Between the Lines
Summary: Harry and Hermione travel alone, now unaccompanied by Ron. Sparks fly, words are said, and friends become ... more than friends.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to J.K. Rowling. The words, however, are completely mine.
I reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night and this morning. I had a feeling JKR didn't tell us everything that went on between our handsome little anti-hero and his intelligent best girl friend. The characters may seem less gloomy than in the actual writing, but who wants a gloomy story?
platonic love (n): a close relationship between two persons in which
sexual desire has been suppressed or sublimated
"Ron, no -- please -- come back, come back!"
Harry watched his desperate best friend take down her own Shield Charm and rush into the forest of trees, calling out the name of the wizard he thought was a friend he could trust.
Harry wondered how much of the anger that Ron released in their heated blow-out was the work of the locket. The horcrux definitely added fuel to the fire, but exactly how much fuel? Something in the pit of his stomach was telling him that Ron was being completely honest, but Harry did not want to face the reality of it.
We thought you knew what you were doing! We thought you had a real plan!
He thought he had a plan, too. Apparently, it wasn't sufficient enough for his friends. Harry remembered the quiet conversations Ron and Hermione had, of which they thought he was unaware. How long had they lost trust in him?
He stayed at the entrance of the tent, wondering how long it would take for Hermione to give up and come back. The rain was falling heavier now, adding to the gloom of the situation. In a matter of minutes, he had lost a friend and perhaps even ruined Hermione's relationship with Ron. His thoughts turned to Ginny, whom he wished he could just see, even for a second, and he realized that he was the destroyer of relationships.
Hermione finally appeared beyond the trees and said, "He's g-g-gone! Disapparated!"
Harry, not knowing how to handle a crying Hermione, threw a blanket over her shaking, convulsing shoulders and climbed into his own bed. He listened to the rain, which drowned out Hermione's sniffling and sobbing, but wished he could do more.
He was certain of one thing, though. The pitiful little thread that had been holding their friendship together for the past months finally snapped.
and I don't know how to fix itHe didn't know when he fell asleep. Somewhere between the time that Hermione's tears stopped falling and the heavy rain slowly became a slight drizzle, exhaustion finally got the best of him and his eye lids closed.
He didn't sleep well that night. Bad dreams followed him, dreams of himself and his best friends trying not to drown in the ocean. An angry wave came their way and their heads were submerged for a split second. They pushed themselves to the surface, but they were farther away from each other than before. Another wave came their way, powered by the perfect storm in the sky, and he no longer spotted Ron. Hermione was still in his line of vision but he felt that any moment, she would disappear too.
Harry woke up suddenly and realized he was crying. His skin was covered in cold sweat and his heart was racing. He looked over to Hermione, who was still curled up in a ball on the chair. At least she was still there. Ron's empty bed only left a bitter taste in his mouth, so he chose to focus on his remaining companion. He did not want her to wake up uncomfortably the next morning so he lifted off his warm sheets and moved to carry her to her bed, hooking his arms under her neck and the back of her knees. She made silent noises of protest, but quickly returned to her sleep, though it seemed as troubled as his was.
"I won't let you disappear," he whispered to her, after she was securely under her sheets.
"Please don't leave me," murmured Hermione.
"Only if you promise me the same thing," Harry replied.
Harry felt a stab of pain where his heart was. She was dreaming of Ron, and for the umpteenth time in this adventure of his, he felt lonely.
Ron's absence had left Harry and Hermione unbalanced. Their movements were slower, their hearts heavier, and long periods of silence became as frequent as the hunger pangs. Now that he was gone, they were forced to spend more time with the dreadful locket.
Days passed by slowly and Harry felt his friendship with Hermione slowly unravelling, as if that thread that snapped between he and Ron was now putting strain on their relationship.
They left each other alone so they both could sit in their gloom. Hermione was sobbing every step of the way and he was getting frustrated. He never knew how to handle emotional girls and always felt he should console her, but always found himself walking away to kick rocks, punch trees, and stare into nothingness.
He watched Ginny's dot on the Hogwarts map, wondering if she was missing him as much as he missed her. He wondered what she was doing, if she found herself imagining his face, and wishing he could apparate wherever she was.
After a few more nights of hearing Hermione cry herself to sleep, the journey to find the Sword of Gryffindor and the remaining Horcruxes continued. They looked over the possible locations time after time but they weren't making much progress. The tension that Ron left behind slowly gave way to normalcy, but Harry noticed that sometimes Hermione's eyes became blank and distant, as if she was lost in her own world.
They shared a few smiles here and there, but he felt a certain longing in Hermione, as if she wanted to wake up and maybe everything that had happened was just a dream and Ron was still around to crack bad jokes. He didn't want to admit it, but he was feeling the same way too. Ron always provided comic relief when it seemed they were on the brink of insanity.
On the days that Hermione was feeling rotten, which he could tell by the tone in her voice, he made an effort to hold her hand, to hug her, and whisper a few consoling words. Though he felt very awkward about it, he knew that they both needed the morale boost. Besides, in chapter eighteen of the book that Ron gave him for his birthday, it said a witch in pain would stay in pain for a long time until someone stepped in. The chapter was titled, "So your girl is crying and you're terrible with the English language." He had skimmed it in his free time while he wasn't polishing cutlery and chasing down gnomes at the Burrow. He thought it was appropriate, seeing as every time he kissed a girl, they were either crying or ended up crying.
Harry smiled at this thought. It felt strange and uncomfortable, as if smiling was like encountering a long lost cousin who you hadn't visited in years.
Harry sensed a change in Hermione. She was angrier than he had ever seen, and her temper could be set off at a simple thing as Harry accidentally slipping Ron's name while he recalled a joke they once shared in the boys dorm or the time that Ron nearly burned his eyebrows off in Potions class.
She looked at him sternly before she turned in the other direction, only to give him the cold shoulder for the next few hours. He was amazed, for in their long friendship, he had never witnessed her so silent before. At Hogwarts, she was a tornado of words and facts, but now she was as talkative as a statue. Sometimes he felt angry too, that she was being so childish, but most of the time, he just ignored it. She was seventeen, abandoned, and hormonal.
Harry turned a blind eye to the blood-stained clothes she sometimes left on the floor and knew when she was feeling in the mood to go over their leads on their ever frustrating journey. In turn, she ignored the fact that Harry masturbated when he thought she was sleeping. She told herself it was a perfectly normal thing to do, seeing as he was seventeen, lonely, and hormonal.
One night, when she couldn't plug her ears without hearing the tell-tale sounds of Harry's happy time, she sat up in her bed, looked in Harry's direction, and asked, "Do you have to do it so often?!"
Harry, who was facing the tent so his back was all Hermione could see while he relieved himself, was caught off-guard and fell off his bed. He sent a muffled "sorry" her way before he placed himself between his sheets, embarassed and unsatisfied.
The next day, while Harry watched for intruders, Hermione washed herself up in the slow stream which was a short distance from their tent. The disillusionment spells were put up, along with the rest of the protective spells so Harry did not have to worry about much. However, after being caught the night before, he could not return Hermione's staring without turning a bright pink.
His vision seemed fuzzy so he took off his glasses and wiped them clean. He blinked several times and tested them out. They were fine, perfectly fine. He was lucky that his vision hadn't become worse because he was using the same glasses from when he was eleven years old. They were getting a bit small though, or maybe his head was just getting bigger.
His eyes caught the pale tone of Hermione's skin in the distance. His friend's body, put up against the setting sun and dark stream water, was very much visible. Harry thought he saw the outlines of certain body parts, but he willed himself to look away quickly. When he looked back, he saw that Hermione was looking in his direction. He nearly jumped out of his chair. In fact he did, to run into the tent. He jumped into his bed and threw the covers over his head, hoping the blankets would make him invisible. In his panic, he did not hear Hermione walk into the tent, did not see her smirking as she fell into her bed.
"You can stop hiding now, Harry. I saw you."
Harry didn't know whether to deny it or just go along with her train of thought. So he did nothing, hoping he appeared to be sleeping.
"I don't care, really."
Harry decided to speak up. "I'm sorry. It just... happened."
He heard Hermione giggle quietly before her quiet snoring indicated she was taking a nap. Harry pulled off his sheet, amazed at how sweaty he was, and decided to take a small walk. He needed to jump into that freezing water to bring him back to his senses.
So he did, but it did not help him forget seeing the silhouette, the curves of his best friend's naked body.
A snow storm impeded their journey. Their tent was buried so they had to stay in their spot for a night. Hermione conjured up a fire but it did little to fight off the stinging, freezing cold atmosphere.
Harry's stomach growled loudly and Hermione chuckled a little. Harry apologized and said he was hungry. A muggle village was a day's distance away, he told her, so they could find some sort of food before they both passed out due to starvation. Hermione apologized, saying there weren't many mushrooms or berries in their current location.
She was curled up in her blankets, reading the book that Professor Dumbledore left her. She had read it several times over, but kept feeling the desire to analyze it. Dumbledore knew she was a book worm but surely, he wouldn't have left her this fairy tale if it wasn't important in their Quest. She sat by the tent entrance, patrolling for intruders. She always multi-tasked at Hogwarts.
Harry, on the other hand, was lying on his bed, throwing the Snitch in the air and catching it with his hands. They had hit another road block in the search for the Sword. He wasn't feeling sleepy, though he was exhausted. Some nights his mind didn't allow him to sleep. His scar burned every now and then, and he felt rage that was not his. This particular night was one of those nights.
"I wonder why Professor Dumbledore left us these things, if we can't even use them. I've deciphered runes that have confused witches and wizards since the Medieval times but this book seems even more complicated than those easy little riddles..." Hermione said to herself.
"Maybe it's really just a fairy tale book," offered Harry.
"And maybe Snape's underwear is the Horcrux we've been looking for," returned Hermione.
"Ouch, okay. Like Ron said, Dumbledore was brilliant and everything, but he was just cracked. He probably wrote the answers we need in code in invisible ink on the lines between the lines," Harry let out without thinking. Hermione's silence made him realize he let the R word slip again. Any mention of Ron sent her into a tail spin that ended up in tears and cold shoulders.
"I wish you would stop that," said Hermione, who had become a little teary-eyed. Never in her life had she felt so damn emotional. She used to mock the girls who'd never let the other girls sleep in the dorm at Hogwarts because of a broken heart, but now it seemed it was her turn.
Harry, a little angry now, said, "Well, I wish you'd stop crying all the time. He's gone and he's not coming back!"
"Harry Potter!" gasped Hermione.
"What? It's the truth! I just wish you'd stop looking over your shoulder. I stopped doing it a long time ago. He made his decision and he abandoned us."
Hermione stayed silent for an uncomfortable length of time. Harry wondered if he brought upon himself another cold shoulder fit, but then Hermione silently said, "Don't you think I know that? I called after him, chased him, and he never even answered back."
"Then why you do still act like he's going to come back?"
"Because... somewhere in me, I have the feeling that he will."
It was now Harry's turn to be silent.
I know how you feel Hermione. I just don't think it'll actually come true.
"Well, he still hasn't proved himself to have such courage," Harry said in a tone that told Hermione the conversation was over.
Harry was washing himself in a pool of water. Even though he was roughing it, Hermione insisted that he clean himself once in a while, so that she wouldn't pass out from his stench.
He let himself sink in the water, wondering if his journey was a bust. It had been some time since their last breakthrough discovery and he was starting to feel that bitterness that Ron had told of when he decided to walk out on the excursion.
He popped back to the surface of the water and blinked back the water in his eyes. He thought he heard a sound in the distance and instinctively looked towards the tent and saw that Hermione was staring at him. The book in her lap jumped when she realized she was caught red-handed in her ogling.
She blushed, but stayed where she was. She picked up the ignored book and pretended to be reading. However, her eyes deceived her as they looked over the horizon of the book and towards Harry.
Meanwhile, Harry was laughing. He climbed out of the pool and quickly got dressed. He sauntered over to the tent entrance and passed by Hermione cooly.
Hermione watched Harry climb into his bed and let out a sign of relief. Perhaps he hadn't seen her sneaking glances.
"Hermione?" asked Harry, his voice muffled by his blankets.
"Your book is upside down."
"Oh." Harry couldn't see Hermione but swore he could feel her blushing. He laughed to himself.
"Never took you for a Peeping Tom, Granger."
"Yeah, well... Don't give me reason to be," she huffed.
Harry was surprised at her reply. Their banter always skipped dangerously close to the line of flirting, but seeing as their love was platonic, it never got close enough to that line. Besides, he and Hermione were friends.
"Yeah, well... Same goes for you," he said boldly.
"Ugh! I forget that you're just a normal teenage boy sometimes but then again you always remind me when you say such juvenile things like that," Hermione said.
"Oh, me? Teenage boy? I must have forgotten, between the whole Boy Who Lived and Quest for Sword thing. Thanks for reminding me."
"Oh, you don't need reminding from me. Your happy little friend there, who comes out only at night and sometimes in the morning, to play, is reminder enough, I think."
Harry was embarassed but he smartly replied, "You're just jealous."
"Oh yes, Potter. I'm so jealous you can pitch tents, and I don't mean the one we're using for shelter."
Harry poked out his head from under his blanket and stared at Hermione, completely shocked at what he just heard come out of her mouth.
"Hermione Granger! That was a dirty joke! Now where in your virginal mind did you create that?"
"You forget that my best friends are male. I've grown up with you lot, and with your expanding imaginations too."
Harry said, "You said best friends, with a s."
"Yes, and what's your point?
There was no need to vocalize it, they both felt the name linger in the atmosphere, breaking the fun little moment they had been enjoying.
Ron always ruined everything, Harry concluded.