A/N: The much-awaited sequel to the heartbreaking fanfic, DO YOU THINK ABOUT ME? If you guys haven't read it yet, you're missing out on a lot (whoo! Hot air coming through!). Anyway, you can still understand this story even if you haven't read the prequel, but it's so much better to read that first so you'll get a feel of what this story is going to be like. Besides, I want you to shed a tear or two over my first fic before you cry over this one. *sigh*
DISCLAIMER: J.K. Rowling owns the Harry Potter characters.
As If We Never Said Goodbye
Will you think of me, Harry?
In the past four years, without so much as a word from Hermione, Harry *did* try to forget about her – but found that to be rather impossible. For although she has never tried to owl him, he was aware that Ron received frequent letters from her and told him stories about what she was doing, wherever she was.
Ron wasn't very much of a help in his search for Hermione. He refused to tell him where she was and he was partly hurt that his best friend wouldn't tell him where the love of his life was.
Harry groaned inwardly when he felt Blaise Zabini's tongue slide over his naked chest, licking her path towards a lower destination. Her long, dark hair fell over her face like a satin curtain, brushing sensually against his skin. He had been going out with the former Slytherin for two weeks and three dates. *This* is the third date. And like the other girls whom Harry had invited for a third-date snogging session in his flat, she didn't say no. After all, there's something very – fulfilling – about sleeping with the Boy Who Lived, as well as the superstar Seeker of the Chudley Cannons, who was also drafted to be the starting Seeker for England's National Team for the Quidditch World Cup to be held in the summer.
She paused for a while, raising her head to look up at him while her fingers nimbly and expertly drew his boxers off his lower body.
She is quite beautiful, Harry thought, bracing himself when he saw her smile at his erection before dipping her head downward. He closed his eyes and thought of the wonderful, sexual feelings this girl incited in him when Hermione's happy, smiling face materialized in his thoughts.
Like it always did whenever he was with another woman.
Harry stiffened and jumped a little, in complete surprise. That image of Hermione was very familiar – it was the day they had gone to Hogsmeade and entered Goldman's Jewelry Shop to buy the Ring of True Love for Diana. It was right after he had asked Hermione, "Would you help me pick out a ring for Diana?"
She had smiled before saying yes, and Harry noticed something he had not noticed before.
She was smiling, but her eyes were sad.
So sad………that it hurt him to look at her and berated himself for not noticing earlier.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Blaise asked him. She had straightened up in a sitting position, straddling his legs, a look of anxiousness crossing her face.
It's not fair to Blaise, Harry. She's here with you when you know you want to be somewhere else………
With someone else………
Harry breathed out a sigh and looked at the girl sitting in front of him. "I'm sorry, Blaise. I can't do this."
Her lips frowned and her brows furrowed. "Why not?"
"It just doesn't feel right………"
Blaise smiled seductively. "Well, not yet but we're just getting started."
"I mean it," he said with more force. "It's been fun and all but this thing isn't going to work out between us."
"We haven't even begun, Harry………"
"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to lead you on."
"Fine," Blaise cried angrily, standing up and collecting her clothes which were strewn all over the bedroom. She put them on, one piece at a time (Harry thinks she's doing it on purpose, just to make him see what he was missing). Once she was fully dressed, she stalked huffily out of the room without as much as a goodbye.
Harry stood up and proceeded to collect his clothes as well. It was early – 8:35, his clock read. Ron would be back from his training with Puddlemere United in a few hours and decided to leave him a note. The two of them had been sharing a flat since they got out of Hogwarts, owing to the fact that it was cheaper to have a roommate and their place was a suitable location between the Cannons' and Puddlemere's training pitches.
Just stepped out for a little while. Be back in a few. Pumpkin juice and leftover turkey in the fridge. Bread in the basket. Toaster's busted.
He reached for his Muggle leather jacket that hung on the coat rack Mrs. Weasley had insisted on getting them as a 'new-flat' present. He really didn't want to Apparate to where he was going, just in case the people he was visiting weren't too keen on having visitors at the moment.
Just then, Pigwidgeon flew through the window and landed on the kitchen counter. It dropped an envelope on the marble and hopped over to the bread basket to pilfer some crumbs. Harry rushed over and eyed the envelope eagerly. On the front, in clear cursive that was so Hermione's, read, 'Ron Weasley.'
Harry smoothed his forefinger over the words, as if it would bring him any closer to her. Like all the other times that Pig had flown in with a letter from Hermione to Ron, Harry was tempted to open it – but thought otherwise. Although Ron feels guilty about not letting Harry know where Hermione was, he also knew that if he opened his private post, Ron's trust in him would be thrown out the window. And he couldn't bear losing Ron as well – especially when he's the person nearest to him that could actually assure him that she is, in fact, all right.
So Harry satisfied himself by just lingering over Hermione's handwriting. He helped Pig get some food before he set out for the Leaky Cauldron.
"Going out again, eh, Mr. Potter?" Tom, the innkeeper of the Leaky Cauldron, asked him jovially.
"Yeah, Tom," Harry replied, his hand poised on the knob. "I wouldn't be out too late but close up if I don't get back in time again. I can always Apparate home."
"I never close when you're out, Mr. Potter," he grinned. "More business for me, then." Harry smiled then mumbled a goodbye before turning the door to the Muggle world.
Harry trudged along the sidewalk, pulling his jacket closer to him as a cold breeze whipped around him. He could see Muggles walking around, some with furrowed brows and angry stares, clutching their portfolios tightly, as if someone was going to steal them. By force of habit, Harry looked out at the corner of his eye for any girl with brown hair, hoping against hope that he'd bump into Hermione, which he never did of course.
He rounded a corner and picked up his pace. The place he was going to wasn't far and he could hardly wait to see the row of houses downtown, all pieced together as if it were a jogsaw puzzle. But he most looked forward to reaching the white house with the red-shingled roof, and a front door that held a small sign saying, 'The Grangers.' Harry could recall the first time he had gone there, fresh out of Hogwarts, looking for Hermione………
He knocked on the door sharply. People in the street stared at his odd clothes. Who would be wearing a cloak on a balmy spring afternoon? Why was he in a cloak anyhow?
Harry had just come from the graduation rites at Hogwarts. He could hardly sit still, knowing that in a few hours' time he would be on his way back to Muggle London to collect the last of his belongings at the Dursleys' and say goodbye to their maltreatment but most of all, he looked forward to going over to Hermione's house.
The night before, Harry had come to the conclusion that if Ron wasn't going to tell him anything, The Grangers might. All he needed to do was to confess what he felt for Hermione and they just might tell him where she was so he could go after her. All he wished was that she wasn't with………
*Stop that, Harry! Of course she's not with that git. She did tell you that she loves you, didn't she?*
Harry held his breath when he heard someone from inside unlock the door. *Please, let it be Hermione. Please, Please………*
"Harry?" Hermione's mom asked, opening the door. She scanned his clothes and gave him a small smile. "Congratulations on graduating, dear. Come on in."
Harry smiled graciously and closed the door after her. "Sit down, dear. Anything I can get you? We were just going to have tea."
"Oh, no, thank you, ma'am," Harry replied. "Actually, I would like to ask you if………"
"Who is it, darling?" a man's voice called from the kitchen.
"Harry Potter, dear. Hermione's friend from school." She turned to him again. "What was it that you wanted to say?"
Mr. Granger, a tall man with stern features, loomed over the enclave that separated the living room from the kitchen. Harry had seen him several times over the last seven years, accompanying his daughter in Diagon Alley. He'd never really talked to him or anything, and he wasn't as blatantly fun-loving and curious as Mr. Weasley is. Harry could feel himself shrink as he stood up and muttered a "Good afternoon, sir."
"What brings you here, Mr. Potter?" he asked Harry, eyeing him warily.
Harry could feel his ears burning. He knows, he thought to himself. Somehow, he knows. Maybe Hermione told him. She and her dad has always been close.
"I………" he croaked. "I was wondering if Hermione was here. She left the castle early yesterday and she wasn't back for the graduation rites today. I thought I should come here, to make sure she's okay."
"Hermione is fine, Mr. Potter. She is not ill, not in the usual way at least." His cinnamon-brown eyes bore into Harry's emerald ones.
"Darling," Mrs. Granger tut-tutted, giving her husband a shocked look. "Harry's just being a concerned friend."
"Hermione doesn't need a 'concerned friend' from him," Mr. Granger said steadily, his eyes still glued to Harry's.
"Sir," Harry began, shaking. He's never felt more scared in his life, except when he faced Voldemort but then he had the option of killing him. Facing Hermione's parents – her dad, especially – was nerve-wracking. Mr. Granger looked ready to pounce on him. "Sir, I didn't mean to hurt Hermione."
"How can you sit there and tell that to my face?" Mr. Granger bellowed. "How can you sit there and tell me that you didn't mean to hurt my daughter when she's gone to escape from you and those damned feelings?"
"Darling," Mrs. Granger said soothingly. "He just didn't realize it until now. Sometimes it takes longer for the other person to see his true feelings."
"They've been friends for seven years. One would think he'd know her enough by now."
Harry grimaced slightly. Mr. Granger had a point. Was he so blinded by the charms and beauty of another person that he didn't see Hermione's own brand of charm and beauty?
"Tell me, Harry Potter – why would you want to know where my daughter is?"
"I'd like to talk to her, sir. I'd like to tell her that………"
It's now or never, Harry. Do it.
"I'd like to tell her that I love her, too, sir."
Mr. Granger's facial features softened considerably after that statement and Mrs. Granger couldn't help but sob.
"We can't tell you where Hermione is, Mr. Potter. My daughter made me promise not to tell you. And I keep my promises."
Harry felt his heart sink, but he lost no hope. After that day, he was so determined to show Mr. Granger that he really loved his daughter that he doubled his efforts in his present work. He wanted him to know that he could support Hermione when the time came that they would meet again.
Harry went to the Grangers' home every weekend, when he didn't have training or a Quidditch match. At times, when he felt so alone at night, he would leave. Whenever Hermione's smiling face popped up at the most inconvenient times, he would leave.
The Grangers have a bench on the front lawn and Harry sat there, long into the day, then leaving when the clock struck 9, when it was obvious that Hermione wasn't going to show. But he would show up again, on the next weekend. Mrs. Granger had taken such a liking to him that she would read him letters from Hermione. She was careful to omit any statements about where she is, but would continue to read on so formidably that Harry found out where Hermione took her reading habits from. Mr. Granger, on the other hand, was still a little uneasy about Harry but left him alone most of the time. They would pass by each other when Mr. Granger would be off to work, muttering a polite 'Good morning.' And Mr. Granger would come home and Harry would still be there, sitting on the bench.
*End of Flashback*
Harry stood beyond the gate that separated the lawn and the sidewalk. He stared up at the two-floor house and focused his eyes on the dark room at the left side of the second-floor. Hermione's room.
Four years. Four years since he's last heard anything from her. And the memory that evoked in him when he last saw her – she was running away from him. He had always berated himself since then. How stupid he was, to let her slip through his fingers like that! Admittedly, he enjoyed his time with Diana. And Hermione was right, she did make him happy. But Diana was hardly what you would call a potential relationship, he realized that now. They have nothing in common, except magic. She didn't even know how Quidditch was played until Hermione had explained it to her, and nothing came of it.Hermione, however………
Hermione was always there. She cheered for him and Ron whenever Gryffindor played, and she would scream loudly when Harry got the Snitch. She was always there to help him with his homework or to get him out of trouble, if need be. She would go with him to Hogsmeade to buy a present for someone else, even when she was hurting inside.
Hermione doesn't have to hurt anymore, he'll make sure of it.
As long as I get to see her again.
"Harry?" Mr. Granger had stuck his head out the front door, looking at him curiously. "What are you doing here? We're not due to see you till the weekend."
"Oh, Mr. Granger. I'm sorry to bother you. I got a little lonely tonight and I thought a walk might clear my head."
"Well, don't just stand there, boy. Come on inside before people think you're a stalker and call the police."
Harry walked over to the gate. "It's very kind of you, sir, but I just wanted to………well, I just wanted to think of Hermione for a bit. This is the closest I could get to her memory, sir. I hope you don't mind if I just leave quietly. I didn't want to bother you or Mrs. Granger."
Suddenly, Mr. Granger walked over to him and placed his hand on his shoulder. The first sign of – well – anything from Hermione's dad. "I don't know you, Harry. But Hermione has told me, many times over, that you're one of her best friends. You do understand that I look out for her a lot. She's my only daughter, my only child. I don't like seeing her getting hurt."
"I know, sir," Harry replied, almost silently.
"But like I said, Harry, I don't know you. But also, there must be something in you that makes you come back every weekend in the early morning and leave so late at night that tells me that you could really love my daughter."
"I do – I love Hermione."
"Yet to be proven, Harry. But far be it from me to deny my daughter the dedication you've shown us in the past four years." He smiled at Harry before turning away.
Harry put his hands in his pockets and began to retrace his steps back to Diagon Alley.
Mr. Granger filled the door frame with an aura of subdued energy. "Hermione will be coming home this weekend."