Wooowwww, so it's been quite a while since I updated last! I'm so sorry for continuously putting you guys through these waiting periods, but I've honestly been battling some serious motivation issues, lol. That's the only way I can think of to describe it. Rest assured, though, that I will always come back and will never leave you hanging for good; you guys are the biggest motivation I have and half the time the only reason I keep writing is because of you, my amazing and patient readers :D That and the fact that I hate to leave anything unfinished, haha.
So, after a long while, I've finally finished another chapter and I'll try my best not to lose motivation again (at least not like I have been). It's hard sometimes because I don't plan anything and just write as I go, but on the other hand it's kind of fun because even I don't know where things are going until I'm actually writing it!
**Something to note: I have recently changed this story from an M rating to a T. I just didn't want to get into anything too sexually explicit so I figured it would be a good idea to change it. I apologize if this upsets anyone, but I hope by this point that y'all like my story enough to keep reading anyway! If not, though, I understand :)**
Anyway, please bear with me as I continue this story slowly but surely, and I'll be sure to keep writing something worth reading! Now, without further ado, behold the next chapter of this story! I hope you like it!
CHAPTER SIXTEEN – Harry
It had been over a week since Harry had seen Ron, when they'd had their fight. He hadn't shown up once since then and though Harry would never admit it aloud, he hoped Ron was okay and somewhere safe. He didn't know if he'd ever forgive him for what he had said or if their friendship could last after what had happened, but he still cared enough about Ron to be a little bit worried.
On the other hand, though, he and Hermione were doing just fine without him.
The day after Ron disappeared Harry and Hermione had paid a visit to Griphook, the goblin they'd saved from Malfoy Manor. There was something odd about Bellatrix Lestrange's behaviour there when she'd thought they might have found a way into her vault at Gringotts. How agitated and unstable she had acted…Harry had a sneaking suspicion there was something particularly special hidden inside her vault, something she most definitely didn't want found, and after speaking with Griphook his suspicion was confirmed.
Bellatrix had a horcrux in her vault. Now all they had to do was find a way to break into Gringotts and one high-security vault and another of their many problems would disappear. Of course, after locating this horcrux they also had to hand over the sword of Gryffindor as payment for Griphook's help, after which they would need to find something else to destroy the horcruxes.
Sure. Piece of cake.
Fortunately, Hermione thought up a way for them to infiltrate Gringotts, and as luck would have it she also was already in possession of the hair she required. She would use a stolen hair from Bellatrix Lestrange to drink in polyjuice potion (brewed and stored in her bag prior to their adventure for emergency situations) and she would simply demand to be taken to her vault. It was brilliant really, in how simple but effective it would be, and Harry told her so. One of the number of things he loved about her was her intelligence.
Sitting in Bill and Fleur's kitchen late that night, as they worked out the finer details of their plan, Harry said what had been on his mind since Hermione had proposed her idea. "Hermione, I'd like to be there with you."
"Of course you'll be there with me, Harry," she replied with a confused smile on her face.
"No, I mean I want to be there with you and have other people see it too. I don't want to go with you while hiding under my cloak of invisibility."
"And I know you think it's a bad idea, but it's not like I'd be going as myself or anything; I'd be under disguise like you would be. That way you'll have a back-up and nobody will even try to mess with you."
Hermione placed her hand on his knee and Harry did his best to ignore the tingles her touch shot through his leg. Sighing quietly and giving him a small smile Hermione said gently, "Harry, I understand where you're coming from, truly I do, but we both know that it just isn't a good idea for you to be out in the open like that. We can't run the risk of anyone spotting you. Besides, I'll be disguised as Bellatrix Lestrange; who would want to mess with her?" She pulled him in for a hug and breathed softly in his ear, "You have nothing to worry about."
As she rubbed his back he closed his eyes and breathed in deeply, never wanting this moment to end. Hermione was always so kind and her presence was one of the only things that could calm him down, even as an eleven-year-old boy when he'd first met her. He'd never told anybody that out of fear they would take it the wrong way, and he found it ironic that now the "wrong way" was the exact way it should be taken. He drew her tight to him and buried his face in her shoulder, glad that he could hug her like this without feeling any hint of awkwardness.
All too soon, though, she pulled away and he regrettably sat back in his chair. Looking around the room, at the cozy and welcoming atmosphere Bill and Fleur had created in their home, Harry was glad that his most recent refuge hadn't been found out. If it stayed that way the married couple could live here and raise their children for the rest of their lives if they so wished; he would never forgive himself if anything otherwise happened.
Looking back to Hermione he saw her twiddling with her fingers and began to wonder why when it suddenly came to him: she was nervous. The question was, why? Hermione didn't really get nervous for too much because she was usually prepared, so that meant she'd had a thought or something that left her with an unpredictable outcome.
Even before she spoke Harry had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach, but after she began hesitantly, "Harry," the pit deepened further and he knew he wasn't going to like her next sentence.
"Harry," she tried again, "I had a thought, one that might help. If you're so worried about me and the plan and want someone to be in disguise…well, I was thinking that maybe we could contact Ronald and—"
Ahh, now her agitation made sense. "Absolutely not."
"Hear me out before—"
"Hermione, if it involves Ron then I don't need to hear you out. The answer is no."
"But he could help us—"
"And his involvement could also hurt us."
She looked at him skeptically. "How could he hurt us by helping?"
"Because, Ron's unpredictable and unstable right now, especially where it concerns the two of us. He's angry, he's hurt, and above all else who knows what he'll do if we make him even more so while we go through with this plan."
She stood up so suddenly that it took Harry a second to even process the fact that she wasn't in her chair anymore. "Ron wouldn't do that! He might be angry with us, but when it comes to something as important as this he wouldn't screw things up over something petty like that! He has his flaws like anyone else, but he's still a good person, Harry!"
Harry scrutinized her carefully. Flushed cheeks, fisted hands, mouth set in a firm line, eyes blazing…she was getting truly upset now and all over a conversation about Ron.
His eyes narrowed and he stood up slowly. "Why are you singing his praises?"
The question seemed to take her by surprise and she blinked. "What?"
"Exactly what I said: why are you singing his praises? Telling me Ron wouldn't do that because he's a good person and whatnot; why are you saying these things and acting so pro-Ron, especially after what he said?"
Her eyebrows drew down over confusion-muddled brown eyes as she replied, "Because I honestly believe Ron's a good person and wouldn't do that. Why else? Ron's our friend."
"Everybody makes mistakes, Hermione."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Harry took a step closer to her and now he was the one with the balled-up fists. "Do you like him?"
"Of course I like him, he's our friend! What kind of a question is that?"
"Hermione, do you like him?"
He saw her eyes widen and her mouth drop open as she understood what he meant. "Is that what this is all about?" She exclaimed incredulously. "It's not at all that you think Ron's unpredictable right now because we've hurt him! You don't want him around because you're threatened by him!"
Harry scoffed and looked away from her, crossing his arms. "Hardly."
"I'm right, aren't I?"
He turned towards her again sharply. "And what reason could I possibly have to be threatened by Ron?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe because you think I'm in love with him?"
Silence. Harry stood right in front of Hermione, barely any space between them, waiting for an answer as his chest heaved with quick and ragged breaths. The question had just popped out without any thought on his part and now there was complete silence. Based on that alone Harry couldn't find it in himself to regret asking it. It wasn't a good sign for his relationship with Hermione if she was hesitating answering that question, but it was better for him to know now, no matter how much it hurt.
So it all comes down to this, one question with a simple answer, and she can't even reply. Is this the end for us? I don't know if I can see us coming back from this…
After what felt like years of silence, but was really only mere seconds, Hermione finally stuttered an answer. "W-what are y-you t-talking about? Why w-w-would I be i-in love with Ron?" She began to laugh, getting a bit hysterical. "W-what a s-s-silly question, Harry!"
Part of him breaking from her hesitation and obvious stuttering, Harry answered her hopelessly, "Yeah, how silly of me."
Silence once again filled the room, but this time neither of them seemed to know what to say to break it. After all, what could be said? Hermione had basically admitted that she was in love with Ron when she was supposed to be in some sort of a relationship with Harry, and Harry had been the one to figure it out. At this point there wasn't really anything that could be said or done to recover this crumbling romance.
Clearing his throat, Harry looked away from her guilt-ridden face and noticeably put some distance between them, stepping back a few feet. When he finally glanced at her again she had her eyes glued to the floor, and Harry silently thanked everyone he could think of for that. He just couldn't lock eyes with her right now; even just being in the same room with her and this atmosphere was suffocating.
"Well, I guess I have my answer then."
"Wow, it's quite late, isn't it? I'd better be getting to bed. Big day tomorrow! G'night," he said abruptly, cutting off anything Hermione wanted to say. He needed to get out of here, be alone with his thoughts and come up with a way to forget the past couple of weeks and pretend they'd never happened. If Hermione had changed her mind then so be it, but that didn't mean Harry had to lose another friend over it. I'll just act like nothing ever happened between us other than normal things that friends do. Yes, that's the only way for us to behave even close to normal around each other, and the only possible way for me to stay sane. As he fled from the kitchen and made his way to his bedroom he noticed an ache in his chest, like he had been stabbed and the life was slowly bleeding out of him. Yes, it would probably hurt for quite a while, but he would get past it. In the meantime he would only spend as much time with Hermione as he had to and then act towards her with nothing but friendship.
As he lay in bed finally drifting off the only hope he could cling to was that he would get over Hermione and forget her affections. He had to.
So, what'd you guys think? Is that a good cliffhanger or what? I thought so, because Harmony's relationship sounds like it's toast, but maybe it wasn't really that good...Either way, please let me know! Knowing you guys are waiting for me to update keeps me going, but reviews are always amazing to get too and PMs are more than welcome! I love each and every person who gives this story a chance and love the people who keep up with it even more! Thank you to every single person who has favourited or followed this story; you all deserve huge hugs, and if I was with any of you right now I totally would!...No really, I love hugs ;) But seriously, thank you all and I'll (hopefully) be updating ASAP, so stay tuned!
P.S. I haven't written this in a while so I guess I should write it again - Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of it's characters. I'm simply using them to fulfill the lovely dream of Harmony that some people enjoy. Everything other than some of the dialogue, everything else belongs to J.K. Rowling :)
P.P.S. Just in case anyone doesn't know, "Harmony" is the ship name for Harry and Hermione (at least it's the one I found... :P)