Ye Old Disclaimer: Harry Potter and associated milieu, characters, and situations are owned by J.K. Rowling and her licensees. This is a work of fan fiction, produced solely for enjoyment. No infringement of rights intended. J.K. Rowling owns it all; I am just playing with the Story. No money is being made by me in any way shape or form. Edited: 5/6/2015
I am very excited to state that this Chapter has been beta'ed by Polgara (bow's low before the all mighty goddess Polgara.) I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!
Chapter 1: Done a Runner
From his vantage atop the Astronomy Tower the whole of creation seemed to be laid before him. Usually such views afforded him a sense of peace and wonder. Today however the beautiful vista was lost on him. Though Harry's eyes looked out ward, he didn't see. All his attention was inward on lost dreams, current events, and Hermione.
He could feel the sobs threatening to break through; when he spoke, he hoped she would not hear it. "I love you so much…"
He felt her clutch tighter to him. Of course she knew. She always did. He held back his tears and held his lover close to him. Many nights before now found them sharing the same sleeping space but not engaging in activities.
She was the balm to the wounds of his soul. She held him, whispering her love into his ear until he fell asleep, exhausted from shedding tears. She never spoke of it outside the dark confines of her bed curtains. She never alluded to these events. Like a taboo, she never mentioned his weakness. He would only allow himself to show it to her. He trusted only her.
"I love you too Harry…" She softly whispered into his ear. Harry laid himself on his side as she snuggled into his chest.
"Me and you Hermione. Always and forever." His voice barely a whisper, but his words were spoken from the deepest recesses of his heart.
She whispers into his chest with just as much feeling. "Me and you Harry, Always love, forever and more."
Harry snapped out of the memory. Ahead of him the sun was setting in the distance, sending blood red streaks and yellows as far as the eye could see. It had been a week since the battle at the Department of Mysteries where he had been led into a trap to rescue his Godfather, Sirius Black. A rescue mission that had failed since his Godfather had died anyways. It was all a trap set to have Harry retrieve a Prophecy from that department for Voldemort.
Harry led five others with him on the rescue that almost cost him far more than he could have ever imagined going into it. They all survived, thankfully but it was truly a near thing. Ron, Ginny, Luna, and even Neville wouldn't be walking away from this with the marks to prove it.
Then there was what happened to Hermione. She had been grievously injured. Harry had thanked every light deity out there that Madam Pomfrey was able to reverse the curse that had struck her down. Harry did not want to live in a world where Hermione was not a part of it. He couldn't. He wouldn't.
"But she's going to be okay, Pomfrey said so…" Harry muttered to the wind that raced past him. Words made seem to make it more real and Harry clung to them tightly.
Afterward Dumbledore decided to finally tell Harry what made him so special to Voldemort. Harry snorted remembering the rain of destruction he had unleashed on the old man's office in the wake of that little bit of news. Dumbledore had perfect timing. Yeah, sure, take an emotionally fragile teen and tell him it's kill or be killed after he gets his friends injured, his Godfather killed, his arse reamed because they were way too under-skilled to be playing with the big boys. Yup, perfect timing. In light of everything, he thought he took it rather well, though he doubted Bumbledore thought so, considering he had yet to repair any of the things Harry had broken in his rage.
It was not the prophecy that bothered him. Not really. Deep down inside, Harry had always known that he was marked for death, or at the very least, marked to face down Riddle in the end. No, that did not bother him. His Godfather dying bothered him a great deal. He would, and did, miss Sirius, fiercely. However the thing that bothered him the most was Hermione getting hurt. Being under Voldemort's Cruciatus curse didn't hurt as deeply as seeing her broken body. Her blood staining her clothes as her skin grew paler. Her breath almost nonexistent… The image didn't just steal his will to fight, it murdered it. The thought of her dead… no description of pain could do it justice.
He should have been faster, stronger, or something. Harry sighed feeling his shoulders drop. He wasn't though, not by a long shot. He was nowhere near where he wanted to be in order to protect her and that was a bitter pill to swallow.
Then as if that wasn't enough, because of her injuries, Dumbledore had brought in Hermione's parents. Hermione had told him yesterday they were going to pull her from Hogwarts. They were going to move.
'Course, that was after the Headmaster saw fit to inform her parents about the Troll in her first year, Polyjuice and petrifaction her second year, soul-sucking Dementor's her third year, the escaped criminal who posed as an instructor her fourth year, and finally, Umbitch, the Mighty Toad Twat herself this year. Dumbledore also made sure to list the numerous assaults she had suffered through all five years and exactly how many times she had been sent to the Hospital wing as a result of her affiliation with Harry.
Harry chuckled darkly, glazed eyes turning to the Black Lake Oh yeah, let's not forget that he had told them all about Harry. How trouble had a way of finding him. How he was often in the middle of dangerous things. How Harry always seemed to drag her along on his 'adventures'. The stone, rescuing Sirius, and finally the Battle at the D.O.M. Stupid-cock-blocking-goat-fucker.
Harry hadn't even been introduced properly to her parents yet, and they already thought him some deranged lunatic bent on getting himself killed. If he kept having ties to their daughter, he would get her killed too. In one meeting with the Grangers, Dumbledore had managed to destroy the image they had of him from Hermione's letters home.
Harry could handle them not liking him. He could take them hating him. But what truly burned his arse was Dumbledore made Hermione cry. She had cried when she informed him that her parents when she got home she was forbidden to have anything to do with Harry. No post, no phone calls, nothing. For her 'Greater Good', they were moving far from England, and as far as she was concerned, Harry Potter no longer existed.
Hermione was crushed. He had never seen her as distraught as when she told him those things. Harry had confronted the Headmaster hours after he finished talking with Hermione. He was told it was for his own good; he had enough to be going on with. Dumbledore told him, if he truly cared for Hermione, Harry would let her go where she would be safe. That conversation led him here, to top of the astronomy tower watching the sunset and thinking.
As far as Harry was concerned, the Headmaster had gone too far this time. He was trying to separate Harry from the only thing that made his life worth living. Without Hermione, he would never have gotten through Snape's mind raping lesions concealed as teaching Occlumency. Without Hermione, Harry would have never known love. Without Hermione, Harry had nothing to live for. As far as Harry was concerned, only one person had the power to end his relationship with Hermione, and that was Hermione. Harry closed his eyes from the stunning scene before him to calm himself down. If he kept working himself up like this there was every chance he would end up in Azkaban before the sun fully set.
"Hermione…" Harry whispered to himself painfully. Thoughts of his lover always calmed him down.
Harry had noticed he had strange feelings for Hermione third year. He did what he could to ignore them. He didn't understand them but what they did to him told him that if he gave into them something would happen. Things would change. Harry had no idea what that change would be but there was no way he was going to risk losing her over some stupid feelings, so he clamped down on them. Hard.
However, a few months through Fourth year, just before his name came out of that blasted cup, it became too much. He had pulled her aside and asked her what the hell it was. It was driving him mental. He couldn't figure any of it out. He never felt anything like them before, and it scared him. Worse, they were getting impossible to ignore and he shamefully lost his temper with her a few times before he caved in and talked to her about it. It was very awkward but he had pulled her aside that night and asked her to not laugh at him. He needed to know what it was. He then explained to her what they felt like hoping she could help him, praying that the change he feared wouldn't happen and driver her out of his life. Hermione didn't laugh, and thankfully she didn't leave. No, she cried.
At first he thought they were bad feelings. He cursed himself and his weak self-control and apologized to her telling her he never meant to hurt her. He confessed it felt like knives piercing his chest flaying him to see her in tears and be the reason for it. Thankfully she started trying to explain before he worked himself much more. It was hard for her because even though he understood the concepts of emotional attachment, the idea of love, it had never occurred to him he might be in love with his best friend.
Harry asked her if it was okay if they explored it. Despite the way they made him feel sometimes, he liked them, overall, and the idea of being in love Hermione gave him all kinds of great feelings. The change he feared ultimately became his salvation.
At first, they took it slow after 'the talk', as they ended up privately referring to it. It was easy, really easy, especially after his name came out of the cup. Everyone shunned him. They took walks around the lake. They talked about themselves, sharing themselves with each other in deeper ways than they ever did before. Harry discovered she was just as lonely as he was, though she had a better home life than he did.
Then, just before the first task, he had discovered how to get into the Girls' Dorms. That night was the first night they shared a bed, though nothing had happened. Well, nothing sexual. It was the night of their first kiss. It was the first night Harry broke down and cried in front of another living soul. The first night Hermione heard him speak about his life outside of Hogwarts. She held him close. She whispered to him that he was not alone; she was there for him. She promised she always would be.
Harry opened his eyes, pulling away from thoughts of those nights. The sun had fully set, which meant it was time. He continued thinking as he turned from the beautiful sunset and robotically made his way to the Hospital wing.
Harry spent most nights thereafter in her bed. He would sneak in through the hidden elf tunnels that catacomb the castle walls. A neat trick that Dobby had shown him and was apparently forgotten about by everyone but the little guys who used them.
Dobby had told him they led everywhere throughout the castle. All through Fourth year, Harry snuck in and snuck out. Her dorm mates never found out, or if they did, they never told. She only snuck into his room once. Ron's snoring drove her barmy and she playfully yet firmly told him she wasn't going to do it again.
After the first task, and Harry almost getting killed by that bloody dragon, it started to become a routine. Harry would come to Hermione; she would hold him and tell him that everything would be okay. Harry had never slept better. He never suffered nightmares when he was with her. Never tossed and turned. Harry had never known such dreamless sleep without a potion until they started this.
Some nights, Hermione would be the one crying to him. She would tell him all about her time before Hogwarts, how she was friendless, how hard it was to relate to people her own age because of her intelligence and pure need to know more about everything. How she felt like an outcast, the strange things that happened to her and people around her. How utterly alone she was until that fateful night, Halloween when a twelve-foot mountain troll had tried to kill her, and she was rescued by a scrawny, black-haired boy she barely knew.
The stone corridors of Hogwarts rolled past him never intruding deeper into his mind than was necessary to navigate the castle. It was thanks to Rita Skeeter's articles in the Daily Prophet that convinced them they needed to keep their relationship a secret. She had received some hexed mail and was hurt by it. After that, they toned themselves down in the public eye, but continued in private.
The nightly visits became more frequent. Hell, Harry hardly slept in his own bed, and he really hadn't since the beginning of that year. But, because of the attacks on her when people only thought they were dating. It was necessary. They had both felt badly that she had led on Victor Krum the way she had, but in the end, it had all worked out. She went as his date; Harry had to take somebody and ended up taking Parvati Patil, who enjoyed being seen on his arm. However, after the first dance, Harry would only dance with Hermione, and he had only enjoyed two dances. They had had a great time until Ron started his 'woe is me' garbage.
The second task was, looking back, hilarious. Thanks to Dobby and the Gillyweed, he had gotten for him, Harry had gotten to the hostages way before anyone else had. He was half-way to the surface with Hermione before Krum had found them. Once Krum had taken her, Harry went back for Ron and rescued him and Fleur's sister Gabrielle. Krum had confronted both of them later about it, and they had told him a little bit about them seeing each other and why it was a secret.
Instead of being angry the Quidditch star laughed at them, telling them that they should have told him, he would have helped more. They were both relieved by his stance. Krum had told them, he understood. His own fiancée, a Bulgarian heiress of some kind, was also a secret that no one knew about. It was why he had asked Hermione to the Ball. She was not a crazy fan girl, nor would she stalk him later when he would have to break it off. His heart was already taken he had said. Like Harry, he didn't want anyone to get wind of their relationship for her safety. Suddenly, having a secret romance felt a bit better. Knowing others out there had similar problems and came to similar conclusions helped alleviate some of the stress it posed on them.
The night before the final task Hermione had confessed her love for him. She had made it a point that he should not feel pressured into telling her the same thing unless he felt the same way. Harry snorted to himself as he stalked through the Entrance Hall.
Harry had to have her explain how she felt to him before he could say anything one way or the other. She told him how she felt. How she thought about him all the time, how she ached to hold him at night. The few nights she didn't have Harry in her bed, she couldn't sleep for missing him, thinking about him. All kinds of things she told him to describe her feelings. She opened her heart to him in emotional whispers while they hid in the shadows of the stands. When she was done it was then that Harry understood he was truly in love, in love with his best friend. He confessed his love for her too.
Of course, then there was the third task itself to survive before he could go back to where he belonged. Her arms. The maze, Graveyard, facing Voldemort, Cedric dying, all of it. No one could move Hermione from his side in the hospital wing where he was recuperating. Dumbledore tried.
The old man even went as far as to escorted her all the way to Gryffindor tower and told the portrait of the Fat Lady Hermione was not allowed out for the night. Dobby had brought her back to him within seconds. When the Headmaster had come back into the Hospital Wing, he found her cuddled up to his side, holding him defiantly. Harry never remembered ever seeing the Headmaster's face ever being that shade of Mt. Vernon Puce.
Once again, he dragged Hermione back to the tower. However, this time he had McGonagall take her all the way to her dorm. This time when Dobby had brought Hermione back, he did so with Harry's invisibility cloak. Of course, Madam Pomfrey knew, but she never told. Harry was always grateful to the Medi-Witch for running interference so when the Headmaster came in Hermione had time to disappear. Harry had been touched when she even refused to attend classes to stay by his side.
Finally entering the last stretch to his destination Harry reminisced on the last year.
Harry's smile, and his good humor, died a painful death as Harry found himself in front of the doors to the Hospital wing. He leaned against the doors listening and waiting. Hermione was due to be release soon, and he was going to get the answer to his question. That answer would decide how the rest of his life would play out. Harry threw his invisibility cloak over himself and waited once more venturing into his own mind recalling that conversation…
Harry was sitting next to Hermione, holding her close. She was almost inconsolable.. She had, only moments ago, told him what her parents had said, what they had decided, and what was going to happen.
"Love…" Harry said as she finally had started to gain some control and calm down. "What if…" He licked his dry lips and took a deep breath. It was crazy, it was insane. It was also all he could think of. "What if we did a runner?"
He felt her shift as she turned to look up at him. A slight frown gracing her tear-streaked face. "What are you talking about Harry?"
Harry reached up and wiped her tears away with his thumb. "Me and you dear heart, always and forever right?" She nodded. "What if we just ran for it? Run away from England, got away from Dumbledore, Hogwarts, Voldemort, and your parents? We could just go underground, disappear."
"Harry, how would we live? We need to eat, need to sleep, what about our education?"
Harry nodded his head. "I know. Okay, the important thing first, our education." Here she smiled at him slightly shaking her head at his antics. It was the first smile to grace her face since he had come in to find her so beside herself. "There is a whole world out there waiting for us. I read somewhere that when Wizards and Witches graduated they used to take this tour of the world. Go out, see new things. Meet new Wizards and Witches, explore other cultures. We've done our O.W.L.S., we don't truly need N.E.W.T.s. We'll go see the world. I bet we would learn more doing this than we will in this castle. Seriously love, this castle is going to get one of us killed sooner or later. I'd rather not push my luck any more than I have to."
"As far as food and lodgings go, we bail out of here, hit Gringotts and empty my Trust fund vault. You would not believe how much gold is in there. We can get the goblins to convert it into normal money, mostly, and with our pockets full we just go."
Hermione stared at him blinking at what he said. In a measured voice she asked, "Okay, I'll play along. What about Voldemort Harry? He'll find us. So will Dumbledore. We can't hide forever from them."
Harry sighed looking away from her piercing brown eyes. "I know dear heart. I know they will try. If we stay here Voldemort will find us anyways. All he has to do is catch us in Hogsmeade during a weekend. Hell, even the castle isn't safe with Malfoy and the other little Death Nibblers about."
Harry looked back into her eyes, those cinnamon eyes he loved so much. "As far as Dumbledore goes, I don't trust him to have my best interest at heart anyways. He's worse than Voldemort in a way. At least Voldemort has been honest about wanting me dead."
"Neither of us really believes in prophecy or divination, but Dumbledore and Voldemort do. Both of those wankers are like two dogs fighting over a bone. I am tired of being that bone. I am not saying we don't come back, I am saying we come back when we know more. Think what we could learn out there. You are always telling me that knowledge is power. I learned long ago not to ignore what you have to say."
"You didn't agree with me going to the Ministry. We both thought it was a trap. We did everything we could think of to find out for sure if it was or wasn't. We got out-played. In the ministry, we got out dueled. I don't want anything to happen to you again, I am not strong enough, and not fast enough to protect you love. It kills me to know I can't."
"Oh Harry, it wasn't your fault. It was my stupid mistake that got me cursed. I never thought he could cast silently."
"That's my point. There is just no way around it. They're better than we are. Look at that fight; I know for a fact I stunned at least five of them. I am willing to bet my Firebolt you matched me stun for stun, bind for bind. They just kept reviving their people while throwing curses we couldn't fight. We played with kid gloves. They played with fire. You getting hurt showed me how much we are not ready for this war, yet we are somehow in the center of it. We have been since we were eleven. That's why I say let's just go, disappear."
He could tell he was reaching her but Hermione still argued, "How are we going to do that Harry, they'll track us if we move by magical means, and there are some Wizards and Witches in the Ministry who do understand a lot about normal modes of transportation. Not to mention, we don't have passports, visas, identification, and even if we did, it will just make them easier to track us. Harry, you're fifteen going to be sixteen in a few months; I'll be seventeen in September, no inns or lodgings will let us rent rooms at our ages. I've traveled with Mum and Dad a lot over the years, and you almost need to have a credit card to do anything. We're too young for that kind of thing. Even if we did have that available, again, it just makes it easier to track us. Don't get me started on the language barrier."
Her arguments were well-reasoned, but Harry had expected nothing less. "I actually had a couple of ideas about that. However, it requires a little bit of fraud, grand theft auto, and possibly some larceny. Other than that, it's mostly legal."
Hermione narrowed her eyes at him. "Very funny Harry, I am not joking."
Harry had a completely serious look on his face when he replied. "Nor am I. Me and you love. Nothing else matters. Think about it. Madam Pomfrey said she'll be letting you out tomorrow. I'll be outside in my cloak. Tell me your answer then. I do have some ideas on what we can do, but first we have to get away from the castle. Luckily, I have a plan."
"Think on it, love. I don't want to pressure you, but it's the only thing I can think of we can do where we can still be together. Dumbledore turned your parents against me. They think I am the devil's spawn now. I don't want to lose you… You know how much you mean to me. Run with me and we can be together. We've always watched each other's backs before. This won't be any different. We'll see the world, learn loads of new things, and if you want, we'll come back ready and able to handle our own for once."
"If…if you don't want to do this I will understand. I won't think badly of you. I will always love you no matter which choice you make. Even if it takes me a hundred years to find you again, I will, if I can." Harry left unsaid that the only thing that would stop him would be his death. She understood though. She always did.
Hermione was quiet for a while as she laid her head against his chest. He would not have caught it he had not been listing for her to say something. "What about Mum and Dad Harry? It'll crush them if I run away."
"Do you want my honest opinion, love?" he felt her nod against him. He rested his chin on the top of her head as he replied. "Honestly, if it's a matter of being with you or without you there really is no choice for me. You are more important than anything or anyone to me. Yes, it will crush your parents if you run with me, and I have no doubt they will hate me for all time, no matter the outcome. I will always worship your parents as greater deities, magical or mundane, for bringing you into this world, bringing you to me. I have been so blessed to have you in my life. I can't even think what it would be like without you. That said, for me, no cost is too great to have you in my life."
Harry kissed the top of her head as he got up to leave. "No matter your choice love, I will respect it and love you regardless. All I ask is to think about it, okay?"
Hermione's voice brought him out of his reverie.
"Two more weeks of potions, three times a day. I will make sure my parents know. Thank you again Madam Pomfrey."
"I am sorry, dear, about Albus. I do hope things change and we can see you here next year."
"I doubt it Madam. My parents seemed pretty adamant, and Headmaster Dumbledore already handed me my school termination papers." Harry noted Hermione's voice as neutral, no emotion at all. "Is there anything else? The Professor said I was to be taken home once I pack my things."
"No child. Take your potions, and you'll be fine. I packed a few extras just in case, if anything changes from the treatments or you develop any symptoms of note, go straight to St. Mungo's or whichever magical hospital you are closest to, first thing."
"Thank you, I will remember that."
Harry moved away from the door and watched as Hermione walked out and closed the door. She had a satchel over her shoulder, which he supposed held her potions. She looked around a bit before he heard her call his name softly. Once he raised the cloak a bit to show his feet she made her way to him and he quickly brought her inside of its protective confines, and into his arms.
"I need to get Crookshanks, and a few things from my trunk. I take it we're going to need to travel light for a bit?" she whispered to him.
Harry held his breath when he heard her words. "You…you'll run with me?"
Hermione nodded. "If the choice is with you or without you, I will always choose you Harry."
He let out a breath he was holding and clutched her to him tight. Harry kissed her passionately for a moment before he pulled back. "Met me at Hagrid's once you get your things, I already have mine down there."
"Hagrid's? Why Hagrid's Harry?"
Harry smirked. "Because Sirius gave Hagrid his motorcycle; I found it and that is our ride to London. It flies, and it's safer than a broom. If we need to, we can land and blend in with the normals. Also more comfortable than a broom for long distance flights and I know how much you hate broom travel. Trust me, I know."
Hermione asked worriedly. "What about Crookshanks? I can't leave him Harry."
"Trust me, Love. I wouldn't leave him behind even if you asked me."
Harry looked deep into her eyes when he heard her speak again. "Me and you, right Harry?"
He nodded and whispered back to her with all the love in his heart and soul. "Always and forever my love, me and you."
Okay, Chapter One revision is done. For those of you interested in the story instead of my drivel, by all means Leave a review telling me what you think of this chapter, and then hit that 'Next' button. Enjoy the read.
Really only two things to say. This fic was definitely started some time ago. Doing revisions has me blinking that I got away with this. lol. That said, no graphic changes other than the adult content is being deleted. I think the story will survive without it, and I was never comfortable with it anyways.
Fic Recommendation: Vox Corporis by MissAnnThropic.