Chapter 11 : Watch You Sleeping
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I wanna carry you
But you won’t get up
It’s really killing me
You know it’s killing me
“Watch You Sleeping”—Blue Foundation
Hermione woke up the next morning with great difficulty. Her eyes were uncooperative, determined to remain shut. She hadn’t realized when she had finally fallen asleep. The entire night had been spent trying to stop her sobs from escaping her. The last thing she needed was for Harry to see her cry. She knew he had done so many times before, but this time it had to be different. She had to be strong. It was only the beginning of the journey and she could not succumb to weakness this early.
She rubbed her eyes furiously to wake them up. It was still very early. The sunlight outside was not very bright. She could sense that the sun had only just risen. Carefully, she turned around to Harry’s direction. Startled, she realized he was not there. There was a weird pang in her stomach. Fear. Looking down, she saw Ron was still fast asleep. Blissfully unaware of their perilous situation. She got on her feet softly and pulled out her wand. Panic was already coursing through her veins rapidly. Had seeing her cry last night been the last straw for him? Had he foolishly deserted them in an attempt to end the misery? Hermione willed herself not think so negatively. He had promised he wouldn’t leave. Harry was not one to break a promise.
With a little hesitation, Hermione went up the creaking old flight of stairs. She really hoped she would not be in for another unpleasant surprise like the one they had encountered when they first entered the house. Somehow, the sunlight did very little to take away the eeriness of the house. She had a feeling it would take a lot to do so. Finally, after searching many rooms, she came across one with a plaque with Sirius’s name on it. If anything, she was almost certain she would find Harry there. Slowly, she opened the door, careful not to make any noise in case he was still asleep. Sure enough, she saw a sleeping form on the dust covered four poster bed. Hermione crept in quietly; she knew fully well he must’ve had as hard time falling asleep as she had. As she neared, she noticed he was heavily asleep. He was lying in a fetal position; it made such a heartwarming image. Hermione felt a smile sneak across her face as she looked down at him. Why was the world being so cruel to such an amazing person? It just wasn’t fair. She grabbed a chair from nearby and sat down. She did not know why she was doing what she was. Sitting there, just watching him sleep.
Hermione looked around and spotted a picture on the bedside table opposite Harry. It was a picture of what had to be James and Lily and baby Harry. She grabbed it and felt a tug at her heart as she watched the picture replay itself. Whatever Harry was dreaming about, she was sure it was about his parents. She had always sympathized harry for his lost. Though she couldn’t really put herself in his shoes, she definitely knew how painful it would be to lose your parents. Now, the pain felt almost too real. She had sent her parents away for their safety, but who knew if that would work. Maybe she would finally feel what it would be like to lose your parents. She was so deep in thought that she had not seen Harry stir.
“Hermione?” Harry asked groggily.
“Harry!” Hermione exclaimed sheepishly.
“What are you doing here?” said Harry reaching for his glasses.
“I…I noticed you weren’t in the living room so I went looking for you.” Hermione explained.
“Oh…I’m guessing you couldn’t sleep then?” Harry asked. “It’s still very early.”
“Yeah…I couldn’t.” Hermione admitted.
“I’m sorry I scared you by disappearing.” Harry said apologetically. “I just had to…be alone.”
“Harry…I’m always here for you to talk to you know.” said Hermione softly. “I know this isn’t easy.”
“No, it isn’t.” said Harry shaking his head.
Hermione looked down at the picture in her hand and smiled.
“It’s a lovely picture.” She said, in an attempt to change the conversation.
Harry looked back at Hermione. He realized she had the picture he had found after the first hour of restless sleep he had had in his godfather’s bed.
“This is the first ever baby picture I’ve seen of you.”
“I reckon it’s the only one in existence.” said Harry. “I found a letter as well.”
Harry opened up the drawer on the bedside table where Hermione had found the photograph.
“It’s my mum’s handwriting.” Harry explained as he handed over the letter. “She mentions Bathilda Bagshot, that’s the second time she’s been mentioned. She may still be living in Godric’s Hollow.”
“Harry.” said Hermione disappointedly. “You know we can’t go there.”
“Hermione, my parents---“
“I know you want to go there, for a lot of reasons but you can’t.” said Hermione sadly. “Voldemort is fully aware of the connection you have to that place. I’m almost certain there’s something terrible waiting if we go.”
“So that’s it then?” said Harry impatiently. “I’m supposed to just hide around the bushes like a scared little boy?”
“Obviously not, we just need to plan things out.” Hermione reassured. “We just can’t go into things blindly Harry. There’s a lot at stake.”
“Well I’m sorry Hermione.” Harry muttered heavily. “But maybe I don’t give a damn about what’s at stake any more. This needs to end. I don’t want to go through this anymore!”
“I can’t believe you’re being so selfish.” Hermione answered back angrily.
“I’m being selfish?” Harry repeated outrageously. “I’m not the one who entitled myself as the savior of the wizarding world.”
“No, but like it or not that’s what you are and a lot of people have sacrificed a lot for you so that you can end it all.” said Hermione shakily.
“Yeah well, I was not the one who told them to do so, and if you took the liberty to alter your parents memory, that’s all on you.” said Harry angrily. “So don’t you hold me accountable for what you did.”
He really did not understand where the sudden cloud of rage was coming from all he knew that for a brief second, he felt relieved. It all went away just as suddenly when he saw tears spill out from Hermione’s eyes before she ran out of the room. He felt horrible. Why had he said such horrible things?
“Hermione!” said Harry as he ran after her.
She was much too quick for him, and she finally reached the nearest bedroom and slammed the door right in his face.
“Hermione, I’m sorry.” Harry said genuinely. “I have no idea what came over me.”
Inside the room, Hermione heard him faintly as she slumped and cried against the bed’s footboard. She was sobbing in a way she never had before. Sharp intakes of breaths that were almost impossible to silence. Harry had never spoken to her in the way he just had. She was sure that as he had said, he had not meant it. Rather, it was the result of years of bottled up feelings. Yet, she could not shake the painful words. Perhaps, what made it worse was that he had been right. She was the one who ultimately took it upon herself to make such a big decision as altering her parent’s memories. Sure she had done because she wanted to accompany Harry, but in the end she was the one who had done both the decision and the deed. Not Harry.
“What’s going on?” Ron asked concernedly as he came across Harry who was knocking on the door furiously.
“I said some stupid insensitive things to Hermione.” said Harry wretchedly.
“Hey now, that’s my job!” Ron joked.
“Ron, this really isn’t the best time for jokes.” said Harry impatiently.
“Yeah…right sorry.” Ron said sheepishly.
“Hermione, please I want to apologize.” Harry pleaded.
Hermione forced herself to take deep breaths to soothe her sobs. Her method was working, for she no longer was crying as hard as she had been moments before. She looked down her chest and noticed the silver glimmer of her locket. It was a present she had gotten from her parents for her seventeenth birthday. She opened up the locket which contained a small picture of her parents and her when she was little. It hadn’t even been that long since the last day she saw them, but the pain was still as fresh as it had felt the day she did what she did. She felt guilty for being so harsh with Harry when he had said he wanted to go to Godric’s Hollow. If she wanted to see her parents, who she had not seen in just a few days, she could only imagine how Harry felt about seeing his parents’ grave. She had been insensitive out of worry, for she did not want Harry to go to a place that was almost certain to be dangerous. Worry had been the same motive for what she had done to her parents. Perhaps Harry’s hurtful words had been the result of hurt of having his hopes dashed so brusquely.
“Hermione, please come out.” said Harry.
“I accept your apology Harry.” said Hermione from within the room. “But I think I need to have some time alone.”
Harry looked at Ron for advice. He would know when Hermione needed her space than Harry did.
“Let her be alone for a few minutes.” Ron whispered suggestively.
“All right, we’ll be down stairs when you’re ready to come out.” said Harry gently.
Hermione listened intently for the sounds of retreating footsteps. Once she did, she lay back on the footboard and let her bottled up tears escape her. It was futile to keep them in anymore. The lump in her throat was making it difficult for her to swallow and she couldn’t take the discomfort anymore. She didn’t know exactly where this was all coming from. It wasn’t the first time she was away from her parents. Over time she had realized that unknowingly, she had pushed them little by little out of her world. She spent more time with the Weasley’s than she did her own family. It was more that fact, more than anything that was causing so much pain. What if they didn’t survive? How could she live with herself knowing that she pushed them out of her life?
Downstairs, Harry was fiddling with the locket replica he had obtained with Dumbledore his sixth year. The only thing he could think of doing at such a tense time, was to will his mind back to the most important subject at the moment: Horcruxes. So far, of the ones still out there, this was the only clue they had. Just how they were supposed to find the real locket was still a terrible mystery.
“So uh…just what happened up there?” Ron said after a long time of silence.
“Nothing, I was just being insensitive.” Harry shrugged.
“You don’t reckon that was Voldemort leaking into your mind right?” Ron asked worriedly. “Hermione told me the other night that she believed you were having his visions again.”
Harry shook his head.
“As much as I want to convince myself it could’ve been him, I’m afraid that all those words were really my own.” said Harry disappointedly. “Even if I did apologize immediately, they did their damage.”
“Hey mate, don’t be too upset.” said Ron consolingly. “We’re all on edge right now, and we’ll keep saying things we don’t mean. It doesn’t really mean it’s true.”
Harry just stayed focus on the locket.
When Ron saw Harry was not willing to extend the conversation, he saw it as an opportunity to see check for himself if the coast was clear. He went back upstairs and to the room where Hermione had locked herself.
“Hermione?” he asked hopefully. “You ready to come out yet?”
“Not yet.” said Hermione’s voice faintly.
“Okay.” Ron sighed.
Defeated, he turned around to go back where he had come from. However, before he could take a step, his foot snagged on a small plaque that was on the floor. It must’ve fallen when Hermione had slammed the door shut. Curiously, Ron picked it up and turned it over.
‘Regulas Archturus Black’ he read frowning.
He looked at the plaque carefully again and noticed something he hadn’t before. The first letter of each name was capitalized and swirly. R.A.B.
“Merlin’s beard!” Ron exclaimed.
“Hermione, come out!” he yelled excitedly. “I know who R.A.B is!”
Just as he had imagined, he heard a click from the locked door and Hermione stood in the door frame, looking at him suspiciously.
“That’s a pretty low way to get me to come out.” She said.
“I’m not kidding, look!” he said handing her the plaque.
It only took about a second for her to have the same expression on her face as he had just a moment ago.
“This is brilliant Ron!” she said half laughing.
“Always the tone of surprise.” He said in a mock hurt voice.
“Maybe today hasn’t been too bad after all.” Hermione smiled.
“You want me to go tell Harry myself?” Ron asked.
“No.” said Hermione shaking her head. “Let’s go together. That’s the way we have to be in this maddening world. Together.”
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