only a tool. The only reason I can stand her fluttering (yes, fluttering, can that bloody girl stop fanning herself with her pink handkerchief every five seconds? Does she think she is a butterfly?) is because she, slytherin pure blood at that, is a muggle boy band lover. To be more precise, she has a huge collection of useless muggle paraphernalia – all the romantic movies, love songs, love poems – everything muggles associate and use to get love.
Tiffany tries to stand closer to me and I glare at her. She flutters away slightly. She tells me yesterday she worries that my fan club tried to poison her. I silently pray for them to succeed.
Just like the past seven days since the spell broke, I spied Hermione silently from across the Dining Hall. I do so only for a few seconds each time so she won't ever notice, so I can't hurt her more, if even for just a few seconds.
"Eugh!" Ron cries and almost spits out his bacon. "It's His and Her Dark Majesties."
I turn to catch what Ron was referring to. It was Him…. And Her… How can anyone not spot her? Her robes even glitters. Her expression looks devoid of intelligence, but there is no missing it – the adoration. She practically feeds on his every word.
It hurts. I want to look away. I wish she wasn't so pretty. But as if the world's orbit was flowing in my direction, His eye catches my eye.
It hurts. I will myself to turn away. But I cannot.
A few seconds of eternity passes and he turns away first.
I never imagined my heart could hurt even more. But it could.
Harry has been watching me. He can see my hurt. Before I could muster an I'm alright, he grabs my hand and pulls me out of the dining hall.
"I'm alright, Harry, I'm alright, I'm alright," I said repeatedly as if I could actually become alright if I chant it quick and often enough.
Harry pulls me into an empty classroom. "Ron must be freaking out now!" I cried.
Harry hugs me. "You can cry, Hermione, you can cry. I have been wanting to tell you that for the longest time."
I am slightly surprised by the hug, but also comforted. "Thank you, Harry, really. I'm ok, we better go back…"
Harry says seriously and softly in my ear. "Hermione, let me be your useful household object."
I freeze. I beat Harry loudly on his back. "Don't be silly. You don't like me, Harry. Not that way."
Harry pulls back and looked seriously at me. "Not now, but I think I can Hermione. I believe I can."
I look at Harry, almost resigned. His face is so serious and sincere. I cannot fault him for his lofty thoughts – he is so used to rescuing people. He really wants to save me. I am almost touched by his beautiful puppy dog eyes.
I am lost. Is it wrong to feel this way? To want this pain to stop? To want to be saved?
"I don't know, Harry," I say as I lean my head on his shoulder. "I don't know anything anymore."
When it comes to love, even a genius will fail.