Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc
Every time we fight, there's this moment, when I swear to myself that I'm not going to let this happen again. That I won't make the same mistake, that I'll take the time to take a deep breath and hear your side. That I'll say, I love you, instead of stomping around and being hurtful. That I won't let you down by not trying to reach out to you and that I won't let myself down by letting myself fight with you.
There always comes a time, however, when all my promises get thrown to the wind and before I know what's happened, I find myself fighting with you again.
And it's times like this that I despair of ever growing up and getting this right.
I know perfectly well what I should do. I should go out and apologize to you, tell you I love you and hold you tight until you know that through and through – but instead, I'm just sitting here at my desk and moping because I'm lonely without you. Not very adult at all, but the truth is, I'm scared. I can't help but get scared each time we fight – that you'll see the light and see that you can do so much better than me or that you'll decide that you're tired of all this and get up and leave. Of course, I know that you wouldn't do that . . . but just because my head knows that for a fact doesn't mean my heart's convinced.
Though that's not exactly right either. I should say there's a part of me that knows without a doubt that you'll be my side – how could I not? you've never abandoned me before but have always been with me, lending me your strength. But there's another part of me that can't believe that I could be so lucky to find someone that devoted, because frankly, I'm not worth such devotion. And I hate being so doubtful and petty, and I can't even tell you about it because just thinking that way makes me feel so low – and then I feel even worse for not trusting you with that secret.
There is still so much I hide from you.
Not because I don't love you and not because I don't trust you . . . but more because I simply can't do anything but hide it from you and everyone else. It's like this dividing line that I simply can't cross, that no matter how close we get or how much in love we are, I can't share everything with you. And you don't share everything with me. You can't share everything with me. Maybe it's to keep ourselves separate, to keep our own identities so that we're not just HarryandHermione – though the thought of being that is lovely, it's scary all the same – to have someone who knows the darkest part of me, to have someone who could see and judge every bad thing that I do. So you could say, that even when I'm with you, there's a part of me that is lonely with you.
And this doesn't exactly sound like a love letter, does it?
I suppose you'll be interested in this academically and try to puzzle out just how two people who care for each other so much would still want a protective space around them. The irony is, the space that's meant to protect us from harm causes so many of our fights that hurt us so.
Because it's irrational for I know how important it is for us to keep a portion of ourselves back – but there's nothing that makes me mad like hearing that you've kept a secret from me.
"So . . . had a good day at work today?" Harry asked too casually.
"Yes actually," Hermione replied, looking up from her journal. There was something to Harry's tone that warned her to be cautious. "Busy, as always, but good. How was yours?"
"Fine," he said, but the way his jaw clenched gave belied his words. "It would have been even better if I could have met my wife for lunch today, but I hear that she had other plans."
Hermione restrained herself from sighing. "Yes, I had other plans, to meet an old friend for lunch. I don't see that there's anything wrong with that. Yes, I'm sorry that I didn't tell you so you could join us, but then, you never mentioned to me that you'd want to spend lunch together today."
"So I now have to schedule time to spend with my wife? I'm sorry, I forgot all about that internal memo."
"I don't see why you're so upset about this. It's not as if we had plans and I had forgot all about them. I just went and had lunch with an old friend."
"I hardly think that Viktor Krum is to be classified as an old friend."
"He is an old friend of mine. And he's tried to be a friend to you, but you've never seemed to want to speak to him."
"Hermione, let's be honest. He's not an old friend, he's an old flame."
"Oh I can't believe this . . . are you trying to say that I can't see him just because I dated him? Only once, I might add, at the Yule Ball so I hardly think Viktor counts as an old flame of mine. I was never half as serious about him as you were about Cho . . . and yet I don't monitor your conversations with her."
"That's different. You know that was infatuation, that there wasn't anything ever between us."
"Still more than Viktor and I ever had."
"Or more than you'd admit to."
"And just what are you trying to say, Mr Potter?"
"You had an abnormally long lunch, Mrs Potter . . . that is, if you still want to be called that."
"I don't believe this . . . so what if I took an hour lunch instead of half an hour? Nothing happened. I would think that you'd trust me by now!"
"I would think that my wife wouldn't prefer the company of other men to me – but I guess I thought wrong, now didn't I?"
"Oh for heaven's sake . . . you know what, there's not much point in talking to you when you're being so immature. Let me know when you're willing to start acting your age and then we'll continue this conversation." With that, she tossed her curls and left the room.
That fight – the one about you meeting Viktor for lunch – yes, I know I was wrong and I am sorry for starting it. But there's this part of me that does wonder why you didn't tell me about your lunch date from the start, why you'd hide that from me. I wouldn't have been as upset if I had known all along. That's not to say I would have been happy, or that we wouldn't have fought about it but I wouldn't have felt as bad as I did. I don't want to run your life, I'm just happy to be able to share parts of it with you . . . scratch that, I am happy to share parts of it with you, but I always want to share more of it, even though I keep a bit of myself back. And I know I'm babbling now, but it's late and I'm by myself and that's sort of my fault as well—
And I've just realized that I've not bothered to tell you how much I love you yet in this letter.
You know, I do, or at least I hope so. If you don't, then it's my fault, and I've done something terribly wrong and I hope you'll forgive me. But I'm almost certain you do – only almost because there's a part of you that I can't see but you need that part to stay you – and if for some reason you do have doubts, then I hope you'll let me know or that I'll be wise enough to figure it out sooner rather than later.
Right now, however, I can't have complete faith in my ability to understand you. I like to think that I understand you better than anyone else in this world, but even that's not enough. And that scares me and that makes me sad and that makes me feel so powerless and alone . . . to think that no matter how much I love you and how much you love me in return, that we'll never be perfect together, that we'll never be completely together—
But that doesn't matter, does it?
What matters is that we do love each other, that we do try our best to understand each other and get along . . . and if that understanding is marred along the way with some painful fights, so long as we work it out, it's okay. I was told once that success isn't a destination, but rather a journey. If you consider love to be the ultimate measure of success in a person's life, then the same must apply. Love isn't something that stops you and freezes you into a single perfect moment. Rather, it forces you to grow, to change . . . and it never ends. Amongst all the words shouted in anger, the doors slammed in each other's faces, the glares and the heartaches, it's always between us, a little bit of hope and a little bit of fate that we'll find our way back together again.
At the time, sending those roses had seemed like a good idea. Now, however, he wasn't too sure about that. He didn't want Hermione to think that he was trying to buy his way back into her favor, that he could solve everything with a bouquet of roses. No, he was honestly tired of fighting with her . . . and he wanted to let her know that he missed her so much he could hardly breathe.
"Hey there," Hermione's voice greeted him softly as he walked through their front door. He nodded at her, shrugging off his robes and hoping that he'd have enough eloquence in him to say what he needed to say.
"So I . . ." he stuttered.
"I got that bouquet of roses you sent . . . that was nice," Hermione blurted out before he could continue.
"Oh. Thought you might like that," he said.
"Yeah, I did."
This seemed to be going nowhere. Harry knew what he wanted to say – that he was sorry, that he loved her, and that he missed her and wanted to be together again. The problem was trying to force the shape of those words out of his mouth.
"I miss you," Hermione said quietly.
Harry looked up at the sound of her voice. "I miss you too. And I'm sorry for not listening and I love you and I miss you and I just want to be together again." There, he had said it and if she didn't accept—
"Oh Harry," she cried and flung her arms about his neck. "I love you and I . . . you do know there was nothing to that meeting, right? It was just between old friends, nothing more, because I love you and not—"
"I know, I know. I was a complete jerk, and I'm sorry. I don't mean to dictate your schedule or who you could see . . . I . . . I'm sorry. I won't do it again, I promise."
"I know," Hermione repeated. "I know you didn't mean to do that, that you were just scared and that I should have been more patient—"
"Why when it was my fault?"
"—but it had been a long day, and I just didn't have it in me to take a deep breath, tell you I love you and that seeing Viktor meant nothing. Maybe it wouldn't have prevented this fight . . . but I should've tried."
"I should have tried harder too," he said. "So next time – maybe we both do that?"
"Oh! I hope there never is a next time!" she exclaimed, hugging him tighter.
"Me too . . . me too."
But of course there was a next time – this is that time – and I know I could have done things differently to maybe have prevented this . . . but as I said before, I'm not perfect and I wish I could be because you . . . you deserve perfection, you're so great. All I can promise is that I'll always love you and that I'll keep trying. If I should happen to lose it and not do everything I can do in particular instances . . . well, you can rest assured that eventually I'll come to my senses and try to make it up to you.
Like I should do now, instead of writing this letter. I'm procrastinating, I won't deny that here. I'm putting off going up the stairs to speak with you because there's this one part of me that's wondering if you'll take me back, if things will work out right. It's silly because there's no one more understanding than you, but there is always that doubt. I think it's that same doubt that makes it hard to say the words, "I'm sorry." So I guess you could say that I'm trying to work up my courage, brave Gryffindor that I am, to see my wife who might have been—
Oh god. Are you crying? You might be, considering everything that was said and I . . .
I can't write this anymore, not when you might be crying your heart
out upstairs. If you ever see this though, please know that I love
you, I love you, I love you – and if you just wait, I'll always find my
way back home to your side.
Author's note: Sorry for the long time between updates, but this is one of the harder fics for me to write. I've had this started on my hard drive for quite a while now. In any case, I would greatly appreciate it if you'd let me know what you thought of this piece, be it good or bad. Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed the last three chapters and I hope you've enjoyed this chapter.