Remember Me This Way

Susie Bones

May 2003

Hermione Granger was his best friend, the love of his life, his whole world.

He wished he'd been brave enough to tell her that in person. He wished he'd had the courage to say goodbye in person.

*Brave Harry Potter*, he thought disdainfully. *If only they could see me now.*

He looked at the letter with a faintly scoffing expression. Moonlight illuminated Hermione's name in his handwriting. What was he doing?

Running. That's what he was doing. The war was long over, Voldemort had been killed, the Order disbanded for now, the Death Eaters who had not been killed with their leader were forever to remain in Azkaban. So what was he running from? He was *alive*, for cripes's sake. He'd been born to die; he had been made brutally aware of that, yet here he was, still breathing the same air as the rest of this world.

But part of him thought that none of it was finished; those still close to him were probably in even more danger than before.

And Hermione would be their number one target.

Even six years after the war, all of Voldemort's followers had not been caught. They could be anywhere, looking for the now twenty three year old Boy Who Destroyed Voldemort. Harry hadn't breathed any sighs of relief once the Great Fight was over, for no relief had come to him. He had not been reassured there would be no more nightmares, no more living in fear, no more uncertainties, wondering if the next day would be his last. It was unnerving and rather aging on Harry's part.

It had all become too much. He would find someplace to live, far from anyone. No one would know where he was. Once he was found, he would be killed quickly and quietly.

He hoped.

So, he wasn't really running at all.

Harry Potter, famous brave Harry Potter, *The Boy Who Lived*, was giving up.



*I'm curious, Potter. Since when did The Boy Who Lived become The Boy Who Simply Gave Up and Fled?* That was Draco Malfoy. He'd been killed in an attempt to stand against his father and was now living again inside Harry's head.

"Fuck," he muttered, burying his face in his hands.

He sat that way for a long while, wanting to get up and mail Hermione's letter and just be done with it.

But part of him wanted to stay right here, under the bridge on Old Mill Road, with his knees drawn up to his chest, nowhere near tears, but breathing unsteadily all the same. Why shouldn't he stay here? It was just the same as getting killed in the middle of nowhere.

"Harry?"

Harry gave a startled jump and looked up. Hermione was standing in front of him. He'd been so lost in thought

*(the boy who simply gave up and fled)*

he hadn't heard her approaching.

She sank to her knees, cinnamon eyes wide; warm, usually smiling face pale and reflective of her worry. Her chocolate brown locks were slightly frizzed, as if stating their distress as well. It wasn't until she had reached out and intertwined her fingers with his that some part of Harry came back to himself and he sprang to his feet, leaping away from her. He should have remembered; this bridge was a place both of them shared in times of misery.

*Smart move there, Potter*, Draco piped up brightly

"Hermione! What are you doing here?"

She didn't reply, but when on staring at him keenly.

"You weren't home when I got back, Harry," she said at last. Harry shrugged uneasily. Her eyes shifted from his face to the letter lying beside the patch of grass Harry'd been sitting on.

She picked it up and Harry briefly considered turning around and bolting from the bridge. Deciding against that, he thought of pleading temporary insanity.

*Bet she'd love that*.

*Would you shut the hell up, Malfoy?* Harry frowned up at his forehead.

In the end, Draco was silent and Harry did and said nothing, but only watched her warily as she read the letter.

"You're not leaving without me," she informed him, folding the parchment again and setting it down.

"I have to," he protested; his voice sounded weak even to him. She stood and again took his hands.

"You promised," she said. Her eyes were watery, but she held the tears back with resilience he admired, "You promised we would be together always."

She glanced down at her left hand, which was ornamented with an elaborate engagement ring.

"I shouldn't have made that promise, Hermione."

Tears threatened with even more force; Hermione took a shuddery breath before shaking her head.

"I can't let you go," she whispered gripping his hands tightly. Harry made an unintelligible sound and, releasing her hands, wrapped his arms around her and held her firmly against him.

The adversary tears finally won and spilled down her cheeks. She clutched at him in a panicky manner. Harry felt his chest tighten and he bit down on his lip hard enough to draw blood.

Hermione pushed him away suddenly and wiped her eyes. Her mascara had run down her cheeks along with the tears. Harry thought she looked wildly beautiful.

"Go then," she said harshly, making a shooing gesture with her hands, "Go get yourself blown up."

*(blown up? you told me they died in a car crash!)*

Harry pushed the memory away. Was he making a terrible mistake? Was it somehow selfish of him to want to get those he loved out of danger?

He hesitated.

"Hermione," he began.

*How d'you think You-Know-Who would find you, Harry? He sure wouldn't go around asking politely*, Ron suddenly spoke up. Ron wasn't dead, but the younger, pre-war version (the version that hadn't been forced to age much more rapidly than he should have) of Ron Weasley would forever survive in Harry's mind. Mrs. Weasley had once told Harry hearing voices (who were not much more than your own voice disguising itself in various forms) wasn't uncommon; most creative people and those bored stiff often heard themselves masquerading as others in their lives.

*You really think hiding is the answer? They'd have all the more reason to kill your friends in order to get to you, Potter!* That was Draco again.

"Hermione," he said again.

"You promised," she repeated flatly, "You promised me, Harry Potter! You great flaming prat; what the hell were you *thinking* if you intended on running off in a month or so after?"

"I didn't—"

"Didn't what? Didn't think it would matter to me? Didn't think I would protest? Didn't think you were *being a coward*?"

He blinked, too startled to say anything. Hermione fell to her knees again, her hands covering her face. Harry stared at her, unable to understand what she was saying.

"Damn you," she whispered and somehow that statement clicked everything else home.

"Cripes, Hermione, I'm doing this for *you*," he snapped. He felt faint stirrings of anger in the pit of his stomach. He *was* being a coward, that was hell of it.

"For *me*," she snorted bitterly, looking at him. "What me, Harry? Don't you get it? I love you. I can't just let you go. What do you take me for?"

Harry felt his anger evaporate and he swallowed hard. Draco had had a point. If he went into hiding, it was all the more reason for murder. Oh bloody fuck, what had been thinking?

*You weren't*, Draco answered undauntedly. *When do you ever, Potter?*

"Hermione … I …" he trailed off, at a loss for words. He knelt beside her and held her.

"I'm sorry, Harry. I didn't mean it, really I didn't. None of it."

He smiled tightly.

"It's my fault, trying to be so noble all the time. But I couldn't have lived with myself knowing your loving me killed you."

She was smiling, a little anyway, but her eyes and voice were solemn.

"You don't get it, do you? Harry, your leaving would have killed me, not Voldemort. You have no idea how it would have hurt me to know that you were still alive and out there somewhere … but I could never see you," she informed him and at that, Harry closed his eyes against a sudden dampness in his eyes.

*Jesus, Potter. I thought Weasley was one lovesick puppy.*

*Hey, shove off, Malfoy.* Harry could just see Ron's scowl.

"I love you, Hermione," Harry said. Hermione smiled, touched; Harry rarely told her he loved her. He often showed her, but it was as if the words were difficult for him to actually speak aloud. Instead of answering, Hermione kissed him sweetly. Harry grinned and pulled her to her feet. He would stay. As long as he had Hermione with him, he would have all the courage he would ever need.

The sun had faded hours ago and now the moon and the stars peered down at Harry Potter and Hermione Granger as they revolved slowly to a tune only they could hear, under the bridge on Old Mill Road. After a minute, Hermione began to hum softly. For a moment, Harry was unable to place it, but he grinned again upon recognizing it.

"Every now and then," Hermione wasn't quite singing, but not quite speaking either, "we find a special friend, who never lets us down. Who understands it all, reaches out each time we fall. You're the best friend that I've found."

Harry's eyes met hers and she smiled shyly at him. He surprised her by opening his mouth and singing along in a low, but slightly off key voice.

"I'll make a wish for you and hope it will come true. That life will just be kind, to such a gentle mind. If you lose your way, think back to yesterday. Remember me this way. Remember me this way …"

Harry stopped and touched his lips to Hermione's, cutting her off. The rest of the song was lost, but for a well enough reason; for under that old bridge, two young lovers were joined as one, fusing together closer than any product of the most advanced spell.