A glimpse at your mind

Pairing: Harry/Hermione

Rating: NC-17 (FSK 18)

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all its characters belong to J.K. Rowling.

Chapter 1

Voldemort was standing in a dimly illuminated room, pointing his wand at a figure lying on the floor, screaming in agony. Harry could feel anger and frustration building inside him. The wish to punish the pathetic bundle on the floor for the lack of progress became overwhelming.

"How long ago did I give you the order to find Gregorovitch? When I give you an order, I expect you to complete it. Lord Voldemort has no use for the ones who fail him." Harry felt grim satisfaction when he raised his wand and said "Crucio."

Harry woke up drenched in sweat. It was the third night since Ron abandoned them on the Horcrux search. Without him, Harry and Hermione were left to take turns bearing the burden of the locket. Harry wore it at night, and Hermione took it during the day. Unfortunately, the Horcrux intensified Harry's connection with Voldemort. This caused him to take a trip into the Dark Lord's mind every night. In the last three nights, Harry had woken up several times to the image of Voldemort torturing.

Harry sat up in bed, trying to bring his breathing and heartbeat back to a normal level. Eventually he stood up and walked to the small bathroom of the magical tent and splashed cold water in his face. He wouldn't be able to go back to sleep anytime soon, and he hoped the shock of the cold water would help him wake up. Harry was beat, three nights with way too little sleep, weeks with insufficient nourishment, and far too many worries had worn him out. Having to wear the locket more often didn't help either. It seemed to affect him more than Hermione, possibly because he was already carrying a part of Voldemort's soul within him.

Harry dried his face with a towel and stepped into the sitting room. To his surprise the room wasn't empty. Hermione sat in one of the old armchairs. She looked up when she heard Harry approaching. She had lit a few candles, but it was still too dim to make out her face clearly. Good, thought Harry. She won't see how tired I look in the dark.

"Hermione, why aren't you in bed?" Harry asked as he sat down in an armchair facing the one she was sitting in.

"I could ask you the same question," Hermione replied in a very stern tone.

"I had to use the bathroom." Harry tried to sound as casual as he could.

"Don't take me for a fool, Harry! I'm a light sleeper, I have heard you getting up several times a night and coming back to bed hours later."

Note to self: Stay in bed when you wake up the next time, Harry thought.

"How many hours have you slept the past three nights? Two? Three?" Hermione asked, her tone now worried.

In fact, he wouldn't come to more than three hours if he summed up the sleep he had gotten, but he wouldn't tell her that. There was no need to burden Hermione with more worries. It was bad enough that he had drawn her into this mess in the first place.

"I don't count the hours I sleep, Hermione, but I'm fine."

"No, you're not, Harry. You barely sleep, and you hardly eat. You're always lost in your thoughts. And don't think that I haven't noticed the times you run away to 'go for a walk' when your scar hurts again. Stop lying to me, Harry!" Hermione's voice was trembling now, and even though Harry couldn't see her face clearly, he knew she was close to tears.

Harry leaned over and took both of Hermione's hands in his.

"I'm sorry. I didn't want to lie to you. I just didn't want to upset you anymore than I already had."

"Harry, when will you finally stop trying to deal with everything on your own? I'm not made of glass; I can bear the truth. Let me help you, Harry." Her tone was very soft, and when Hermione leaned forward to meet his gaze he could see worry and tenderness in her eyes.

"I appreciate your offer, Hermione, but I don't think you can help me to get rid of these visions or whatever they are."

"Do you really want to get rid of these visions? It didn't seem like that a couple of weeks ago." Now Hermione spoke in the stern schoolmistress tone that she always used to express her disapproval.

Harry hesitated. Hermione was right. He hadn't been fond of the idea of losing the only connection to Voldemort's mind, but his opinion had changed. He felt more and more like Voldemort was taking over his mind and the thought of that was simply terrifying.

He looked Hermione in the eyes and answered sincerely, "Yes, I would do nearly anything to end this connection."

Hermione nodded, obviously satisfied with his answer. "Good, then we'll start working on the problem first thing in the morning."

Harry was confused. "Hermione, I'm afraid you've lost me."

Hermione gave Harry her miss-know-it-all smirk. "Well, I didn't really know what to expect of our journey, so I decided it would be better to be prepared for everything. I thought it would be helpful to know if somebody is lying to us, and to keep the wrong people from looking into my head. You know, just in case. So, I read some books about Legilimency and Occlumency, and I asked Professor Lupin to give me some lessons before you arrived at the Burrow this summer."

"You want to practice Occlumency with me?" Harry asked.

"That's the plan" Hermione beamed, happy to be finally able to do something constructive.