Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter… but I think you already knew that.
Author's Note: The way this is turning out is a plot twist even to myself, so I hope you guys enjoy!
Ch 23: A Man Loves a Woman
The Great Hall was almost empty, containing only the earliest of risers. Elizabeth was starved having eaten nothing the night before, but oddly her hunger wasn't what was bothering her, she was uneasy walking next to Harry. Almost as though there was a tension in the air caused by him, radiating off of him, a tension caused by the plans he had in mind.
They sat facing each other at the long Gryffindor table, eating silently, exchanging only shy smiles, knowing each other's thoughts through the look in their eyes. Harry broke the silence ineloquently, "Perhaps," he said before sticking another piece of toast in his mouth, "you wouldn't mind," he said after swallowing, "taking a walk with me."
Elizabeth looked up at the ceiling, which showed clear blue skies peaking out from behind scattered snow white clouds, "that sounds wonderful Harry." She smiled.
"Good, good, I mean whenever…whenever you finish we can head out. Toward the lake." His right hand grabbed his goblet of pumpkin juice, his left tapped erratically on the wooden table. His body was shaking from the up and down movement of his legs, only to change to a shaking right foot.
Elizabeth slowly finished consuming her meal, a simple meal of eggs, toast, and bacon. She sat stiffly on the uncomfortable bench, her back straight, her elbows down, her body moving only to lean toward her food. Sipping her last bit of pumpkin juice slowly, she nodded, she was ready to go.
Harry got up too quickly, Elizabeth slowly, weighed down by her pregnancy. Continuing on the opposite sides of the table they made their way to the doors. Elizabeth's walk was stiff, wobbling only a bit, Harry's brusque, and the tension stretched further and further. The stairwells leading to the doors of the Great Hall and the school entrance were empty, the shadows of the big castle were full, full of watching eyes, some analyzing, some still, some angry.
They walked silently across the grounds to the lake, a foot or two apart. Their walk swerved almost sideways as Harry continually inched toward Elizabeth and she continually inched farther away. There was a fog resting on the surface of the lake as they arrived at the edge. Elizabeth made to sit down on a nearby rock formation, but was stopped by Harry's strong, built, Quidditch playing arms.
"Elizabeth," he whispered softly, searching her eyes, "Hermione… please." He lowered his gaze to her protruding belly, and raised his eyes once more to meet hers, this time his green orbs flashed with a certain anger.
"Harry, don't do this." Elizabeth's eyes widened as she tried to break from his grasp and back away.
"I. Love. You." He gripped her harder, "Ron loves you, Dumbledore loves you!" The fog on the lake parted slightly, only to whoosh back thicker and darker.
"I know. I know." Silent tears slowly made their way down her face.
"Then don't do this." His mouth was set, his eyes hard.
"Do what? What am I doing, what do you want from me?" She was shaking, pursing her lips, turning red from her attempts to stop the tears.
"You are betraying everything you once stood for! That's what you're doing. Playing the innocent, standing by as you see evil straight in the face and doing NOTHING. You are not Elizabeth Riddle or Elizabeth Malfoy. You are Hermione Granger. You are a woman who once looked me in the eyes sadly and said 'I love you Harry' and while I thought you meant as a friend, as a sister, as a comrade, I now realize you meant as a woman.
"I was stupid, but don't punish me for my stupidity! Don't throw your soul away to a monster because I was slow to see what was always, ALWAYS, in front of me. I love you, love you like a man loves a woman. And while I might have let you slip through my fingers once, I won't let it happen again. Hermione you are mine. You will always be. If you let me I can help. We'll take you away, hide you, and once I kill that bastard you now call a husband and the leader he follows, I'll come for you and I'll protect you forever."
"Harry." Elizabeth gasped for air. "Oh Harry, we each came to this world to suffer, don't you know that? Each with a story written for us in the stars. I didn't come to fight, I'm only a catalyst for change, my body a weapon against the evil, my children a battalion to fight what will come. My job is to stand by, for the moment, to stand by and to let nature take its course."
Harry's eyes glazed over, lost in another place, unseeing, unfeeling, unhearing.
"And while it may seem, Harry, that Draco is a bastard, which is something I don't really, can't really deny," Elizabeth chuckled, "he loves me, truly he does. As a man loves a woman, and at first we were both blind to it but now I know it, and he knows it, and I haven't given my soul to a monster, I've given it to him along with my heart and my mind and my whole body, and I haven't the heart to take it back. Not now, not ever."
Harry's grip did not slacken, instead he pulled Elizabeth close and pressed his lips down on hers with a vengeance. Elizabeth's arms flailed and her screams were stopped by the hard formation of Harry's lips which didn't let up their attack on hers. Neither did his hands in fact. While one arm kept her body in place, bracing it against his, the other hand wandered aimlessly, it's fingers getting tangled in a fistful of hair, traveling the curves of her body, lingering at the bump of growing bodies within her, the scathing heat from his hand leaving its trail wherever it went.
Slowly Harry walked Elizabeth backward to the rock formation she had originally spotted, pulled her as her body sagged under his, fighting his strength, pushing away. Letting his angry passion get the best of him Harry paused slightly to stare into Elizabeth's eyes, his angry stare was almost hypnotic. Elizabeth drew in her breath and took the opportunity presented to her.
"Draco! Draco!" Her shrieks pierced the air, clearing the fog, snapping something in Harry's clouded vision. And this time in the silence of the tension and passion they heard the low growl clearly, Elizabeth's eyes full of suffering, Harry's wide with fear.
A/N: I had a lot of fun writing this chapter, I hope you don't mind the cliffy. Anyway please let me know how you feel and review.
P.S. I feel almost as though the story is taking on a mind of its own!