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Chapter 19 : Be Still
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Fall, away from it all
You and me with no one else around
A brand new start, is all we need, is all we need
To mend these hearts
Back to the beginning
“Be Still” - Kelly Clarkson
Harry stared blankly into the muggle TV set before him. It was late at night and he had just got back from Auror training. Grimmauld Place was silent; Kreacher had long since gone to sleep. Harry looked around the dark living room. The place felt horribly empty and melancholy. He was now alone in a massive house. Harry looked around sadly. He would have never imagined that the house he had worked so hard to make livable, would only be occupied by him. Especially seeing how well everything had been at the very beginning. He couldn’t believe that after all he and his friends had been through, their bonds were about to shatter into million little pieces. Sometimes he actually found himself wishing Hermione would’ve never told him her feelings. That way he wouldn’t have had to come clean about his own and they would not be in the mess they were in.
A hard tap on his window took him out of his reverie. He looked towards it and realized there was an owl perched on the tiny sill outside, holding a rolled up parchment in its beak. It wasn’t his, and it certainly wasn’t recognizable. After Hedwig died, he had refused to get a new owl; it felt like if in doing so, he would dishonor Hedwig’s memory. She was his first ever pet and that was something that took some time to heal over. He walked toward the window and opened it, letting the tawny owl with Amber eyes flutter inside. It hooted loudly as it dropped the parchment on Harry’s coffee table. Harry took a treat from his bedside table and gave it to the bird who fluttered merrily back outside and off into the distance. Harry unrolled the parchment and immediately recognized the messy handwriting. It was Ron’s handwriting.
I know it might surprise you to be receiving this from me. Believe I’m still surprised I even wrote this. Anyway, I would like to ask you to come see me at The Burrow. There’s something I want to discuss with you and I think it’s better face-to-face than by a letter. You might not feel like coming because of the way I have been acting but I think it would benefit both of us if you did.
Harry put the letter back down on the table. It was truly a surprise Ron had written to him. Even more surprising he was asking to see him. While Ron had been at the hospital, Harry had been told to stay away. It hurt him because Ron only refused to see him; however, he was practically begging to see Hermione who Harry assumed was the person Ron would’ve been more upset at after the way they broke up. Nevertheless, he was being given another chance to fix things and he was not about to pass it up. Harry snatched his coat off the couch where he had left it and with a POP, he was gone.
Harry found himself facing the familiar front yard of the burrow. It was almost dark outside, the sky was red orange and the sun was disappearing just at the horizon. He looked up at the multi-floored house. Once again, he found himself walking towards the house with a sense of dread. It seemed like so long ago that he visited the house in much higher spirits. He knocked softly at the door.
“Harry!” Mrs. Weasley yelled. “Oh how nice to see you dear!”
Mrs. Weasley proceeded in giving him one of her famous bone crushing hugs.
“Hello Mrs.Weasley” said Harry in a breathless tone.
“What brings you by? You know Ron is home at the moment.” she said in a whispered voice.
All the Weaselys’ were aware of Ron’s refusal to see Harry, though only George knew exactly the reason why.
“I know. That’s why I’m here.” Harry responded. “He wanted me to come.”
Mrs.Weasley smiled broadly.
“That’s great! That means you two can become your old selves again.”
“That’s what I’m hoping.”
Mrs. Weasley stepped aside and let Harry in.
He made his way slowly up the familiar steps in the familiar direction he knew Ron’s room would be. He knocked the door faintly.Ron opened the door and beckoned him inside.Harry walked in uncertainly as Ron sat at the foot of his violent orange bed.
“Hey.” said Harry.
“Hey” said Ron.
“You…er…all better now?” Harry asked nervously.
“I reckon so, it’s been a month hasn’t it?” Ron answered.
“Right” Harry said, feeling extremely uncomfortable.
“So…how have you been?” Ron asked.
“Fine, continuing Auror training.” Harry replied. “You?”
“Same, still working at Weasley Wizards Wheezes. I’m manager now since George is in charge of the one in Hogsmeade.”
“That’s great!” Harry said genuinely.
Ron smiled, Harry looked genuinely glad of his promotion. For a fleeting second it felt as if they were the best mates they had been almost a year ago.
Harry could tell that Ron was thinking along the same lines as him.
“Ron…I really need to--”
“I know, so do I. that’s why asked you to come.” said Ron interrupting. “I’ve been feeling a little bad that I haven’t spoken to you in a while.”
“And I also know that it’s my own fault because I’ve purposely tried to avoid you these past few weeks.”
Harry nodded silently.
“But, while Hermione’s been away we’ve kept in touch and believe me she has not let up on the idea of you and me becoming friends again.” said Ron chuckling. “It all got me thinking of the past, and how no matter how badly I let you down, you’ve always forgiven me.”
Harry watched Ron intently. Knowing the trouble, he was going through to apologize to the way he had been behaving. Ron was never good with apologies, and all Harry could do was watch patiently as he spit it out.
“And…I think it’d be really rotten of me to mad at you for something that honestly isn’t your fault.”
“You do know this isn’t all some ploy of ours to make you miserable right?” Harry asked honestly.
“I know it isn’t. But…just try to imagine what it’s like, when you’re always overshadowed by everyone, even your best friends. Or what it’s like when the woman you love falls for the guy who has everything, that could have any girl in the world and he chooses the one I want.” Ron said abrasively.
Harry flinched at the increment or Ron’s voice level. Every one of those words cut deep.
“I don’t have everything.” Harry said simply. “I don’t regret the life I’ve been given, but all those things, the fame, the glory of being Harry potter, I’d trade in a heartbeat if I could be with Hermione.”
Ron looked at Harry bitterly. He had gotten over the fact that the two had really fallen in love and that it wasn’t some plan to make his life hell. Yet, to hear Harry’s word and the tenderness he had when he spoke of Hermione really hurt him.
“You, better than anyone should know that you don’t choose who you love. You’ve got to go with whoever your bloody heart chooses and there’s no going back.” said Harry continuing. “Don’t you think if we could pick, everything would be easier?”
“I know…look, don’t ask me to just carry on like everything’s fine and we’re the best of friends again.” said Ron roughly. “I want to get there eventually…but I’m going to need some time.”
“Of course, I just really want to put all of this behind us and move on. Whatever moving on may bring.” said Harry. “You’re the closest thing to a brother I have. We’ve been through loads together…and I really don’t want to lose that.”
“Neither do I” Ron said sincerely.
Harry put out his hand, hoping that Ron would shake it and start the foundation of rebuilding their old friendship. He was taken aback when he took it and pulled Harry into a brotherly hug.
“You’re welcome here anytime you want all right?” Ron said.
Harry pulled away and smiled at his friend. He was just about to walk out when Ron stopped him.
“I uh….think you should make a short spontaneous visit to Melbourne.” said Ron uncertainly.
Harry looked at Ron in confusion.
“I think that there’s someone over there that can do with a little visit.” said Ron grinning slightly.
Harry reckoned he understood what Ron was getting at.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Hermione sat out on the small balcony that jutted out of her room. She was sitting in a white wicker chair with a book and enjoying the views and sounds of the beach that surrounded her. Her parents had fallen in love with Australia when Hermione had modified their memories, and when she reinstated them, they gave up their old life in England to live by the pristine beaches of Melbourne. She loved the view, the salty smell of the sea breeze, the obnoxious honks of the sea gulls and the roaring sound of the ocean. Though she had been there for almost a month, she only now had the time to fully experience her surroundings. Her parents were out on a romantic stroll and she was home alone, finishing a book and considering soaking up some sun on her last days remaining there. She was starting to consider just staying there and leaving all her worries behind in England, but she knew it was a preposterous thought. Turning to the next page in her book, she heard a faint knock on her bedroom door. She thought it was odd because her parents had only just left, but figured they must’ve forgotten something and headed towards the door.
When she opened it, she found facing her, the last person she was expecting to see.
“Harry, what are you doing here?” Hermione asked confusedly.
“I’m here because I got tired of missing you so I decided to do something about it,” said Harry letting himself in.
“You were right, the time apart was a good idea.” he continued. “It served me right to realize that I want to be with you.”
Hermione smiled broadly.
“I don’t care who likes it and who doesn’t. I’m tired of what the other’s think the ‘right thing’ is. You’re the right thing for me and that’s all I care about.” said Harry boldly.
“I can’t say that isn’t utterly romantic but, how did you know where to find me?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Ron might’ve tipped me off.” Harry answered.
“You and Ron talked?” Hermione asked astonished.
“Yes, he wrote to me asking to come to the Burrow and I did.” Harry explained. “Not the best conversation we’ve had but, couldn’t ask for better.”
“What exactly did you talk about?” Hermione asked.
“I’ll tell you in a minute. But you’re taking for granted what I said a few minutes ago.” said Harry jokingly. “That was some serious romantic stuff I pulled out of the air.”
“It’s nice to see you laughing.” said Harry genuinely. “Haven’t seen that in a while.”
“Harry I do appreciate what you said, it really is unbelievably romantic.” said Hermione truthfully. “But I can’t help but think this all too sudden, as if all we went through was never there. You can’t just blast it off with a few romantic words and expect everything to be well with the world.”
“Why not?” Harry asked.
“Because real life doesn’t work that way.” Hermione answered. “Now, what exactly did you and Ron talk about?”
Harry sat himself at the foot of her bed.
“What do you think?” he asked.
Hermione looked sorrowfully at him.
“How is he? I’ve only talked to him through letters. He says he’s fine but letters don’t show emotion. I know this hasn’t been easy on him.”
“He’s as well as can be expected. He’s slightly bitter and resentful…but so would I if I were in his shoes.” Harry said.
“I know it’s hard. I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone…” Hermione said softly. “well maybe Malfoy because he’s horrible…”
“You’re cracking jokes now? It’s good to see your absence did one of us some good.” said Harry sincerely.
“I’ve learned a lot while being here. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time in my life.” said Hermione truthfully.
“That’s great,” said Harry.
“While I’ve been here, I’ve realized that it is time to take control of my own life.”
Harry continued listening intently.
“I’ve always been the type to care for everyone else and completely forget about myself.” Hermione said avidly. “Being here, with my mum helped me out immensely. She told me that in the end I have to be happy with the decision I make, I am after all the one who has to live with it.”
“I couldn’t agree more.” Harry replied. “You also deserve happiness Hermione. Don’t forget that.”
Hermione nodded in agreement.
“That’s why I know that the best option for me is standing right before me.” said Hermione. “People can say and think what they want…but none of that can possibly take away what I feel for you Harry.”
Harry looked at Hermione intently.
“Nothing can compare to that feeling. Which is why I realized that it’s worth a try, it’s worth the stress… it’s just worth it all.”
Harry grinned at her.
“You’re not just building up false hope for me again by saying that?” he asked timidly.
“No.” Hermione answered. “I mean it this time. I want us to just be ourselves like we were during the time we had Grimmauld Place all to ourselves.”
“We can be them again…if I’m correct, you still have four more days here…and I’m off of training for a week. Maybe we can rediscover ourselves again.”
“I think that’s an excellent idea.” said Hermione smiling broadly.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Harry and Hermione walked together along the shoreline. It was nearing sunset and the last of the tourists and visitors were leaving the beach. The sky was a combination of blue and orange and the sea breeze was blowing fiercely in their hair. The seagulls were on their way to perch on the trees to go to sleep. The roaring ocean was just as active as it had been earlier, with no signs of stopping.
“Have you ever been to a beach before?” Hermione asked Harry as they both sat on the cool white sand, facing the foaming shoreline.
“Once, but I almost drowned because the Dursley’s never took me to swimming lessons.” said Harry, thinking back on the memory fondly now because he knew those days of torture and torment were far behind him.
“That’s horrible.” said Hermione outraged.
“Yes…but now I have a positive memory for the beach.” said Harry turning to face her. “Being here with you.”
Hermione smiled warmly at him.
“I think you’ve been watching too many girl movies while I’ve been away.” said Hermione jokingly.
“Perhaps…” said Harry smiling back at her.
They sat beside each other in silence. Watching the sky turn red orange as the sun seemed to dip down into the water. Harry inched his hand near hers until eventually it covered it. Something as simple as touching a hand could be so easily overlooked, but having been through what they have, the little things start to matter more than ever before.
“I want to apologize for leaving so soon after…well you know.” said Harry bashfully.
“Yeah…it made me start to think maybe it was all about the thrill of us being star-crossed lovers.” Hermione mused.
“Not at all.” Harry said seriously. “It’s just; while you were sleeping…I was taken on a guilt trip. I knew that if I had one, you, almost certainly would too. And before you said it was a mistake…I just left.”
Hermione nodded silently.
She had also been submitted to the same guilt trip he had experienced. She had ever since she started having ‘wrong’ feelings for Harry. She felt horrible that they had gotten so intimate while their best friend lay unconscious in a hospital. However, she knew that despite it happening in an inopportune time, it was far from a mistake. It was the best thing she could’ve ever done.
“Something that beautiful could not be a mistake.” she said softly looking deeply into his green eyes and inching closer to him.
Harry smiled at her again, at complete loss of words. How could he possibly find words to reflect how happy and full she made his life?
“I love you…I wish I could say something more unique. I love you sounds so cliché” said Harry resting his forehead on hers.
The wind was roaring fiercely, swiveling their hair but working in their favor, leaving their faces clear so they could look deeply into each other’s eyes.
“I love you sounds lovely.” Hermione said sweetly. “Thank you”
Hermione wrapped her arms around Harry, drawing the closer than before.
“Thank you for proving me everyday what true love can be like.” said Hermione giving Harry a small peck on the lips. “Nothing compares to the real thing.”
Harry leaned into Hermione and kissed her sweetly. They stayed embraced and sat on the beach together hearing the water crash against the shoreline. They had at least three more days of bliss before they would face the world together. However, they knew if that that they had made it this far, they could make it through anything and that their love had little obstacles to overcome now that they had passed the major hurdles. Only time will tell if they’ll make it through, but they were both sure that nothing could stand up against the real thing.
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