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Ron knew it. Draco Malfoy was big trouble. Big and bloody trouble. And he had just received news that Draco’s mother had gone missing the day he had his heart attack. That was yesterday. What else could be bad news now? There would be more, he was sure of it. And he rubbed his forehead, where a stupid headache was growing.

He had been pondering for hours, what Draco had meant with all those words. Stay away…Keep her away…What the hell did it mean? Sure, Draco had changed significantly, he saw it himself, a change brought about by Hermione, a change brought about by having Harry’s heart. By being Harry’s second shot at life…Wait- This was Draco Malfoy…And he couldn’t understand what to feel for him at the moment, every time Ron saw Draco, he felt like looking at Harry, somewhere in his eyes, Harry was there. Despite the constant sarcasm, the never ending piercing silver eyes, something was screaming inside, Harry was inside, wanting to resurface, wanting to be alive again.

But here Draco was. He lived. Lived as Draco Malfoy and not for Harry Potter. Harry to him was dead; a corpse who had given away the one thing that had given him life. He was a donor, nothing more than that. They had the same blood type, Draco had not rejected Harry’s heart, and it was his destiny to actually have his once mortal enemy’s heart.

Ron had driven Hermione home after the hospital incident. He had been unsure how she was, but she had been smiling as he left. And he knew it was just another form of her denial, a denial of a pain she didn’t want to feel. And he was afraid that it might turn out like before, like the time Hermione had gone unresponsive and depressed, like the time that Harry had just died.

It had been difficult for him, and the rest of them who had wanted to cheer her up. For two months, Hermione had preferred loneliness, for two months she was alone, she didn’t come out from her parents’ house, no matter how much they persuaded her to. And when Ron had succeeded in coaxing her out for the first time, it had been during sunset and they drove to a quiet part of the capital, facing the River Thames, both were rather silent...


~

Ron held a cup of coffee in one hand as they stared at a ferry passing by slowly. It gave a few ‘toots’ as it chugged along, little light bulbs giving off a dreamy feel to the reflection it made in the river.

“ Aren’t you going to drink your coffee? “ Ron asked her.

Hermione had leaned her head on the headrest as she shook her head. She continued to remain silent as her cup of coffee sat untouched on the dashboard.

Ron sighed. How the hell would he make her talk? Everyone had tried. All she ever spoke were a few measly words every now and then, a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, a sigh or a nod, an ‘I don’t know’ or ‘maybe’. He felt his persistence ebb at times, and he had to remind himself all the time that this was Hermione he was dealing with, his best friend, the other lingering part of the Golden Trio.

“ Would you like to go some place else? “

Hermione looked up at him with vacant eyes. And she shook her head and looked at the river once again, looked at the passing ferry once again. She had taken rides there with Harry…Harry was hugging her on the view deck….it had been a cold night…They had coffee on that boat…Harry told her he loved her…she had been on that ferry with Harry….

Ron covered his face in his hands, trying to think of what else to say. “ Damn it, Hermione! “ Ron snapped throwing away the cup of coffee outside, through his open door. “ Just please-! Please get back to your old self! “

Hermione blinked and the next thing Ron saw were tears in her eyes. The first he had seen since Harry had died at the hospital. Hermione had not even cried at his funeral. He looked surprised and held her shoulder.

“ I’m sorry…” Ron said unsteadily. “ Just- just cry. “

And Hermione cried.

~


And now…a year and something months later…would he see Hermione like that again? Would he see her cry and breakdown again? Cry for a man who had her fiancé’s heart? Hermione meant a lot to him, he didn’t want her hurt, and even Draco knew that. But did it have to happen? That his best friend should fall for the man who had caused them so much pain before? That she would love someone who had taken Harry’s heart for his own benefit?

Harry was dead, he had moved on. But somehow, seeing Draco, it brought back bittersweet memories. Little hurts were starting to recur. And he suddenly wanted Harry alive. For his own want and for Hermione’s benefit.

“ Come on, man! “ Ron told himself furiously. “ Harry’s gone! You’ve got problems to fix! “

But with Voldemort resurfacing, it was hard not to remember Harry at all.

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“ Perhaps…it was just Draco’s stressing out- “ Ginny said as she ate a muffin in her mother’s kitchen. “ Draco’s got this huge company to manage anyway.”

“ But still, “ Molly Weasley said as she whipped up a batter with her wand. “ That boy should’ve known not to put much pressure on himself. I may not know much about muggle medicine, but I know pressure kills. “

“ Perhaps Harry’s trying to kill him, “ Fred said munching on a hot muffin.

A second later, Ginny and his mother pounced on him. Ginny hit his head with a wooden ladle and Molly began scolding him.

“ How dare you say that Fred! “ Molly screamed.

“ Fred grow up! Don’t you ever say that! “ Ginny shouted.

At that moment George came in, carrying a bucket of strawberries. “ Oy, what’s the ruckus about? “

Ginny eyed him. “ Fred just said that Harry’s trying to kill Draco! “

George grinned. “ That’s just a figure of speech, mum, Ginny. “

A ladle hit George’s head. “ Ow! I wasn’t taking his side! Honest! “ George had dropped the strawberries on the floor, causing Molly’s mood to further heat up.

“ Look at what you did! You’ve gotten my strawberries filthy! “ Molly huffed and the strawberries all landed in some bowl with water. She whisked them quickly and they were clean again. She loudly set down the red bowl on the table.

“ Mum, it was a joke, “ Fred reasoned.

“ One I find completely unfunny! “ Ginny said angrily. “ You best be thankful Hermione’s not here! “ Ginny waved her wand and the wooden ladle flew for the dishwashing area.

“ I’m sure she’s quite happy with her love now, “ George reasoned.

“ George! “ Ginny said. “ This is a rather delicate matter! And you know for one Draco’s in a muggle hospital right now! “

“ Alright! It was a terrible joke! “ Fred said picking up another muffin. “ I’m sorry- well see you later? “ He grinned and kissed Molly’s cheek. “ Take it easy mum, stress kills. “

He and George exchanged smiles as Molly went ‘tsking’ about.

“ Honestly, “ Ginny said, still annoyed.

Molly suddenly put down her wand.

“ Mum? “ Ginny had a concerned look on her face now. “ Is something the matter? “

Molly sighed. “ It’s just that- dear…I feel so sympathetic for Hermione and Draco. Especially Draco right now. “

Ginny’s eyebrows raised a little. “ Mum…” And her voice trailed off as she looked at her mother. The maternal tug was at it again for her mother.

“ Well…Draco’s still got a mother, I know. And from your reports, Draco seems quite happy with her? And now, to suffer this malady…Oh dear….the poor lad…”

“ Mum, “ Ginny said. “ He’ll survive. I’ve known him for years, despite us not being great friends or something like that. That Slytherin bad boy can be very hard-headed. “

“ He has Harry’s heart now, “ Molly said as she held an egg beater. She sighed again and held another bowl in her hands, this time a blue colored one.

“ Of course he has, “ Ginny replied.

“ No, not in the literal sense, dear, “ Molly said. “ I mean, if you say Draco’s been a bad boy, he certainly isn’t now, is he? It’s as if Harry’s heart is actually making Draco act like him…”

Ginny was quiet for awhile. So she wasn’t the only one who had thought of it too? She was quite positive Ron did, but she didn’t expect her mother to actually think of that too. Sure, she had her doubts, she was quite anxious of how it would turn out and all, Hermione having experienced such heartache because of Harry’s death, and now in a relationship with Draco, Slytherin Golden Boy, one-time ferret and the holder of Harry’s heart. Perhaps Hermione only loved Draco because Draco somehow kept Harry alive?

“ Oh mum, “ Ginny sighed. “ Draco’s just Draco. “ It was all she could say to stop whatever her mother was thinking of now. Perhaps she could have a talk with Ron later on?

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Draco liked the feeling of freedom, especially freedom from a hospital. He had gone home against medical advice, with a few prescriptions and a good lecture from his doctor; he was now walking out of his two-day prison. There were words like ‘avoid’ and ‘stress’ and ‘rest’. And the many other words he caught and let by through his ears.

Draco took a cab and headed for his office building. He walked in calmly, without a brief case, much to the surprise of his staff.

“ Sir! “ the security guard jumped at seeing him. “ What are you- “

“ Work, “ he replied with a small smile. He walked up to his second floor office and saw Alice and the rest of his staff working busily in their cubicles.

“ Sir Malfoy! “ Alice breathed, causing the others to look his way.

“ Missed me? “ Draco asked grinning.

“ You’re not supposed to be here! “ Alice said. “ Your doctor told me you had to rest! For at least a few weeks! “

“ Well, who cares? I’m here now. “ Draco sniffed the air. “ Is that coffee brewing? “ he asked. His staff stared wide-eyed. “ What are you all looking at? It’s not like you’re looking at a ghost now, are you? “

There was the shuffling of feet and the mechanical murmur of fax machines and printers and fingers typing furiously over keyboards, the phones ringing off the hook…

Draco smiled and was happy he was back at work.

Draco walked into his office and was pleased to see everything neatly arranged, just the way he left it, well almost. “ Did I miss anything? Aside from the Italian meeting? How was that by the way? “

“ Mr. Blake flew for the meeting, using your reports. The investors were quite happy with your proposal and suggested they start within the next month. “

So his left hand man had been useful enough. Draco smiled. “ That’s nice to hear. I was wondering if- “

“ Sir, sorry to interrupt, but you got a call, from Miss Granger a few hours ago. “

Draco stopped in his tracks. His fake mood had disappeared instantly. He stared at his table for a few seconds and then at the floor where he fell two days ago. “ Really? Well…I’ve got no time for that. I had a meet with the Essex Automobile Association today, right? “

“ Sir, that’s been taken care of by Mr. John. “

“ What? Well you guys are actually doing a good enough job without me, eh? “ He faked a laugh. “ Suppose I could resign now. “

“ I suppose you could use some rest, “ Alice chimed in helpfully.

Draco was quiet. Perhaps this was the right moment to settle his debts and to delve into the bottom of this whole source of chaos. He could play a hero while on vacation and save his mother and the wizard populace and the bloody unknowing muggles who had no idea they could die in an instant-

“ Sir? “

Draco looked up and nodded. “ You- you’re right. I do need rest. “ He slowly looked around his office. “ Could you- you could handle everything? Well…with everyone else’s help? “ He handed her his Armani briefcase from his desk. “ Some of my reports are here, also some proposals- you can’t reach me while I’m away. I’ll be going to some far-flung place, I think. My cellular phone won’t work; I won’t be at my mugg- I mean my residence. I- “ he paused again, running a hand over his blonde mane. “ I hope you do well. Have a nice day Alice. “

And Draco began to walk out from his office.

“ Sir? “ Alice began. “ Do take care. “

Draco nodded, hoping he would heed her words.

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Draco arrived at his residence and stopped in his tracks after he got out of the cab. A red beetle was parked near his garage. Hermione. She was here! And he suppressed his happiness, knowing it would only kill her.

“ Draco, “ Hermione said standing at his front entrance.

“ You’re here, “ he said in a controlled voice. “ Why? “

“ Alice phoned me, after you’d left your office- “ she stopped, seeing his face. It was…too serious…like he wasn’t happy…she took a deep breath. “ Aren’t you supposed to still be at the hospital? “

He frowned and walked past her. “ It’s none of your business. “

She sucked her breath in. What was going on? Had she been stupid enough to come here, even if she had felt it would still turn out the same? He was rejecting her devastatingly. She took another deep breath. “ I don’t know what’s going on, but I need to hear it from you, now. “

Perhaps it was the tone of her voice, or it was because he missed her terribly, that he nodded once, signaling for her to go in his house. They stood in the living room. Silence for awhile, until Hermione opened her mouth again.

“ Tell me. “

“ I told you to stay away, right? “ Draco said.

Hermione looked out the half open blinds to see some children pass by in bikes, laughing gaily. “ I don’t understand what’s going on! “ Her voice sounded strained. Her voice sounded hurt.

“ You don’t have to! Don’t you get such an uncomplicated thing? I told you to stay away, so stay away! “ Draco spat out. He felt his ears go red. This was appalling! He was hurting her again! Just to save her!

Hermione’s hand found her mouth and she looked at him in shock again, feeling it all too illusory. “ Just tell me…” she whispered, afraid she would cry again.

“ I thought- I thought I could love you, maybe I did but along the way- “ he paused. ~That’s right, hurt her, but give her some credit, give her some pride....~ “ But I don’t… I couldn’t… I can’t. “

“ I wasn’t enough for you? “ she asked, trembling again.

“ No one is enough for Draco Malfoy. “ He emphasized the word no one, knowing how important it was to her. Knowing how it would damage her.

She gasped a little, feeling her knees go weak. The words kept echoing in her head. “ No…” she gasped. “ It’s- “

“ It’s true, “ he said calmly. “ I’m sorry. “

She saw his eyes, felt his aura and he wasn’t sorry at all! Was this some new brutal joke? Draco was reverting to his old, bastard self now! She felt like she couldn’t stand it. He was making it up! She felt his love! Even if he never said it, even if they never said it to each other! She had felt it! It was there! It was still here! Wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?

“ No you’re not, “ she replied, shaky. “ So everything you told me? All that ‘I’m a changed person’- that was just crap? That was just- just bullshit! “

He nodded, fearing he would run over to her and embrace her and tell her that everything was just a lie to save her from a terrible death. He gulped, thinking of the right words to say. “ I just thought I could love you, I’ve never loved anyone before and I thought you could change everything. But I was just fooling myself with it. There’s still the bloodline I have to preserve. You’re still someone of filthy blood- I’m a Malfoy. I have duties, I was dreaming too long- “

“ We were together for- “

“ What? Five months or something like that? It was all too fast- It doesn’t matter! What matters is that I end this dream right now. You were a dream Hermione, just a good distraction from it all- “

“ Stop it! “

“ I plan to, so get out of my house. “

“ I will, “ she replied, tears coursing along her cheeks now. “ But- kiss me first, kiss me first and I will. “

He smirked at her. “ Merlin’s dismembered balls…what the hell is this now? “

“ Just do it! “ she cried. And Hermione pulled Draco up to her and she kissed his lips fully, while holding the sides of his face with both of her hands, kissing him with all she had, just for him to feel how much he was hurting her, how much she loved him, despite her not saying it…

Draco’s eyes widened in shock as she kissed him with fervor…and it hurt him and he loved it, all at the same time. This was his goodbye kiss now, without her knowing it, and beyond his control, he was kissing her back and he held her face in his hands…and he stopped.

“ I can’t, “ he finally said breaking away from her. “I’m- I’m sorry, Hermione. I can’t love you. I don’t want to. “ It was shattering him to the very core. The Slytherin in Draco would never die. Find a way to get rid of her, and she’ll live and so will you mother.

“ You don’t want to? “ she repeated stupidly. Hermione had never felt more foolish in her entire life than this moment!

“ Yes! “ he snapped. “ Not you! Never you! You’re Potter’s possession, well good news, Potter’s dead! I only hold his heart! But I’m not Potter now, am I? I thought I could love you! Maybe it was just because I have his heart! So just get out of my life! “

“ I wasn’t looking for another Harry! I fell in love with Draco! Draco Malfoy! It’s Draco Malfoy! I fell in love with you! I love you! “ she cried.

Her face reddened and Draco knew it was the truth. Could the pain get any deeper for him? For her? She loved him! Those three beautiful words! She said them! For him! And here he was, about to throw it all away!

His heart pounded, trying to pull himself together. He had to hurt her! He had to make her hate him! And he opened his mouth, despite his heart protesting greatly, despite his spirit unwilling to do all of it!

“ I don’t feel the same way, “ he finally said.

And Hermione felt her heart plummet to the ends of the earth. And so it had ended, those six words that killed her, that shattered her heart, and she felt dead and cold and alone again. And she knew she had to get out, and get out fast.


~
He hated her! It was a lie! She had been too caught up in her grandiose delusions! That he loved her! That he felt the same way! Oh god!
~


Finally she nodded and her hands dropped to her sides. “ I- goodbye, Draco. “

He watched as blood drained from her face, and he fought the urge to take her in his arms and embrace her like he would never let go of her.


~
I’m doing this for you, Hermione! Don’t you see? I can’t- I can’t see you killed, Harry’s death had been too much, just think of me as that Slytherin bastard you once knew at Hogwarts! Oh god, Hermione! I love you! I love you! But I love you so much I have to hurt you!
~


He watched as Hermione walked out. He watched as she tried not to cry anymore, he watched as she tried to be strong. Hermione Granger was walking away from him, and she would hate him in a few minutes and cry terribly and get over him just like she had gotten over Harry Potter.

Hermione Granger was walking out of his life.

Hermione Granger was walking out of his heart.

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TBC?

Author Notes: Don't you just love moments like these? Emo moments that make you grit your teeth on why the author had to be so evil to make a character cry and hurt. Wee! I'm good (does 'shakira-hips-don't-lie- movements) hahaha! okay, i'm not a fan of her, it's just my younger sister sings it a lot. Once again, thanks to all you readers for reading. And please DO REVIEW. It's the only consolation i get for typing away this rather long story. Thanks! Till next chapter...?

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