Title: Lines Crossed
Email:Spoilers: Books 1-5, especially OoTP
Disclaimer: JKR owns 'em. I'm just playing with them. Don't sue 'cause you won't make any money off me.
Synopsis: In Harry's sixth year and Hogwarts, he finds himself suddenly thrown into an unexpected relationship. Where will he go from there? And what is he going to tell Ron?
Pairing: H/Hr with shades of R/Hr and slight mentions of H/Cho and Hr/Krum
A/N: My first "real" HP fanfic. It's exciting. Strangely enough, the last thing I ever thought I'd be writing as an HP fanfic writer was a H/Hr story. But some things just happen, ships form when you're least prepared for them. So… be gentle on me.
Dedication: To my first and foremost love, Wesley. I haven't forgotten you… just sort of misplaced you for a while. You will be getting that resurrection fic… it just might be in a little while.
It started with a kiss.
Maybe it started earlier. Maybe he'd had feelings for a long time that he hadn't ever realized. Maybe he should have recognized what was going on when Cho first accused him and Hermione of being more than friends. Or maybe it was even earlier than that, in a more innocent time. But it was the kiss that changed things.
The kiss itself was uncoordinated, the kiss of two people unsure of what they were doing. It was innocent, pure, like nothing in his life had been for a long time. And it was relatively uncomplicated, a simple act of showing affection and feeling.
It happened in Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He and Ron left their homework to the last minute, as usual. Hermione had done hers days ago, as usual. At the moment, Harry and Ron were trying frantically to finish three rolls of parchment on the "Dangerous and Complicated Ritual of Becoming an Animagus".
The three of them were curled up on the floor of the Gryffindor common room. A roaring fire lay in the hearth beside them. Harry was having particular trouble finding a way to express his thoughts coherently. The fact that Hermione was busily reading their every word wasn't helping much, either.
At around midnight Ron yawned sleepily, stretching languidly. "Done!" he said proudly, handing it over for Hermione for inspection.
Hermione picked it up, reading it over with a red-correcting quill. "Ron, witches and wizards don't turn into bats! It just isn't done!"
"So? It's just an example. Who cares whether or not it's true?"
"Truth is the law binding every piece of writing together!"
Ron scowled at her, grabbing at his essay. "Ever heard of fiction?"
"This isn't supposed to be fiction! This is an ESSAY! For class!"
"Yeah, well, it's still just a point! It doesn't have to be true!"
"Have you ever heard of a wizards or witch turning themselves purposely into a bat!?"
"Yeah. Loads of times."
"I… I'm… I'm going to bed!" And, blushing furiously, Ron snatched up his stuff, stood up, and walked off in a huff.
Harry watched him go, an amused smile on his lips.
"What are you smirking at!?" Hermione demanded heatedly.
Harry tried to wipe the grin off his face, but didn't quite manage it. Unconsciously, he shifted a little closer to her. "Nothing," he replied quickly.
She narrowed her eyes at him. "I should think so."
Studying her, Harry decided she wasn't as annoyed as she was pretending to be. He nodded his head in the direction that Ron had just fled. "Why do you guys bicker so much?"
Hermione looked away from him, staring into the fire. "I don't know. It just always seems to happen. I don't really mean to, you know."
Harry nodded. "I know."
"Think he'll be mad at me in the morning?"
"Probably not. He's only angry because he knows you're right, anyway." Harry looked at his own, unfinished essay and sighed. "In the meantime, you could help me with mine."
Hermione took a look at it. "Harry, you only have one paragraph written here."
He sighed in frustration. Standing up, he paced the room, clearly agitated. "I think it's 'cause I know too much about it. Every time I hear the word 'animagus' I think about—"
Harry nodded, continuing to stalk around the room. "I can't… I can't focus on it. All I can think about is how much he had to give up and where that got him. I don't know how to put that in an essay. I don't know… I can't be objective about it. It's…" Trailing off, he sat back down, cradling his head in his hands.
He sensed her shift next to him. She placed a hesitant, but supporting hand on his back. "Then don't write it," she said softly.
Harry couldn't help but give a tiny bark of laughter. "You can't be serious…"
"I'm serious," she said quietly. "Harry, look at me."
He did. There were tears in her eyes, and he was very, very aware of the hand that was still nestled on the small of his back. Her gaze was penetrating, her eyes looking at him with sympathy but understanding. His heart sped up. His mouth felt dry. And he could hear a low, dull ringing in his ears. He licked his lips.
She smiled, the tears glistening in her eyes. "It's not worth it."
"You think…" he continued to look into her eyes, trying hard to keep his mind on their present conversation. "You think McGonagall will understand?"
"Screw McGonagall," she said forcefully. "This is only one grade. We'll just have to work twice as hard on the other stuff."
We'll… Harry blinked, taking in her words. How come he'd never noticed how pretty her curly hair was, framed around her face? Or how vulnerable misty eyes made her seem? Or how much he desperately wanted to protect her and hope that she never had to face any of the darkness in their world?
He did a mental double take. Hermione. This was Hermione. What the hell was he thinking?
They stared at each other, faces inches away until he could feel the soft puff of her breath tickling over his skin. He closed his eyes, moving closer, taking in her sweet scent. That was when she jumped up, pulling away. He opened his eyes, a sudden emptiness creeping over him.
She was standing up, bouncing nervously on the balls of her feet and tugging at her hair. Frazzled, she began to gather up her books. "Well!" she said cheerfully. "Look at the time!" She picked up another book, one Harry was sure didn't even belong to her. "It's getting late!" She began to pick at an imaginary piece of lint on her sweater. "I'm tired! Oh, yes, very, very tired!"
Harry continued to stare at her stupidly in incomprehension as she babbled on. His mind moved rapidly through what had just nearly occurred, and he found he couldn't quite process it. "Hermione!" he cried sharply, his voice coming out louder than he'd intended.
She was so startled that she dropped all the books that she'd been busily picking up. Harry found himself grinning at her. She looked absolutely adorable, her face wearing a slight look of panic, and her usual calm temperament a flurry of anxiety and nervousness. Without thinking about what he was doing, he stood up and strode over to her. Cupping her face with both his hands, he leaned in.
The kiss was hesitant and Harry was all too much aware of his sweaty palms and pounding heart. But the innocence in it nearly broke his heart. He closed his eyes, losing himself in the softness of her lips and the sweet taste of her mouth. He let her wash over him and, for just a moment, he felt free and safe like he'd never experienced before in his life.
When he pulled away, her eyes were closed and he still framed her face with his hands. They remained motionless, speechless for a minute. He used the silence and the calmness of the moment to study her. He rubbed her cheeks in a circular motion with the pads of his thumbs, enjoying the way the softness of her skin felt under his fingers.
He leaned foreword and pressed a kiss to her forehead. When she opened her eyes, she found herself looking into his intense and slightly adoring gaze. "Harry…" she whispered, her throat painfully dry.
He just grinned. "Yeah?" he said lazily.
She found herself grinning back. "You just… we just… you and I… we just…"
"Yeah," he said again, in that same noncommittal tone.
She smacked him on the shoulder. "Don't do that!"
He looked hurt and rubbed plaintively at his shoulder. "Do what?"
"You know!" she gestured with her hand. "You can't just… you can't just do that!"
"Why not?" His tone was low and dangerous, but she could clearly see the hurt shinning in his eyes. Body ridged, he began collecting the beginnings of his animagus paper. "I think you were right, it's getting late."
"Harry!" she sighed, frustrated. Grabbing his arm, she gripped on to him until he looked at her. "I didn't mean it like that… I was just surprised, that's all. I mean… Harry, this changes things."
Harry shrugged her arm off and went back to collecting his stuff. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm going to bed."
"Harry, stop! Please!"
He stopped, only because he realized that he was acting like a jerk. He felt a surge of anger looking at her. He'd put it all out there, he made himself vulnerable. And she had just… just brushed him off.
"What are we going to tell Ron?" she asked, her voice pleading and a little lost.
The surge of anger increased. "What does Ron have to do with anything???" Harry demanded harshly.
"He has to know… we can't just not tell him! This'll hurt him. You know what he's like..."
Harry furiously picked up his pen and parchment, throwing them together. "Right. That was my first worry. How Ron would react. Why didn't we discuss that first?" Shaking, and feeling like all he wanted to do was curl up somewhere and be alone, he turned around. "I'm going to bed."
"Harry!" her voice caught and he heard a small sob escape from her lips. He kept moving, but heard her cover her mouth with her hand to muffle her cries. She sunk to the floor, her hand not quite enough to muffle the noise of her crying. At the door to the boys' dormitories, he stopped.
He turned around, his eyes softening at the sight of her curled up on the floor, knees pulled up to her chest, tears leaking from her eyes. The hurt look she gave him, made him feel slightly sick.
He felt the anger drain out of him. Dropping his parchment on the floor, he went to her. "Aww, shit. Hermione, I'm sorry." He crouched down next to her. "I handled that like a moron. I'm sorry."
She continued to sob and refused to look at him. Hesitantly, he reached out, smoothing a lock of her hair behind her ear. "C'mon, Hermione. I'm really sorry. We'll work it out. I'll go tell Ron now, if you want."
She smiled despite her tears. Pleased that he was getting somewhere, he began to rub her back in what he hoped was a soothing motion. That seemed to do it. She leaned against him, pressing her face against his chest. He felt her tears soak though his shirt, wetting his skin underneath. He continued to rub her back, stroking her hair.
"Shhhh, it's okay, Hermione. It's okay. Just stop crying… please just stop crying." He tried to sound soothing, but couldn't help the pleading note that crept into his tone.
She chuckled slightly, but somehow managed to keep sobbing. He was very much relieved when she began to calm a few minutes later. She continued to lean against him, which, Harry discovered, was just fine with him. Rubbing pathetically at her eyes, she smiled sheepishly. In a tearful voice she said, "You must think I'm really emotional about everything."'
Harry shook his head, rubbing away the tears on her face with his thumbs. "I just think I must have acted pretty badly to make you so upset. I really am sorry," he offered again.
She gave him a watery smile. "I know you are. And I'm sorry, too. I didn't mean to react that way. I was just caught off guard, I guess. And a little scared, too. I've never… well, you know, with someone before."
"Not even with Viktor?" Harry had completely forgotten about Krum. The reminder, however, made his stomach take a small, unpleasant roll.
"No… we never got that far." Hermione lapsed into silence. "Harry, I think that I…"
Harry stared down into her eyes, surprised again at the feelings he was experiencing. Her tears reminded him again at how vulnerable Hermione really was. He knew she was giving him power, power that would let him hurt her. And he the same. Giving her an out, he said. "I know, me too."
"What are we going to tell Ron?" she whispered again, sounding a little lost.
Harry felt a flash of anger at the mention of his friend's name, but suppressed it. He nodded. "Yeah. It won't be easy."
"We'll tell him together."
They lapsed into silence again. Finally, Hermione said, "You're really good at that you know."
"Good at what?"
"Calming hysterical women."
Harry laughed. "Well, that was my first time, if you can believe it."
"I don't really know what came over me, honestly."
"I hurt you," he whispered.
Hermione pressed a finger to his lips. "Shhh. It doesn't matter now. I'm okay."
Harry didn't say anything, but his eyes glinted with amusement. Hermione realized that she was still pressing her finger to his lips, and she pulled it sheepishly away. Harry yawned widely, suddenly feeling bone tired. "Maybe we should go to bed," he said, continuing to yawn.
"Okay." She stood up, stretched. He stood, too, studying her and pondering everything that had just occurred.
She was right. This had changed things.
"I'm not going to sleep tonight," she shared.
They hugged good-night. Harry desperately wanted to kiss her again, but he honestly couldn't remember how he'd done it the first time around. He touched the tips of her hair before pulling away. He watched her leave, making sure she got to her dorm safely before turning and going to his.
It was going to be a long, sleepless night.