Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 24

Hermione was disappointed. She knew the Weasleys wouldn’t take it well, but she’d hoped that her father-in-law would have been more comforting. He was usually quite quick to give people the benefit of the doubt… Snape, Lupin, even Mundungus. It made her a bit angry that this wasn’t the case now, but, of course, Arthur had spent a large part of his life chasing the Malfoys…

Hermione wondered if they would ever be able to accept Draco. The way things were going with Medusa didn’t bode well… But could she herself risk being frowned upon by family and friends all for Draco’s sake…? Was he truly worth it?

Seeds of doubt had been planted, by her parents, but mostly by the Weasleys… Draco’s parents didn’t really help either, nor did her feeling that Ron would hate knowing who she was with now… The man that could be raising their daughter… Was it fair towards Ron to have his child being raised by a former enemy?

“So it didn’t go too well….” Draco figured as he saw her face when she mentioned Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

“No, they’re having a hard time getting used to the idea… and they’re afraid for Rose’s sake…”

“What do they think I’m going to do? It’s not like I’m a cannibal or something…” he laughed.

But Hermione wasn’t in the mood for jokes.

“At least your parents took the news far better…” he tried to cheer her up.

It was Draco’s first time in Hermione’s own house. He liked how she had decorated the place and he felt strangely at home, even though it was a total different atmosphere to what he was used to. Wizard and Muggle things amicably adorned the room together. There was a television in the living room but also a Floo connection. Moving and still photographs were hanging in a collage on the wall.

“But that’s just because…” she faltered. “My parents don’t know half of the things that happened during the war…. I’ve filled them in on the things they absolutely needed to know… but nothing more. Obviously my scar… well, they could see it, so they know about that…”

“Your father did give me a bit of a talking to…” Draco admitted, “but I think I’ve managed to calm him a bit… Anyway he said you were allowed to make your own choices in any case…” Draco had marveled at that: his parents were the last people on earth to ever say something as outrageous as that!

“Yes, they’re like that. They’ve always raised me to be my own person…” Hermione smiled.

“So very different from what I’m used to…” Draco sighed. “I’ve heard that I need to represent the family name since the day I was born…”

“We’re both only children…” Hermione said thoughtfully, “carrying all our parents’ hopes by ourselves… So very opposite to Ron…”

“How do you mean?” Draco wondered, a bit upset that she mentioned Ron, but perhaps he needed to get used to that…

“Ron always felt like… It was hard to get his parents attention. Doing well would not be special, because his brothers had already done so… and even being a rebel had already been done by the twins…”

“And I was always picking on him…” Draco said.

“Yes, for precisely the things he hated the most…. Having to wear his brothers old clothes, having their old books, never anything new for himself… And Molly doted on Ginny, of course…”

“Do I hear a touch of…” Draco began carefully, “of resentment towards the great and wonderful Weasleys?”

“No… I don’t know…” Hermione sighed. “Not resentment per se but… I was something that played a pretty big role in Ron’s life… and hurt our relationship sometimes and his friendship with Harry too. Even Voldemort used it…”

Draco didn’t understand that last bit…

“How did the Dark Lord… I’m not sure what you’re getting at…”

Hermione hesitated… “Let’s just say that he could mess with people’s minds and he did so with Ron’s for a bit… Saying that his mother didn’t love him, wanted a girl instead… Saying that I was in love with Harry and not him…”

“And he believed that?”

“Eventually not… but it’s like… those things were his worst fears and Voldemort knew how to use them…”

“He was horrible…” Draco swallowed. “I was so… so afraid of him… Wandering about in our house and that horrible snake…. Sometimes I still feel as if he could turn up around a corner… laughing so manically and cold…”

“It must have been horrible having him so close all the time…”

Hermione remembered wearing the locket. The very locket that had affected Ron so much more than her and Harry… But living with Voldemort in your own house… Him watching your every move… It must have been hell on earth!

Draco shivered involuntary. “It was… yes.. And what was even worse… for me, I mean, was seeing my parents so out of control in their own home. Having someone else rule the scepter and him parading around…”

“For your father the most, I suppose…” Hermione wondered if that was one of the reasons Lucius’ portrait was so fierce. Him having lost that power once before and very determined not to lose it again…

“Do you think your parents will ever accept me?” she asked quietly. “In time?”

He took her hands in his. “I truly hope so… I know how much they love me… Perhaps they will see the good in you in time…”

“I hope so too..” Hermione sighed. “For Rose's sake as well…”

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