Chapter 3 : In Another Life
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In Another Life
Do You Love Me? Oh, Do You Love Me?
I say so
Do You Need Me Oh do you need me?
God I Hope
-“In Another Life” Ashlee Simpson
Harry stood beside the long window in his bedroom. The weather outside was gloomy; it was going to rain soon. He could tell. The sky was gray and the trees swayed violently in the wind. Harry had taken a small break from his studying. Every spell in the books made him relive the moment he had used them in the war. Defense against the Dark Arts was especially harder to study than the other subjects. He hadn’t really noticed that he hadn’t used his phoenix wand much. The war, as far away as it seemed, was still fresh in Harry’s mind. He had not told anybody, of how empty he felt, it was all odd. He felt like he was living someone else’s life, usurping it. Ginny no longer seemed the way she used to to Harry. It was if all of a sudden a blindfold had been removed from his eyes. He didn’t see her in the light he had during the war. Something was missing. It was all so strange to him. He had longed and dreamed of living after his confrontation with Voldemort. Now that he had, he had no idea how to live his life. How to live a life without the hand of doom lingering above him. He now had the possibility of living the life he had always wanted. However, now he wasn’t sure what exactly was that he wanted.
He moved away from the window and back to his massive poster bed, where his books and parchment laid scattered. He sat at the foot of the bed, looking at the wall dedicated to his and Sirius’s photographs. He spotted one of Hermione, Ron, and himself. The three of them smiled and waved back at him. They were all genuinely happy. Harry smiled at the picture, remembering exactly when it had been taken. Colin Creevy had caught them in a cheery mood during one of their brakes from O.W.L s study sessions. Those carefree moments seemed like ages a go to Harry. Sure, he shared a house with his best friends, but things seemed much more different now. More so with Hermione. There was barely any dialogue between Hermione and himself. Whenever they did talk, conversation went back to the topic of N.E.W.T.s. More than once, Harry had had the impulse to talk to her, to find out what was wrong. He knew something was wrong, he could always read her like a book. It came along with knowing someone for seven years.
He walked out of the room and down the hallway to Hermione’s door. He knocked on it gently.
“Come in” Hermione replied from the inside.
Harry turned the knob and walked in. Hermione’s back was facing him. She was sitting on the bed, staring at the window. Harry watched, as she hastily rubbed her eyes and was startled to see her eyes were somewhat red, as if she had been crying.
“Are you all right?” Harry asked concernedly.
“I’m fine.” said Hermione dismissively. “Did you want something?”
“Yeah, there is something I wanted to talk about.” Harry said nervously. He had no idea how to start this conversation.
“What’s going on?” he blurted after mulling it over for a few minutes.
Hermione looked at him, perplexed.
“What do you mean?”
“Between us. Hermione, something’s odd. We’ve spent days in near silence,” said Harry.
“I wouldn’t have thought you’d have mind It.” said Hermione sounding resentfully.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, I can get pretty annoying at times. I’m surprised at why you’re even still my friend.”
Harry was confused.
“Why are you saying this?”
“I’m saying that it’s done. You vanquished Voldemort. You beat the prophecy.” explained Hermione tearfully. “I’ve served my purpose. Why can’t you just flat out tell me?”
Harry felt stung. Did Hermione really think that he only needed her as an aid in his battle against Voldemort? Had he, in anyway, done anything to make her believe that was true?
“Hermione, do you honestly think that’s true?” Harry asked tenderly.
Hermione shrugged, her tears spilling out of her eyes. She hated looking so vulnerable in front of Harry. Especially now, when things were so awkward between them, and the Harry she knew had long since disappeared.
“How long have you felt this way?” Harry asked curiously.
“I can’t pinpoint the exact moment.” said Hermione bleakly. “But it must have happened at some point during our sixth year.”
Harry sat down next to Hermione and wrapped a soothing arm around her waist.
“How could you ever think that?” he said gently. “Hermione, you are so important to me. You’re my best friend; we’ve been through so much together.”
“I know.” she said throatily, the lump in her throat was hard to swallow. “That’s what hurt even more. After everything we’ve been through and after all those years together. I was afraid that I’d lose your friendship.”
“Why would you think that?” Harry asked.
“The Half-Blood Prince’s potions book, my constant nagging and the time I broke your wand.” said Hermione speaking into her hands. “I saw your friendship with Ron change when he left us in the tent during the war. Even though it’s water under the bridge, you can’t deny that it changed your friendship forever.”
“No… I can’t,” said Harry truthfully. “But that’s different. You were looking out for me. And about the wand, that was an accident. You were trying to save my life, I was just
“Harry, you know it affected us later on,” said Hermione looking into his eyes for the first time since he came into her room. “And you got along better with Ron. You always did. You had lots to talk about.”
“But with me, it was all serious. I mean what chance do we have in still being friends now that you don’t need me? Now that you’re safe? Look at how quiet we’ve been with each other this whole time before now. I’m afraid that you have no further reasons to keep me around.”
“I still need you.” said Harry honestly.
Hermione looked at him questionably.
“I am serious when I say that.” he assured her. “Hermione, no one has ever stuck by me the way you have. You’ve never left my side, no matter how rude, angry, or brooding I’ve gotten.”
“There’s no way I could ever repay your loyalty. Do you know how much that has meant to me?” Harry said sincerely.
“Really?” Hermione asked.
“Of course.” said Harry. “I’ll never forget that you stayed in the tent with me, even though you yourself were starting to doubt the progress were making. You stayed with me. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.”
Hermione gave him a watery smile.
“You don’t know how great it is to hear that.” she said.
“I’m sorry if I ever made you feel used.”
“It’s all right.” Hermione told him. “I know now that you really appreciate what I’ve done. What I always will do.”
“You know I’ve never been good in the emotions department. Or talking about things like this,” said Harry wiping away Hermione’s tears. “Even if it is with a best friend.”
“You’ll learn in due time.” she assured him. “I’m sure of it.”
They smiled at each other. Hermione had just become aware of how close they were. Their faces inches from each other. She was also aware of the weight lifted off her shoulders. The awkwardness had vanished.
Harry’s eyes darted side to side. Taking her features in. he had just noticed how light and bright her brown eyes were. The light, almost barely there spray of freckles across her cheeks. The upward curve of her mouth. He felt his body lean in. As if out of its own accord-closer to hers. His lips barely millimeters apart from hers. It wasn’t until he felt the warmth of her mouth, the salty trails of her tears that he realized that he was kissing her. Hermione, his best friend.
Hermione didn’t know how it had happened. Or rather how it was still happening. All she knew was that she was kissing him back enthusiastically. She was happier than she had ever been. She felt light as a feather. As if the entire world had vanished, leaving just Harry and her. Alone. Before she knew it, she felt the cold air touch her lips as Harry’s left hers.
“I’m sorry.” Harry whispered.
Hermione didn’t say a word. She was confused at what had just happen, even more so on why it had ended.
Harry tried to read her, but for the first time he had absolutely no idea what she was thinking. Was she so appalled at what had just happened that she was in shock?
“I don’t know why I just did that.” he said, still trying to determine what she was feeling, but her face remained stunned. “I’ll let myself out.”
Harry got up the bed and walked rapidly out of the room, leaving a perplexed Hermione behind.
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