Chapter 17 : In Too Deep
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In Too Deep
Hermione woke up with a massive headache early Saturday morning. She hadn't even bothered getting up out of bed at her normal hour, knowing that it would only make it worse. It felt as though someone was pounding a massive hammer into her skull repeatedly trying to break it open. She was surprised that it hit her now rather than yesterday, when she cried herself to sleep. Yes, Hermione Granger had fallen asleep crying. That morning had only resulted in a dry throat and puffy eyes, but today knocked that day's start out of the pitch. She tried to remember any of Friday's events that could possibly be the reason for her turmoil. It was then that it hit her: Harry. She and Harry had basically treated each other like they were invisible. She had gone to bed that night thinking of how miserable it made her not to talk to him. Of course it was Harry.
She was in deep shit.
The rest of her dorm mates had already gotten ready and when she heard complete silence she knew that it was time to get up. It was bad enough that she was up late, but now she was completely alone again. She took a small comfort in being surrounded by people now, even if they were asleep. With Harry ignoring her and Ginny being her normal self, she really had no one to turn to. Alone used to be her favorite getaway, but now she was begging for release. She needed friends, she needed to laugh—she needed Harry.
After she finished cleaning up with a hot shower, her headache seemed to tone down to a dull pounding. She padded down the stairs, something pulsing in the back of her head. It wasn't the headache, but rather a small feeling that there was something about today that was important. She had already finished all of her coursework so that couldn't be it. She didn't recall making any plans with anyone. Not that anyone would want to spend time with her anyway. As far as they knew she was either a whore or a heartless hag. It was all for the best, though.
She looked at the clock perched atop the fireplace and sighed. It was ten-thirty. She didn't feel like eating breakfast, knowing that she would run into Harry there. She wanted to talk to him, but knew that she couldn't. Not after what had happened. It might hurt her more to distance herself then to actually talk to him, but her mind would never be at ease either way. He was her friend, he was her enemy, but above all else, he was someone that she felt the wells of desire perk up for more than anyone else. She wanted to be more than his friend and that scared her. She didn't even want to elaborate more on her feelings, fearing the inevitable.
The couch began to look very inviting. She lay down in its fluffy depths and tried to get her body to relax. Closing her eyes, she began to clear her mind, something she had learned from the Dark Lord. Whenever she had something on her mind that she didn't want there, all she had to do was clear her head and relax. Granted, she didn't have a pensive to permanently remove the thoughts, but this was the next best thing. As soon as she felt her mind go blank, footsteps interrupted her concentration. Her eyes shot open and she looked over the back of the couch. Ron was walking down the stairs and she let out a breath of relief. But the feeling in the back of her mind started going off again as he approached her. She sat up and smiled as he stood in front of her.
“Ready to go?” He asked, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his trousers.
Hermione's brow furrowed, “Go?”
It was then that it clicked. In order to get Ron off of her back, she had agreed to go to Hogsmeade with him. In her vulnerable, emotional state, she had agreed to go on a date with Ron. Oh Merlin. “Right… yeah. Yeah I'm ready to go.”
He smiled down at her and she returned it half-heartedly. She allowed him to escort her to the carriages with a hand placed nervously on her back. Truth be told, she was nervous as well. This was her first date. Well, if you didn't count the trips to the pub and sneaking around with Draco. She didn't. They found an empty carriage and sat across from each other. Hermione shot nervous glances at Ron and could sense that he was sending some her way as well. She didn't know why she had agreed to this in the first place. She had little recollection of agreeing to the date, so why didn't she just tell him that? Maybe there was a part of her that wanted to forget Harry. Forget why she was thinking about him in the first place. Ron was a nice enough bloke, so she should be able to enjoy herself. Right?
They arrived in Hogsmeade and Ron led her to The Three Broomsticks. She was thankful he chose this place. It was a comfortable environment, so she didn't have to feel pressured. See? She thought to herself, This won't be so bad.
They found a vacant booth and took their seats. Hermione smiled over at Ron, who was fidgeting with the hem of his shirt. The waitress came over and asked for their order and Ron asked for two butterbeers. He looked over at her for confirmation and she nodded. They were left alone and he looked as though he was trying to find something to say. She figured that she should start the conversation, it was the least she could do.
“So Ron, how are your classes going?” It was simple but effective.
“Fine.” He responded shortly.
Hermione nodded, “Have you been studying for your N.E.W.T.s?”
He snorted, “No.”
“Well you should. It's the most important test of your school career!”
“I'm too busy with Quidditch to worry about studying.” He said with a silly grin.
Hermione rolled her eyes, “And what makes Quidditch so much more important than studying?”
Ron looked at her as if she had grown another head. “Loads of things! First off, it's fun so I can actually pay attention to what I am doing. Second, it…”
Hermione knew she shouldn't have, but at that moment, she tuned him out. She loved Quidditch, but if she couldn't understand why it was more important than school, there was no point in listening to him. Although she had to admire his passion for the sport. Harry was right. If he was this passionate about his future career, she should respect it. Of course, Harry was always right. In class, in life, in everything. But he wasn't in the cocky sort of way; he was always right because he had to be right. If he wasn't, it could affect him in his future battles. Oh great, now she was thinking about Harry. She was on a date with another guy and she still couldn't stop thinking about Harry!
“…plus the fact that you get tons of birds.”
“You play Quidditch for the girls?”
“Weren't you listening to a thing I said? The birds are just an added bonus.”
“But they're a contributing factor?”
She rolled her eyes just as their butterbeers were placed on the table. She took a sip from the glass and licked her lips, removing any residue. At least one good thing was coming from this date. The waitress stayed put and leaned down to address them again, “Is there anything else I can get for you?”
Ron seemed in thought for a moment, “A ham sandwich with a side of crisps, please. Anything for you, Hermione?”
“No, I'm fine.”
The waiter departed and Ron leaned over to her, “What do you have against Quidditch?”
“Nothing. I love Quidditch. I just don't see how people can hold it above their studies.”
“It's really quite simple all you have to do is…” He trailed off, looking behind her, a grin forming. “Hey Harry!” he yelled, waving his arm.
Hermione turned around in her seat and saw Harry staring at her. She felt like crying when she got a good look at his face. He looked heartbroken, just like when she had walked away. His mouth was agape and he turned to leave as soon as their eyes made contact. He pushed past groups of incoming customers and stormed out the door. It was as if he were moving in slow motion, making her chest hurt even more.
“What's got him in a mood?” Ron asked, clearly hurt that his friend didn't acknowledge him.
“I… I…” Hermione tried to search for the best thing to say. “Have to go.”
Clearly, that wasn't the best thing to say. “I'm sorry Ron. Can you excuse me for a second?”
“Umm yeah, sure.”
Hermione walked quickly over to the bathroom and locked the door behind her. She started to breathe heavily and braced herself against the sink. Her vision began to go fuzzy and she felt something begin to work its way up from her stomach. She forced it back down and tried to calm herself. Looking up at her reflection she scowled and turned the tap on. Making sure the water was cool beforehand she splashed it onto her face. She flinched at the temperature but it calmed her by waking up her senses. Grabbing a towel, she ran it across her skin, picking up the scarce droplets. She threw it to one side of the sink and bowed her head down. She had to pull herself together. This was her first date and she was ruining it by letting someone else dictate her. She had to go back out there and enjoy herself.
It was going to be hard but she had to do it. She had to enjoy herself for her own sake and for Harry's. The less amount of time she saw him, the better they would both be. She would find a way to save him. Yes, that was it. She would convince the Dark Lord to pull back and give Harry more time to prepare. It was all for the best. Never mind how much she missed him, how much he affected her, how heartbroken he looked when he saw her with Ron. He would understand one day. This was all for him.
She looked once more in the mirror and saw that her face was clear. She exited the bathroom and went back to sit across from Ron. He didn't bother asking questions. She could see in his eyes that he knew where she had been, but not exactly what she had been doing. He was eating his order of crisps and didn't look as though he was going to break the ice any time soon.
She needed to busy her mind, so she spoke up. “So tell me about yourself Ron. I know we've had a lot of classes together and such, but I don't really know that much about you.”
“Well what do you want to know?”
“I don't know… umm… what's your favorite color?”
“Orange like the Cannons!” He replied excitedly. Harry's is blue. Hermione heard the smug voice and tried to block it out. “What about yours?”
“Green.” She replied without thought. Harry's eyes.
“Green, why green?” Ron asked with interest.
“I like… cucumbers…” Oh good going, Granger. Like he's going to believe that!
Ron nodded, “That's logical. I like mince pie.” Oh wow, it worked. Hermione shook her head to the side to try and get rid of the voice, as though it were a bug in her ear. Ron took this gesture differently. “You don't like mice pies?”
Figuring that she shouldn't dispute that, she came up with something else to say. “I actually prefer shepherd.”
Ron nodded, “So does Harry.”
Hermione sucked in a breath. He just had to mention him. “He-he has good taste.”
He didn't seem to notice her stutter, “Oh yeah. He even gives me a run for my galleons sometimes.”
“Really?” she commented half-heartedly. In all honestly, she wanted anything else but to talk about Harry. If they did for too long, she would explode. If she sounded disinterested maybe he would drop it.
“There was this one time when I thought that I could pick a fight with him about Muggle sweets versus Wizards sweets. Of course he won when he shoved a—what was it?—a Mars bar down my throat. I've never been the same since.” He chuckled at the memory.
“I've never had Muggle candy.” She mused.
“Well you're missing out! Hey, maybe I can talk Harry into getting you some.”
“No!” She replied quickly. When Ron gave her an odd look, she tried to save herself. “I mean I don't want Harry to go to any trouble.”
“Nonsense.” Ron said, waving a hand about. “In fact, he would probably do it in a second if I told him it was for you. He's really taken a liking to you Hermione. Sometimes I can't get him to shut up. Actually, it was his constant raving about you that convinced me to take you out. If figured anyone who can get Harry to talk non-stop about her is worth taking to The Three Broomsticks.”
The air had left her lungs. She could feel herself growing pale. He had talked about her? He liked her? Well, of course he liked her—but enough to talk about her to his best friend?
“Hermione are you alright? You look like you're about to vomit.”
She allowed her gaze to float upward to see Ron's bright blue eyes glowing with concern. “I'm sorry Ron but I have to go.” She pushed her chair out and rushed to the door. As soon as she started moving, she felt her lungs start flexing and her breaths become ragged again.
She heard him, but she didn't turn back. All she knew was that she had to get out of there and fast. She pushed open the door and ran outside into the cool air. She didn't know where she was running to but when she saw a few carriages pull up she made a quick decision. The further away she was from Ron and his Harry-related comments, the better. She climbed into the nearest one and slammed the door behind her, putting her head in her hands and calming herself. She felt the carriage jerk and it began to move. As she left Hogsmeade behind her, she felt her shoulders slump as relief washed over her.
“You're in love with him.”
Hermione's head shot up at the familiar dreamy voice. Luna had her face buried in an issue of The Quibbler; her platinum locks pulled back in a long plait at the base of her neck with little blinking beetle clips weaved throughout. If someone else was in the carriage, she would have thought they had spoken up. She looked too enamored with her magazine to say anything out loud. Especially something like that.
Without looking up, Luna answered in the same voice. “You're in love with Harry.”
There went any thoughts that she was just daydreaming. “No I'm not.”
“Denying it won't make it any less true. Even if the truth hurts, you can do nothing but accept it. Life might have its ups and downs, but if you spend too much time making up excuses for the inevitable, you'll only end up hurting yourself. At least, that's what it says here… you're a Virgo, right?”
“Umm I don't… what do you mean denying it? I'm not in love with Harry!”
For the first time, Luna lifted her head and Hermione felt as though her wide silver eyes were probing into her soul. It made her feel quite uncomfortable and she squirmed a bit in her seat. Looking at her pointedly, Luna lowered her voice an octave. “You and I both know that's not true. Love isn't complicated, Hermione. Either you are in love or you aren't. And I can tell by looking in your eyes that you are completely and irrevocably in love with him although you fear admitting it because you want to protect him.”
“Do yourself a favor and stop living in regret. Be selfish, be happy, but most of all just be.” Luna ended by rolling up her magazine and pointing it at her almost accusingly. After her long speech, she sat back in her seat and continued reading like nothing had happened.
Hermione was speechless. She slumped back into her seat and shook her head. Everything that Luna had said made sense. She was selfish once, but selfish in a way that it was only benefitting the Dark Lord. She had never been selfish for her. And as she thought about it another thing became potently clear. She didn't know how, but somehow lust and desire had turned into something more dangerous.
She was in love with her enemy.
The carriage came to a halt and Hermione was vaguely aware of Luna getting up and stepping out. “Hermione.” She called.
Hermione lifted her head. Luna smiled, “Remember what I said. Happiness can always be found in the depths of your heart. Follow your heart, Hermione.”
Hermione saw her retreat back to the castle and decided she should get a move on or she would end up back in Hogsmeade. She walked towards the castle in a daze, her thoughts running rampant. Most were along the lines of: I'm in love with him. I am in deep shit. I could get killed. I could get both of us killed. I'm a traitor. What will Draco think? Will anyone ever find out? Will I let them? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!
The castle was virtually empty as she walked though the vacant halls. Even the younger years were outside playing. Everyone had better things to do than to sulk around the castle like a ghoul. In fact, even the ghosts that usually roamed the halls were absent. Apparently they had other places to be as well on a Saturday. This didn't do much to lighten her mood. She felt alone once again. Funny. Being in love was supposed to make you feel good—radiant even. But all it was doing to her was making her more miserable. Instead of feeling complete, she felt empty; instead of feeling alive, she felt like an Inferius. Love could go fuck itself.
She stopped for a moment and turned around. Seeing an empty hall behind her, she began walking again. She could have sworn she heard footsteps behind her. But apparently she was going crazy as well because there was no one behind her. Strange.
She arrived at the portrait hole and said the password to the fat lady who seemed to be powdering her nose. Even the portraits were going up and about. It was lucky she caught her before she left or else she would be stuck roaming the halls for the rest of her afternoon. As she climbed up inside the hole and let the warmth of the common room envelop her she found it, like the rest of the castle, empty. Sighing, she decided to catch up on some light reading. She went up to her dormitory and rummaged in her trunk for a book she had recently checked out of the library, 101 Uses of Unicorn Blood in Love Potions. She found it under her scarf and headed back downstairs after kicking her shoes and socks off, intent on reading it by the fireplace.
When she got down there, she only had time to toss her book on the couch before the portrait hole opened. She froze and wondered if she hid behind the couch maybe they wouldn't see her. She didn't know why she wanted to hide. She was the one who was lonely, right? When the shadow of the person came closer and Hermione finally got a good look at them, she knew why she wanted to hide.
“What are you doing here? How did you find me?”
“I followed you.”
“You followed me? What are you, my stalker?”
“Listen Hermione I… I wanted to ask you… well…”
Hermione grew impatient, “What? Ask me what?”
He sensed her anger and looked up at her viciously, his green eyes blazing with internal flames. “Hermione I know you felt something in that kiss!”
Shit. “What kiss?”
“Don't play coy with me, you know exactly what kiss!”
She needed to get out of here. Now. “I don't know what you're talking about.” She turned her back and walked a few feet away from him until she felt a hand come down roughly on her shoulder and turn her back around.
He was growing angrier. She was growing weaker at his touch. He removed his hand and looked at her fiercely. “What game are you playing at? Do you take some sort of sick pleasure teasing people?”
“Do you have to know everything about me?” She countered.
“No, I don't.” He admitted. “But I want to know. And what's more than that, I know enough to see though your mask.”
“You're façade. You're `Oh, I'm so mysterious. No one will ever get through to me' Persona.” He said, mimicking her high pitched voice.
She was beginning to snap. “Well did you ever think that I put it up for a reason? That there was a point to it?”
“Of course I did! But the fact that I have no idea what it is makes me mad!”
“You don't have to know everything about me. In fact, you know nothing about me.”
He leaned closer to her, “Then tell me. Tell me that you felt absolutely nothing in that kiss and I'll leave you alone. And don't bother lying.”
Hermione put on her best stony expression and leaned towards him, stopping a few inches from his face and speaking in a voice no higher than a whisper. “I felt nothing.”
She pulled back and his face remained the same. “Really?”
“Yes! Now will you please just leave me alone?! Can't you get it through your thick skull that we just can't be together?” She started to raise her voice, hoping that he would just leave.
“No. No I can't.”
“But you just said that—”
“You're lying. I know you are.”
“And how do you figure that?” She asked dangerously, challenging him to a dangerous tango that she knew might be her demise. But she didn't care.
He stepped towards her, leaving all but a few inches between their bodies. “You're saying that if I kissed you right now you wouldn't feel a thing?”
She let her gaze flicker to his lips and quickly back up again. The temptation was deadly. “No, not a thing.”
He raised an eyebrow and before she knew it, his lips were against hers. She didn't have enough time to respond before he pulled away. He was testing her. And she was failing. But the worst part was that she didn't care. He looked down at her and she didn't waste any time wrapping her hands around his neck and pulling him back to her. He seemed surprised, yet not so much as he tested the barrier of her lips with his tongue. She allowed him in without another thought. It was then that her mind finally realized: She was in too deep. She was being pulled under his spell and there was no turning back. The kiss started out softly, testing the grounds. But a well of pent up desire washed over them and soon they would not be able to control themselves.
His hands came to rest at her hips and he led them against the nearest wall. Her back slammed against the hard surface and a small breath came out her lips, disrupting their kiss. Harry didn't miss a beat, sucking on the corner of her mouth to her cheek and back again, capturing her mouth in another fiery kiss. She plunged her hands in his hair, missing how it felt beneath her fingers. She felt one of his hands begin to trail down her leg and stop at her knee, pulling it up to wrap around his waist so that the only thing that was in-between them was their clothes. Hermione quickly wrapped her other leg around his waist and he pressed her further against the wall, elevating her so they were the same height.
His mouth left hers and started to begin a trail of wet kisses down the column of her throat, sucking and licking in all the right places. Hermione moaned at his ministrations and moved her hands to his back, tracing the flexing muscles with her nimble fingers. She felt him shiver and he assisted her in taking it off, only detaching his lips for a second. One of his hands began to sneak its way under her top and she felt her body lurch at the feel of his hands on her skin. He made delicate circles around her belly button and finally began to remove it. Their lips found each other again and her bra was quickly discarded. The feel of bare skin-to-skin contact was enough to undo her and she ground her hips into him, electing another masculine groan from deep within his throat.
He detached once more from her mouth, only to turn them around and make his way up the stairs to the boy's dormitory. Hermione took this time to plant butterfly kisses from his ear to his shoulder, stopping there and sucking on it. It didn't take long for them to re-attach their lips once he finished climbing up the stairs. He moved them blindly to the door at the end of the hall, jiggling the handle as he pressed her up slightly against it. It opened and he stumbled through it, finding his bed and laying her atop it. She saw him stare at her a moment before hurriedly climbing on top of her and kissing the question out of her mouth. She decided to make a bold move and sucked on his tongue as it probed her mouth. He jerked away for a moment before moaning into her mouth. She grinned and flipped them over, straddling him.
His hands came to rest on her hips as she lowered herself and kissed her way from his throat down his chest, planting small kisses on his muscular abdomen. She unbuckled his trousers and pulled them off, knocking his shoes and socks off. He pulled her back up to kiss her passionately and trailed his hand down her back. She helped him remove her jeans and as she was preparing to wiggle on top of him again, he surprised her by flipping them over so that he was hovering over her. Her hand moved to the nape of his neck as she pressed him harder against her. He didn't disappoint as he kissed her tenderly on the lips and moved his hands to play with the band of her knickers. She thrust her hips up, begging him to stop his teasing and he obliged by sliding them slowly down.
She didn't let him be the only one with clothing on for long as she pushed off his boxers and let their bodies become flush against each other. There were no longer any barriers keeping them apart. The two wasted no time and met each other, becoming one. Sounds of passion filled the quiet dorm as they entangled themselves in each other.
He collapsed on top of her but she didn't mind. His body weight was strangely comforting on top of her. She didn't have time to bask in it, though, as he rolled off of her to lie next to her. Unconsciously, she turned over on her side and let him cup her from behind, feeling all of him press up against her. She felt a wave of tiredness wash over her as her eyes drifted close. A blanket landed on top of them as Harry waved one of his hands before placing it back on Hermione's waist, holding her snug against him.
She knew that there would be consequences in the morning. But she didn't care. All she knew was that she was perfectly content being here in this moment. Let tomorrow come with its heavy bearings. For now, she would lye here and sleep. And for once, she would dream of something pleasant, or rather, someone. The same one who haunted her dreams was now being opened with open arms.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the chapter! When I first wrote it, I was really nervous, but hopefully you like it despite that. Remember to review :)
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