[Fanfic] Out of Shadows – Chapter 22

Out of Shadows

CHAPTER 22

Writter: fall shadow

Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.

Source: here

harry-hermione

Giving a defeated sigh, Harry knelt down next to Hermione’s bed and rested his forehead against it, closing his eyes. There was nothing else he could for her right now. He wasn’t sure how long he had been there when Dobby returned with an enormous tray of hot food. The smell pulled Harry into action as he realized that he hadn’t eaten in a long time. Dobby asked if Harry wanted to go in the other room to eat, but Harry quickly insisted on staying in the room with Hermione. So, they set the tray between them and sat on the floor, with Harry not really paying attention to what he was piling on his plate.

Despite feeling quite hungry before, once he had taken a few bites, Harry felt his appetite fading. It had nothing to do with the food, which tasted vaguely good. The worry and guilt eating at him made it difficult to force the food down.

“Dobby, where are we?” Harry asked, finally voicing what he had been wondering. “How did we get here? And how did you find us?”

“Ah, well Mister Sirius contacted Dobby and told him that there was trouble where he was staying, sir. He was saying that Dobby should go to the cave in case someone needed to go there for help. He said that from there he would take them to his house. We was having this plan for some time. Mister Sirius had Mister Aberforth summon Dobby so that Dobby could speak with him before he left to wait at Godric’s Hollow.”

The elf barely paused before continuing his story, “So Dobby left right away, and he stayed at the cave. It was not much time before you showed up. But Mister Sirius did not return, so Dobby took you to the house. Dobby has been here once before, sir, so he knew where to go. And­”

“Wait,” Harry cut in, trying to slow Dobby down. His mind was having trouble keeping up. “So… you’re saying that we did apparate to the cave where I met Sirius. But then you were there waiting for us, and took us… here?”

“Yes, that is what happened.”

“How did Sirius even find us? How did he know where we were? Did you say he was staying in Godric’s Hollow?”

“Yes, Sir, Mister Sirius did not know where you had gone after you were separated. He told Dobby that he was going to stay near the Hollow because he thought Harry Potter might go there.”

Harry felt his gut tighten uncomfortably. Sirius had been in hiding near Godric’s Hollow all that time waiting to see if they would show up there… and now… Harry let out a shaky breath.

“And… where is ‘here’?” Harry asked, glancing around again as he tried not to let his mind wander.

“This is the house of Mister Sirius. His family used to live here. It belongs to him now, but he,” Dobby lowered his voice slightly as if telling a secret, “let the Order use it as Headquarters.”

Processing so much information all at once was causing Harry’s brain more misery. Sighing, he massaged his head, closing his eyes to shut out the light.

“Harry Potter needs more sleep. When Dobby found him, he was not looking very well.”

“Yeah, maybe…” Harry said, “But I’m not leaving Hermione. She still needs more healing, and we have to make sure she… wakes up soon.” So much had happened in the last twenty­four hours, Harry felt unbelievably drained.

“I’ll just sleep in here,” Harry told the house elf, stifling a yawn. “I bet I could sleep just about anywhere right now.”

After some convincing, Dobby settled for bringing a cot into the room and letting Harry sleep there. Harry silently watched Hermione until the elf returned to the room. A minute after he settled onto the cot, Harry was asleep.

Harry was back at Malfoy Manor facing Voldemort, who was standing in the middle of the room.

“You are finished, Harry Potter,” the Dark Lord hissed. “I have taken the only thing in this world that truly matters to you.”

Harry felt confused for a moment before Voldemort stepped aside and revealed a figure behind him.

Lying on the floor, clearly unconscious, was Hermione.

All thought left Harry’s mind as he rushed to her side. She didn’t look good. He checked for a pulse.

“Please don’t be dead,” he pleaded. “Hermione…” He felt like he was suffocating.

“She is gone,” Voldemort said in a cold voice. “And you are alone.”

Harry woke up with a jolt. The dream had been so vivid, so real.

He sat up and looked to his side, seeing Hermione’s bed next to him in the moonlight. Pushing himself up off of the cot, and grabbing his glasses, he stood and moved to look at her. Her face seemed more peaceful, but she still didn’t look good. Harry let out a breath uncomfortably, remembering the dream.

After a few minutes, he went back to the cot and found himself unable to sleep, instead staring at the ceiling. The dream kept coming back to him, and the reality of it scared him. If something happened to Hermione, he would be completely alone. He had come to realize that he had been alone before he met her, but now that he knew what it was like to have someone with him­ helping him, supporting him, even caring about him, and sharing everything with him, the thought of losing her terrified him.

His thoughts wandered to when they had visited Godric’s Hollow­ seeing the town with her, his parents’ old house, the statue of him and his parents… then going to the graveyard and the flowers she conjured, and whatever moment between them that had been ruined by the horrible turn of events.

A while later, Harry drifted back to sleep.

Harry faintly heard noise and rolled over, trying to ignore it and get back to sleep. He had almost succeeded when he heard the noise again, a little louder this time. Shifting back to the other side, he tried to determine what had woken him up.

“Harry?”

Harry immediately recognized the voice as Hermione’s, even though it sounded weak and a bit hoarse. Hastily shaking off sleep, Harry sat up and blinked until his eyes became adjusted.

“Hermione?” Harry quickly got up and stood next to her bed, leaning over so he could see her better in the dim light. Her eyes were still closed.

“Harry,” she repeated restlessly, and Harry noticed that her face was slightly scrunched up in discomfort.

Harry laid a hand on her arm.

“Hermione, I’m here,” he said in a reassuring voice.

Her eyes opened into his and he noticed that they were shining with unshed tears. Unprepared for the emotion in her eyes, Harry hesitated for a moment before moving his hand from her shoulder to brush her hair out of her face gently.

“Hermione, it’s okay. I’m right here. Are you alright?” Harry asked. Despite his efforts, his voice still sounded noticeably worried and shaky.

She simply looked at him for a while, her eyes taking in his face. Slowly she reached up and laid her hand lightly against his cheek. Harry felt his stomach flip and heart speed up a little as warmth spread from his chest. Then, she smiled and let out a breath that sounded like a mix between a sigh and a laugh. Harry felt himself smile automatically in response as relief began to wash over him.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked again, this time sounding a lot less scared.

“I think so,” she answered truthfully. “I feel like I don’t have much energy and a lot of things hurt and feel stiff, but I think I’m going to be okay.”

Harry’s smile widened and he sighed thankfully.

“I thought…” she trailed off, her tone much different. Now she wouldn’t meet his eyes.

She didn’t have to finish the sentence, he knew what she had thought from her tone; he had worried about it, too­ been petrified by it. She had thought she might not survive.

“I know,” Harry told her. He took a breath to steady himself. “I was so scared I was going to lose you.”

That brought her eyes back to him, and his face flushed. She said nothing as her eyes searched his until Harry looked away, feeling embarrassed and unsure.

“I couldn’t do this without you,” he admitted, looking at her hand, which had left his face and was now covering one of his on the bed. “I just… you­” Harry awkwardly tripped over his words, not really sure what he wanted to say, but knowing he wanted to say something. For a few seconds, Harry felt himself fighting back tears and it unsettled him­ why was he feeling so emotional about this?

“It’s okay,” Hermione said quietly. “You don’t have to do this alone. I’m still here to help.”

Suddenly feeling like Hermione had gotten the wrong impression, Harry looked up to her face and blurted out his thoughts in a quiet, rushed voice.

“No, it’s not that. It wasn’t just about the mission or trying to save everyone by myself. That’s not why I was worried. It was about…”

What was it about? What is it about?

“It was about you.”

The look in her eyes told him that she had understood the gravity of his words. Harry felt completely uncertain, yet perfectly sure at the same time; terrified, but strangely confident.

She squeezed his hand and smiled softly up at him.

“Thank you,” she said, in a voice just above a whisper.

After he returned her smile warmly, still feeling nervous, he briefly summed up where they were and how they had gotten there. Hermione seemed shocked and upset upon hearing about Sirius. They paused, caught in a thick silence before Harry suggested they get some more sleep.

The pair spent the next few days healing and resting, sometimes discussing what they had learned or exploring the house. Hermione was definitely getting better, but her right arm couldn’t do much, which frustrated her greatly. To their surprise, they found another house elf the day after Dobby left. He was an older elf­ very wrinkly and with a hoarse voice. The elf’s name was Kreacher, and he was a foul­ mouthed, miserable little thing, in Harry’s opinion.

Harry had rolled his eyes exasperatedly as Hermione tried to reason with the elf politely after he had called her a Mudblood for the third time. The first time, Harry had threatened Kreacher, but Hermione had pushed him back and calmed him down. How Hermione could be so set on trying to kill the filthy, old elf with kindness, Harry couldn’t understand, but he watched with moderate patience as she attempted to talk to him.

From the elf, they had learned that the place was called the House of Black, which made sense because Sirius’s last name was Black. On the floor where they were staying, there was a bedroom, a bathroom, and the living room with a fireplace where Harry had woken up. There were large windows and a couch in the drawing room, and a tapestry with an elaborate family tree. When they inspected it, they noticed that some people, including Sirius, had been burnt out of the portrait.

On the ground floor, there was a grotesque set of house elf heads hanging on the wall­ Hermione had been particularly upset about this.

And there was a passageway to the kitchen, which was below the ground floor. It was a long, fairly narrow room with a long table to match and a giant fireplace at one end. The expansive pantry was almost completely empty, but they quickly decided not to trust anything in there when the first jar they opened emitted an awful smell. They hadn’t gone to look through the upper floors yet, but they figured there would be more bedrooms there.

One evening, Harry and Hermione were sitting on the sofa near the fireplace. Hermione was poring over a thick book looking for… something, and Harry was sitting next to her absentmindedly looking at the snitch Dumbledore had given him. A small, frustrated sigh left Hermione’s lips, which Harry wouldn’t have noticed had he not been sitting so close to her already. Pocketing the snitch, he looked over to see what was troubling her.

Her hair was a bit more frazzled than usual, and she was biting her lip so furiously that Harry was surprised it wasn’t bleeding. The look of concentration on her face showed that she hadn’t even noticed Harry’s attention.

“Hey,” Harry said softly, not wanting to startle her, “Hermione? Err… Hermione?”

When she didn’t respond, he tried again. And again.

Running a hand through his hair and looking at Hermione in amazement, he considered what to do; if he just shook her, she might not appreciate it and he didn’t want to shout at her.

“Hermione, Crookshanks says ‘Hello’.”

No response. He figured she might have responded to the name of her cat, which he knew she missed.

“Hermione, Dobby says he wants your socks, right now. He loves the fuzzy light blue ones. He wants to put them on his big, wobbly ears.”

Not even a glance. But she was still biting her lip.

Harry smirked, feeling a little mischievous. He felt a rush of nerves even though he was confident she wouldn’t hear and it was just meant as a joke.

“Hermione, you look really attractive biting your lip like that.”

She suddenly blinked and her eyes widened before they found him, looking confused and completely taken aback. Harry felt himself freeze.

“What did you just say…?” Hermione asked hesitantly.

Of course she would hear that. What do I say now? Harry panicked.

“I­ err… Dobby, and socks,” Harry stammered, hoping she would buy it and that she truly hadn’t heard the last part.

She studied him for a few moments and he held his breath under her questioning gaze.

“That… doesn’t sound anything like what I thought I heard,” Hermione said skeptically.

“W­well, I tried calling your name, and you weren’t answering, so I just­ err, sort of said random things to try to get your attention. One of the things I said was that, uh, Dobby wanted your socks and was going to put them… on his ears.”

Harry tried to silently will her not to ask him anything else and to just accept it as a misunderstanding.

Why did I even say that? Sure, I didn’t think she’d hear, and I thought it would be a good laugh to say something like that while she had no

idea, but still…

She gave him a look that said she clearly didn’t believe that’s all there was to it, but she let it go.

“Alright… well, what did you want, then?”

“Oh… you sighed and you looked frustrated and I was just… going to see what was wrong,” Harry explained.

Hermione sighed again, this time ignoring his nervousness.

“I’ve been trying to figure out what the other Horcruxes might be, or where the Sword of Gryffindor could be hidden, and why there might’ve been a fake in Bellatrix’s vault, but… I’m just getting nowhere.” Harry understood how she felt, and it seemed to bother her even more not to be able to find the answers. Taking a breath, she continued.

“I feel like the sword has to have something to do with destroying the Horcruxes, since nothing else we’ve tried has worked,” at this, Harry noticed her pause a second to scowl at nothing in particular. “But,” she continued, “knowing that it is supposed to be helpful to us doesn’t do any good if we can’t find the real one. And I’m sick of my arm being useless­”

“Hermione,” Harry cut her off before she could continue, gently taking hold of her uninjured arm, “relax.”

She stopped talking and looked at him, waiting for him to continue. Harry couldn’t tell whether she was annoyed by his interruption or not.

“Look, I know how you feel, believe me, but… try not to stress yourself out about it so much. We’re lucky to still be alive right now.”

Harry wanted to say more; he wanted to tell her that it would all be okay and that she didn’t have to worry, but he couldn’t promise that and he knew she wouldn’t believe it­ he didn’t either. So he settled for what he could promise, what he did believe.

“I’ll do anything to make sure nothing like that ever happens to you again,” Harry told her seriously, his eyes locked on hers after glancing to her shoulder. “I never should have let that happen. Your arm will heal. And the other stuff…” Harry trailed off, unsure of how to word what he wanted to say. “You’re brilliant. If anyone can figure it out, it’s you.”

A light blush rose across her cheeks at his compliment, and she broke his gaze, her eyes flickering around the room, not meeting his. “But that’s just it­ I should be able to find something useful with all these books, but every time I look I keep coming up empty­handed!”

“Hey,” Harry said in a comforting tone, “I know it’s frustrating, but this isn’t all on your shoulders, you know. I’m the one who has to fight him: it’s my job to find and destroy the Horcruxes and get the sword. You don’t have to be here at all.” He paused for a moment and her eyes slowly found his again. “But you are… and I definitely wouldn’t have gotten this far without you.”

Harry was a little surprised that the words came to him fairly easily; he didn’t really have any experience comforting someone. Maybe he just hated seeing Hermione so anxious and upset.

Hermione gave him a small smile; she looked embarrassed but grateful. Harry returned it with a smile of his own and offered to help her talk out her theories. They spent the next hour or so this way, discussing what the Horcruxes might be, or where they could be hidden and what sorts of magic might be guarding them.

Later that night, Harry found his sleep once again haunted.

He was standing in a dark hall, looking into a cell through bars. An old man was sitting in the cell, looking up at him.

Waving his thin, white wand at the bars, they burst open. Entering the cell, he spoke to the man in a threatening voice.

“Where is the wand?” he asked.

The man shook his head.

“I do not fear you, Voldemort. I do not fear death.”

Anger seethed within him and he bellowed in rage.

“Harry!” Hermione called, shaking his shoulders in an attempt to rouse him. Gasping, Harry shot up in bed, nearly slamming into Hermione as he sat bolt upright, his scar throbbing painfully.

“Harry, what happened?” Hermione asked, sounding worried. “Are you alright?” She was seated on the edge of his bed, one leg tucked in front of her so she could face him.

“You­Know­Who,” Harry told her, “he­ he killed someone.” Still trying to catch his breath and trembling slightly, he continued, “They were in a prison­ he was asking about a wand. I think he’s looking for the Elder wand. He doesn’t know where it is, though.”

Hermione looked very concerned, and she cautiously asked, “And you’re absolutely sure it wasn’t a dream?”

“I’m positive, Hermione,” Harry told her seriously. “I saw it… it was real.”

She nodded, believing him.

“It’s going to be alright, Harry,” she said, trying to comfort him. Gently she rubbed his arm, hoping to soothe some of his tension. “We’ll figure it out.”

The images from the vision kept coming back to him every time he closed his eyes. Looking at Hermione, he tried to convince himself to trust her words.

“I’m not sure how you can see things like that, but it sounds like some form of Legilimency. Usually it is used when the people are together in the same room…” Hermione trailed off, thinking. “It can be really dangerous, but it doesn’t seem like You­Know­Who knows about you seeing into his mind.”

“I think you should really do your best to block it out when it happens, Harry,” Hermione requested sincerely.

“I would if I could,” Harry told her, making a face.

“I don’t know very much about Occlumency, unfortunately,” she admitted, adding, “That’s the opposite of Legilimency,” when she saw Harry’s confused expression.

“I keep seeing it every time I close my eyes,” Harry told her.

“Then stop closing them,” Hermione replied smartly. “Look at me,” she instructed softly. He complied without hesitation or protest. The hand that had been rubbing his arm slowly slid down to hold one of his hands. Suddenly, her eyes brightened.

“I have an idea. Remember how you have to think of happy memories before you cast a Patronus?” she asked.

Harry nodded.

“Try that,” she suggested.

Keeping his eyes locked on hers, he brought the happiest memories he had to the front of his mind. Somehow, he found it much easier to summon them while looking at her.

Harry smiled, indicating that the storm in his mind was calming down. He just hoped that little trick would work as easily in the future. Something told him he was going to need it again.

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