what's in a letter?
Dear Miss Granger,
There are thousands of people around the world that I have yet to meet. I haven’t the faintest idea of their name or nickname, or what they like to eat. Where did they attend school? What was their favorite class? Who were their friends? And what do they look like? I have no answer for any of the above – as I should hope I wouldn’t. If I do not know someone, then how would I know any of that? Yet…I know most of that about you.
I’m certain that that hardly surprises you, though.
Draco speaks of you often, though lately he mentions you less frequently. I can see in his face that he still thinks of you constantly, of what you mean to him. He probably has the loop of his memories of the two of you on incessant replay in his head; what else is there for one to do when the one they miss is gone for so long?
It is for his sake that I am writing all of this to you. You may not even read this, and I would not say that I would blame you if that were the case. Why would you, when I have done nothing over the years to make you want to speak to me? I let Lucius push his views and ideas onto Draco, and I let the Dark Lord take my only son away from me because I was too scared to stand up to him. Too scared to take the risk that I might lose my life to save my own son’s soul… In the end, Severus did that for me. I have been a terrible mother in that regard, and an even worse person in general.
But, please… If you do take the time to read this, please, just talk to him. Or, better yet, come visit. Draco’s freedom seems to mean less and less to him each day. He refuses to join me on trips to Diagon Alley, saying that to venture anywhere near the city is too painful. And you can tell me that it isn’t my place to get involved in your business. I won’t correct you, there. I do, however, have a right to be involved in my son’s life and will do anything that I can to make him happy once more.
Dear Mrs. (Ms.?) Malfoy,
I must say your letter certainly took me by surprise. Of all the people I would expect to receive a letter from, you are not one of them. I must say, if I was astonished by finding a letter from you in the first place, the content of it was an even greater wonder. How unexpected…
I miss Draco terribly, of course. How could I not? And if he misses me so much, why has he failed to contact me? That’s how relationships work.
Dear Miss Granger,
I think that, perhaps, you should read the pieces of parchment I have enclosed. Draco has an entire box full of the like, all dated and signed, but never sent.
“Every year, you integrated yourself into my life more and more. It was so gradual, especially at first, that I didn’t even notice. Not really. Or, if I did, I blocked it out. How sad is that? How terrible? And how stupid? I never knew how much you meant to me. Never realized it. I never realized how much you’ve always mattered, not until now. Until today. And it’s probably too late. I’m Draco Malfoy, the only son of a man now dead and gone at the hands of the dementors, and it’s my birthday. And instead of being happy that I’ve lived to see another year, I’m…I don’t even know what I am. It’s my birthday and the person that I want next to me, that I’ve really always wanted to be next to me, is you and you’re gone. I don’t know where you are, but it’s not here, and it’s entirely my fault.”
“Life’s mysteries… They’re endless. People spend their whole lives searching for meaning to the various things that they shouldn’t be concerned with. And when they can’t find the answers, can’t figure out what the meaning of everything is, they try to bury themselves in religion, or politics, or education. They’re bitter and they’re bitterly obsessed, and they think they’re fooling other people. That’s how I feel right now. I tell my mother that I’m alright, and she gives me a skeptical look. I flash her what I hope is a convincing smile, and I wander off before she can start asking questions, but I know that the truth of the matter is that she can see right through this. And she hates it. Severus does too, but he leaves me alone. He knows what the sting of love lost is like, and he knows that this is something I have to struggle with alone. We all need something that matters to us in the end, Hermione, something that makes everything beaable… and you’re that, for me. Without you… I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Two months. Two months since I saw you, and a month and a half since our last letter. You were so short and terse in it, and I know it’s because I didn’t apologize. I should have. I should still, but I know that you hate me now. Hate me again, rather. You probably wouldn’t even listen to my apology… I didn’t mean to call you a Mud- I can’t even write it. How could I possibly do that to you? You didn’t deserve it. But it’s engrained in me, and sometimes, I can’t hold it back. I wasn’t even mad at you, I was just mad at the world… And, naturally, I lashed out at the one person that I didn’t want to hurt.
I want to see you again. I want to hear you laugh at something stupid I say, and I want to see your face light up whenever we’re in Diagon Alley and you realize that I’m taking you to Flouish & Blotts. It’s your favorite store, of course, even though we don’t visit it every time we venture into the wizarding wold within the great city of London. You know that every time I do take you in there, though, that I let you buy as many books as you want. I miss watching you run your index finger carefully down the spine of every book along a shelf, your touch as tender on the book as it is on my skin.
I want to watch you eat ice cream as we sit outside, and I want to lean over and kiss you. I miss the way your lips feel, and the way you smell, and your voice. I miss all of you, Hermione Jean Granger.
I just want you back.”
If you remain convinced that he doesn’t miss you after that, perhaps you are right to stay away.
Dear Ms. Malfoy,
I apologize if you find this hard to read; I promise I didn’t purposefully blot random words on the parchment. Thank you for enclosing those letters from Draco… I didn’t need proof that he misses me. I .him either.
I didn’t hate him as much as Harry and Ron did while we were in school, which you probably find odd. We met in Ollivander’s, right after I’d gotten my wand. You were standing toward the back of the shop, talking to Mr. Ollivander, and Draco was bored. He came up to me and we started speaking, and he laughed when I got excited and sparks shot from the tip of my wand. I asked him a lot of questions, and he answered every single one of them. I thought nothing of it, because I didn’t know what a pureblood wizard was at the time… and I certainly didn’t know anything about his father.
I watched him at the Sorting, saw him put into Slytherin. I was secretly upset to be put in Gryffindor, even though I did like Harry and Ron. I didn’t get to see Draco much after that, and I especially didn’t get to talk to him. Not in private, anyway. We snuck glances at each other as often as we were able to, occasionally meeting eyes, and giving each other a smile.
Second year, I watched him during Quidditch practice one day when Slytherin and Gryffindor had to share the pitch. The Gryffindors were so intent on their own routines, they didn’t notice me, so I watched Draco and I smiled at him. He smiled back, broadly, but his teammates saw him and that was the end of that. The rest of the year, we didn’t talk. I still watched him, when I could, but he never seemed to notice. I was petrified by the basilisk, and when I was back, I thought he looked like he’d lost weight. Selfishly, I hoped he had been worried about me.
Third year, he got his arm broken during one of our first classes with Hagrid. Poor Buckbeak and the other hippogriffs… Draco was the one at fault, but I still felt bad for him too. I took charge of getting him to the hospital wing, even though I was angry at him. It’s hard to care about someone and see them make such stupid mistakes, you know?
The end of that year, I slapped him. Hard. It felt good, because he was being such a prick… A couple days later, leaving the Great Hall, he grabbed my wrist to stop me. I was surprised. “You don’t hit much like a girl,” he said, and he grinned. I laughed, and it felt good.
Fourth year, or rather, right before the school year began, we were both wandering the grounds of the World Cup. I wasn’t supposed to be alone, but the Weasleys and Harry didn’t really notice. Draco and I talked a bit, even though it was awkward. He told me what he had been up to over the summer, and I did the same. We didn’t look at each other later, since we had other people around us. And when the Death Eaters crashed the camp, I was worried about him.
I liked Krum, a lot. But I mainly liked that I could tell he made Draco jealous. He found me crying, at the Yule Ball. He actually told me that he was sorry, that Ron should stop being a prat and be able to notice how beautiful I was. I wanted to kiss him.
Fifth year, I started a secret society. Dumbledore’s Army. Draco was on Umbridge’s side, but I saw him give me supportive grins when she wasn’t paying attention. I stopped paying attention to him for a while after he and the rest of the Squad actually found our hideout in the Room of Requirement. And then came the Ministry fight… Mr. Malfoy was caught, and I felt terrible for Draco.
We were alone in the library together one night, and I looked at him. He came over to me, hesitantly. I can’t blame him. He apologizes on behalf of his father, saying, “For whatever he may have done to you… I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have had to go through it.” He didn’t want to believe me when I said that I wasn’t touched (not by Mr. Malfoy, anyway).
And then came sixth year. I could tell something was different. He didn’t look at me for a while, and he was extremely withdrawn. I could tell he was angry at everyone, especially Professor Snape. Harry put him in the hospital wing, and I snuck in to visit him. We talked for a while, and I could tell it made him lighten up a bit. He seemed happier.
I was shocked, as you can imagine, to find him just before he went to the top of the Astronomy Tower. He showed me his Dark Mark, and I burst into tears. Dumbledore died that night, and after I saw Draco escape, I broke down again. Everyone thought I was just crying for our headmaster…but I was also crying for that boy I’d met years before, the boy from Ollivander’s who answered all my questions. The boy who looked at me like I was someone special. The boy who didn’t deserve what was happening to him.
What would have been our seventh year is, instead, the war. Our classmates returned to Hogwarts, many reluctantly, but not us. I was with Harry, Draco with you, stuck in the prison that his home had become. I was a fugitive, and he was a desperate son, and our days were not spent as the days of seventeen-year olds should be spent.
I was brought to your manor, with Harry and Ron. They told me later that they were thrown in a holding cell of sorts, and they had company. Dobby, your old house elf. Luna Lovegood. Ollivander. I’m glad that I didn’t have to see them down there, and as much as I hate the suffering I was forced to undergo at the hands of your sister, I’m glad it was me instead of them. I saw Draco flinch every time he heard me scream as Bellatrix worked at her evil craft, and it made me happy, in a twisted way. Those flinches showed that he wasn’t as callous as his father would like to believe. They showed me that the boy I missed was still in there, somewhere.
I escaped, and it’s still a miracle (to me) that Bellatrix didn’t kill me. Some days, I used to wish that she had. Running was even harder after we left Malfoy Manor.
The final battle was even harder. Just when I thought that everything was going to be okay, or as okay as it could be, Draco left my side. He was standing there, at my right, and I knew that he was feeling all sorts of emotions. I thought he was going to be strong, was going to stay with me. But he didn’t. The Dark Lord called, and he went back to the wrong side. He went because that’s where you were standing, and he couldn’t bear to be without you. He knew that he would just see you be killed. He touched my palm as he walked past me, and I squeezed his fingers in return, thinking that was the last time that I would see him alive.
He told me later, after everything was sorted out and we found out that neither he nor you would be going to Azkaban or face serious consequences, that he thought the same thing. That he cried every day during that long year, because he didn’t know what was going to happen to me. And I realized that, despite what some people wanted, I was in love with him. And he was in love with me.
We complete each other, Ms. Malfoy, a feeling that I know you understand. I’ve seen you with Professor Snape enough to know that that’s how you feel about him, and how he feels about you. But doesn’t he do things you hate? Do things that make you upset?
Draco didn’t mean to call me a Mudblood, I know. But it was so easy to be angry at him about it, what with my hormones raging wildly and… I was scared. I should be telling this to him, not to you. He should be the first person in my life to know the news, but he’s not. I was going to tell him some important news that day, news that both excited me and terrified me, but he was angry at something and lashed out at me.
I’m pregnant, and you’re going to a grandmother, and I can’t go through all of this without Draco. I shouldn’t have left.
Tell him that I’m coming home tomorrow.