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Chapter 3 : Drunk & Truthful
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Chapter Three – Drunk and Truthful
2nd of May 2002
Harry Potter was sat on the edge of his bed, his eyes were stuck on a small corner of his bedroom, between the bookcase Hermione had bought for him when they were decorating his apartment and the legs of the small study he needed to have as to put his Auror training books on and have his homework in the past. His eyes were stuck, staring at nothingness but his mind was racing while he remained on his own in the bedroom.
This bloody day, the second of May, the day he murdered, the day he conquered as not to be defeated, the day so many people died, the day almost he and his friends died.
He always wondered why he had to live when other people died, Hermione had commanded him again and again not to go feel guilty because all these people had fought because they wanted to, however, Harry always felt a pang of pain and guilt through his heart every time he saw people like his Godson, Teddy, always knowing that his parents died for a war in Harry's name.
If things weren't as bad as they were with the memories and wounds always being more painful in such days, when details and flashes of memories thought forgotten always returned, the ministry had made sure to have the Anniversary of this day and a big Ball at the Ministry as to "celebrate" and remember.
Harry hated political games, he was a man of action, of temper, he wanted things to be clear and done, he hated to see all these ministry people lecturing about bravery and memory when they were nowhere to be seen during those months and days, during that fight where Order members and students fought against Tom Riddle and his Death Eaters. He hated to know he was also being used for the past years in this system of hypocrites and lairs but he had no other option as he had chosen to work for the Aurors and the ministry itself.
Now, sat there, in his bedroom, hearing Lavender gushing over Ron's appearance and some smacking kisses somewhere in the rest of the flat, Harry felt like suffocating, he felt like all this was in vain again, like all this was just a holiday for the rest of the world, for people who cared about the Ball when there were still families affected by the war. All this until another Dark Lord could rise and another Harry Potter could kill him as to have another holiday and another ball in some other day of the calendar, always hoping that it'll be either a Friday or a Monday as to make a three-days break instead of the simple weekend…
A soft knock was heard on the door and Harry sighed and answered it, Hermione's curly hair showed up first and then the rest of her face, giving a small smile, Harry could see in her eyes it was forced, it was a smile to replace a frown as she had seen him on his own and in silence. The rest of her was revealed and Harry looked at her black dress and silver-grey dress robes, the same she had worn almost two weeks ago, classic Hermione, she would never go and buy clothes for such a ball in such a day… she was from the people affected and not the people checking the calendar… yet, she looked beautiful.
'Hey…' Harry decided to speak first and Hermione sighed and moved inside the room slowly, reached for the bed and sat next to him, she took his hand and squeezed and Harry sighed.
'Hey you…' she whispered and the two remained there for a bit, sat on the bed looking inside each other's orbs, communicating like they always did. 'You have to see Lavender's dress, she's like…' Hermione decided to speak and Harry actually sighed and smiled truly, she knew how to do it. Right that moment Lavender showed up and looked at the two on the bed, her dress was a bright pink with purple feathers at the end of it around the knees and a huge V neck, showing to everyone the enlarging charm a certain part of her anatomy had endured.
' Like a chandelier with feathers,' Harry muttered and only Hermione chuckled as she was right next to him to hear the comment. Lavender looked at them oddly but smiled brightly the moment Ron showed up in his deep blue robes Lavender had chosen for him, those two next to each other made a huge contrast with his red hair and her dark blond locks while their clothes too were too much for the eye in colour.
'OK guys, we have to go and take everyone from the Burrow, we'll show up as family,' Lavender said and Harry and Hermione nodded their heads… Lavender was involved with the family since she was Ron's girlfriend but they weren't sure when she actually became one of the Weasleys, her words sounded a bit weird, especially when she didn't add that they could all leave together, even out of courtesy, but the two decided not to comment on all this as Ron seemed at least smiley at the anniversary of his brother's death.
The redhead smiled uneasy as he was dragged by his girlfriend away from the doorframe but before he could disappear in the corridor, he paused and looked at his best friends.
'I'll see you at the ministry… OK?' he asked to make sure everything was alright and Harry nodded his head while Hermione smiled and nodded too, even if the nods were short and Hermione's smile was fake, Ron either didn't notice or decided to ignore it as Lavender tugged at his hand and he left after another small smile of his own.
Harry and Hermione remained in silence after the floo took the other two Gryffindors away from the flat. The two didn't speak for a long time, hands clutched with each other, lips sealed, eyes staring at nowhere once again.
'She is like chandelier…' Hermione finally said and Harry chuckled, it was a true chuckle that after the mental image of Lav in his head turned into a laugh, the first of the day, Hermione chuckled and laughed too and the two remained there like that laughing and grinning until that small feeling of humor left and the two tried to keep the grins on but failed.
'We should be going too, the soonest we get there, the more chances we have for a smaller crowd cheering and pointing at us…' Hermione said after a moment and Harry sobered again and cleared his throat.
'I don't want to go…' Harry said, his voice deep and husky after the hours he had spent on his own while Ron was getting ready with Lavender and Hermione had gotten prepared at Hogwarts.
'I know…' Hermione only said and he knew she understood, he could see in her eyes, in the small line between her eyebrows that was evident every time she tried to mask all the discomfort and all the pain a war hero and victim could feel. He could see her.
'We shouldn't go,' Harry said flatly and Hermione gave a dry chuckle.
'Yeah right,' she commented and stood up with her wavy hair following, she was ready to take her hand back but Harry tightened his hold on it and looked up at her as she was looking down at him, uncertain.
'I'm serious,' Harry said and Hermione sighed.
'Harry… honestly, come on, can you imagine the fuss? They may even send Aurors to find us to make sure none hit us as a reprisal…' Hermione pointed out and Harry shrugged.
'I don't care, I'm already registered as an Auror and I start next week… you're under my protection and they know that,' Harry said and Hermione rolled her eyes exasperated.
'Please… Can you imagine the fuss with the Prophet? They're going to turn mental with the two of us not showing up, they'll cook things up about the two of us and your history with the ministers during the war… you don't want just a few days before your start at the ministry…' Hermione tried and Harry shrugged again at her displeasure.
'I don't care…' Harry said again flatly and Hermione frowned.
'Honestly…' Hermione said again and this time Harry stood up and moved before her while her hand was still in his, keeping her close.
'Honestly what, Hermione? You really want to go and spend the night at the same table with the Weasleys while a lot of assholes will be passing by, shaking hands and knowing our names and faces just because we were the ones to do all the dirty work by destiny? Don't you have any better plans for the evening than spending it there with all the idiots from around Europe, clapping and cheering and then murmuring about how much more we could have done than showing up like that or this or whatever?' Harry asked in anger and exasperation, he didn't mean to sound so aggressive but he had enough and Hermione remained silent for a moment, he hadn't vented his frustrations all day and he felt guilty for doing so on Hermione, the only person that had been through as much as he had but maybe it was her luck, or her position as his backbone…
He waited for a moment more, certain that she was going to start lecturing on him about his behavior but he would never expect her hand slipping from his grasp and her arms wrapping around his shoulders in a tight hug as her eyes filled with tears. He wrapped his own arms around her body, ready to apologize, it was a charged day, of course he didn't want to make her cry, she usually was strong to take such blows, she was the only one not afraid of them when it was him screaming his head off.
'You're right, I don't want that,' she whispered close to his ear and Harry sighed, she wasn't crying because of his outburst, but because of her own suppressed feelings, Harry sighed in small relief and tightened his arms around her body, wanting to comfort her the best he could as their bodies felt warm against each other.
'I don't want anyone forcing us to do things, we had enough,' Harry whispered and felt Hermione nodding her head as she moved slightly away from his body, breaking the comforting hug first. Her eyes were full of tears and she sniffed as she tried to take them away with her hand.
'You're right, but what are we going to do? Just hide here?' Hermione asked and Harry this time smiled and shook his head.
'I'm sure we can go and hide somewhere else,' Harry said and Hermione smiled this time too.
'My parents are off to France again… in a seminar, we could go to my first house,' Hermione offered and Harry smiled and nodded his head, he had visited the place only few times since Hermione moved in with him and Ron after their final year at Hogwarts, but he always loved her first home, it was cozy and comforting and… Hermione-ish.
'OK then, we should go,' Harry said and took her hand again as he started for the door but Hermione paused him by tugging at his hand, Harry stopped and turned around, he was so happy they would not go to the ministry and he kind of felt afraid that she had second thoughts.
'Thanks…' Hermione said and Harry sighed and hugged her again.
'It's OK,' Harry only said and the two friends smiled at each other and nodded their heads.
The two apparated in Hermione's old playground, Harry smiled as he had seen the place from afar, when he was visiting Hermione's parents but he had never got there to see the area. He smiled as he saw the nostalgic feelings that flashed through her eyes as she had probably spent nice times in that place. Hermione was ready to move away and out of the playground but Harry paused her and gestured for her the swings, as if he had read her mind, she nodded her head and they moved close. She sat on a swing first and smiled at him as she adjusted her dress for the ride.
'Care to help me?' she asked and Harry grinned and moved behind the swing seat, he started pushing her to take some force and then he kept giving pushes to the swing until Hermione could manage the speed on her own with her body's movements. Harry grinned as his best friend squealed in happiness every time she felt him pushing the swing more while her hair danced around her beautifully…
'For someone who's afraid of flying, you're nailing the swing…' Harry said loudly and Hermione grinned as she kept going while he took a seat on the next swing and started too, he had longed for a nice ride with a broom, that feeling of freedom and flying, the last time he had the chance was when he practiced with the Gryffindors, a day after Crookshanks had died, even if not a broom, the swing was also entertaining.
'It has chains and an actual seat, Harry! It's not a piece of wood hundreds of feet from the ground…' Hermione retorted but squealed as Harry had managed to move along with her and he outstretched his hand to poke at her ribs while they moved up in the air. 'You're evil!' Hermione cried out but didn't dare to leave her hands from the chains, to Harry's immense amusement.
'That's me! Harry Evil Potter!' Harry called out and they both laughed as they kept moving with the swings while some people passing by the playground smiled at the image of the two grown people on the swings, playing carefree.
When the two were done with the swings and after Harry chased Hermione to the gates of the playground right before they could get scolded by an elder woman who muttered things about couples today, the two moved close to a small grocery store and bought a few things for dinner.
The two got inside the house by the door with Hermione's keys and turned on the lights of the empty house. They moved to the kitchen and with a wave of Hermione's wand, the muggle radio turned on and a muggle station started playing English songs, she could have turned on the Wireless magically but in days like this, they didn't want to hear a word from the Wizarding world.
They immediately lost themselves in each other's comfortable company while they cooked macaroni and cheese in the oven and sipped on one of the wines Hermione's father had in his collection. They listened to some songs, swayed a bit and laughed about their dancing skills until a happy song replaced by another, "where did it all go wrong?".
Where did it all go wrong?
And until you've repaid the dreams you've bought for your lies
You'll be cast away alone under stormy skies
Alone under stormy skies
The two remained in silent as the singer's's voice played the live version of the song, making them both feel the rhythm and the sadness, suddenly coming back to reality and remembering what date was and why they had hid in Hermione's old house… Hermione was with her back on the counter while Harry was next to her, his hip touching the counter as they played with their wine glasses while they heard the song, both in silence.
'Wow… this song can really take you down,' Harry whispered after taking his last sip of wine and Hermione chuckled sadly, the same little line between her brows returned like before, Harry noticed. Harry decided that he hated that line on her face; it had been four years ever since they fought and they deserved to get ridden of these lines of worry and pain from their faces. He reached out and touched her cheek with his hand, making her turn her head slightly for him to look at her eyes.
'I still remember your image in Hagrid's hands… I still remember my heart like dropping when he set you before His feet… I-…' Hermione started but her words were cut by a sob that escaped her lips and Harry took their glasses with his other hand and hugged the young woman tightly.
'I know… I still remember your screams at the Malfoys' manor, I still remember the pain in your eyes… I still remember everything…' Harry whispered back and caressed her curly hair as she wrapped her own arms around his frame. He had to admit, Hermione's hugs were the most familiar and comforting he could remember.
'I hate this… this feeling of being vulnerable all the time… I still have my wand beneath my pillow… afraid that I'll need it in the middle of the night,' Hermione whispered and Harry sighed and tightened his arms around her as he could remember her wand working as good as his own while he was taking patrols out of the tent and she was resting.
'Everything will be alright, Hermione, none is going to touch you without first getting over my dead body,' Harry whispered too and Hermione sniffed and nodded her head.
The sound of the stove, signaling the food was ready made the two part and Hermione took away her tears as she smiled up at her friend before she could move closer to the stove, Harry missed the feeling of her attached to him but he dismissed the thought as he decided on instead of standing there, he should help with the food.
The two moved their plates, the wine and the rest of the things they needed at the coffee table of the living room, they decided to eat in more comfortable positions than the seats of the dining room, so seating down on the carpet and opening the window for the May air to get inside was the perfect idea for the two as the radio kept on playing music.
'This is really nice,' Harry said as he took the first bites from his food and Hermione grinned and did the same.
'I was worried I would be as helpless at cooking as my mom,' Hermione said and Harry grinned.
'You mom cooks great, Hermione…' Harry said and Hermione chuckled and shook her head.
'OK, don't say this to anyone because she will disown me, but she's an awful cook, the times we ate here and you thought it was her food, dad had cooked, she just can't but she's too embarrassed to say it to the rest of the world so my dad cooks and she says she made it…' Hermione said and Harry looked at her shocked before he could grin.
'Wow, she shouldn't be ashamed of anything; she made a great child, that's enough to even all her weak spots…' Harry said with a grin and Hermione blushed and smiled at him gently.
'Thanks, Harry…' Hermione said gently and Harry grinned and clicked his glass with hers.
'To the memory of the people that passed that day,' Harry toasted, Hermione took her own glass and clicked it with his.
'To the ones who survived to respect the fallen ones,' Hermione toasted too and the two nodded slowly and drank from their glasses before they could continue their meal.
When their stomachs were full, the two kept sipping on their wine and soon the first bottle was finished. Hermione stood up from the floor with a little difficulty and moved to the cupboard her father had all the drinks and took out a bottle that made Harry's eyes widen.
'Firewhiskey?' Harry asked and Hermione grinned, the tip of her nose a bit pink from the wine they had already consumed as she returned to the floor, stumbling just a bit.
'Dad loves it, he tried it once at our flat and he loved it so I had to buy him a bottle for the house here. We just have to make sure we'll buy him another one before he's back,' Hermione said as she opened the bottle and poured liquid in their glasses. They didn't usually drink something stronger than butterbeer but it was a "special occasion" and as it seemed, only alcohol kept at bay the painful memories...
It didn't take long for them to start singing at every song, not necessarily knowing the lyrics, screaming out the lyrics they knew and hug each other while they kept filling their glasses while still on the floor. A few neighbors made some hushing sounds that were heard from the opened window but that made the two only laugh harder and louder as they kept drinking.
'Oh this was the best idea you had, Harry, we should never attend Balls ever again,' Hermione said before a small burp could escape her lips, causing both of them to start laughing hysterically again.
'Oh I know.. I just didn't want to spend time with all these idiots who think they know how is to be us,' Harry said as he pointed his finger at the firewhiskey before he could grip it and put it on his lips as to take another gulp, too dizzy to aim it in the glass, when he was done, he gave it to Hermione to take some gulps too.
'You're right, we have done a lot of mistakes back in the past but it was time for us to stop now,' Hermione said after she took down some gulps and Harry nodded his head as he took the bottle that she offered, glasses and music forgotten now.
'A lot of mistakes… so many mistakes… Ginny was a mistake,' Harry said as he drank from the bottle, he wasn't sure why he mentioned her but people say you need a little alcohol to know the truth by someone's lips.
'Well… Ron was a mistake too… a big, voracious mistake of mine,' Hermione said and chuckled before she could start laughing again, causing Harry to do the same before they could sober up a little bit and wobble in dizziness.
'You know… when he and I opened the locket… he saw his worst fear back then…' Harry said and Hermione tried desperately to focus on Harry.
'And what did he see? He never said a word about it,' Hermione asked and Harry tried to focus too.
'He saw me and you as a couple, you telling him that it was impossible for you to choose him when you had me, and then he saw us kissing….' Harry said and they both chuckled.
'And what did he do?' Hermione asked as she suppressed a giggle.
'He tried to kill me,' Harry said seriously but right after his words, the two started laughing with no control.
'And what did you do?' Hermione asked as she drank more of the firewhiskey.
'I told him you're like a sister—to me,' Harry said and Hermione actually fell back on the carpet in laugher before he could start laughing too, back then, it had felt right to say that thing, now, that he repeated it out loud, almost four and a half years later, it felt strange, false… no, it was the alcohol, it surely was…
'Oh that's smashing,' Hermione said between laughter.
'What did you see when you stabbed the cup?' Harry blurted out the question he had for a long time in his head. Hermione sobered up and sighed before she could give a chuckle, only this time, it was a sad one.
'Yeah… Ron was a mistake, we ALL have made mistakes…. You know, he even had a manual for how he should treat me, I had found it under his bed… honestly…' Hermione said, not answering Harry's question but he grinned as he knew what she was talking about.
'Twelve or Thirteen ways to do something to a witch or something….' Harry said and Hermione pointed her finger at him frantically in confirmation, even if they couldn't remember the title right that moment they both knew the book. 'Yea he had given it to me, thinking I'd use it, I don't even know where it is…' Harry added and the two started laughing again for no reason.
'Ginny was obsessed with you, I remember her having pictures of you from Witch Weekly under her own pillow… the Weasley kids have been hiding things beneath their pillows haven't they?' Hermione said and again, they both started laughing madly, Harry sobered for a moment to ponder on what Hermione had just said about Ginny but the mare image of his pictures under the redhead's pillow seemed funnier than scary right that moment so he started laughing again.
'You know, once…' Harry started and Hermione tried to focus on him again as the bottle kept moving between them like a tennis ball. 'It was the Christmas of sixth year, when you hadn't came to the Burrow, rights before the – hic- the attack from the Death Eaters…' Harry went on and Hermione made it to focus on him and listen. 'I was moving downstairs and she came out of her room in her robe, I had frozen and she approached me,' Harry kept saying and saw Hermione's eyes widening with a small hint of actual fear in them but he decided to keep up talking. 'I thought she'd kiss me or something but she suddenly leaned down and tied my shoe…' Harry said and Hermione's eyes widened even more as a chuckle escaped her lips.
'What?' Hermione asked and Harry nodded as he chuckled too.
'She tied my freaking shoe… and I have to tell you, she tied it too tightly too, I could feel my feet growing numb afterwards,' Harry said, the two remained in silence for a second before they could both start laughing harder than ever before, both leaning to the same direction until their heads bumped on each other's, they groaned, laughed and rubbed the spots of their foreheads with huge grins on their faces as now their faces were mare inches apart.
Harry felt mesmerized at the warm, chocolate brown of Hermione's eyes, the eyes he had seen so many times, her beautiful features, her warm presence close to him, his eyes moved for a moment from her eyes to her parted lips and he felt the urge to learn how their Horcrux kiss felt back then but he shook his head and closed his eyes, it was the alcohol.
All this comfortable feelings were Hermione but she was Hermione, the woman who cared about him the most, the woman that wasn't just a friend, she was someone too important to take advantage of in a moment of drunken judgment, even if the title of his sister sounded weird, sounded off, sounded impossible with her being the primal female in his life, the one for which he had stopped breathing when he had thought her dead at the Department of Mysteries or even before when she had been petrified by the Basilisk…the one who hugged and kissed him first, the one who talked to him about bravery and friendship and… more important things instead of tying his shoes…
She was Hermione and he wasn't going to spoil this, no, everyone had betrayed him at least once in his life, but Hermione hadn't, so he wasn't going to spoil this, she was too important for him and he was bloody toasted for Merlin's pants. People say that the mind is more clear than ever when you're drunk, when all the true wants are revealed but he wasn't going to face the consequences the next morning, he wasn't going to lose Hermione for a kiss that even thought delicious, was forbidden.
When he opened his eyes again, Harry came in contact with these two, warm eyes still looking at him as if she was thinking about something, counting something inside her bright yet drunk brain, he refused to look at her lips again so he focused on her eyes, even if they urged him to do things he hadn't thought of a few hours ago, he decided that her eyes were the safest place to look at for now. After an endless moment more, Hermione spoke.
'So many mistakes indeed, so many… irreparable mistakes,' Hermione said mostly to herself but for some reason these words were exactly the ones Harry wanted to say too…
ooooh ok, unanswered questions, regrets... mistakes... alcohol and some things re-considered... DARN they were that close to kiss weren't they? but they were also drunk, will they remember these little moments of epiphany in the future? we'll see
what u think guys? i wanted them away from the whole fuss of the wizarding world in such day, 2nd of may is actually my birthday and i love making shots about it hehe what u think of Lav Lav being a Weasley already and what about these two escaping, having fun in the swings and getting drunk and truthful...?
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