Chapter 1 : Miracle
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There are no miracles
and this is no miraculous life
I savour hate as much as I crave love because
I'm just a twisted guy
~ God & Satan, Biffy Clyro
If sunlight could turn water into diamonds, I'd be swimming in them. Every golden bit of water refracts against the lake's surface and leaves blinding shards of light. The water is icy cold and the chill goes bone deep. Below the shimmering surface the water is dark, with only the occasional glimmer of fish scales to gauge the depth. The land surrounding the lake is distant and crowded with trees. It's a place to clear thoughts, and that's why I'm here. That's why I'm not fighting the cold that stabs at my flesh like icy needles. I'm here to escape - escape the world, the universe, this magic, escape everything even myself. Perhaps then, I'll be able to escape her. I've come this far to escape her image, but still it clings hard. It rises up in the still water, shining in the sunlight and calling my name.
"Draco, help me, please." Again and again she calls, her shrill voice drawing me closer. But swimming towards her image will only send shuddering ripples through the still waters and shatter her image. So I stay, listening to her calls but unable to answer. Always unable to answer. Always out of reach. Just as she had been back at the manor, just beyond help. Or maybe she wasn't, that's the thought that plagues me most. Could I have reached out to her?
When she had first come she had been so defiant, so very strong, a Gryffindor to her very core. Seeing her had scared me more than any curse could, seeing all of them really. They were everything I wanted to be, but especially her. She was clever, she was brave and she had friends willing to die for her. The thing I hated most was also what I most envied. She was a Mudblood. Her parents hadn't known anything about magic until her Hogwarts letter, but then neither had she. Her parents didn't think less of anyone because they could or couldn't do magic. Her parents didn't dictate her friendships, Her parents didn't watch her every step to make sure she didn't make any mistakes; no, her parents supported her and loved her, and most importantly accepted her with her imperfections. Whereas mine, well they were everything her parents had not been.
In spite of being wandless and bound before my aunt she had not bent; her strength had been the reason I too stayed strong. I hadn't identified Potter, nor any one of them. When her friends were locked in the cellar and she had fallen under Bellatrix's cruciatus curse she had screamed and begged for release, but still she had stayed defiant. I knew the sword in question wasn't a copy, I had seen Snape make the switch. Yet I said nothing and nor did she. She lay writhing in agony and still I said nothing, but I felt every scream pierce me like a dagger, twisting deeper and deeper. The moment that haunts me most was just that, a moment. After bringing up the goblin I was told to move her into the corner, off the rug. My father wanted no more filthy blood staining it.
I had tried to be as gentle as possible without letting it show, she was limp in my grasp and the lack of resistance disturbed me more than any struggle could. The moment happened when I finally had dragged her into the corner, no one else in the room was paying attention to us and with a small gasp her eyes opened wide and she grabbed my wrist with vice like strength. Her grip was nearly painful but the look in her eyes kept me from crying out. A thin line of blood trickled from her cut lip and along her wrist was carved 'Mudblood' in jagged lettering. It was a sickening sight.
Through her cracked lips came four words, falling out together on a single hoarse breath. Her eyes locked with mine and they came with not voice, but just a whisper yet with more emotion than I had ever experienced. "Draco, help me, please.”
Every part of me had burned, a spreading fire that emanated from her grasp on my wrist. The girl who had everything I wanted lay begging at my feet and if I could have done something, I would have. I would have bent the earth to save her if I had been given the chance, because somewhere in that locked gaze was an understanding. She knew what I wanted, she knew the lack of choices that had governed my life. In that moment I would have risked everything for her, and she knew it. Somehow she knew.
The moment shattered with a shriek from behind me. Bellatrix had seen her touching me and she was in the mood for vengeance. She pushed me aside, breaking me free from her grasp. The mad glint in Bellatrix's eye was one I was only too familiar with and was one I had enjoyed once upon a time. It meant blood, it meant torture; it meant entertainment. Now it meant yet another jagged blade ripping through me as yet again Bellatrix hit her with the Cruciatus.
I closed my eyes briefly as the painful memory washed through me and drew in a staggered breath. The water around me sent its great droplets crashing down on her false image in the lake. My fist had broken the surface, breaking the image, fighting the memories. Her features split like glass, falling away into the depths of the lake. She was gone. I sighed.
I had fled the room after that moment, I couldn't stay any longer. Too much of me was screaming to go to her aid when I knew I couldn't. So instead I ran, just as I had been doing all my life. Avoiding decisions, avoiding the oily disgust that crept upon me in stillness. The oily self hatred that kept best pace with me when she was in the room. If I managed to avoid her and just keep running than I could keep it at bay, keep it streaming out behind me like ripples in water. So I left her there, pleading for life, pleading for my help. The girl who meant so much more to me than I could have ever imagined was the one whom I abandoned in her hour of need. I felt disgusted at myself, yet didn't do anything about it. I was a coward and I had never been more aware of the fact than I was now.
When I had finally crept back from my shadowy hiding place the next morning, she was gone. No one said anything about her absence, no one said anything about the event at all. It was as if they didn't care, they didn't feel repulsed, the guilt didn't claw at their soul like it was clawing at mine. And I knew that was the truth. No one in this manor gave a damn to what happened. No one except me.
The sight that met my eyes sickened me. Three deep scarlet stains on the carpet drew dark conclusions to my mind and her voice pleading for my help seemed to echo through the room. Dead. She was dead, the girl who I.... I what? I envied her, like a physical ache in my body I envied her, but more than that, it was something else that forced me once again to run.
To run here, to this lake, to forget. It wasn't envy that shattered my bones with every shared glance, no matter how hateful. It was so much more than that. She was all I wanted and more. I loved her. I love her. I drew in another labored breath as the words scream through my thoughts, as if finally accepting them isn't enough, I need to scream them, to tell everyone of my despicable act. I let the girl I love die, I turned away from her the first time she ever reached out. And now, floating in icy waters with icy wind pressing pins into my spine, I understand. The words press through me like hot water, canceling out the chill lake, I love her, I love her, I lover her. But what of it? She's gone, I failed her, I failed myself. She was my world, I can't say a thing about it but that I failed. My life can be mapped out by failures, little pin points of nothing that map out my being and prove what a waste of breath I am. What an endless good she was, and how I canceled her out.
The thought comes that I ought to end it all, I am useless, what I've done, what I've lost, they shadow any light that I could ever have seen. She's gone, what else am I to do? Draw out this endless stream of failure? No, today is the closure, today I will embrace all I've been running from, I'll let them weigh me down until nothing is left and I am gone.
It is with this dreary thought that a shadow passes over me, blocking the sun and stopping the lakes endless shimmering. How very fitting, I would go out with shadows. Just as I was about to sink down, slip beneath the icy waters, a figure fell from the shadowed sky. No, not a shadow at all, a dragon, great and powerful beating the heavy air away in a steady pattern of flight. The figure falls from it's back, not just figure but figures, three of them. Three dark outlines crashing into the water, and then out of the water, spluttering and wracked with shivers, she comes. Damp and coughing but oh so alive. So very very alive. Again the aching begins in my bones but no longer do I call it envy, I call it by it's true name. Love. It rises up and chokes away all gloomy thoughts of death. She is alive. Those are the only things I can think about as I catch her in my arms and press her close. She freezes in my arms, perhaps with shock, but I don't care. She's alive and I love her. I love Hermione Granger. And the rest of the world can drown for all I care.
A/n: A very special thank to AditiDraco95 who's skill as a beta is without measure.
Please do leave a review and let me know what you think, this is my first attempt at first person so I'd love to hear your thoughts :)