Title: Unduly Noted
Keywords: Harry, Hermione, Draco, note
Spoilers: Nothing really, except the first book.
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.Unduly Noted
He'd avoided her for the past week. It wasn't hard to do because his schedule was so different from hers that they hardly saw each other during the day anyway. When it was mealtime, he would give her a rushed "hi" without completely meeting her eyes, and then quickly take his food to eat by himself the boys' dormitories.
Ron definitely noticed his strange behavior, but Harry didn't give his friend any chances to ask about it. Harry stopped visiting Hogsmeade, where he might run into her, and while he would usually try to make time to be with her, he now put every effort into avoiding her. It was becoming unbearable.
At the present moment, Harry was sitting on his bed, his curtains drawn around him, pretending to be asleep. It was only around nine in the evening, but he didn't want to be anywhere she might be. And he had no doubt that she was in the common room, with the rest of the Gryffindors, celebrating Halloween with food that George and Fred had brought from the kitchen.
Harry stared miserably at his potions homework, which Hermione would usually help him with. He couldn't concentrate -- the exact words that he had written repeated themselves to him in his head.
A week ago, he'd written Hermione a note, and she had never responded. She'd fallen asleep in an armchair with her charms textbook in her lap, and she had draped her robe over the back of the chair. Harry had taken the opportunity to slip the letter into her pocket. It was short but had taken him several days to write:
I want to tell you that in these past few years, you've been a lot more to me than just a friend. I need you more than you realize. Please somehow give me a reply to this note so that I know if you feel the same way or not.
It was badly written, he knew, and didn't convey his feelings properly at all. But he had agonized over the words for four days and was tired of the stress it was causing him.
The next day, she had acted completely normal. He thought that perhaps she hadn't gotten the chance to read the note yet. As she was working on a page of arithmancy at lunch, he casually said, "Hermione, are you forgetting something?"
She'd thrown him a strange look and replied, "Not now, Harry, I'm busy with arithmancy. Don't distract me right now, okay?"
So she had read the note. The strange look and hard tone confirmed it. He'd nodded and taken a gulp of pumpkin juice that had scraped his parched throat as it trickled through.
After that, he'd avoided her. For two nights he couldn't sleep. A jumble of emotions filled his head -- a mix of anger, despair, and frustration. Her actions prior to reading the note had implied that she felt the same way -- could all her words in all those years have really meant nothing? Days later, he saw her walking in the hall and made up his mind to talk to her. He wanted to confront her for playing with his feelings.
He'd whispered a spell when most of the hall had cleared and her bookbag had ripped apart, the contents spilling onto the floor, a glass bottle of ink shattering and staining her books. She'd cursed, exasperated. Harry, satisfied, had headed toward her to help pick up her belongings -- a chance to speak with her.
He hadn't even reached her when Malfoy appeared from behind the corner.
"Hermione, what have you done?" he had said to her chidingly.
She'd looked up in surprise and stuttered, "Oh, er, my bookbag just split open..."
"Here, I'll help."
Harry had watched angrily as Malfoy bent to collect her books and spelled away the mess of ink. Hermione? Since when did Malfoy call her by her first name?
"Thanks, Draco," she'd said when the mess was cleared.
"Come on, we're going to be late to arithmancy."
They'd turned together and hurried down the hallway, leaving Harry behind them. They hadn't even seen him.
Harry had skipped divination and gone to hide in the library under his invisibility cloak. Trelawney wouldn't care -- he would tell her he'd foreseen that he was going to be sick, and had spent the hour vomiting in the bathroom.
Recalling the incident in the hallway, Harry almost did feel like throwing up. So, Hermione liked Malfoy. And Malfoy liked her. He hated the Slytherin more than ever.
The door to the room was opening, and Harry hurriedly flung himself down and pulled his covers up.
"Harry?" It was Ron. After a few moments, Harry sensed from behind his closed eyelids that a light had entered his shelter. Ron must've pulled the curtains back to check on him. After a few moments, the light disappeared. Harry heard footsteps, and then the door opened and closed again. Ron had gone back downstairs, leaving Harry alone.
The next morning, Harry decided to eat in the library. Before anyone else had woken up, he hurried to the Great Hall, grabbed his food and pumpkin juice, and went to the library to sit in the back and see if he could teach himself to do a memory charm. Food wasn't allowed in the library, but he didn't care. The librarian probably wouldn't see him, anyway.
Books on memory charms were probably in the Restricted Section, because they were advanced magic that wasn't supposed to be commonly used, but he couldn't very well sneak a book out of the Restricted Section right now.
He'd become desperate enough to reference Lockhart's books when he heard a voice.
He looked up, startled.
"Hermione," he said in a rather flat tone.
"You've been avoiding me," she said, looking concerned.
He looked away.
"Are you angry with me?" she asked timidly.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Harry said, refusing to look at her.
"Tell you what?" She sounded puzzled.
"About you…and…Draco." He spat the name out as if to spite her.
Hermione practically took a step backwards. "What? There's nothing going on between us, if that's what you're thinking."
"You should've told me," he said, growing angrier by the second. "I wouldn't have given you that note."
"Note? I--what note?"
He made a noise of disgust and stood up, turning to leave. How could she be so cheap as to pretend she never read the note?
She couldn't believe he was walking away from her.
"Harry--" She stopped abruptly. Things began to click inside her head. The robes that Draco had lent her when she hadn't had time to fix her ripped hems…
"Draco – thanks so much for lending me these," she said, handing him the black robes. "I finally got around to fixing the rip."
"Hermione," he said, "you could've just used a spell."
"I know, but I rather like sewing--"
"Is this yours?" he interrupted, pulling a small roll of parchment from the pocket of the robes.
"Er…" She moved forward to see.
He unfurled the parchment and said very quickly, "Oh, nevermind, I was wondering where this went," and put it back in his pocket. "I'll see you later." He turned and left, the library door swinging shut behind him.
Hermione stared after him curiously. She didn't remember anything being in the pocket, and she was sure she would have noticed; she had a habit of sticking her wand in her pocket…
"Wait! Harry, stop!" she called, her voice frantic. "Wait!"
He turned to look back at her. His eyes were cold and the green had darkened with anger.
She almost stepped backwards under his harsh gaze. "I think I know what happened! I--"
"Congratulations," he said bitterly, "it took you long enough."
"No, Harry, listen to me, please! Draco lent me his robes--"
This last statement fueled his anger. "Okay, that's enough, I don't need to hear anything past that. We're done." He turned away.
Desperate, she ran to him and grabbed his wrist, holding onto him firmly. "You can't leave until I finish talking, Harry," she said, almost on the verge of tears. Did he not realize how much he meant to her?
"The hem of my robes ripped, so Draco lent me an extra he had. When I gave it back, there was a parchment in the pocket, and he asked me if it was mine, but--" she couldn't continue. Her tears spilled out and she felt silly but couldn't stop babbling. "Harry, was that the note? Harry, please, don't walk away from me--was that the note? I never read it. He asked me if it was mine and I knew there hadn't been a note in the pocket before he lent me the robes but then he said it was his and took and left and I knew there was something wrong--" She gasped for air and released her grip, covering her face. Tears were streaming now, and she felt stupid and embarrassed for acting so immature.
Harry froze. "What?"
"What did the note say, Harry?" she said, her voice thick. "I never read it, so tell me now."
"Dear Hermione. I…" He paused, his voice beginning to tremble. He remembered every word he'd written. "I want to tell you that in these past few years, you've been a lot more to me than just a friend."
She looked up.
"I need you more than you realize. Please…" He inhaled deeply. "Please somehow give me a reply to this note so that I know if you feel the same way or not. Yours truly. Harry."
Hermione knew how long it must've taken him to pen those few words, and she knew by the look on his face that he probably thought it sounded even worse than when he'd given the note to her.
"Harry…I didn't know. I didn't realize that you--" She squeezed her eyes shut. "I didn't realize you returned my feelings. I would've said something if I'd seen the note. I'm so sorry, Harry."
"…Returned your…feelings?" He repeated, shocked. "You mean…you…"
Hermione nodded. "Always, Harry. I've always had feelings for you. When you walked away from me--everything just…" She shook her head.
She didn't need to finish her sentence. Harry reached for her hand and slowly pulled her to him, catching her lips in a soft kiss.