[Fanfic] Out of Shadows – Chapter 26

Out of Shadows

Chapter 26

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

OutOfShadow_26

“Harry,” Hermione said for the third time, shaking his shoulder to try to wake him.

Noise reached his ears again, and slowly, Harry opened his eyes, blinking as they adjusted to the dim lighting.

“Hermione,” he said with a voice still raspy from sleep, “what’s wrong?” Her face came into focus not far from his.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine,” she answered, “but I’m feeling pretty tired… Do you think you could take over for a little while?”

Harry, who felt like he had hardly slept, sat up and found his glasses.

“Sure, I can try to stay up for a bit,” he told her.

“Harry, you look dreadful! Couldn’t you sleep?” Her tone conveyed her concern for him clearly.

“Err, I slept, just not that much,” he admitted. “But it’s alright. You should get some rest now. It wasn’t your fault I couldn’t get to sleep.”

A few seconds later, Harry’s tired brain caught up to him and realized that it had, in fact, been her fault that it had taken him so long to fall asleep. His face heated up as he remembered why.

“Are you sure?” she asked, not looking convinced that he was okay. Now she seemed nervous, too. “Is something bothering you?”

“No,” Harry answered a little too quickly. “No, I just… have trouble sleeping sometimes.”

He stood up, pulling on his jacket as he walked to the table in the tent. Picking up an apple, he glanced at Hermione.

Apparently she had been watching him, and their eyes briefly met before she looked away.

“Well, I’ll be out here… if you want anything,” Harry told her uncertainly.

“Alright,” Hermione answered. “Thank you.”

“Goodnight.”

After he said this, he saw a light blush spread across her face. He smiled at her in what he hoped was a reassuring way and left the tent.

Harry wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he heard a shuffling noise from within the tent, but it hadn’t felt like very long. A minute later, Hermione emerged from their shelter, looking troubled. Harry glanced up at her and,  judging that nothing serious was wrong, waited to see what she would do.

Without speaking, she took a seat next to him outside the tent.

For several minutes, they sat in silence, looking out into the dark woods surrounding them. They were each lost in their own thoughts and not entirely sure how to bridge the small gap between them.

Eventually, Hermione spoke.

“I couldn’t sleep, either,” Hermione admitted. “Maybe the pressure of everything going on is just getting to us.”

Harry looked at her but found that he wasn’t sure what to say, so he returned his gaze to the trees. It had been a struggle to stay focused on keeping watch before Hermione had come out.

In the pause that followed, Harry could almost feel the tension coming from the witch beside him.

“Harry,” she said finally, her voice sounding different than usual, “is everything alright… really?”

Harry turned, and his green eyes quickly found hers. She looked anxious, uncertain, and it bothered Harry. The fact that they had become more comfortable around one another was something he wasn’t used to, but he had grown to like it.

“You know, with us, and everything,” she added, her eyes looking away. Hearing the hesitations and doubt in her voice, Harry frowned.

Ignoring her question, he asked first, “Hermione, are you alright?”

She nodded, adding, “I think so, yes,” before he continued.

“Then everything is fine,” he told her sincerely, giving her a warm, but weary, smile.

If she was alright, then things between them were okay as far as he was concerned.

“You just didn’t seem to want to talk, is all,” Hermione explained, feeling silly for over-analyzing it when he answered.

“I’m just tired,” he said. “I was almost falling asleep when you came out here.”

“Maybe… we should both stay up and keep watch together. That way, we can help each other stay awake.” Her reasoning made perfect sense to Harry, especially in his exhausted state.

“Good idea,” he told her.

They sat in a mostly-comfortable silence for several minutes. Before long, the elf who had saved Harry’s life took over his thoughts. He didn’t even know if Dobby was still alive, or what his chances of recovering were.

Sensing that Hermione was about to speak, Harry’s train of thought stopped short.

“So, how are you doing?” she asked gently.

He hesitated, which wasn’t lost on Hermione.

“I don’t know,” he answered in a low voice.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.

Harry nodded once, and they fell silent again. He glanced at Hermione and noticed that she seemed to be having trouble keeping her eyes open.

“Are you sure you don’t want to try and sleep?” Harry asked. “We need that brain of yours working at full power if we are going to come up with a plan to sneak into Hogwarts again without getting caught.” He smiled to himself slightly, thinking that had sounded a bit silly. He really was tired. “Not to mention for the stealthy navigating once we get in.”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you!” Hermione exclaimed, her eyes brightening. “Lupin gave me the Marauder’s Map when he came to visit Tonks in case we needed it. He must’ve thought we might end up going to Hogwarts for something.”

“Really?” Harry asked excitedly, most of his drowsiness temporarily forgotten. “The map he and my dad and Sirius made?”

“Yes,” she answered. “Do you want to see it?”

“Yeah!”

“Then I’ll be right back,” she told him.

With that, she stood and went back into the tent, returning a minute later with a thick, folded piece of parchment.

She reclaimed her spot next to him, and his eyes immediately found a completely blank piece of folded parchment.

He frowned at her, looking so thoroughly disappointed that she couldn’t help but laugh quietly.

Giving him a mysterious smile, Hermione pulled out her wand.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” she recited, tapping the paper.

“I got that out of Fred and George before I confiscated it. I would have looked foolish if I brought it to a teacher and it ended up blank again.”

Harry watched with rapt attention as inked words spread across the paper like magic. It is magic.

‘Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs…’

Seeing the names of the Marauders appear on the front, Harry grinned. Hermione handed it to him and watched as he carefully opened the folds of the enormous map.

“I wouldn’t try to open it all at once,” she warned.

Harry listened, and instead looked it over in small parts.

“It is very well-made, even things like polyjuice potion and invisibility cloaks can’t fool it. The person’s name will still show up. Animagi show up with their normal names, too, which is how Lupin found out about Pettigrew and Sirius being innocent.”

“Wait, I know Wormtail became friends with them and was one of the Marauders… and Sirius said Lupin found out that he was innocent because he saw Wormtail on the map, meaning Sirius hadn’t killed him… But why was Wormtail hiding at Hogwarts? And how? Was he in his animagus form?”

“Yes,” Hermione answered. “We think he was actually posing as Ginny’s brother Ron’s rat.”

“So, he lived as a rat for years…?” Harry asked, looking disgusted.

“It seems that way,” Hermione told him.

They spent a while looking at the map, with Hermione occasionally explaining things or commenting on a person or place. She told him who some of the teachers were, pointing out their locations, and fretting over how some of them weren’t in their usual quarters.

“Hang on,” Harry said some time later, “where are Neville and Luna and Ginny and Ron?”

“They should still be in the Room of Requirement. It doesn’t show up on the map and neither do the people inside.

It’s unplottable, so that might be why it isn’t on there, or maybe the Marauder’s never found the room; we only did by accident.”

He went back to scanning the map with interest. Reading the names of the rooms, he found many classes similar to subjects he had learned at the Malfoys: Potions, Transfiguration, and Charms. However, there were other subjects that he had only heard about from Hermione, too.

There were greenhouses outside that said Herbology, a subject that Harry hadn’t learned much of at the Malfoys.

There were also rooms in the castle for Muggle Studies, Ancient Runes, and Defense Against the Dark Arts (which Harry wasn’t surprised he hadn’t been taught). A section of one of the towers read Divination, which Harry remembered Hermione saying was complete rubbish. He smiled slightly. The thought of Hermione putting down a
school subject was amusing when normally she seemed like she would be a great student.
Realizing he hadn’t heard anything from her in a while, Harry looked over at Hermione to find her eyes closed peacefully.

She must’ve fallen asleep. We were both really tired. I don’t even think she slept at all earlier.
Now that the small amount of focus he still had wasn’t on the map, he noticed that she was leaning against him more than she had been when she was awake. Harry felt some of the odd sensations from earlier that night return.

Should I wake her? I think I can stay awake a little longer on my own.

He looked at Hermione again, who was quite close to him, resting calmly. The memory of her leaning in to him and kissing his cheek replayed in his mind for the hundredth time.

I don’t want to wake her- she finally got to sleep. And it is definitely warmer like this…

The memory combined with the nervous feelings returning led his partially conscious mind to a thought that was both thrilling and unsettling…

She had kissed him, so why not? His eyes flickered back down to her cheek, which wasn’t far from his face. Would she be okay with it if he did?

Curiosity got the better of his tired mindfulness.

Noticing his fast heartbeat, he slowly leaned in and let his lips lightly touch her cheek.

When he pulled back, he noticed a small smile quirking up the corner of Hermione’s lips.

A moment later, her eyes opened halfway.

Harry froze; his whole body was tense and silent other than his pounding heart. Her smile widened slightly as her eyes closed again, and she leaned in closer to him.

For a terrifying second, Harry wondered if she was going to kiss him. But she simply moved to rest against his shoulder more comfortably, and, Harry assumed by her quick return to peaceful stillness, fell back to sleep.

He let out a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. Exhaustion was still fighting to take over, and he felt his body calm down.

Now that he was relaxed, he struggled to focus his mind on staying vigilant for just a few more hours.

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