Too Late

The rain is coming down hard now, hard enough to seep into Hermione's clothes. Her teeth chatter against each other, hands trembling as she forces them into her pockets. Hermione doesn't know whether she shake from the frosty winter air or from her frantic nerves, taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she finally looks head-on at the door in front of her. A tool brown door is in front of, only steps away as she observes it from an arms distance.

Ivory Crest. Her eyes re-read the gold-plated text on the door in front of her. 'An apartment Complex of all places?'

She thinks back to her last conversation with the Ministry record keeper. 'He did say that Harry lived in this building, didn't mention which room though.' Rain continues to hammer down, further seeping into Hermione's clothes. She nervously wonders if this is the right thing to do, 'It's not like we're the best of friends anymore.' It's still raining, she didn't see that many people out it's that bad, and it's only one week away from Harry's birthday. Most Witches would have turned and ran to the nearest Floo, but here she is.

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They'd been together since seventh year, known each other since their first day of Hogwarts. Even had family parties, both Granger and Potter coming together throughout the years. 'But somethings different this year, even before we get together – he didn't act this strange' Hermione continues to observe her boyfriend, a small smile on his lips as he reads the letter in front of him.

"Harry," Hermione says.

Harry just hums, eyes still focused on the letter in front of him.

"I was thinking, maybe we could meet up over the summer? We could go around London, maybe even do something-" Hermione begins to talk, stopping as she realises Harry's attention isn't fixed on her.

Rolling her eyes in impatience, Hermione lightly kicks Harry, jolting him back to reality.

"Harry! I was talking to you, is that letter so important?" She says, getting rather tired at Harry drifting off lately.

"What the hell, can you not kick me," says Harry, reaching down to rub his shin.

They are both seated in the Library. From the outside, it looks all is happy with the couple, but on the inside – the relationship is straining. 'It's those fucking letters he's been getting, more and more keep on arriving.'

"If you won't even pay attention to me, Harry, then I'm just going to go somewhere else," Hermione says, standing up and packing away her books.

Harry just mutters a simple 'whatever' and returns his attention to the letter.

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Deciding to give it a shot, she looks to her right and sweeps down the list of tenants inside the Complex.

Williams

Mason

Until finally – 176 Potter - her breath catching in her throat as she sees it. Her eyes are glued to the name 'Potter' that sits in the middle of the list, the name is written in the same hand-writing that Harry has always had.

Hermione hesitates, her hand suspended mid-air – a breath away from the button sporting the name 'Potter.' 'Is this even the right thing to do? It's not like I can just walk right back into his life, and hope for everything to return to what we once had.' Her mind is swirling in questions which have been plaguing her mind for weeks now.

Deciding that won't get anywhere without trying, she presses the button down firmly.

The loud buzz of the button being pressed jolts Hermione, slightly jumping in surprise she straightens up and looks around for anyone watching. 'Ok. No one else heard that, must be losing my mind.'

Hermione stands stoic in front of the door, waiting for something to happen. Hope for Harry's handsome face to appear from the door and welcome her into his arms. Hope for this whole situation to just be over.

But nothing happens, just the sound of the continued rain hammering the nearby road.

Hermione anxiously bites her lip, frantically smooths down her wild hair. 'If this door doesn't open soon, I'm going to end up breaking down here.' She quickly raises her hand to the button again, tapping it over and over for any reaction.

'Maybe he's not even in, wouldn't that be a surprise – I'd just be that crazy women everyone sees, banging on someone's door.'

Suddenly the door clicks aloud, opening slightly. Hermione takes a step forward, her body wire-strait in tension.

But nothing happens, just the silence coming from the door. "Harry, are you there?" she calls out, pushing the door open lightly to look inside.

It's empty.

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'Great, he's finally gone' She thinks, watching Harry's retreating back as he leaves the common room. On a search for his missing book, 'Probably left it near the lake.'

Making sure that Harry has left the room, Hermione makes her way over to Harry's bag – currently placed next to the couch. 'Just need to find those stupid letters. Ah, here they are.' Finally fishing out the letters, Hermione sits back on the couch, letters in hand as she scans through the first one. No guilt in reading her boyfriend's personal letters.

'Can you believe it! I can finally live in England, just got to finish my final year in Beauxbatons – Once this years over, I'm heading straight over – just want to get away from this place, all this arguing and fighting between my mother and father is rather tiresome.' Hermione throws the letter aside, moving onto another one.

'You do look rather handsome in that picture Harry, and who is the girl on your arm? Is it your girlfriend? Knowing you, it's probably one of many with those looks of yours. Ah, I'm just playing around, not long now until I'm finally able to move home. Maybe you could even stay over in Grimmauld when I arrive back?' Hermione feels a sense of dread wash over her, 'Harry is talking to another girl? He's been doing this behind my back the whole time!' Angrily throwing the letter over her shoulder, she soldiers on and reads the next one.

'I remembered to include a picture this time, just a small one of me and my friends on the school's gardens – rather pretty picture if I say so myself.' Hermione doesn't even want to read anymore as she notices the picture in question, pinned onto the bottom of the letter.

Bringing the image to her face, Hermione tries to focus on the image – and to find the responsible girl. 'Bitch, probably trying to get into his pants.' Before she can even focus on a raven-haired woman in the image, the letter is snatched out of her hand.

Intent on shouting at the personal responsible for taking the letter, Hermione immediately looks up – words dying in her mouth as she comes face to face with Harry, and a rather angry Harry at that.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Harry simply deadpans, letters scrunched up in his fist.

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Hermione swallows. 'Not creepy at all, feel like someone is going to jump out and grab me.' She thinks, the hallway reminding her of Grimmauld Palace.

She takes a look around her current surroundings. 'Surely no one would notice me just walking in, right? It's not like I'm dressed as someone who is prowling the rooms here.' Taking one last look, she presses the door firmly back, now fully open.

As soon as she enters her eyes roam over the various signs. 'Just need to find Harry's room – ah, there it is.' Looking over the sign once more which indicates the rooms between 150-200, she makes her way towards the stairway.

Slowly, Hermione makes her way up the stairs – the noise of her heeled shoes emitting from the steps. Wincing slightly at the loud sound, she hastens her steps to reach the top.

Finally reaching the top, Hermione is met with an even wider hallway – this time accompanied with various doors. The doors face adjacent to one another, a single window at the end of the hallways being in the only source of light in the afternoon day. She tentatively runs her gaze across the doors, searching the correct one, taking a look on the wall closet to her on the right. 'That's number 175'

Swallowing again, she turns to the left and comes face to face with Harry's door. The number 176 etched onto the door.

Harry's apartment, right there, just a few steps away.

As she makes her way towards the door, Hermione mentality debates again whether she should be here. 'What if he doesn't want to see me? What if he's already with someone else?' Her train of thought is cut off as she raises her fist to knock on the door.

Her legs feel like jelly as the sound of her knocking echoes through the hallway, rubbing her hands together in a nervous manor. 'I'm just cold from the rain outside, nothing to do with the nerves.' Laughing pitifully at herself.

Nothing happens, only the continued silence.

Sighing aloud, Hermione knocks again – only a lot louder this time. 'Come on, answer already.' More silence. 'Maybe he's ignoring me, he couldn't know it was me right, right?' Her heart sinks deep into her chest at the thought.

Too busy wallowing in her thoughts, she fails to hear the sound of the door latch being removed. The sound of the door flying open, and the light bang of the door colliding against the inside wall is what wakes Hermione up.

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Hermione couldn't believe what she'd done. 'I just feel sick whenever I think about it,' she thinks. She is currently sat on her bed, head in hands as she thinks over the last couple of days.

Her relationship with Harry had deteriorated even worse ever since she'd gotten caught with his letters. Years of friendship, and one year of them being together – all crashing down near the end of the school year.

'It's not like I made the situation any worse,' she rethinks, embarrassment and shame all over her.

Throwing a cup of Pumpkin Juice into Harry's face wasn't the best idea, especially in the great hall – in front of everyone no less. That was all down to her bringing up their relationship, she mentally notes, the guilt becoming worse.

'The worse thing is probably what I done with Ron…' Hermione thinks, pulling at her hair in frustration and anger.

She'd decided it'd be a clever idea to give Harry some of his own medicine, just minor flirting, a few kisses. But she didn't want it to go as far as sleeping with him. 'The worst thing is, Ron couldn't keep his stupid mouth shut – instantly telling his friends that he bagged Harry Potter's girlfriend, like I'm some trophy to be waved around.'

Harry had been ridiculed and laughed at for the rest of the year, almost everywhere he went, there would be someone with something to say.

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Right there, standing in the door way, leaning against the door frame, not her former best-friend, but a girl – no. A woman. A rather beautiful woman, Hermione mentally notes. With black hair, that's messily swept back in a ponytail. She's sporting a serious, grey gaze that pierces thought Hermione – which sends a shiver up Hermione's spine. A smile adorns the woman's blood red lips, which Hermione thinks, is rather mocking. 'Just who is this woman?!' Hermione's mind is ablaze in questions as she focuses on the woman in front of her.

Whilst thinking things over, Hermione's gaze drifts south – audibly choking at the woman's clothing.

'Lack of clothing more like, can't she cover up before she answers!' The woman in front of her is naked, save for an over-sized men's shirt – top buttons undone, exposing an unhealthy amount of chest.

'And her neck!' Bruises and small bites lay down the right side of the woman's neck, unwelcome additions to a woman's body, think's Hermione as she notices even more on the woman's tanned skin. Hermione can already feel herself flush at the sight, face burning in embarrassment.

She tries to speak, to say anything – but she's beaten to it.

"Who are you?" Comes her soft voice. Hermione blinks, surprised by woman's tone.

"I'm just, uh, looking for Harry Potter. I was told that he lives here, although I'm probably wrong – might as well get going," Hermione hastily finishes her sentence, already wanting to get out this situation.

The unknown woman scoffs at Hermione. "What's your name?"

Taken aback by the question, Hermione blinks a few times. "It's, uh..."

"Come on, you don't know your own name?"

'Merlin, this woman,' Hermione can already feel her head throb in annoyance, practically seething at the woman in front of her. "Forget it, I must've been mistaken. Sorry to have bothered you."

The woman leaning on the door frame smirks smugly at Hermione, shrugging an innocent "Bye, bye," Hermione makes to turn away from the door, intent on never visiting this place again, when-

"Lyra."

Hermione stops, frozen to the ground she's on.

"Who is it?"

'Is that? Harry!?'

Hermione feels her stomach clench at the sound of Harry, having not hearing the simple sound of Harry talking in years – she feels like she's going to fall in on herself, praying to god that everything goes right. Quickly she whips around to face the door and is met with a set of eyes, Harry's deep emerald eyes.

"It's really you…" Hermione breathes out, a faint smile forming on her lips.

"What the fuck…" Harry says aloud, bringing Hermione's smile crashing down.

Hermione can barely imagine her own face. She can feel her frown settle down on her face at Harry's sentence. She must look like a beaten dog, disappointed and down.

Harry just blinks at her, his face morphing into something resembling resent. Looking up to Harry's imposing height, Hermione feels small under Harry's green gaze – something she would have ever thought she'd feel from Harry again. 'Why am I so surprised, it's no wonder he still hates me,' she feels stupid, 'Why even bother of getting my hopes up.'

The still unknown woman, still stands aside Harry – looking amused at the conversation.

"What do you want?" Harry says, bringing Hermione's gaze back to his face. His tone bearing a hint of impatience.

Hermione can hardly breathe right now, she feels like a first-year again, under the strict rule of Professor Snape. "Harry, I just want to speak-"

Hermione is interrupted by the laugh from the woman at Harry's side. With her hand attempting to cover her mouth, she's practically laughing at Hermione.

"You're Hermione, aren't you?" The woman says to Hermione, still laughing lightly. Looking Hermione up and down.

Confusion and apprehension took over Hermione. "Yes, that's correct. And who are you?" Replies Hermione, taking on a biting tone. Annoyance and anger towards the woman.

More laughter. Hermione narrows her eyes towards the woman, resisting the urge to swat her across the head. Looking back at Harry, sending a silent plea for the woman to go away.

"Look, you're just wasting your time here. Harry's told me all about you," the voice of the woman sounds off. Hermione goes instantly rigid, the urge to bolt overriding her.

"D-did he now? Well then, that's rather unfortunate." Hermione mutters, still looking at Harry – shame and emotional pain taking over. She can already feel the slight prickle of tears, hastily wiping them away, not giving them the justice of seeing her cry.

Harry just raises on eyebrow at Hermione, no attempt to get involved between the two women.

'It's funny, I remember a time when Harry would stand up for anyone - especially me,' sensing defeat, Hermione gives Harry's form one lost look. 'Oh, didn't notice that…' looking at Harry's form.

Hermione sucks in a breath, feeling her throat going dry. Harry's hair messier than what she used to remember, 'Probably fresh out of bed with this woman'. His toned tanned body, as Harry too, is more-or-less naked. Dressed only in a pair of Muggle shorts that hang low on his hips. The multiple scars, 'Don't remember him having that many', across the skin of his chest and stomach. Hermione's mind is in turmoil as she steps back from Harry's door.

"Right… I'll just, go, then." She says, wrapping her coat tight around herself, in a sense of protection.

"Ah-ah-ah." The unknown woman sings out, grasping Hermione's arm in a tight grip. Hermione is now uncomfortably face-to-face with this woman. "Let go-." She attempts to say.

"Just so you know, I'm Lyra Black – the infamous woman from the letters. And yes, before you ask, I do know all about you and Harry, all the details. Nice to meet you by the way," Lyra finishes off her sentence, voice dripping in sarcasm as she loosens her grip. Hermione's mouth is open in shock, feeling like she'd been slapped – she staggers out of Lyra's grip, back hitting against the adjacent door.

'He told her?! Can't believe this. Oh Harry…' A Sob escapes Hermione's mouth as she pushed herself off the wall, walking with fast steps down the hallway.

Her steps echo loudly as they connect with the floor, reaching the stairs she takes one last look over her shoulder. Even though Hermione is standing some distance away from Harry and Lyra, she can still make out the smug smile on Lyra's lips, and the amused one on Harry's lips. She watches in pain as Lyra tugs Harry back into his room, delicate hands tugging the waist-line of Harry's shorts.

The loud bang of Harry's door closing is enough for Hermione, quickly walking down the stairs – wiping the tears that are now flowing down her face.

"I'm such an idiot…"