I know that I shouldn’t be here. Trust me, I know that more than anything. I shouldn’t be here. My brain, my body, every part of me was screaming at me telling me to leave before someone was to see me standing outside of this damn church like a pathetic fool. I couldn’t walk away though, I don’t think I could even if I had tried, my body felt like it was forever stuck in this space for eternity; watching that church where she was inside with him saying ‘I Do.’ I had no recognition of what was going on around me, I had tunnel vision and nothing else mattered.
That church must have been her idea; she would have wanted something like this. Just like she wanted him, not me. I felt like I was going to be sick everywhere thinking about it, there was a banging in my chest as my heart felt like it was trying to jump out from inside of me. My forehead broke a slick sweat, which I whipped away with the end of my soft black sleeve.
On the list of things I shouldn’t be doing, this was rather high on that list. Sometimes I couldn’t help but think if there is in someway, somehow, different realities. Like maybe somewhere in a different reality, a different version of myself could have been with her, could have given her all I had without this fear in my heart and this weight on my shoulders.
I am well aware though that this is my reality, and this is all I got in this life; me standing outside of a church wishing that I hadn’t of been such a coward my whole life. Wishing that I wasn’t a Malfoy with their high expectations of what is appropriate and right, and wishing that this dark mark on my pale wrist had never been anything but a terrible, terrible nightmare
. In another reality, maybe it would be me inside of that church with her, or at least maybe in that reality I would at least be someone able to take the girl I fancied on a bloody first date. No, that would never be the case. In this reality Hermione Granger represented everything I could never truly have. Maybe at one point I could have had a chance but every year at Hogwarts I continued to ruin any shred of that hope…
I remember the first time that I saw her, standing in the train with her head held high and her book bag hanging from her shoulders, a book already in hand. Her bushy brown hair framing her innocent face and god, those eyes, those smart deep brown eyes that look on with such curiosity and eagerness to drown in all the knowledge that they can find.
I remember a family friend two years older nudging me in the arm with his elbow, ‘filthy mud bloods’ he whispered to me as he nodded his head in the girls direction. I remember wincing and turning my head away from her quickly, not wanting anyone to notice that I was paying attention to her. I had heard that word on so many different occasions from my family and everyone I had ever been around. However this time it felt different when it was her who it was being directed at. I didn’t even know her. I didn’t know her name, I didn’t know what house she would be in, I knew nothing about her.
All I knew was that I had to fight back the urge to just take one more look at her.
From that moment I knew she was untouchable and out of reach, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to watch her. I watched her for years after that. I craved the days we would have classes with Gryffindor, I would try to take seats where I wouldn’t be too close to her, but close enough so that I could at least she her out of the corner of my eye. I would feel impressed as she answered questions correctly in class, questions I definitely wasn’t sure of myself, watching her become a better and better witch every year but knowing that I could never show that I thought that.
I’d get jealous when I saw her hanging around Potter and Weasley, watching her pay attention to them, laugh with them. These were feelings I didn’t understand you see. I hadn’t grown up in an overly loving home; I had never had these feelings explained to me. I suffered through them in silence, hating the fact that of all people at Hogwarts it was her that I dreamed of at night.
During second year my heart stopped when I heard that Hermione had been petrified. My fellow Slytherins had laughed about it, living with no worries that it could happen to them. I said cruel things too, anything to keep that heat off of myself. I knew she was staying in the hospital wing, stiff and frozen in time, I knew it would be stupid to go near there. However, late at night I was in bed, awake, in a hot sweat, and it was like my body started to move though my head told it to stop.
Before I knew it, I was sneaking out of the dorms and through the halls until I made my way to the hospital wing. I could hear Madam Pomfrey snoring through the crack in the doorway, obviously not very on the job behaviour. My feet lingered on the ground for a moment, my last chance to get out of there before I got myself into something that I couldn’t get myself out of. However the curiosity was itching at every inch of me terribly and I had to see her just once to make sure she really was there. I needed that reassurance. I crept through the doors through that crack, and quietly tip toed my way to her bed.
She was so perfect looking. I remember thinking it was odd to see her so quiet for once. Her hair was still bushy, all over her pillow in such imperfection. Her right hand was still, frozen in the air, I hesitated for what felt like an eternity with my own hand hovering above hers. I stuck out one finger and ran it smoothly and tenderly over her pale hand, drawing lines and circles on her skin. It was the first time I had been so close to her, and I’ve desired it ever since. The very next year that same hand I had been drawing shapes on punched me square in the face. A bloody good swing too. I most likely deserved that one.
It was in my fourth year when I had had a first real conversation with her without my snide remarks and cruel tactics. I had been watching her whenever I got the chance at the Yule Ball, watching her enter with that fool Victor Krum, watching them dance together, seeing one hand on her hip and the other in her hand, the hand that I had drawn those shapes on first. Then I continued to watch as she fought with Weasley, watched them bicker and him storm off leaving her alone on the stairwell with her tears falling down her face and all over her beautiful dress.
At that point of the night most of my slytherin comrades had wondered off back to our dorms, there was a few people sitting on the stairs near Hermione fighting the urge to close their eyes. I watched from behind a corner as she got up, patting her face dry with her hands as she breathed in deeply, her chest moving up and down so softly. She was even lovely when she cried. I watched as she walked away from the few scattered people around her, my brain got jumbled as I stood there conflicted over what to do.
Then I did it, I pushed away the fear for a moment, and I forgot about who I was and what the Malfoy name meant. I forgot that she had hated me for years and with good reason. I forgot all of this and followed her. It took me a moment to spot her once I turned into the abandoned hallway, but I saw her pink dress peaking around the corner. She was sitting on a bench, and I noticed as I slowly approached that her eyes were closed and her breath steady. I was close enough to smell her sweet perfume; I breathed it in like it was something beautiful that I was only going to get one chance at experiencing.
Then her eyes popped open quickly, her eyes widened and she gasped a little at the sight of me.
“Malfoy?” she questioned with surprise after she had caught her breath, “what do you want?” she sounded exhausted, like she wasn’t in the mood for my cruel humour and snide remarks.
I didn’t know what to say, I had never really had a conversation with Hermione. At least not like this, not just her and me without my friends laughing or her friends glaring at me with disgust.
“Are…are you okay, Granger?” I remember asking her the softest that I could, and it came out even gentler then I had expected.
I had seen her eyebrows go up at this, “what do you care?” her voice had been hesitant, careful. Guarded.
I sat down next to her carefully as if I was scared she would run away from me if I made any sudden movements. “You shouldn’t cry,” I had blurted out without thinking, looking at her quick to make sure I hadn’t embarrassed her.
Her lips had twitched at the corners a bit – that part of the story I have definitely never forgotten after all these years. I took that almost-smile as maybe a guard being taken down a little, and without thinking I kept talking, “you are too beautiful to cry” I was starring at her at that point, and her eyes had looked up into mine. They were warm and thoughtful, just like I had remembered thinking when I saw her on the train our first day.
“What?” she had whispered, “Malfoy, why are you being so…weird, and not yourself. We’ve never had a civil conversation” she looked hesitant again, as if I was up to something.
“I’m…I’m not always what people expect of me. I’m not always the Malfoy they want me to be. Sometimes I’m just…Draco” I felt so stupid as the words fumbled out of my mouth. So vulnerable, I felt my body aching being close to her but my brain was telling me to get out before I said more things I could regret.
She looked at me carefully then, her face softening, “maybe you should let people see that other side of you. Maybe you’d be a lot happier,” she had said carefully.
She looked down at her hands, “I better get back to dorms” she said suddenly. I didn’t say a word as she got up and walked away from me. Then as she was about to turn the corner she looked back at me and gave me a half smile, curiosity in her eyes.
I think about that day all those years ago quite often, thinking about what could have been different. Maybe I should have taken her advice that night and shown more of the side of me that I wanted to show so badly. That side of me was the most deserving and most redeemable part of my soul, and I never showed it to anyone. I hide it away; a life and love wasted inside of me because I was weak and couldn’t turn my back on my life and those terrible expectations of what my family had put in place about what it meant to be a pure blood and a Malfoy.
The next years after that at Hogwarts were filled with me continuing to try and hide my feelings, pushing them down and instead bringing up anger and resentment for what I could not have. What I knew I couldn’t ever have. I deflected my feelings, I hated those feelings, and I truly hated them. They took over my soul and my heart, my brain.
I dated other girls that I didn’t truly feel connected to, I said cruel things about Hermione behind her back and to her face, calling her a mud blood, making her feel like she was nothing. She never again saw the Draco that she saw that night in that hallway during the Yule Ball. I was a coward, and with every day I felt further and further away from the possibility that she would ever see me as anything more than a just a sad pathetic Malfoy with no compassion and feelings.
My heart continued to die year after year, the fear in
my heart making me darker and cold, my soul loosing every part of itself that I
had once liked about myself. The worst thing I’ve ever done was a few years
after, watching my despicable Aunt torture Hermione in my living room. The same
room where I had taken my first steps. I remember crying my heart out when I
was alone that night, feeling lost and alone. Hating every part of this life
and what I had let it turn into.
Now here I am today, standing outside of this church thinking of all of that. Thinking of all the things I’ve done that had lead me to this point, thinking of missed opportunities and chances to be a better man for her, and for myself. It’s amazing to think about how different a life could have been if you just make different choices. Like I said Hermione Granger represented everything I couldn’t have, and everything I could never be.
As that church bell rang loud from in front of me I hide behind a buildings corner, peaking out from behind it, wondering why I was still here. Then I saw her, she was dressed all in white lace with her brown beautiful curls falling past her shoulders, her smile wide and beaming as she laughed with Ron Weasley, holding his hand as they ran out of the church, their family and friends surrounding them and throwing different coloured flowers in their direction. I had never seen her, or anybody for that matter, look so happy and so alive. She was so in love with him, only an idiot couldn’t see that. I was so in love with her though; I was so in love with her still after all of these years of silence and loneliness.
My feelings for her reminded me of my humanity, reminded me that I could feel more than just darkness and sadness in my life. My feelings for her were the best part of myself – it’s just too bad no one would ever be able to see that part of Draco Malfoy.