A/N: This is sort of a sequel to my other story 'From Afar'. I don't think its really necessary to read it first, but it might make more sense and it would be awesome it you would. :) Please read and review! constructive criticism is awesome! :D btw, this is told in Hermione's pov.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. If I did I would be doing better things with my life right now.
I See You
Draco Malfoy had always seemed untouchable. He never let people get too close to him. He even seemed to keep his closest friends at arms length, never letting people see who he really was. He was an unsolvable puzzle. People never saw enough of him to base each piece of the said puzzle on, so the pieces wouldn't fit together and create a full picture of the real Draco Malfoy. He always had an expressionless face, never letting his true emotions show. But I haven't always thought that.
When I first met him I thought he really was an arrogant, bossy, rude egotistic brat that he thought everyone worshiped. He wanted everyone to know his name and where he comes from. But around fourth year he seemed to change. His high and mighty manner changed to a seemingly poised calm, yet still above you. When we bickered his insults seemed half hearted and he didn't constantly look upon me with disgust. He seemed even more docile during fifth and, strangely, has barely talked to me this year.
Yet throughout all that time, I still hadn't found out what caused the change. What had caused the half-heartedness in his insults that he used to give me so freely? What had dulled the icy fire in his eyes? I still didn't know, even as I looked at him, hiding behind a stall in the girl's bathroom, crying his eyes out. He seemed anguished, like some had ripped his heart out and threw it in the mud, not caring what kind of pain it would cause him. As much as I disliked him, I couldn't help but feel for him. Whatever he was going through, it was causing him so much pain and I couldn't help but wonder what happened. What had he done to cause him so much grief? Surely he couldn't have done something so horrible. My curiosity getting the better of me (as always) I decided to approach him.
I started taking small, quiet steps towards him. When I close enough I gently laid a hand on his shoulder. As soon as my hand made contact with his soft shirt he whipped around lightning fast and grabbed my hand in a vice like grip, startling me and causing me to gasp.
"Granger." He said softly, eyes wide as if he had done something wrong. He let go of me immediately and took several steps back until he was pressed against the sink. His reaction had shocked me. I had been expecting him to yell at me to get out and throw a few insults at me for good measure. But instead he was looking at me as if I might slap him if he said anything more. Why?
"Malfoy." It sounded more like a question and my voice cracked slightly from the still present shock. "What are you doing?" I mentally slapped my self. What a stupid question! He seemed to think the same thing. "What do you think? Haven't you seen a sad person before? Merlin, Granger, I thought you were intelligent." And there it was again, that halfheartedness in his insults that I could never seem to get used to. Why does he hesitate? All these questions whirling on my head encouraged me to ask more.
"Why?" I asked quietly.
"Why did I think you were intelligent?" He replied, a look of confusion making its way on to his sad face.
"No, why are you crying?"
"Why would I tell you!" He snapped back.
"Maybe because I'll actually listen." That was actually true. There is a reason I get such good marks. I listen. I doubt his 'friends' would do the same. Crabbe and Goyle seem to have the attention span of a five year old, and we all know how Pansy is. She would just cling to him and fantasize about their 'relationship' that she deluded herself into thinking they had. Although I had to agree, he was very handsome.
He was quiet for a while, probably debating on weather or not he should talk. He eventually made his way over to a wall and leaned back against it. Slowly making his way to the ground, he seemed drained, most likely from the tears. He laid his head in his hands and spoke softly. "I can't tell you."
"Then tell me something else." I joined him on the floor, slowly to see if he would move away, but he didn't move.
"What would I tell you?"
"Anything you want." I said softly. I don't know why I was doing this. I should have just accepted that he wouldn't tell me and left it at that. Maybe it was because I would feel the same way in my first year. Feeling like people expect so much more from me because of where I come from and that everyone hated me. Our circumstances might be different but our feelings were somewhat the same. Whenever I told my mother of my troubles she would have me tell her something else to take my mind off the situation for a short while. That was what I was trying to do for him.
"How can you stand to be in the same room as me?" He had asked the shocking question out of the blue after a long while of pondering. His voice was laced with a mix of confusion and curiosity and I found myself stunned. I could ask him the same thing. After all he was the one always calling me a mudblood. But instead of answering his question with a question of my own, I decided to answer honestly with, "Because I know how you are feeling." Ignoring his disbelieving look, I continued. "It's a lot of pressure, having so many people expect so much and yet so little of you because of where you come from. You just want to crack under the pressure. I have felt like that all the time, especially during first year."
"How did you cope?"
"I found someone to confide in." I answered simply. "Someone you know you can trust to keep your secrets. For me it was my mother."
"But what if you're not allowed to confide?" He asked with a hint of what I thought was frustration in his voice. I honestly did not know how the answer to that question. How could someone carry so much weight on their shoulders and not have someone to share them with. It must be dreadful.
"You don't always have to spill your secrets," I thought suddenly, thinking of the other ways I have been comforted. "Just having someone tell its going to be all right and you could get through it could change your view of things drastically. Even being held by someone could make a difference." Acting a little on my own advice, I gently laid a hand on his shoulder. He didn't shove me or shrink away, but actually leaned into it. "See?" I asked gently. He nodded, slightly more relaxed.
"Can you tell me?" He whispered, looking directly into my eyes making me feel like my honey brown ones were clashing with his tear brimmed, ice ones. "That everything will be alright, I mean." I nodded hesitantly, a little uneasy with the thought of comforting my enemy. But as I uttered the comforting words I felt more and more at ease. After a while he even allowed me to wrap my arms around him and I let him cry freely into my shoulder. His broken sobs sounded like the most heartbreaking song and his tears were making a sad, slow, steady dance down his face.
I don't know how long we sat there, but it was long enough for me to think about the wonders and complexities of the broken man crying in my arms. With his mask out of the way, I had found someone felt something other than greed, anger and egotistical pride. I had found someone who could feel sadness and grief, longing and remorse. I wondered if he were given the opportunity, could he feel happiness and joy? Love maybe? I had gathered a few pieces of the strange puzzle that was Draco Malfoy, and I was longing to find more.
"I'm sorry" He said all of a sudden in between sobs. His voice was slightly muffled by my shoulder, but there was no mistaking the unexpected words spilling from his lips. "I'm sorry for all the times I've hurt you." That stunned me into silence for a short while. He sounded truly remorseful and I found myself tearing up a bit as well. He was crying even harder now and I found myself whispering into his ear, "I forgive you." I didn't know exactly right then if those three simple words were true, but he needed more than anything at that moment to hear them. I was sure I could bring myself to truly forgive him with time.
Once his heart-wrenching voice had stopped singing and his tears stopped making their lonely treks down his pale cheeks, I lifted his face, wiped off a few stray tears, and looked directly into his beautiful eyes. I decided to leave one last comforting thought with him before leaving. "Right now, at this moment, I don't see the Draco Malfoy who belongs to one of the most powerful and wealthiest puredlood families in the wizarding world, Nor do I see the Draco Malfoy who would tease me and insult my blood and my friends. Right now I see just Draco, with out all of the labels. I see the Draco who has so much expected of him, yet stays so strong. I see the Draco that despite his past wrong doings is able to feel remorse and deserves happiness… Right now I see you." And with one last stroke of his smooth face, I got up off the floor, and left him to ponder those last words alone.