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An Alternate Yule Ball by Hermione_Crookshanks
Chapter 9 : "Don't You Dare"
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 18


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And here's the next chapter...I hope you like it...It's a bit short, word wise, but it took forever to write. *Laughs* I hope you like it!

And, this is big news, but, Rowling owns Harry Potter. Like, OMG! I never knew that!

On to the story...


*****

“Do you know where he is?” demanded Hermione of Madam Pomfrey.

“Dear child!” Madam Pomfrey exclaimed. “I’ve told you five times already. I have no idea what has happened to him or where he is!”

“But you must,” Hermione insisted. She tried to push her way into the hospital wing, hoping that by some miracle Harry would be in there. It had been three hours since Dumbledore and the rest went after him. What was going on?

“I have no idea where Mr. Potter is, Miss Granger,” Madam Pomfrey said through gritted teeth, as she held her own against Hermione, who was surprisingly strong when angered. “Now, I must insist that you leave and stop attempting to enter my hospital wing! There are sick, nauseated, shocked, and wounded students in there. They do not need your insanity to intensify the pain!”

Hermione, who was certain that Madam Pomfrey knew where Harry was, was about to question her once more when an anxious voice behind her said, “Where is Harry?”

Hermione turned around to see Molly Weasley, whose brows were knit out of concern, followed closely by Bill, Ron, Fred, George, and Ginny.

I have no idea!” Madam Pomfrey cried out, throwing up her arms. “As I was telling Miss Granger, he’s not here. Just leave me alone! Can’t you—”

“Thank Merlin you’re here!” Madam Pomfrey interrupted herself, looking over the heads of the inquiring group, looking extremely thankful.

Six red heads and a brunette whipped around to find Harry, supported by Dumbledore, and a black dog walking towards him.

Mrs. Weasley muffled a shriek with her hand and advanced towards Harry, while Hermione didn’t bother to cover her relief.

“Harry!” she screamed, running towards him. She was about to fling her arms around him when Dumbledore took a step forward.

“Miss Granger,” Dumbledore said sternly. “I realize that you were extremely worried, but Harry has been put through enough tonight, and had to recount the tale to me. I must insist that you let him be and let him have a good night’s sleep.”

Hermione looked shocked. “But, Professor, I…Harry…”

“I realize that you two are very close,” Dumbledore said kindly, “As I’m sure everyone else here is,” he added, nodding towards the Weasleys, “but I insist.” Dumbledore’s stern face let Hermione know that arguing was out of the question.

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said quietly, her eyes filling with tears. She quickly looked away. She just wanted to let Harry know that he wasn’t alone…that he had her…that he had them.

“If you would like to stay with Harry,” Dumbledore said to the group, “you are more than welcome to. But no questions until he is ready to answer them – definitely none tonight.”

“Understood,” Mrs. Weasley said, very pale.

Madam Pomfrey, however, was staring at the black dog that Harry, who was looking out the window, his face lacking any happiness, was absentmindedly scratching.

Hermione smiled, knowing fully well that the dog was Sirius. At least somebody could comfort Harry.

“The dog will be staying,” Dumbledore said. “Now, you must get some sleep Harry,” Dumbledore said, turning to the boy. “I must discuss something with Fudge. I will also talk to the school about what has occurred tomorrow. I would appreciate it if you stayed here until then.” With that, Dumbledore left.

Madam Pomfrey took Harry by the hand and led him into the Hospital Wing and to a bed, Hermione almost tailgating, the Weasleys at her heels. She handed Harry some pajamas, setting up a screen so that he could change and have privacy as he slept.

Harry lay down on the bed, and the group crowded around him. Hermione kneeled down (forgetting about the chairs), placing an elbow on the bed. Her eyes filled with tears once more.

“I’m so sorry, Harry,” Hermione whispered.

“What are you talking about?” Harry asked her.

“I-I wasn’t there to help you,” Hermione cried, flinging herself onto a very startled Harry. She began to sob, thinking about everything Harry must have gone through – If He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named had really returned…Harry was lucky to be alive. “I should’ve been there! To help you!”

Harry, however, seemed angered by this. He, though gently, pushed Hermione away from him so that she could see his face.

“No,” he said. “This is not your fault. And you shouldn’t have been there. It’s good you were here,” Harry said fiercely.

Hermione was surprised by his reaction. “Harry, I—”

“Do you wish you ended up like Cedric?” Harry asked her, as the Weasleys, sensing a need of privacy, quietly left the couple.

“What are you talking about?” Hermione exclaimed, eyeing Harry, almost as if she were scared. She used the palm of her hand to dry the tears on her cheeks. “Of course not! I just meant—”

“You have no idea,” Harry told her. “Just be glad you weren’t there.” He turned away from her, looking stony faced. “He could have killed you.”

Hermione wasn’t the cleverest witch of her age for just anything.

“Don’t you dare, Harry James Potter,” Hermione hissed, moving to the other side of the bed. “Don’t you dare try to push me or anyone else away because you’re worried that someone is going to hurt us!” Hermione seemed to be shaking with anger. “You mean the world to us, Harry, and if you try to distance yourself from us… I swear, if you thought what I did to Malfoy last year was awful…”

Hermione calmed herself down, realizing that her outburst and threats were unnecessary to get the point across.

She took in a deep breath and then kneeled once more.

“Harry, you can’t push us away. Something horrible happened,” Hermione said quietly.

“You don’t get it, Hermione!” Harry exclaimed. “He’s back! Voldemort is back!”

“I know,” Hermione replied, looking at Harry sadly. “I heard you outside the maze. What does that matter?”

“What…what does that matter?” Harry sputtered. “He wants me dead, Hermione! He had Pettigrew kill Cedric simply because he was in the way. What do you think he would do to my friends? To you.”

“Oh, right then!” Hermione exclaimed. “How silly of me. You-Know-Who comes back, and we should all just run away from you and go live in…in…Switzerland, or something, is that it?”

Harry mumbled something that sounded very similar to, “You’d be safer there.”

“Excuse me?” Hermione asked, standing up, looking down at Harry. “I don’t believe I heard you correctly.” Anger was truly radiating from her.

“I said you lot would be safer there,” Harry repeated stubbornly. “I’m, as one might put it, ‘a marked man,’ Hermione.”

“That is the last straw, Harry,” Hermione said, her voice low and eyes glinting dangerously. “You no longer may speak. You are going to listen to me, no interruptions. I don’t care if Dumbledore said you need sleep or if you’ve been through a tough night – you will hear me out!” When there was no protest from Harry, Hermione continued. “Don’t you dare, don’t you dare, try to play the man who’s life is so complicated and so endangered that no one can be in contact with him. Don’t even try to play the hero who refuses all love, afraid of losing it. Don’t try to play Mr. Misunderstood, because I won’t stand for it!”

“Do you honestly think you can know what I’m going through?” Harry asked quietly, yet still heatedly, not looking at her. “A 17-year-old just died because of me, Hermione! Voldemort is back because of me!”

“None of this is your fault,” Hermione said sharply. “It’s his. All right? You didn’t raise the wand. You didn’t place the order. He’s the one who’s corrupt.” Hermione paused for a moment, and then said, “And we certainly can’t understand you if you close yourself off from all of us.” She finished looked Harry in the eye. “Promise me you’ll stop this nonsense.”

“Hermione, I…”

“Harry,” Hermione said firmly. “You’re not going to get anywhere by feeling sorry for yourself or by asking us to leave you. Especially me. Because, and I’m pretty sure I’m speaking for everyone when I say this: I’m not going anywhere. So, do you promise?”

Harry sighed. “I promise. And I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Hermione replied softly, sitting beside him. He turned his head on the pillow to look at her. “But…”

“But what?” Harry asked uncertainly.

“You can’t do this to me again,” Hermione said, her eyes piercing his. “I already told you - you can’t try to ‘protect me,’ certainly not by pushing me away. I’m not that type of girl, Harry. I hoped you knew that.”

“I did,” Harry said quietly. “I just hoped that, somehow, I could keep you safe.”

“The moment we met on that train, I was, as you so eloquently put it, marked,” Hermione said with a small laugh. “The second I fixed those glasses for you, I became another pawn that You-Know-Who could use once he came back to power. So did Ron, the Weasleys, Sirius – everybody.” Harry was about to interrupt her, but Hermione held up a hand. “But it was our choice, Harry, not yours. You didn’t decide whether or not we’d stand by you, we did. We were given the chance to turn back, but we didn’t. We couldn’t.” Hermione’s eyes glistened. “We care for you Harry. Don’t push us away. Don’t push me away.”

“I won’t,” Harry replied in a shaky voice, and Hermione could have sworn she saw a tear at the corner of his eye. Hermione placed her head on Harry’s chest, wrapping her arms around him. Harry, in turn, placed an arm around Hermione’s back, holding her tightly to him.

“Sorry to interrupt.” Hermione lifted her head up and saw Madam Pomfrey, holding a goblet filled with a purple potion. “But Harry must sleep now.” She handed the goblet to Harry and said, “Drink all of this, dear. It will give you a dreamless sleep.”

Harry took the potion without protest, and was soon fast asleep.

“Are you going to stay with him?” Madam Pomfrey inquired of Hermione.

“For a bit,” Hermione replied. Madam Pomfrey left off, and Hermione was left with an unconscious Harry.

Tears slipped down her face. She gave a little laugh as she realized that this had been a really bad day for her tears-wise.

I usually never cry, she thought. However, looking at Harry, she knew exactly why she was so upset. Harry had been through so much today, yet she still had the audacity to yell at him like that.

He needs to know someone cares about him, her sensible side kicked in.

I know, replied her over-emotional self. But maybe I was a bit too harsh…he is my boyfriend…

Never let a guy change the way you think, her sensible self insisted angrily. That’s what you like about Harry, remember? He likes you for you and doesn’t mind how bold your statements may be or that you sometimes nose in – he knows you’re doing what’s right.

Hermione knew her sensible self would win, and let it be. She ran her fingers through Harry’s hair, staring at his sleeping form.

“Oh, Harry,” she said softly. “It’s not fair, is it? Why does everything happen to you? The Sorcerer’s Stone…the basilisk…Sirius on the run…the Dursleys…” Hermione continued to run her hands through his black hair, and leaned forward so that her mouth was next to his ear. “I wish,” she said in a whisper. “I wish I could take all of the pain for you. And what hurts me the most is that…that I can’t. And this summer you have to endure this all on your own. And I’m so sorry!” Hermione, once more, hugged Harry, and then closed her eyes. Minutes later, Madam Pomfrey checked on Harry, only to discover an exhausted Hermione asleep, sitting on the floor, her head leaning against his shoulder.

*****

Well...what'd you think? I tried to give a little peak of angsty Harry from book five, as, just like in the real book, it will be very important in the sequel (wee! a sequel!). Hmm...I wonder why...lol. Hopefully I'll have the next update soon! Just pray that we have a snowday this Friday! (The great thing about living just outside D.C. - 2 inches of snow can mean no school. MUAHAHA!)

~Hermione_Crookshanks


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