Chapter 1 : Things Not Said
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This is my first songfic. I can't believe I wrote a Harry/Hermione.
The song's title is Doushite Kimi Wo Suki Ni Natte Shimattan Darou? (Why Have I Fallen in Love With You?) Its lyrics were originally written in Japanese by the Korean band Dong Bang Shin Ki. Lyrics translations provided by the DBSKer.
Everything you recognize is property of JKR. Everything you don't recognize is property of me. Lyrics are property of DBSK and SM Entertainment. Enjoy.
“I’m getting married.”
It surprised Harry that this was the first thing she said to him after all those years. They hadn’t had contact with each other and these were the words she chose to directly follow “Hi, Harry, long time no see.”
Harry didn’t know what to say. He was crushed and felt like crumbling to the floor but he couldn’t tell her that. He looked in her face for the answer she wanted to hear, but what was it? Did she want him to say he was happy for her? Did she want him to throw a tantrum and storm off? Did she want him to confess his love and ask her to run away with him? All three of them seemed possible.
“Congratulations,” he croaked, swirling his glass around in his hand, which was naked of a wedding band. At the ten-year reunion of his Hogwarts class, he looked around and saw all the smiling faces, all the happy classmates that had matured and moved on. Harry wondered why he couldn’t do the same.
The air was thick between the two friends, both following the script of what they knew they should say instead of what they really felt. Neither of them said anything for a while. How long did they have to stand there before they were allowed to leave each other?
When Hermione turned away from Harry, he stole a glance at her. She’d grown up to be even more beautiful than Harry had remembered. Her bushy brown hair had long since been tamed and she wore it in a modest ponytail. She wore a white sweater draped over her shoulders. Harry had hardly ever seen her in clothing that wasn’t her school uniform or casual weekend-wear. She looked absolutely stunning.
“Well, I should uhm…” Hermione began awkwardly. She made a half-gesture with her thumb over her shoulder. Harry understood. She’d done enough standing around for her liking.
“Yeah, yeah. Erm… good to see you again,” said Harry, unsure if a hug would be too much to hope for, especially now that she was engaged.
“You too, Harry. Bye.” She turned away with a final look at him, and Harry couldn’t tell what emotions were in that look. Sadness to leave him? Disappointment that he didn’t say more? Satisfaction that she told him? All Harry could do was watch her leave the party with her fiancée.
My feelings that grew every day and night
And words that overflowed?
But I know they’d never reach you now
Harry took a swig of his drink and bitterly muttered something about it needing more alcohol.
“He-ey! Harry! How’ve you been, mate?” said an older version of a voice he recognized.
“How ya doing, Harry?” said another.
Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan stood beside him, looking much older than their twenty-seven years. Harry hoped he didn’t look as old as they did.
“Hey, guys, haven’t seen you in a while. What’s been happening with you two?” Harry tried to be discreet as he looked for wedding bands on their fingers.
“Eh, y’know. Same ol’. Just going with the flow,” said Seamus. He sounded like someone who had quit his high-paying job to follow his dream as a musician or something stupid and artsy like that.
“Yeah, me as well. My wife opened up a flower shop and she wants me to help her run it but I –”
Seamus erupted with laughter. “Nothin’ says ‘I wear the pants in the family’ like running a flower shop with your wife, huh, Harry?”
Harry didn’t feel like laughing. He felt like jumping off a bridge. But to appease his old-time friends, he faked a few laughs.
Seamus sighed. “Ah, it’s been a while, huh?”
“Yeah. We’ve known each other for a long time.”
“And, Harry, the three of you were always inseparable. I don’t think I even remember seeing one of you without the other two.”
Harry knew he was referring to himself, Ron, and Hermione but for some reason at that moment he really wanted to beat Seamus to death. But he didn’t know what Harry was harboring for his long-time best friend so he let him off easy.
“Yeah.” Harry remembered. Because he had no family he always felt special and grateful that Ron and Hermione were always around. He knew they would always listen if Harry ever needed to talk about something, though Hermione often times scolded him for pushing her away. Why did he do that? She was the one he wanted near him all the time, more than anybody else. Perhaps he was pushing her away so he wouldn’t have to deal with the temptation of crossing friendship borders.
Harry missed Hermione. Standing at the reunion with his old friends Dean and Seamus, he felt alone. He would have given anything to hear Hermione say, “How many times do I have to tell you? We’re in this together!”
It was so natural for you to be with me
We grew up together
But you chose a different path
“At least all that bickering between Hermione and Ron turned into something good, huh?” said Dean.
“Yeah. It’s about time. We always knew it would happen eventually, right Harry?”
Through Harry’s numbness he felt Seamus nudge him, expecting some sort of response. He nodded with a fake knowing smile, just to get them to shut up.
In reality, Harry had always known something was happening between Hermione and Ron, but perhaps he’d spent all those years trying to trick himself into thinking nothing was. Perhaps he was trying to convince himself that Hermione was just playing games with Harry’s mind. She was just trying to make him jealous by always hanging on Ron. Harry distinctly remembered seeing Hermione’s eyes glance at Harry when Ron confessed his feelings to her. He remembered it as clearly as that day.
It was the final day of their seventh years and students were saying goodbye to their friends for the last time at King’s Cross station. All their Hogwarts schooling had been completed and they were ready to take on the next adventure of their lives. Harry, of course, had absolutely no intention of going back to live with the Dursleys, so he’d casually announced to Hermione and Ron that he had nowhere to stay for the summer.
“You can come live with me, mate, you know you can!” said Ron, as expected. “Mum loves you.”
Ron and Hermione looked at Harry, expecting a big hug of gratitude and a sappy thank-you. Harry also had no intention of living with the Weasleys. His intentions, which were set in stone since the beginning of seventh year, were to confess his love to Hermione and to ask her to travel the world with him as an Auror. He’d had it all planned out. Even if she said no he would have felt better that he told her, feeling free of weight as he traveled.
It was time to put the plan into action.
“Thanks, Ron, but I can’t. I have other plans.” Harry paused, taking a much-needed deep breath, focusing his eyes on Hermione. Just as he was about to breathe her name, Ron cut in.
“If you’re sure, mate.” He turned to Hermione. “Hermione, there’s something I’ve got to tell you.” Ron took Harry’s deep breath. “I have been in love with you since the moment I met you. Will you please be my girlfriend?”
Harry couldn’t breathe. Ron had just said Harry’s planned speech. He watched Hermione, not even sure what kind of reaction he wanted from her. If she said no he would feel uncomfortable stealing the moment. If she said yes, well… he’d feel equally as uneasy for obvious reasons.
She considered for a few long moments, not removing her stare from Ron’s eyes. Finally a smile lit up her face and Harry’s heart officially ripped in half. “I love you too, Ron.”
The two of them embraced, the passion in them undeniable. Harry had no place in their friendship anymore. Everything would be changed. He was now the third wheel.
Before the lovers turned to greet their families for the last time, Harry could have sworn Hermione looked at him over her shoulder, an apologetic smile on her face.
But now, reliving that day that should have been the most exciting of his life, Harry was miserable. He kept seeing that last glance of hers and wondered bitterly if he’d manufactured the memory.
Being rocked back to his senses, Harry wanted nothing more than to leave the party and go home to his apartment he shared with no one. The memories that hung in sticky conversations saturated the room, and he felt nauseous.
“Listen, Dean, Seamus. It’s been fun but I really ought to be heading off. Great seeing you again, wish you both all the best,” Harry said, shaking both of their hands like men do.
Unable to stand his past any longer, he turned and left the room, welcoming the refreshing night air that almost made him forget about his history with Hermione.
But as usual, she was all he could think about on the lonely walk home. He kept seeing her face, hearing her laugh, feeling her hug. All of which were only friendly. That’s all.
No matter how much time passed
I thought you would always be here
Now we can’t turn back
The church was set up beautifully for the wedding. The organist was playing entrance music as the guests filed in, greeting each other and silently judging everyone’s outfit. Harry sat in the back pew, alone. His suit was freshly ironed, not that it mattered. He had no one to impress. It was too late for him to impress anyone.
“You all right, Harry?” said Ginny, patting her hand on his knee as she sat down next to him.
The engagement ring on her finger gleamed tauntingly at him. Even Ginny had found someone else. Harry was just old news, he supposed.
“Yeah. I’m fine.” Lie.
It was the worst day of his life. He had to watch the person he loved more than anyone in the world get married to his best friend. And the kicker was he wasn’t allowed to be upset about it, because he hadn’t ever told anyone.
“Hermione said she wanted to talk to you before the ceremony."
“What?” said Harry, disbelieving.
Ginny nodded. “She’s in the back,” she said, pointing a thumb over her shoulder.
As Harry climbed over Ginny’s knobby knees, questions flew around his already-spinning mind. What could she possibly want to talk about? Maybe she wanted to tell him she wanted him to leave. Maybe she wanted to tell him she’d always been in love with him.
Harry shook the thoughts out of him and knocked a few times on the door that led to Hermione’s dressing room. He cleared his throat. “Hermione?”
“Harry, is that you?”
Even her muffled voice sounded magnificent. “Yeah, it’s me.”
“Come in,” she said.
Glancing over his shoulder, he opened the door, butterflies in his stomach. He saw no one. There was half a door on the other side of the room, and a wall of mirrors with a counter, a couple of chairs thrown around.
She opened the half door and stepped out, looking absolutely gorgeous. Her dress was white as purity and its long sleeves were made of lace. The bodice showed off her beautiful figure and let out in a train that followed her.
“Harry, no! Turn around!”
Harry nearly jumped out of his skin. “Wh -?” Not knowing quite what to do, he turned around.
“I don’t want you to see me,” she confessed. “Not yet.”
“Isn’t it only bad luck if the groom sees his bride before the wedding?”
There was a pause before Hermione responded. They were both taking in the fact that Harry wasn’t the groom. Harry liked to think she was treating him as though he were the groom. He liked to think she was reliving her fantasy about him one last time.
“Yeah. But still.”
“Ginny said you wanted to talk to me?” Harry wanted to hurry this torture along.
“Yes. I…” Harry felt Hermione’s body on his back. Felt her hand nudge his. Maybe it was an accident. “I wanted to ask you…”
If it’s okay with me that you’re marrying Ron? If I ever loved you? If I still want you?
“I wanted to ask you if you remembered the first time we met.”
How could Harry forget? There he was, already in a daze about finding out who he was, just getting used to Ron, and Hermione showed up. She was babbling about something – Harry couldn’t remember what; she was talking too fast – and she introduced herself, then left. Oh, yes. Harry remembered.
“Of course I remember.”
“What did you think of me then?”
Harry couldn’t foresee where this conversation was going but he decided to follow along.
When he saw Hermione for the first time, with her knowing eyes looking down at Ron and him, she was already dressed in her school uniform on the train. Even though she said a lot of nothing, she spoke like she was important. She looked and acted like she knew what she was doing. Being a lost, confused, struggling first year, when Hermione left, Harry was thinking…
“‘I hope I see her again.’”
Hermione reached around and took his hand as they stood back-to-back.
“Harry, you’ve been my best friend for so long.” She sounded like she was crying. Harry wanted to wipe her tears but knew he couldn’t. Not only was he forbidden to look at her, her tears belonged to someone else now. “I know we won’t see each other very much anymore and I know you have things you want to do with your life. But if you do see me again, I want you to think what you thought when we first met.”
Harry wondered if she even knew how much agony she was putting him through. Her sincere words cut him like knives. He wasn’t sure if he even wanted to see her again after today. If he had to continue living a game of hide-and-seek it would be more beneficial to just give up. Olly olly oxen free.
But if he lived with that constant excitement of ‘Oh, maybe I’ll see her today,’ it would make him feel like he wasn’t completely forgotten in her life. It would give him something to live for.
“Okay. I will.”
Crying, she squeezed his hand and then let it go. He knew it was time for him to go.
He stepped forward and opened the door, his back still to Hermione.
Harry took a deep breath. “Be happy.”
Letting his words resonate around the room, he closed the door on his past and walked into the shining sunlight of his new life.
I felt like I knew you
And the two of us melted together so smoothly
So why have I fallen in love with you?
We can’t go back to that time, or how we were
Why didn’t I hold on to your hand?
No matter how much time passed
You should have always been by my side
There was no wedding party. Ron had too many brothers and neither him nor Hermione wanted there to be too much going on at their wedding.
“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today…”
As Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Granger cried into their handkerchiefs, the priest continued with the ceremony. Harry felt itchy and uncomfortable. Like he didn’t belong there at all. Or that he didn’t belong in the back pew but standing next to Hermione, marrying her.
But his chance had come and gone, and he waited too long. If he’d just jumped right into it, maybe he would be up there instead of Ron. Somewhere inside him, though, Harry knew Ron had always had Hermione’s heart. Since day one. Ron probably wouldn’t forget the first day they met either.
Harry had to let go of her. He had to stop being so protective of her. It wasn’t going to do any good now.
“If anyone has reason to believe these two should not be wed, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
Speak now or forever hold my peace.
Now or never.
If you really love her, say something now.
Is this your second chance?
Hurry up, it’s going to come and go just as quick as the first one.
As Ron and Hermione looked at all the people watching them marry, waiting for someone to (not) say something, Harry saw the look on Hermione’s face. When Ron held her hand, the hand that only moments ago Harry was holding, she looked so content. Like that was her place. Next to Ron. In his protection. Harry had no place, even if he loved her. Love is supposed to go both ways and Harry knew his was one-sided.
Harry shifted his weight and said nothing.
“Then let us continue with the ceremony.”
Today you stood with a happy expression
You looked beautiful while praying to God
But I wasn’t the person next to you
And the image of you receiving blessings
How could I let go of that?
The ceremony went quickly after that, with parts that were in slow motion. Like the huge gap in time when the priest asked Hermione if she would take Ron to be her husband. Harry’s heart skipped a beat. He wanted to throw up in that moment, because he knew somewhere inside him that in that moment, Hermione was thinking of him. Thinking of the conversation they had in the dressing room, standing back-to-back like children.
When Hermione’s “I do” came, a little piece of Harry died and fell to the floor, and the sound of it hitting the ground echoed around the church.
It was all a memory now. Everything he ever felt about Hermione. Any hope of being with her. She was in Ron’s hands now. Harry could only hope he would handle with care. They were happy together, and there was nothing Harry would ever do to disrupt that. He would rather be miserable by himself than ruin a good thing for the two people he cared for most.
Harry had never told her or anyone about his love for her, and now he never would. It would be something he would die with. And maybe if God smiled on him, he would see her again before that day comes.
I’m praying that you may be happy forever
No matter how much that would make me lonely