Hermione rubbed the scar on her arm as she looked out the window. Raindrops traced a path over the glass of the window. The tracks of the raindrops mirrored the tracks of teardrops she could see reflected there. The words she had thrown at Gregory where running in loop in her head.
"How can I trust you if everything out of your mouth feels like a lie …"
"I need to know that you will always be honest with me …"
"I have had enough of lies and deception to last three lifetimes …"
"How can we survive anything if everything is covered in a glamour …"
Could she have really shouted those things at him? He had been her saving grace and sanity during the last year. She knew in her head that both of them had been forced to use lies and deceptions to survive. Why was this so hard now?
Gregory needed to throw things. He could feel the anger and hurt boiling in him The storm rolling across the Quidditch pitch matched the storm in his mind. He did not remember walking here but the rain on his skin was cooling his temper. How could she think those things about him? How could he have let his temper work his mouth instead of his brain? The echoes of his part of their fight echoed across the empty pitch.
"How could you say that to me, those deceptions saved you …"
"What more do I have to do to get your trust …"
"When did you become my judge and jury …"
"How can you hold the things against me that I did to protect you …"
Could he really have hurled those words at her? She had been his beacon and rock when his world was falling apart during the last year. He knew she had spent years hiding how much she knew and being lied to by the people she needed to trust the most. How could he reach her through her anxiety?
Hermione woke with a start. She had fallen asleep in the window seat of her dorm room. She needed to find Gregory and apologize. She could not hold their past against him. At least, that is what her head was telling her. Her heart was on a completely different page. She felt like she was in the middle of a tug of war and the ground beneath her was falling away. She needed to figure out just what scars were worth keeping and what dreams were worth chasing.
"Mione, why are sitting in the window?" Ginny's voice startled Hermione as she looked out the window. "We missed you at dinner and the boys were sure you were hiding in the library."
"Just thinking through things," Hermione sighed as she turned towards Ginny, "Gregory and I had a screaming match today and I may have said some things I need to apologize for."
"Trust issues again?" Ginny asked as she joined Hermione in the window seat. "When are you going to stop letting the past ruin everything?"
"According to my head, never," Hermione turned to look out the window. "My heart is screaming that he is worth my trust but my head keeps showing me pictures of him saying and doing whatever it took to survive, including hiding truths with glamours. How have you and Harry worked through things?"
"By yelling," Ginny pointed to her hair. "But, also by talking and forgiving. Harry can be very closed off from his emotions and the scars he carries are more than the ones you can see on the outside. Getting him to talk and trust is the hardest thing I have ever done."
"Is it worth it?" Hermione whispered the question as she wiped another tear from her cheek. "Is it worth opening up those old wounds and risking my heart? I feel so lost in my head right now."
"Yes, absolutely," Ginny answered as she pulled Hermione into a hug. "Anything worth having, is worth fighting for. If I can break through the unbreaking wall of Harry's past, you can find a way over or around the wall of mistrust that has built up between you and Gregory."
"I hate when you are right, Gin," Hermione sighed. "I guess I need to find my courage … and Gregory."
Gregory sneezed as he walked into the Great Hall. His robes were soaked and he just wanted to get to his room and some dry clothes. Then, he needed to find Hermione and apologize. They needed to talk, without yelling, and he needed to figure out what was really happening inside that brilliant brain of hers. He knew not everyone's scars were visible and some scars were tougher than others.
"Goyle, what are you doing out here?" Draco's voice floated down the hall behind Gregory. "Why are you dripping wet? Have you lost your mind?"
"I am trying to get to my room the change, you git," Gregory turned and waited for Draco to catch up to him. "I decided to check out the conditions on the pitch and it happens to be raining out there. Can you make yourself useful and conjure up a towel or something?"
"What possessed you to check out the pitch in this weather?" Draco cast a drying charm on Gregory's robes as they continued toward the Slytherin common room. "We don't have a match anytime soon and it has been raining all afternoon. You could have at least taken an umbrella."
"I had not exactly planned to be there," Gregory admitted, sheepishly. "Hermione and I had a fight and I was standing on the pitch before I realized I had walked there. I'm still trying to figure out what made her so mad."
"Granger?" Draco looked confused. "Since when have you two been talking? That curly-headed menace makes my brain hurt every time she opens her mouth in class."
"Shows what you know, Malfoy," Gregory smacked Draco on the back of the head as they continued to walk down the hallway. "Hermione and I have been 'talking' since the end of our Sixth Year. You have just been paying attention to other things."
"But why?" Draco asked as he rubbed the back of his head. "She was wrapped up with that Potter mess and she is a know it all Gryffindor. What could you see in that?"
"Everything, Malfoy," Gregory hung his head and stopped walking. "Just everything. She is smart and funny and thoughtful and …. ARGGGGH! So frustrating and unforgiving and closed up right now."
"So why are you so torn up?" Draco place a hand on Gregory's shoulder. "If she is such a bother, why are you so bothered?
"Because, for some reason, she is everything I want," Gregory sighed and started walking again. "She fills in all the empty spaces and makes me feel whole. She was there when I was lost in the tug of war that last year became and she makes sense to my heart."
"By Merlin, you sound worse than Potter talking about his redhead," Draco began making gagging noises as turned towards the library. "I'm going to work on the dragon of an essay McGonagall assigned."
"Night, Malfoy," Gregory continued to mutter as he walked towards the Slytherin Common Room. "I guess I will get comfortable and prepare to get another headache. I need to find Hermione and straighten this out."
Hermione was struggling to find a happy memory to use to create her patronus. She did not feel like searching the entire castle to find Gregory but she really wanted to talk to him. Finally, a very faint otter slipped from the end of her wand. "Gregory, please come find me in the empty classroom on the third floor. I'm sorry."
Hermione felt her heart break as she watched the smoky otter slide under the door of the classroom. "Might as well practice what I am going to say," Hermione mumbled as she waited for Gregory to find her. "I really need to apologize for what I said to him. I know he would not lie to me intentionally. But he needs to understand, sins of omission are just as dangerous as lies blatantly told."
Hermione was kept company by the thought swirling in her head as she waited for Gregory. The longer she waited, the worse her anxiety became.
Hermione was startled by a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I'm glad you asked to talk to me," Gregory spoke quietly as he touched her loose curls. "I know we need to talk about what happened earlier."
"I'm sorry, Greg. I don't know what is happening to me,' Hermione gulped in air as she tried to get her scattered thoughts back in order. "I thought I was better about the past."
"Mione, breathe," Gregory pulled her into his chest and wrapped his arms around her. "I need you to listen to me before you hyperventilate."
"I'm sorry. I know you have trust issues," Gregory started to talk as he ran his hands through Hermione's curls. "I know we have both had to do things that hurt each other to survive the last year and we both have scars."
"But, Greg," Hermione started to speak. "How do we find a way past that? I want to find a way to let those hurts go."
Gregory placed a single finger across Hermione's lips. "We talk and we listen. We try to remember that each of us is human and not all our scars are visible. The one thing we do not do is hide."
"I'm trying,' Hermione lifted her lips into a weak smile as Gregory wiped tears from her cheeks. "I'm scared of being hurt again. Every time I think I have it sorted out, flashes of the past come back to destroy the peace I am trying to find."
"So, we start from the beginning," Gregory place a soft kiss on Hermione's forehead. "We establish boundaries and we promise to be open and honest with each other from here forward. You can't build a foundation on lies and smiles. So we will build one on scars and truths."
"Do you really think we can do that?" Hermione whispered against Gregory's chest. "Am I really strong enough to trust you with my heart? Are we strong enough to survive this?"
"If we are strong enough to survive a war," Gregory sighed. "We are strong enough to survive this. You are the strongest witch I know and I don't want to be anywhere else."
Gregory and Hermione spent the rest of the night talking about dreams and fears. Sunrise brought sleepy smiles and promises on work for better tomorrows. Hermione was looking forward to the work.