Love Is The Darkest Art
A Dramione fanfic serial
Hermione hated this. Having to make a swift decision what to do. But no matter what intimate moments she and Draco had shared, her conscience wouldn’t allow her to stand by and watch him run down Neville for God-knows-what. And so she threw a spell at him. Maybe a little too hard, she realized the moment it left her wand and flipped him to the ground on his back.
The wind was knocked out of Draco, but he jumped back up quickly with wand ready. He pointed it at Hermione, his face red with anger. Pain was shooting up his back. His mind went in wild circles of why. His hand shook and it was difficult just steadying his wand to retaliate. But he couldn’t bring himself to utter a return spell. It wasnt the fact that both Harry and Ron had their wands drawn and pointing at him too. No, he couldn’t because it was Hermione.
Mere minutes ago he’d confessed his love for her. Now she was firing curses his way. And for why? She should have known he wasn’t really going to attack Neville. It was all for show. To keep Ron and Harry from suspecting anything.
His eyes welled up in tears as he stared back at “his girl” in disbelief. His lips trembled along with his wand hand. But before the tears could fully come, he ran. Not towards Neville and Luna, but to the forest. The forest students weren’t supposed to go, and yet he and Hermione had gone, relishing moments inside a tent. Harry and Ron had entered too, searching for their missing friend, but Draco knew today he would go in alone and no one would look for him. No one cared. Certainly not Granger.
He didn’t look back as he fled. If he had done so, he knew he’d stop. He would show something of himself no one had ever seen. The pain and loneliness he’d endured his whole life. The hopelessness of trying to live up to the standards of others. The emptiness of the soul that Hermione had filled. Now that filled emptiness was pouring out of him with his tears. And instead of contentment, questions now took root inside. Questions that spoke to him in the same way Voldemort’s whispers spake to the death eaters in the dead of night.
Into the forest he went, knowing his destination before he even arrived. A spell may have rendered it unseen to anyone else, but he remembered where the tent was and how to remove the charm so that he could clamber inside and away from the cruelties of the world.
Inside, he curled up in a ball and finally let his cry out. It was born of hurt from both his humiliation and the rising thought that Hermione had never cared like she let on. This nagging, cruel voice from within tempted him with the idea she’d been playing him all along.
‘She’s used you,’ it whispered. ‘To find out what the other side was doing. She’s probably telling Harry and Ron everything about you. Laughing about everything the two and you have done. Then they’ll tell Dumbledore or whomever. And then everyone, all of Hogwarts, will laugh at you.’
He held his hands over his ears but the voices still came, not as audible sounds but unheard thoughts that invaded his conscious, lulling him into believing the worst about the most wonderful girl he’d known.
Hermione lay in her bed, curled up on one side. She’d told other girls in the dorm she wasn’t feeling good and wouldn’t be attending any of her late afternoon classes. She knew it wouldn’t go unnoticed and someone of authority would eventually show up to question her ‘illness’. But for the time being she didn’t care. She was too busy beating herself up over what had transpired out by Hagrid’s hut. She should have left Draco alone, let him do whatever to Neville. She shouldn’t have used such a harsh spell and sent it to him so hard. Some spells and charms had a way of getting out of hand if you didn’t pull them back a little. But she hadn’t pulled back at all and it had hurt Draco in more ways than one. She’d seen it in his eyes. The hurt. The anguish. He had to know she didn’t mean to hurt him. That she just wanted him not to hurt anyone else to hide their love affair. But that look on his face told her he hadn’t understood. That old cloudy darkness seemed to wash over him and she wondered if after everything they’d shared, whether she could repair the damage done. She’d never viewed Draco as a fragile boy before, but after seeing into his true heart and hearing his own tender confession of love, she dreaded what all this was going to do to them both.
She’d watched him run into the forest alone. None of them had followed. Harry and Ron congratulated her on the defensive spell, despite her insertion that it was too much. “Who cares?” Ron had said. “About time Malfoy gets a dose of his own medicine.”
She didn’t feel that way though. She wanted to run after Draco and tell him she was sorry, but she stayed rooted to the spot. If she took off after him, her friends would know something was up. They would question why she first defended Neville then wanted to tearfully apologize to his would be attacker. Because of the antagonizing way Draco and Hermione had treated each other in the past, anyone would be able to tell they had softened their feelings now. And as much as she cared about him, she knew they had to stay a secret. She could tell no one about things she and Draco had done. It would create so much division among her friends. And here they were, on the verge of rebelling against the school, fraternizing with The Order Of The Phoenix, preparing to defend themselves against the return of Voldemort and all those on his side. She couldn’t jeopardize that. All that work would be for nothing.
She cared for Draco deeply. This she knew. But could she trust him? Wasn’t he a Slytherin to the core? The sorting hat put him in that house for a reason. Perhaps it knew he was a danger to Hermione and her friends. Even then the magical world was trying to keep them separate.
She let her tears come. They dotted her pillow like raindrops collecting in a puddle. Oh, how she wished things were different. She wished they didn’t have to hide, that she could shout his name from the highest gable of Hogwarts. She wished she’d never uttered the spell today that threatened to ruin them. With this she thought of Draco alone in the forest and she longed to go to him. Wrap her arms around him, apologize until there were no more tears. Kiss his beautiful face and promise never to hurt him again. But she did none of this. She couldn’t. All she could do was lay in bed and cry.
“Hermione,” a voice whispered and she lifted her head to it. Standing beside her bed was a pretty girl, tall with ginger hair and a genuine look of concern on her face. “I heard you weren’t feeling well,” she said. “I brought you some chocolate frogs.”
Hermione managed to muster a smile. “Thank you Ginny,” she said. She sat up and accepted the package the girl was handing to her.
“Nothing cheers me up like chocolate,” Ginny replied. Then she looked at Hermione with a knowing look. “I suspect you’re not physically ill.”
Ron Weasley’s sister sat down beside her. She was younger than Hermione, but she seemed to be very astute when it came to boys. After all, Ginny had crushed on Harry Potter for years, but had recently given up on that notion. Maybe Hermione needed to do that with Draco.
“What do you suspect then?” Hermione asked, taking a bite of the candy. She pulled the included trading card from the package and looked at it. “Oh, that’s just great.”
Looking at the face on the card, it was Dorcas Wellbeloved. Famous witch and Founder of Society For Distressed Witches.
She looked at Ginny with a disgusted frown.
Ginny smiled however. “Well, I suspect you’re distressed.”
Hermione couldn’t help but laugh a little. “You think?”