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Let Those Who Are Awake Be Awake - 11th Hour Harry & Hermione Fic
by sarah (herminia)
at July 18th, 2007 (10:50 pm)
excited

i'm feeling : excited
i'm listening to: "Dead Wrong," The Fray

Let Those Who Are Awake Be Awake - 11th Hour Harry & Hermione Fic
Title: Let Those Who Are Awake Be Awake
Author: herminia
Rating: PG-13 – mingled fluffiness/moodiness for these last few days before Book Seven comes out…
Ships: Harry/Hermione, Ron/Luna, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione
Warnings: None
Summary: Inspired by the line “love and loss and hope” in the New York Times review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I wrote this in about twenty minutes, so, we'll see how it reads.

Cross-posted to blueflame_hhr, harryhermione, xharryhermione, delusionalfans, hhr_danemma, harmony_fiction and my personal journal.



“Love and Loss and Hope”


—but mostly Loss, these days. A constant companion, an all-too-familiar bedfellow. Hermione Granger’s moved up a seat in the war room, to a chair vacated by Nymphadora Tonks not yet a full week prior, and sits wracking her brain, trying to think of loopholes, ways to wheedle the lot of them out of the impossible spot they’ve found themselves in. Not thoughts about what the missing might contribute to the conversation (if only), or how they might fill the frequent lulls and breach the awkward silences. Harry Potter sits at the head of the table now and those gathered look to him as they’ve looked to his predecessors: Albus Dumbledore, Mad-Eye Moody, Arthur Weasley, Remus Lupin. They’re nearing the end, she knows. She knows this because they’re running out of time, rapidly exhausting manpower and resources, not to mention their precious reserves of hope and perseverance.

Something has to give—and fast.

“—but we have something the other side doesn’t,” Harry says, springing her from her reverie. “Something worth fighting for.” He catches Hermione’s eye for the briefest of moments before Ginny Weasley coughs quietly. He drops his gaze to the tabletop, overrun with paperwork, and fumbles unnecessarily through a pile of maps, sends a stack of carefully organized papers fluttering to the floor, before someone suggests they break for leftovers from yesterday’s Christmas dinner and a good night’s rest. Meeting adjourned.

* * * * *


She tracks him down in the den scant hours after the meeting, sitting on the window ledge. The room is still hung with tinsel and paperchains and red and green baubles, glinting in the last light of a fire that’s almost gone out.

“Harry?”

“It’s certainly been a lovely holiday, don’t you think.” It’s not a question and she knows he’s thinking of Ginny, sandwiched between Fred and George at the meeting, chewing on the end of her long, red plait and watching him with swollen red eyes.

“I think you did a noble thing, Harry,” she says—and she does. Ginny Weasley, for all her experience with boys, doesn’t understand what it is to be with Harry, and Hermione has long thought it cruel to keep up the pretense that Ginny’s famous Harry Potter is one and the same with the boy sitting before her now, surveying the room moodily with his fists balled up underneath his chin. That he can be brave and powerful and vindicated and triumphant, but also small and scared and at the end of his rope.

“You’ll come, won’t you?” Ron had asked Harry and Hermione, (rather stiffly, but he had asked). “It is Christmas, after all,” he’d added, as though that settled the matter. And so they had come, the both of them.

“Everyone else asleep?” he asks. Hermione nods and thinks of Ginny, curled up asleep in her little girl’s bed, and Ron sprawled across his Chudley Cannon bedspread.

She thinks, too, of the way Luna had leaned across the breakfast dishes that morning—the way she’d kissed Ron with an air of nonchalance—or perhaps it really was obliviousness—that suggested she’d been doing that for years. But it hasn’t been years. Everything is so new and raw between them—Ron and Hermione—so recently undone. Which means that even if he has—indeed—moved on, she shouldn’t be here, alone in the dark with a needy, brooding Harry.

But outside the grimy windows, in the open spaces where the black-out paper has peeled away, clouds scud across the face of the moon, lending a strangely blinkered light to the familiar room, opening it up to new realities, fresh possibilities.

Let those who are asleep be asleep, and those who are awake be awake.

* * * * *


They haven’t talked one-on-one like this since The Break Up and she’s not sure where she stands, though she’s fairly certain she’s been rendered untouchable by virtue of having belonged to somebody else—and not just ‘somebody else’ but Somebody Else, Harry’s best mate.

Hermione Granger doesn’t know how many times Harry has rehearsed this in his head, how this scene between them might play out, pacing the room and murmuring the words to himself. How many times he’s felt like an idiot because nobody was around to hear what he has to say and give it a proper reception.

“Are you sorry it happened?”

“Sorry?” she echoes, momentarily transported back to another room, another night, in another’s company—

“There’s something else going on here, isn’t there?” he said, the moment the portrait hole swung shut behind her. Not exactly words of greeting from a boyfriend to his girlfriend.

“What do you mean?” she asked sharply. There was something about his voice that piqued her interest. For once, the tottering stack of books in her arms could wait. For once, Ronald Weasley held her full attention in his thrall.

“Something else…” he said tepidly, moving a solitary queen across an otherwise empty chessboard.

Ron,” she admonishes, barely subduing the urge to call him out on his dramatics and how this is not the time or the place.

He ignored this and got up, only to walk the length of the room and back. “I didn’t see it before,” he said, laughing bitterly, “but Skeeter’s article brought it home. I’ve been such a fool.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she demanded, her temper flaring up at once, furious that he would pick this moment at the tail-end of this long and painful day to throw her missteps back in her face. She didn’t need reminding. “It was a mistake, Ron. I wasn’t thinking. She wouldn’t leave me be and I was only trying to shake her off—”

“Not that. Harry—” He selected a black knight from the pile of discarded figures and slid him across the board to join the lone monarch. A chill passed over them.

“Ron – Harry and I – we never—”

He smiled languidly.

“We wouldn’t hurt you, not like that.”

“Yet, you won’t say there’s nothing there.”


She’d looked up at him, then, dejected, ashamed. Found out. More vulnerable and open to him than at any moment in the six-and-a-half years she’d spent in his company.

“You were right – you’re always right – about us. These things don’t always work out the way we think they should.” He stared down at his clenched hands, his expression unreadable.

“Ron…” There were so many things she could tell him, but her words would only hurt and shame him. She bit down on her lip until she drew blood.

“So if you had my blessing?” he asked, his words awkward and abrupt. It couldn’t have been clearer that this was costing him every ounce of resolve he possessed.


“—it was for the best, Harry, for all of us. You have to trust me.”

“Did you love him, really?” he asks, after some time has passed.

“I wanted to.” An honest reply. Things would’ve been easier, had that been the case. For years she’s played down any feelings she may have harbored for Harry, pivoting slowly towards Ron as part of a ploy to keep them all together—to keep Ron from falling apart at the seams, or from being consumed by his own jealousy, which (as she had told herself time and again) was basically the same thing.

And just as the word “why?” forms on his lips, a log in the fireplace splinters and snaps in two, sending a burst of cinders into the air.

“None of this really matters,” she adds hastily, reeling away from him as she speaks these words aloud. “It’s over. Done with.” Her fingers scream out to touch him, but he’s not hers to touch, to have and to hold. Never has been. Never will be. She pulls a chair out from the scrubbed wooden table and makes to sit down, one ear trained to the rickety stairwell, eyes fixed determinedly at a stain on the uneven floorboards. She’s afraid of how much she wants this. With Harry. Afraid of never getting it. Afraid of what she might be willing to give up for even a sliver of a chance…

“But suppose something else were to happen... if something else was starting…” He catches her by the wrists, drawing her hands up to his heart, and their eyes lock in that very particular soul-baring, heart-stopping way they haven’t since the fateful night Sirius died, since everything changed underneath their very feet.

“Other developments on the battleground, you mean?” She doesn’t mean to be coy—truly, she doesn’t—only her quick-thinking doesn’t extend to this particular realm and she can think of nothing better to say.

Hermione—” he cries, tenderness and exasperation present in equal measure.

“I think—,” she starts and stops. Her lips part again but no words come out. She’s scarcely even breathing.

“—that this is the part where I’m supposed to kiss you, finally?” he offers. Then, “Are you… scared, Hermione?”

“Terrified, actually,” she rejoins (but also “stunned,” “jubilant,” and “enormously, impossibly grateful”), and her hands—moments ago pressed fingers flat against his chest—surge up to frame his jaw and tangle themselves in his wild tresses. All her rationalizing about what a bad idea it is—what a bad idea this is, they are—fades in an instant. She’s always seen things that no one else could. The moon in Lupin’s innocuous white balloon of a Boggart. And, these days, the shadows under Harry Potter’s piercing green eyes, the newfound confidence in Neville’s stride and the gentleness behind the looks he casts Ginny Weasley’s way, the solace Luna Lovegood brings to Ron detectable mainly in the renewed glimmer in his blue eyes. So why didn’t she see this coming? She’s out of answers. And excuses.

* * * * *


The next morning, Harry takes an unthinking step towards her before he remembers himself—remembers Ron, hovering in the periphery, standing with Luna at his side, but present nonetheless. And, again, there came the assent. Grudging? No. Sincere. A goading smile. Not an “if you must,” but “because you must.”

And—despite knowing full well that there will be losses and trials to come—there it is—their love and hope—complete, restored.

Comments

Posted by: Lady Starlight (ladybluestar)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 05:18 am (UTC)
Side by side by <lj user=" title="Side by side by " />

Awww... they're so adorable. And so angst-filled.

Posted by: sarah (herminia)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
GG - Rory // Donna Reed Night

Haha, thanks, ladybluestar :-) Hope you liked it!

Posted by: you could be my unintended love (sweet_iolanthe)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 09:12 am (UTC)
hmm. office

yes! onto the next one///

Posted by: sarah (herminia)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
Hermione - Emma // Optimistic

Haha, thanks for reading and reviewing :-) I appreciate it!

Posted by: calmacil_20 (calmacil_20)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Pirates - Will/Elizabeth - Always Belong

That's pretty dark, but I love it, Ace.

Posted by: sarah (herminia)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
Hermione - Emma // Pensive

It starts dark but I think it lightens a little as it moves from that "loss" part of the quote through hope and the realization of that hope. I hope. ;-)

P.S. I bought a thick W Somerset Maugham book at Half-Price Books today!

Posted by: Tiffany (gydas)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)
Willabeth beach forever

That was beautiful! I loved it! Keep up the amazing work! :) ♥ Tiffany

Posted by: sarah (herminia)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
HP - H/Hr // Amandioka's Art

Thanks so much - I'm glad you liked it!

Posted by: Kat (liquidlights)
Posted at: July 19th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)

Wow, this was beautiful, hoestly.
The imagery was impeccable, as was the overall tone.
I loved the easy transisitons, it all came together beautifully.
Most people can't write from present to flashback to present again, but you mastered it perfectly.

I loved:
___

“Sorry?” she echoes, momentarily transported back to another room, another night, in another’s company—
___

Sorry for the rambling. This was amazing! =)

Posted by: bluemd (bluemd)
Posted at: July 20th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Thank you

Dark days lay ahead for us and this story just gives me hope for the pair. I'm basically going to read that book and ignore everything I don't like as if it never happened. God, I love well-written fanfiction. Your stories are great and this one is no exemption.

Posted by: Sunny (sunny_serenity)
Posted at: July 20th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)
HP blur

Sweet angst.

Posted by: abygasm (abygasm)
Posted at: August 9th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC)

OFF TOPIC!

lovely av.

Posted by: Sunny (sunny_serenity)
Posted at: August 10th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
HP JK on crak!

Thanks! yam made it.

Posted by: Give me a good, solid wool (estarcollector)
Posted at: July 20th, 2007 10:12 am (UTC)
Riley

Oh, so lovely. The "prelude to a kiss" scene was so intense and vivid I could picture it on a movie screen.

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