A Chance to Live
Author's Notes: This is my first fic for this pairing! This is a ONE-SHOT! There will be no more. Get it? Good.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Harry Potter sat on the edge of the rock, staring into the battlefield. It was nearly deserted now, the winners off spreading the news and celebrating while the losers rotted, left forgotten. It was cold; not surprising, considering it was November, but it wasn't something Harry was used to feeling.
For nearly twenty-five years now, he had been fighting Voldemort with no true winner. His life had been cursed, he knew now. "Neither can live while the other survives..." the prophecy had said. When he had first heard it in his fifth year, he had wondered what it meant. Its meaning had been a complete mystery to him--but now he knew. Now he understood what it meant.
His entire life, he had wanted and never had. Sirius had died just when it looked as though there might be something in his future. Dumbledore's invincibility and god-like abilities were suddenly cast into a shroud when he needed them most. And his romantic life hadn't fared any better. First Cho in his fifth year--what a disaster that had been--then a short fling with Ginny in sixth. Besides that, no one had really caught his interest...
But he was lying to himself. He had been interested in her after his short romance with Ginny. At first he had assumed it was rebound; then he supposed he might be insane. Who, in their right mind, would be attracted to her? The infatuation had lasted, however, and by the time he graduated, he accepted the fact that the feelings he had for her were not going to go away any time soon.
Still he had said nothing. He didn't see her again until he attended Ginny's graduation a year later. She was there, still as odd as ever...but still holding his attention like never before. He barely remembered Ginny receiving her diploma; she had captured his attention--and held it--so well.
He tried to talk to her after the ceremony. He walked up to her, smiled, and said, "Hi."
"Hi, Harry," she had smiled at him, her Eiffel tower earrings twinkling in the sunlight. "What are you doing here?"
"Ginny," he said simply.
She nodded, her eyes slightly unfocused. "Well, it was nice to talk to you," she said. "My fahter's over there; I'll see you later, Harry!"
"See you later," he whispered after her.
He had seen her only once since then. Oh, he had heard of her. She had joined the Order of the Phoenix soon after her graduation, but he had never seen her. She had been an asset, Dumbledore had often said. Her very absentmindedness had made her virtually untouchable by Voldemort--who would think anyone would entrust secrets that could bring down the resistance to her?
But the greatest secret of all, the one which had been responsible for saving Harry's life, had gone utterly undetected by Voldemort Hermione and Ron had been the first to volunteer, but Dumbledore had said they were too close to Harry, and Voldemort would suspect them immediately.
So she had become his Secret Keeper. Only when they had performed the charm had he seen her. After that, she had been moved to a secure location, and he hadn't seen her again.
That had been three years earlier. Now, Voldemort was gone, by his hand.
And he felt exuberant. The prophecy had been true. "Neither can live while the other survives..." Both himself and Voldemort had lived half-lives, largely due to the other's mere existence. It was as though true happiness danced at the edges of his senses, always teasing and toying, but never staying.
Now Voldemort was gone. So now, Harry knew, would be the time to live. But something was wrong; something was missing--something that he needed desperately. He knew what it was--her. He needed her, by his side. He needed to tell her what he felt, what he had felt for so long.
"Harry?" Ron asked, putting a hand hesitantly on his best friend's shoulder.
"Where is she?" he asked.
Ron was quiet. He could have pretended Harry was talking about Ginny or Hermione or Lavender or Tonks, or that he just plain didn't know, but the truth was: he knew. He knew precisely who Harry was talking about. Harry had told his best friend the day before the Fidelius Charm had been performed. He had made Ron promise, had made him swear on Godric Gryffindor's grave, that if whoever his Secret Keeper was failed (for he hadn't known then that she was his Secret Keeper), Ron would tell her how he felt. Ron sighed, running a hand through his soot-blackened hair. "She was hit, Harry. Just a few minutes before you killed You-Know--"
"Say the name, Ron," Harry interrupted softly.
"Right. V-Voldemort. Just before you killed...him, Bellatrix Lestrange," Ron nearly spat the name out; she had become a headache for many in the Order, "cursed her. I'm pretty sure it was the Cruciatus Curse. Remus went after Lestrange at that point, said he wanted to get her for killing Sirius. But she took it pretty well. She's still alive, at least. Er, not Lestrange. Remus killed her."
Harry smiled at his friend. "Where is she then?"
"She's in tent five, probably eating chocolate. Madam Pomfrey always said it was the best cure for the Cruciatus--plus, of course, a large amount of pain relievant," he added as an afterthought.
"Of course," Harry said, smiling absently.
When Harry didn't move, Ron gave a great sigh and pulled his best friend to his feet. "Go," he said, pointing to one fo the tents in the distance. "I waited once, too. It was the worst mistake of my life," Ron whispered, pain visible in his eyes.
Harry nodded. Ron had felt something strong for Hermione for almost as long as he had known her, but he had never told her. Just three years after their graduation, she had announced, to the amazement of all, that she and Charlie--Ron's own brother--had been dating for two months and were getting married in the fall. Harry knew, in their fifth and sixth years, at least, Hermione had cared for Ron as more than just a friend. But, as Ron had said, he had waited; and in the end, that wait had been the largest mistake of his life.
Hermione seemed happy at least. She and Charlie didn't have any children yet because, as she had explained to Harry and Ron, the threat of Voldemort was still too close. Ron had suffered in silence, not wanting to disturb Hermione's happiness, especially since, during the Second War, there was so little of it to go around.
Harry stood, his joints nearly creaking with the effort. He hadn't slept well in years, and it showed in the wrinkles on his face and the seemingly permanent droop of his eyes. He glanced one last time at Ron, who was now staring off into the distance, no doubt lost in memories, before walking towards what he supposed was tent number five. The air around him was thick with desolation and grief, but Harry pushed the feelings to the back of his mind with little effort. At one time, it had been hard; nearly impossible. But after eight years of almost solid war... It was amazing what you could get used to in that amount of time.
"Madam Pomfrey?" Harry asked quietly, coming up behind the Mediwitch where she was making notes on her clipboard. She was sitting on the edge of one of her patients' beds.
"Oh, hello, Harry," she said, glancing up at him before looking back at her notes. Before he could say anything, she said, "She's near the back of the tent. If she's sleeping, I don't want you to wake her up. So long as you're quiet, you may stay as long as you like."
"Thank you," Harry said, a slight frown marring his features. Did everyone know how he felt? Were his feelings that obvious?
Contemplating this silently, Harry walked towards the back of the large, home-like tent. There weren't very many patients this far back, and Harry was grateful for that. There would be less people to see him making a fool of himself, confessing love to a person who would probably think him to be kidding or some such thing.
He sucked in a breath, finally catching sight of her. The gaudy earrings were gone, and she looked amazingly...boring. At least, compared to how he had seen her before. Her dirty-blonde hair was cut to her shoulders, pulled back into a small ponytail gathered at the base of her neck. There were no earrings, as he had noticed before, no necklaces, no strange clothing. She was wearing a plain black robe, and she no doubt had plain black slacks and a white t-shirt underneath. It was what everyone wore during the battles.
He sat down on the bed to her left, leaning forward to look closely at her face. It looked almost peaceful, for which he was extremely grateful as he didn't think he could have stood to see her in pain. Too much pain had been dealt with, given, and received in the past twenty-five years... He didn't want to see her in pain. He-he loved her too much.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, lying a hand over hers where it was on her stomach. "I'm sorry I wasn't there the past eight years. I'm sorry I never told you how I felt. I'm sorry I never... I'm just... I'm sorry I never told you... that I love you. I've loved you since my sixth year, after I broke up with Ginny. When Ron told me you had been hurt, I was scared. I thought that I had missed my chance. I'm glad I didn't."
Harry sat there, his hand over hers, just staring at her, for hours. Madam Pomfrey came and went, each time with pity on her face. She didn't wake up, though Madam Pomfrey said nothing was wrong; her body was only attempting to heal itself before she awoke.
Finally, after nearly five hours, she awoke. It was slow, a mere fluttering of the eyelids at first. Her eyes seemed glazed over, and it took nearly five minutes before she was able to see him clearly. "Harry?" she asked, surprise clear on her visage.
"Hi," he said weakly, squeezing her hand reassuringly.
"What are you doing here?"
"I... I..." He couldn't do it. He couldn't tell her. But he had to. He had to... "I was worried about you," he said truthfully. It wasn't what he had wanted to tell her, but it was a start.
She smiled tremulously. "Thanks," she said. "Where's Ginny?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't know."
"Aren't you two..." she trailed off, looking unsure of herself.
Harry frowned. "No," he said. "Not since sixth year, when..."
She sat there, looking confused and yet so adorable, and... Harry realized, quite suddenly, that he wanted to kiss her.
"Luna..." he said. Leaning forward, he cupped her face in his hands. "I came here because I was worried about you. I don't know where Ginny is, and right now I don't really care. I'm here because I want to be, and I'm here because..." Harry took a deep breath. It was now or never--and from Ron's example, he wasn't certain he wanted it to be 'never.' "I'm here because I love you." And not giving her any chance to respond, he leaned forward, capturing her lips with his.
The kiss was short, as she pushed him away almost as soon as he had started it. She leaned her forehead against his and said, quietly, "Harry, there will be NO wild thestral parties at our house, do you hear me?"
Harry blinked. Then he grinned; everything was going to be fine.