I was lost. It was as simple as that. I was lost both physically and mentally, and trust me, that wasn't the best place to be. But then I found him, lying there, bleeding and tortured, and then I just got confused...and then I started to heal.

Wait, let me start from the beginning. I'm Hermione Granger, and for the last 4 and a half years, since Fred died, I haven't been able to look at myself in the mirror and not feel totally ashamed of what I've become.

He wouldn't have wanted me to be like this. He would've wanted me to move on, I knew he would be able to. He was always strong. He was always capable of anything. Fred meant everything to me, he was my best friend, he was my soul-mate. I could've saved him. If we'd just gotten there quicker, if we paid more attention...

Anyway, so you get the point. I was disappointed with myself, I had been for years. I lost contact with everyone, I couldn't be bothered to keep up pretences. No one knew about how close we truly were, and when he died, my portrayals of sorrow, of grief, well, no one understood it. I mourned for him more than his entire family put together, except George of course. He was the only one I told about Fred and I after he died. He was the only one I could trust.

He understood. And a part of me saw a glimpse of Fred in his twin brother. That's why I held on to George for so long, I was reminded daily of Fred whenever I was with George, we were never anything more than friends, we never even considered crossing that boundary, we were closer than Harry or Ron and I ever were. But soon, even that wasn't enough. So two years ago, I stopped answering his phone calls, I didn't go to the meadow everyday like we used to, and I didn't reply to his mail.

And soon he stopped trying. It killed me to abandon him, I knew he needed me as much as I needed him, we were the last ones to grieve for Fred. We were the closest to him, we missed him the most. George did try on many occasions to move on, but I always held him back. To me, it didn't feel right trying to move on, to pretend like the hole in my heart was sealed. I somehow felt like I was disgracing his memory. Like 'moving on' was equivalent to forgetting his existence. Which I knew was ridiculous, I knew Fred would disapprove.

That's why it was so hard for me to go on. That's why the mere sight of my reflection in the mirror was enough to reduce me to tears. The bags under my eyes; signs of sleepless nights, the dryness of my lips, the bones showing through my skin, the change in my demeanor, and the almost noticeable sight of my heart being slowly ripped to shreds. And of course the fact that I had absolutely no idea where I was.

Literally, one year ago, after having to wake up everyday, get out of bed, and go to the Ministry just got too much for me, I ran. I ran as fast and far as I could. And I took with me three things. One, a mirror - just because I'm masochistic that way - to remind myself of why I needed to leave, two, a stash of money - well I did have a bit of sanity left in me - and three, a locket, the same locket Fred gave me a month before he died. I had worn that locket for the past 4 and a half years, and just because I left everything else behind, doesn't mean I'd leave the only thing I had left of Fred in an abandoned house. Oh, and the nightgown I was wearing before I left doesn't count as three of my possessions, even though I'd feel incredibly bare without it.

So, I bought a rental car, I bought a couple of salads and chocolate milks, I got my last pay-check from the Ministry and I drove. I drove across the entire countryside. I drove for two days straight, stopping only at those gross public toilets and to eat. And after two days, I found myself in a desert. I was somewhere near Ipswich, well, I was closer to Ipswich than anywhere else. That was all I managed to gather from the sign.

And when the road ended, I knew I was in big trouble, I grabbed my last two chocolate milks, my hand mirror, and my last salad, and I ditched the car.

And so started my walking across the desert. Looking for some kind of sign, telling me what to do, telling me if I should even bother going on like this anymore. That was how I got lost both physically and mentally. I had no idea where I was, and I had no idea where my life was taking me. Or if I was even heading anywhere. To be lost was to be distracted, distraught, desperate and hopeless. And that was exactly what I was.

Eventually, I found a sign. Like literally, a sign, in the middle of a desert. It was one of those usual long posts with two wooden arrows on the top with the words 'To the rest of your life' engraved on one and 'To the beginning of a new one' on the other. The two of them were pointing in opposite directions. I stood there, staring at them, wondering what I should do. The rest of my life certainly didn't sound like the best idea, the rest of my life entailed me grieving, crying, mourning and never getting over it. But the beginning of a new one...that sounded suspicious. To start a new life would mean to forget my old one, and by extension, forget everything in it, including Fred. How could I do that? How on Earth could I possibly forget what losing him has done to me?

But, as usual, the side of me that really hates myself had to win. I took the road not taken, I followed the sign that said 'To the beginning of a new one'. I had only walked a few paces when I saw it. A body, lying a couple of metres ahead of me. The body was still except for a few jerky movements every other second. My eyes widened, I gasped and ran to it, hoping to Merlin that whoever it was wasn't dead.

I saw his actual body first, from the neck down, he was wearing baggy tattered jeans, they were ripped, and wherever there were slashes, there was blood. And his shirt, his white cotton shirt, I could only tell that it's original colour was white because of the few strips of it that wasn't caked in dried blood. He looked like he'd been hit with a Sectumsempra Curse, and though the fact that the blood was only slowly trickling out of his wounds now, it seemed like it wasn't that long ago that he was cursed.

At first, the hopeful, self-loathing part of me thought it was actually Fred, somehow he'd been revived, or he had never died. I knew it was stupid, but I hoped, I pleaded, and in the few seconds it took me to step around his body to see his head, I prayed for the first time in my life. The first thing I noticed that was off was the lack of red hair, this man was blond. Next, I realised that the freckles I had come to love so much were no where to be seen.

No, this man, this dying man, was no Fred Weasley. He was Draco Malfoy.

In a split second I decided three things, one, it was clear that he was no longer a Death Eater because of two signs, one, there wasn't a Dark Mark on his arm, and two, stuff like this just doesn't happen to Death Eaters. The second thing I decided was that life as a general thing was a bitch. And third, if finding Draco Malfoy like this, bleeding and tortured, was how I was supposed to start a new life, then I most certainly wanted to turn around to the 'rest of my old life'.

But I knew what I had to do, despite everything, I couldn't just leave him there. I knew what it was like to be abandoned, to be left alone to yourself. I couldn't do that to someone else, not when having it done to me has torn me to ragged little pieces.

So I knelt down beside him and started healing him, using the spell Snape taught me, months before he too died and left us.

Somehow, in the minutes it took me to heal him, I felt like I was healing myself too. It was the first good and selfless deed I had done in the past four years, I felt like I was giving myself a second chance. Like the hole in my heart really was beginning to seal itself up again. Like life wasn't quite done with me yet, like there was still more in store for me, and a hell of a lot more heartbreak.

And I was right.

When the healing process finally finished, Draco's eyes slowly opened. He took one look at me and frowned.

"Bloody hell, Granger. What's happened to you? You look terrible."

"Trust me, I used to look a lot worse."

AN: And there it is, my lovely little darlings. Probably one of the more emotional pieces I've written. This was a response to a challenge from Live Journal. Although, if you want, I could write a sequel.
When I was writing the beginning of this, I had this really wretched cold, and I was literally like crying and stuff (my cold was that bad), so I guess I was just trying to portray a bit of that emotion into the story. But I eased off near the end :)
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