Author's Notes: Hm… I really don't know what to say about this. More of my own musings, I guess, and my own attempts at getting close to canon. This is set after Book Six so if you haven't read that yet, leave this fic now or forever be spoiled! This is just an imagined cut scene! One shot only! I don't have the emotional depth to continue beyond this.
Disclaimer: I don't own HP. They all belong to JKR. I'm just borrowing ingredients to make a different kind of tea.
Better Left Unsaid
October 31st, 1997
The wind was unforgiving and relentless in this somber autumn night. Leaves whipped viciously as they clung desperately to their frail twig lifelines. The owls hooted a grave hymn with crickets that seemed equally morose in this chilly evening. Light rain pattered down uncaringly on the grounds, ever slowly soaking soil which seemed to cry out for moisture. Far in the horizon, lightning flared so graciously and thunder clambered one after another that one would definitely see them as signs of troubled times.
But for one young man, one who clearly understood how troubled times were at the moment, tonight was the most peaceful night of all since the end of his sixth year at Hogwarts, since he took upon a task far greater than anyone else of his age. Tonight, he once again had clarity before him.
Harry stood unmoving before the graves that reminded him of how much he lost as a baby, how much he lost in his foolishness, how much he can stand to lose if he wavered in his task, and how little chance he had in surviving to live past this age.
"Harry?" a gentle voice from behind interrupted his musings.
He didn't turn around. "Hm?" He felt her walk to his side.
"Mind the company?"
Loneliness was never a pleasant feeling. "No, not at all. Ron?"
She tightened her cloak. "He's by the carriage, making sure our coachman won't leave us. He'll come along soon."
Harry spied a glance at his shorter companion. "I won't be much long. I just wanted to do this bef—"
"You don't need to explain," said Hermione. "I know. We know."
Harry felt her grab his left hand and squeezed. "Thanks." Reassured, he turned his gaze back toward the stones that marked his parents' graves. "It's funny," he started, "before, I never really thought about coming here and visiting this place."
A sudden gush of wind blew, causing some leaves to ruffle about around the pair. Rain that pattered lightly earlier started drumming slightly harder.
"Maybe you didn't want to," Hermione said after several minutes. Harry gave her an odd look. "I mean, not because you really didn't want to. Maybe, you weren't ready to see them yet."
"Wasn't I?" he remarked. He paused for some time. "Maybe you're right. Before, I had Sirius to consider, and Professor Dumbledore also watched over me. But now that they're both gone—"
"They're not gone, Harry," she corrected. "Just as your parents are alive through you, Sirius and Professor Dumbledore are always there because you remember them."
Somberness etched over his face. "True, but it still hurts."
Hermione moved closer to his side. "It's proof that you cared for them dearly."
"Well, if that's the case, I think that anyone I dare to care about will be lost to me because of Voldermort."
"Do you have so little faith in yourself?" she asked.
Harry kept his eyes on the gravestones. "It's not that. What I'm stating is a fact."
"I can refute that so easily, you know," Hermione responded. "You care about Ginny, don't you?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Harry asked.
"She's alive because of you," Hermione simply said.
"But look at what I've had to do," Harry faced her. "I've had to tell her to stay away from me. I had to give it up. If only you and Ron would listen to—"
"Stop it," she interrupted. "Ron and I are both here because we want to be here. We've been together for so long. We're not about to break apart our bonds now, especially when you need us the most."
Harry felt strangely reassured at his best friend's assertion. He thought for a moment before responding. "Why is it that when you talk like that, despite how much I want to admit it, you break my resolve?"
This time it was Hermione who smiled. "You'd be a lost ship without me. You know the direction we're headed. I can help you find ways to get there."
The analogy caused a small chuckle to escape Harry's lips. "And Ron?"
Hermione grinned and hushed her voice. "Well, between you and me, he can get a lot of hot air out from his lungs. He can provide a lot of wind for your sail."
Harry fought off another chuckle. "I never figured you to be a comic. Especially at a time like this."
"Oh?" Laughter danced in Hermione's eyes. "Forgot about how I hexed those birds at Ron already?"
Harry managed a grin as he remembered. "Don't be too upset but green's a good color for you, I think."
"Oh, you! I wasn't jealous!" Hermione shot back. "I was just… venting."
Harry shook his head. He couldn't believe that he was having laughing moments right now, especially with Hermione of all people. "Don't worry. Your secret's safe with me. I won't tell Ron."
The laughter disappeared from her eyes and Harry recognized her thoughtful look. "Ron and I… Well, I don't know…"
Harry, realizing just now that he still held Hermione's hand, gave it a small squeeze before letting it go. "Don't hold back on my account, Hermione. I want my best friends to be happy."
"Besides, if it wasn't you and Ron, I wonder if it might have been you and me," explained Harry. "Sirius said it before. You and my mother are quite alike. Despite the few memories, I can see why my father loved her. She was beautiful and… exceptional as well."
Hermione diverted her eyes to the gravestones. "When… When you talk like that about us… I don't know."
Harry felt sudden warmth inside, warmth that was strangely comforting. "I—"
"We can't," Hermione cut in. "We shouldn't think about it, Harry. After all, you've had to break up with Ginny because of what you have to do."
Harry closed his eyes for a moment and thought about the witch he left behind because of his task and the witch that stood next to him right now. He sighed inwardly. "Things that could be between the two of us… They're better left unsaid, aren't they?"
Hermione looked up and met his eyes. "Yes. If we didn't talk about it before, it might not be a good idea to start now."
Harry forcibly averted his eyes from her, his heartbeat pulsing slightly faster. Suddenly the memory of her giving him a kiss at King's Cross came to him. So did the memory of her getting struck by a spell at the Department of Mysteries. As did the memory of being with her at times when Ron was occupied with something else.
He stopped and caught himself.
He can't do this. He can't think about her like this, especially when he gave up Ginny.
"Disregarding what I said for a moment though, the idea of 'us' isn't exactly a bad thing," her light sigh broke through his thoughts. "Despite what others might think, maybe, in a different lifetime or in different circumstances, we might have found our way into each others arms."
A silence ensued between the two of them. Then, Harry spoke frankly, "Did I also tell you that sometimes, I really hate it when you make sense?"
A small smile framed Hermione's face. "Like I said, you'd be a lost ship without me."
At that moment Harry e had the greatest urge to hug her, but he thought the better of it. "Thanks," he responded with a similar smile, "I don't know what I'd do without you." He instead took out his wand and cast an Impervius Charm over her.
"Harry?" a distant voice broke behind them. "Hermione?"
Harry and Hermione both turned to face Ron as he walked up to them. "I finally managed to convince the coachman to stay put. I was worried that he'd run off the moment I left him."
Harry welcomed his other best friend's company. "Nice of you to finally join us. I was beginning to think you'd run out on me," he said in jest.
Ron blanched at him. "Are you kidding? There's nowhere else I would be, mate. Though I'd really love to get a shot of that Impervius Charm." He looked at Hermione hopefully. "How bout a dose of one for Harry and myself? You've already cast it on yourself."
Harry caught Hermione's brief knowing look at him before she raised her wand at Ron. "Honestly, haven't you learned anything while you were at Hogwarts? This spell is so simple."
Ron rolled his eyes. "Right. Well, you've got your specialties and I've got mine."
Harry bit back a laugh as he noticed Hermione's eyebrows crunch together while she cast the spell on Ron and then on him. "Anyway, why don't you two just go back ahead of me? I just need a couple more minutes here alone, and I don't want either of you soaking up and catching cold because of me."
"It's all right, Har—"
Harry interrupted Hermione. "Really, Hermione." He gave her a sincere look. "I need a couple of minutes."
Ron grabbed Hermione's hand and tugged slightly. "Come on now." He turned to Harry. "Don't stay out here too long, mate."
Harry nodded. "I'll join you in a couple of minutes." Ron and Hermione marched back to the carriage and Harry was alone once again.
He crouched down and touched his parents' grave marks. "I hope you don't mind that I take a page from your book by having my best friends at my side while I do this. I ask you to please watch over me and them. Guide me and give me the strength so I will not sway in my path."
"…and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…"
He closed his eyes for a moment as he recalled what Hermione said.
"You'd be a lost ship without me. You know the direction we're headed. I can help you find ways to get there."
Harry reopened his eyes. "And let her continue to direct my sail, be my compass when I'm lost, and be my support when I become weak."
He grazed his fingertips over his mother's name, remembering the love shared between his parents. An inkling of warmth slowly billowed over him as he grasped the feeling within. He was surprised but then comforted by the face that appeared in his mind.
"Even if the things that could be between Hermione and I are better left unsaid," he whispered solemnly as Dumbledore's words echoed in his head.
The power that Voldermort knew not.