Full Summary: A new doctor moves into Forks with a wife, a child, and a past. Edward takes an interest, but finds himself in far too deep far too fast before he knows it. Plagued by mysteries, the doctor is nothing what he appears and worst of all, Edward thinks the man might be his mate. All Harry and Hermione wanted was some peace and quiet. Things become very complicated very quickly.
Pairings: (Very far in the) Future HP/EC/HP. Past EC/BS, implied HP/HrG, past RW/HrG.
Rating: M for mature themes including, but not limited to, strong language, character death, violence, and sexual themes/situations.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. Don't own Harry Potter either. Don't own the music and the lyrics that helped me write this.
Also, I don't know very well (read: not at all) how to curse in British English, so I didn't try to pretend that I did. It's the good-old-fashioned-F-U for me.
Big Note: So. Heeeey guys. Long time no see. Let's try this again?
I felt like I wrote myself into a corner, so the story is in the process of being rewritten. Changes are both stylistic and some of the chapters will see heavy alterations of events because they made no sense. Reworked chapters will be posted every 2-4 days, but new chapters will come more slowly because I'm going to try to make 'em long.
Now, it may look like there are fewer chapters in the end, but that's only because all the interludes have been combined into one big prologue (this chapter), with the addition of one more short story that answers a question about Daniel that I've gotten a lot. Also the first and second chapters have been combined into one (next chapter). I tried to give more a timeline based off Harry's birth year (1980) and Bella's (1987) and it's pretty rough, so do me a favor and don't think about it too hard.
Also, I don't think I ever clarified this, but in case anyone cares: this story is HP canon only through Order of the Phoenix (no HBP and DH; Dumbledore didn't die in HBP, the war didn't end until the gang was 22-23) and only canon through the first book of the Twilight series (the events of Bella's birthday never happened in New Moon, Cullens never left, etc., etc.). I'll try to give rough glimpses into my version of events, but if you ever have questions, just drop something in the reviews.
Before I go, I would like to give a big, big, BIG THANK YOU to all readers, alerters, and reviewers of this story, especially those of you that have read this long after I had stopped updating and encouraged me to continue on! I've been a crappy author by all accounts and I never responded to most of you, but I promise I will change for the better. The warm responses and the great critiques have really kept me going (without you ever knowing it, and for that, I'm very sorry).
Abandoned, A Prologue
And on I read until the day was gone
And I sat in regret of all the things I've done
For all that I've blessed and all that I've wronged
In dreams until my death I will wander on
"Like A Stone" by Audioslave
Northern England, Winter 1999
"Hold up the wards!"
Harry Potter distantly heard his own command over the clamor of battle. The group of casters behind him responded in full by reinforcing the shield over the Rebel force. That's what they were called now that Voldemort had named himself head of the England's wizarding society: the Rebels. Traitors. Rats.
Another Death Eater fell to the ground and Harry saw the opportunity he had been waiting for. "Take the core!" he ordered to the rest of the offensive unit. They had breached the fortress and their target was so close.
The heat of the adrenaline tasted more real than the copper tang of blood in Harry's mouth. His heart roared in his head. His rage itched just inside his throat. Harry didn't wait for the others and ran forward, forcing his way through. Opposition disappeared past the front line—the Death Eater commander had already exhausted his forces to stop the Rebel advance. Harry took the heart of the fortress unopposed.
And there the man stood in the middle of the room: Nott in the full garb. The Death Eater didn't even remove his mask, but Harry knew that it could be no one else. Nott held onto his wand, but he kept his arms at his sides. His hands shook.
"I...I... su—surrender." Nott stumbled over the words. They must have been foreign to him.
"I surrender!" he shouted once more, with more confidence this time. Nott raised his hands up and let his wand fall to the ground. His head fell forward in defeat, shoulders slumped.
The words echoed in the hall and Harry had heard them, but the rage refused to subside. Before, he didn't let anger win. He always made the right decision, the... humane decision.
But now, it was too much. This really was too much.
His features twisted into an unrecognizable scowl. He ran straight for Nott. He smashed into the man's taunt, surprised body, shoving the Death Eater to the floor. He did not give the other the chance to get up. He ripped the mask off. He really didn't want to look at that disgusting, terrified face. He really didn't want to connect the monster that did that to Ginny to a person.
But what choice did he have? Here this person was, right in front of him. Nott was... weak and suddenly humbled when overpowered, completely defenseless. A dog, a submissive mutt. He wasn't so weak when he tortured Ginny. He wasn't so defenseless when he killed her. Killed her, all alone. Destroyed her, so completely and cruelly.
No. No more.
The hero smashed his fist into the man's face. Kicked him in the stomach. The monster yelled out and curled into himself. His hands automatically covered his head. Harry stood over him, swallowing shallow breaths. He didn't stop. He kicked. Cursed. Stomped. Broke.
The others had caught up by now. All outside sounds of battle had ceased. The sounds of pain echoed in the room, flew out the windows where they drowned in the howl of the northern wind. No one uttered a word.
How could they?
Because how can anyone say this was right? But how, how, how could anybody say that this was wrong?
In a world where you had to pick up the pieces of your little sister, your friend, and you had to put them together just to recognize her one last time, just to bury her in the middle of nowhere, how could you say that this was wrong?
When all you can think of is her red hair and her smile as you hold her cold dismembered hand in yours?
When she said that she would be back before dinner and that everything would be okay?
When this man had torn her to shreds and reduced that beautiful, small human being to chunks of butchered meat?
If this was wrong, what was right?
Harry stopped. His hands on his knees, he leaned forward over Nott's broken body. Somewhere in between coarse drags for air, raspy sobs escaped his lips. His mind struggled to catch up, now that the adrenaline had seeped away and left him stupefied. Sweat trickled down his forehead, along his cheek, mingled with blood and spit at the corner of his mouth, and fell in drops. Fell on the monster at his feet.
Was this all? Was this all that will ever happen? Is this the conclusion to the Hero's valiant efforts to save the world? Was this... the salvation? The justice? Revenge?
He felt like the monster now.
It was all he could do to remain standing, to keep breathing.
He couldn't turn around. Harry couldn't face the others. He knew that much.
An arm fell around his shoulders and he would have jumped, if had held on to any awareness at all. Harry looked over to Ron, who had walked forward from the group and now stood beside him, leaning on Harry.
Ron didn't look at him at first and Harry felt a primal fear of the other man's reaction, even though he still couldn't process why. But when his best friend's face turned to him, it conveyed more than the man would ever be able to say out loud.
"Thank you, Harry."
"You do not have to do this alone, Harry."
When Ron let his arm slide off his shoulders, Harry took a step back. He knew enough to know that his turn was over.
Slowly, Ron pulled his wand out of its holster.
Steadily, he took aim at the remains of the Death Eater on the ground in front of them.
Nott held onto consciousness. His one good eye looked up unblinking at the pair of boys that had become men that had become soldiers that had become avengers.
Sobs—Hermione was crying. Neville tried to shield her, but she insisted. She had to see this.
Some turned away. Some looked on. They had known that this was coming. This had become inevitable, unavoidable. Imprisoning and releasing had become obsolete. Now, if there was to be a victory, this is where it lay.
What other way was there?
"Avada Kedavra" and a green light.
That was the first time they killed, had done it intentionally, had done it without remorse.
That night, Harry dreamed of a dry field of grass under a blue sky. He dreamed of a girl just standing there. A girl with her hair a burnt rust red against the deep deep winter blue. Her pale freckled skin blended in with the clouds.
In waking reality, he would have known that her name had been Ginny. She had been eighteen years old and then she had died.
He would have put on a shirt and he would have joined Ron downstairs, who had decided to drink until he could sleep without dreams like this.
He would have felt a pure, brittle ache because his friend's—his honorary little sister's—spot at the table had remained empty that night, and would be so from now on.
But he didn't.
He felt himself sit down in the dream in the same place, amid the sea of dead grass. He could just see the top of the girl's head over the stalks. And, oh, that blue, blue sky.
He wanted to speak with her, but had lost the words. He wanted to ask her questions, but had forgotten the meanings in them. So the boy sat there, just watching the girl. She never turned to look at him, didn't say anything, gave no sign that she knew he sat there, in the field, dreaming of her.
Just before he woke up, a damp breeze blew and shuffled the grass. The red-haired girl turned in his direction, smiled, and fell down through the stalks, out of his sight.
Southern England, Early 2002
Two men sat by the campfire, bodies leaning away from each other. The night stole into the shadows by the fire and cast a blanket of damp silence between them. Burning wood cracked and the sleeping girl across the fire, the third of the trio, shifted, but didn't wake. Ron glanced at Hermione, smiled for an instant, but the moment passed and the paranoia kicked in. He warily scanned the shadows of the trees just outside the fire's circle of light and let his fingers run along his wand holster. Satisfied that it was still there, he decided that now was as good of a time as any to talk about something that's been bothering him for a while now.
"Harry," Ron's voice cracked the minute he let out the word, "you know I have no regrets about this, right?" His companion let the question hang without replying and Ron didn't expect an answer anyway. The redhead took out a metal flask and took a gulp. The whiskey stung his throat and he coughed, once, before he started speaking again.
"Never thought about it twice. Seemed natural, you know. No matter what you think, I'm proud that I'm in this, don't doubt that for a minute Harry. But the years are getting to me Harry, I think I'm getting selfish. Don't even know how to explain it, but I look at that girl over there," he pointed to Hermione with the bottle, "and I wish..." Ron let his sentence drift. He had forgotten exactly what they had hoped for, what they dreamed of, at the start. It wasn't important anymore anyway.
"Well, you know... Anyway, this thing between the two of us is giving me doubts. You know me, you know how I am. Jump in and shoot, ask questions later. That kind of thing. But now..." He took another drink from the bottle and let the alcohol settle and warm his empty stomach.
"Fuck. Now I always think 'what if I won't make it? What if... What if some... what if they blow my brains out and this is the day I don't get back to her? What if this is the last time I hear her voice? What if this is the last time she sees me?' You know, that kind of dumb, sentimental shit. God, remember when I used to pick at Neville for saying the same thing? Anyway, I don't worry that she won't miss me. Fuck, it destroys me to think what it would do to her. I can't... bear hurting her like that Harry.
"So sometimes I hesitate now, you know, because, suddenly, I have something—someone to fight for again. But then, God," Ron put the flask down and pressed his head into his hands. He'd had a bit too much to drink by then, but Harry let him go on because it felt like they hadn't talked like this, like true friends, in ages.
"Fuck, I'm rotten at this. But Harry, listen to me," Ron lifted his head up from his hands and looked over at his friend. An old, torn smile pulled at the boy's features. Harry took a drink from the abandoned flask and forced back the thought that the smile didn't fit with Ron, not the Ron he remembered. But he couldn't be sure anyway. Not anymore.
Ron looked back to the sleeping girl across the fire, and something in his face shattered. He looked older, bone-dry and tired. "Promise me one thing Harry. I want nothing else, just this, alright?" he whispered and then paused, bit down on his lip, all the while grinding his scarred knuckles against his knees. It must have hurt him, Harry dimly thought, to think of a future that he might not be in.
"Don't say anything Harry, but I know you'll make it through. You've always been the toughest one out of all of us. We didn't see it, but I don't know how we missed it. You always were the last man standing, always the best. I don't resent you for that. Not anymore, not after everything that's happened and all that we've been through. It's because of that, that I want to ask you this, just one promise and that's it.
"Promise me, Harry, that you'll take care of her if I... if I'm gone. Promise me you won't think twice about it when the time comes.
"I love Hermione. Love her so damn hard, I can't... It's getting to her, the war, it's getting to all of us. I want her to be happy, just to see peace. I want to just stop all of this shit, spell it away, so that she wouldn't have to be so fucking sad all the time. But if I do something stupid—I want someone else to look out for her too.
"Promise me Harry. Just... Please?"
Harry replied without a moment of hesitation, fully meaning it, even if he didn't know who would outlive who. His best friend's heart was breaking, it was clear to see, and this was the best that he could do to mend it.
"I promise, Ron."
London, Late 2002
Eyes closed, Hermione sat wrapped up in her bathrobe in their room on their messy and unmade bed. She could not force herself to rise from their bed, to move. Tears streamed down her cheeks and disappeared into her tangled hair. She swallowed and clenched her hands. A moment more and she would move.
One more moment and she would move.
She opened her eyes and turned her head. She looked around, down the length of their bed, along the walls of their room, out the door to the rest of their house. Somehow, she felt herself become unbearably and impossibly small. His presence used to fill the rooms, but now all she had was this empty house.
She didn't know what to do now. When the war started to slow down, her days always had a plan. She would always wake up first in the morning. She would give him a kiss and he would mumble and turn in his bed, pulling the blanket with him. She would get up and take a hot shower of sensible length. After, she would put on her bathrobe and would pull him out of bed. In the kitchen, she would prepare breakfast—coffee and eggs for him, tea and oatmeal for her.
He would stand near her, shirtless and a bit sweaty, half-asleep and unshaven. He would fiddle with the radio, trying to catch a tune he liked or the news. He would try to steal a kiss then, but she would duck away with a spatula in hand.
Today, she still woke up early as usual, but without a single glance at the other side of the bed. She took an extra long shower, partly hoping to drown and partly hoping that yesterday could be scrubbed away with enough soap and determination.
She had wanted to avoid the sight of the empty bed for as long as possible, to play a game with reality. But yesterday was becoming more and more real and it was becoming more and more apparent that the world moved on without him. Somewhere out there, there was joy and celebration because we won! We won! Voldemort was dead now and we won!
But sitting, alone in their bedroom she felt... lost. Sad. Angry. Confused.
Sitting there, the chill creeping, her hair a wet mess, she just didn't know what to do. The girl that always knew it all had suddenly lost it all.
Numbed, she painfully searched for some remaining reason. Stumbling around edges and dangerous corners, she just couldn't find an excuse that didn't ache. She had to see Harry, visit Molly, plan the funeral.
Funeral, funeral, funeral.
For fuck's sake, everyone dies! It's irrational to expect otherwise, and impractical to have kept hoping against all odds that they would make it through. But they had made it so far. They wereso close and to have him ripped away at the last moment... Hurt.
And so she sat there, still.
A sound shattered the world. She recognized it, but couldn't place it at first. Oh, right, it was the front door lock turning and the door swinging open. She knew she had to reach for her wand. She knew she had to be on her guard. She knew she should at least stand up and check to see who had come.
Instead, she pulled her knees up onto the bed and pressed her face between them.
Then he came in. It wasn't the same. He wasn't the same. He was all wrong. He didn't carry that exact warmth, that exact life, and he didn't make her heart beat in the same way.
But he was familiar and real and alive.
He sat on the bed next to her and embraced her—her wet hair, her knees, her shacking body. He smelled of smoke and blood and earth. The arms were not quite as long as she was used to. But in that moment he held her he anchored her to the memory of solid ground. Not normalcy, because that was dead, not hope, because he was dead, and not love, because her heart was dead. But she felt warm in those arms. His blood-stained grief gave her solace like nothing else.
"We'll get through this Hermione. I'll take care of you."
Harry's heavy voice forced her world to turn again. She began to sob, to scream, to wail. She clenched her fists and tore at her hair. But Harry stayed with her. He didn't let go. He never let go.
New York, NY, Early 2003
Harry and Hermione sat, hand in hand, on top of an old dresser. The beaten up piece of furniture stood against the wall in the barren room. It had come with the apartment. Their apartment. Most of the place was empty, like the room, but they had already made plans for it. They would paint the walls bright colors, they would fill up the rooms with carpets and furniture and pictures, and they would try to make a life here.
Hermione swung her legs out and let them fall slowly against the face of the metal knobs. A fragile quiet had covered the things-that-should-be-talked-about and she was about to break it because things-that-should-be-talked-about should not remain untalked-about for long.
The first word fell like a stone between them. Her tone of voice warned Harry that what she would say next would be important and that Hermione had thought this through very carefully.
"You don't have to do this, you know."
Harry didn't answer in words. He just gripped her hand harder.
"These past months have been amazing, but I know about your promise to Ron and, if that's why you're doing this, then please, please Harry—don't. Just, don't. I'll be okay on my own. I'll figure it out."
Hermione glanced sideways at him and saw that he had turned away, but his hand was still in hers and his grip felt like a lifeline.
"Do you want me to leave?" The words came out stretched. He'd held on to each one before letting it go.
"I... I don't... but... I don't want you to be here if you don't want to be. You, Harry, not me, not Ron, but you. We're free—you're free, finally free. I want you to decide, and only you, about what you want. I couldn't bear it, if I was just another obligation for you."
"'Mione, how could you say that? After all the years that we've known each other, you should know me better than that. I want to be here. Not just because of Ron. I'm here because... I'm selfish. You're all that I've got now. I don't know where else to go, what else to do. I don't remember what it's like to be normal. I don't even know if I remember how to be human.
"When I faced Voldemort for the last time, I felt nothing—no fear, no relief, just nothing. All those years turned my world upside down, and when it was over—nothing changed. Now the scariest thing in the world seems to be letting you go. If that bothers you, please, don't make me go just yet. Just... please, give me some time, and I'll leave, if that's what you want."
Hermione sat still for a long time and it seemed to Harry that he held his breath all the while. Finally, her legs swung out again and the back of her sneakers hit the knobs of the dresser. Something in their lives shifted and all the things that had weighed down their shoulders hid away from view again. Hermione let her head fall sideways onto Harry's shoulder and she let her eyes drift closed.
"Then don't go. If you mean it, then stay. Stay with me. We'll figure something out, we always have. If you really want to be here, then maybe we can make something. Just you, me, and..." Hermione paused and her free hand went to her stomach.
Harry's hand followed and covered hers, "and Ron."
"What do you think of Daniel, for him, I mean? Ron and I, we picked out a few names, for the future, when it came, I suppose. But, I mean, if you don't like it..."
But Harry laughed it off. "Don't be silly. Daniel it is, for Ron. He should have that in memory of his dad, it's the least we can give him."
Note: End! Thanks for reading and please take the time to review with any comments/critiques/etc. Is the dialogue cheesy? If you want to have a say, review soon before the next chapter comes up in 2 days because the edits are almost done.
This chapter is a mashup of a few short chapters from the original story, plus a whole new short that reveals Daniel's father. Le gasp. For new readers, this won't mean anything, but I got asked this question pretty often in reviews (when I left Daniel's parentage a mystery).
Also, I feel like Progression is a dumb title. Thoughts?