Desire is Not Weakness

How does Draco sort out his feelings for Hermione Granger with an impending war? Students at Hogwarts are on edge, but will he be able to contain himself?

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6. Break

That night, I sat, watched Hermione cry, and realized that there was nothing I could do to comfort her.  My words dissolved before me whenever I made an attempt to cheer her up.  It happened to be a Hogsmeade weekend, and the next morning when I walked to the grounds I searched for someone to spend the day with, hoping it would give me a distraction from what I was tasked with today.  When all of the students finally entered the village, each making our own paces, the crowd dispersed.  I noticed Lavender dragging Weasel-bee into Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, the haunt of happy couples, and scanned the area for Potter, who evidently chose not to make an appearance.  

Pansy was supposedly avoiding me, but every time I turned around, I noticed a small silhouette slip behind a shop or stand, only adding to the anxiety of the day.  I watched as my steps made imprints in the snow and were covered quickly by the heaps of snow that was falling.  Slipping my hands into my pockets, I continued to walk about, unsure of exactly where the day would take me.

“Draco,” a soft voice spoke, causing me to jump.  Half-expecting it to be Pansy, I was relieved to be greeted by the soft brown bushy locks that belonged to none other than Hermione.

“Hermione!  Isn’t Potter -”

“Professor Snape gave Harry detention.  His Hogsmeade privileges were revoked for the month,” she said, shaking her head.

“Oh,” I said, attempting to shake the heavy weight of today’s task.

“Should I go?” she asked, innocently frowning.

“My apologies for being rude, I’m just a bit surprised you’re here.”

“Oh?” she said, slightly confused.  “So, where did you plan on going today?”

Trying to continue the conversation, Draco stumbled over his words, “I didn’t have a plan for the day, I was roaming, attempting to lose Pansy,” I said, nodding to the stand that currently concealed her behind me.

“I was just on my way to the Three Broomsticks, would you like to come along?” Hermione smiled.

“Yes,” I spoke, failing to remember that it was where I had planned to send-off a cursed necklace to Professor Dumbledore.

Skeptical, Hermione asked, “Are you sure that it’s alright?”

I just walked forward and kept my head down as we entered the pub, opening my pocket to look at the unprepared necklace.  Completely harmless at this point.  The warm air rushed toward me as we entered and I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks.  Hermione chose a table and I pulled out a chair for her, something I could always remember my mother telling me to do in any formal setting.  Hanging my coat around my chair, I sat down opposite the brunette and began fiddling with my hands until our waiter came to greet us.

“A Butterbeer, please, with a bit of ginger,” Hermione ordered first.

“I’ll have the same,” I said, eyes returning to my hands.  When the waiter dropped off our drinks, I simply stared at the foam sitting atop the beverage.  Losing my composure, little by little, I finally asked, “Granger, why exactly are you here?”

Already having composed an answer for this, she spat, “Anything to get away from Ronald and Lavender.”

“Still that bad?” I snorted.

“Worse.  I swear, every time I even glance, they’re snogging.  Even Harry can’t get in a word,” she rolled her eyes, causing me to chuckle.  When a few Ravenclaws from a nearby table began to stare, I passed it off as a cough, and looked down again, crossing my arms this time.  “You aren’t comfortable with this, are you?” she asked.

“Doesn’t matter,” I waved it off, gruffly.  Looking down once again, I thought for a while as I stared into my drink.  “You could have him if you wanted.  What more could you want, Granger?” she looked up at me suddenly, almost in a state of shock, and shook her head as she looked down again.

“I want a new start too, Draco,” she said bluntly.  I didn’t look at her, but I knew exactly what she was thinking.  “If you think no one has forgiven you, then you’re wrong,” she said, shaking her head at me, looking up again.  I picked up my head and stared into her eyes as she said, “You don’t know how hard they wanted to forgive you.  Harry has, you just have to show him that there’s a reason he went on that instinct.  I have,” she said, dropping her gaze.  “Long ago.”

I attempted to reconnect our eyes, but she refused to look at me.  I cast the necklace from my pocket into the nearest waste bin.  I stood from my chair, not prepared to leave, simply unsure of what to do.  Hermione stood and met my position.

“Why did you forgive me?” I asked, looking down as well.

“There isn’t a person I know that deserves the isolation that I know you’re in,” she said, softly.  For a moment, I was almost sure she knew what I was going through.  A part of me hoped I was right, the other part hoped she had no insight into the shameful piece of me I wished to conceal.  “I want to help, Draco,” she said, lightly touching my wrist, causing me to double back.

“You have to stop the act … you have to stop … fixing people,” I snapped, lightening my voice as it began to fail me.  “Because … you’re just breaking them, and they’re going to end up falling,” I said, looking away from her, knowing I would never be able to look her in the eye again.  “And I’m -” I began.  ‘Terrified’, ‘starting to’, ‘falling’, all things I wanted to say.  “Perhaps I have.”

“Draco,” she said softly, turning me towards her, forcing me to look at her.  “I tire of trying to hold things together that refuse to be held; trying to control what cannot be controlled.”

“I am tired of denying myself what I want in fear of breaking something I cannot fix,” I countered.

“It will break no matter what we do.  I can’t change that, but I can do all I can to mend it.  I don’t want to ‘fix’ anything, I want to be there.  I want to be there for the times that we see when things are looking up; the times that I can see I’ve done all I can, and that it was more than enough,” she finished, not breaking eye contact.

I realized that she was more than right.  You can’t fix someone, but you can mend them.  She was a silver lining.  In my mind when she’s not right there beside me, I go crazy, because I want to be there, with her, and here … satisfaction feels like a distant memory.

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