Out of Shadows
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.
Cringing slightly as he tried to open his eyes, Harry noticed he had a decent headache and felt stuffy. Surprisingly, though, he felt better than he had in a long time. His muscles protested as he tried to move, but he ignored them. Searching his memory as he propped himself up on one arm, pieces of his nightmare came back to him, then…
Hermione. Was that a dream, too? It certainly felt real.
He remembered Hermione waking him, then sitting on the cot and holding him while he cried. Heat rushed to his face.
Did I really cry in front of her like that? And hold on to her?
After years and years of teaching himself to hold in his emotions, which he had started to learn was useful even back when he lived at the Dursleys’, he had broken down in front of her and cried his eyes out for Merlin knows how long. Harry laid back down on the cot, looking up at the tent, feeling mortified.
How was he supposed to act normal around her now? As more and more came back to him, his thoughts felt like a jumbled mess. What would he say to her when he saw her?
So… about all that crying, can we just forget that ever happened? Oh, and sorry about leaving you back at Hogwarts while you were asleep, I suppose that wasn’t very brave of me. By the way, how on Earth did you find me here? And everything with the locket… how much of that did you hear, exactly? …a bunch of rubbish, really… no need to worry about all that.
“Ugh…” Harry groaned as he rolled over onto his side, facing the wall of the tent. “This is ridiculous! What am I supposed to tell her?”
“You could just tell her the truth.”
Harry rolled back over so fast he fell right off of the cot. Blushing furiously, he sat up and looked up at her from the floor.
She was biting her lip to hold back a laugh and smiling slightly. Harry gave her a sheepish grin and ran a hand through his hair awkwardly.
“Err… I didn’t realize you were there,” Harry explained lamely.
“I noticed,” she said in an amused tone. “I’m sorry I snuck up on you. I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you alright?”
“Yeah,” Harry stood up, trying not to think about how much of a complete idiot he felt like at the moment. “So… what were you coming in here for, anyway?”
“I was coming to check on you,” the lightness in her voice was replaced by a more sincere tone. “I thought I heard you saying something in your sleep.”
“Oh,” Harry said, not really sure what else to say.
His head hurt, and he felt confused. How much of that had been a dream…?
“What… happened, exactly?” Harry asked her hesitantly, chancing a glance at her face. “How did you get here?”
All traces of humor quickly left her features as she looked at him.
“You left me at Hogwarts,” she said in a tone that told him this conversation could be dangerous. “You left while I was asleep.”
She paused for a moment, and Harry simply nodded, wanting her to continue. Now didn’t feel like the time for apologies.
“When I woke up, I panicked. I thought something had happened to you, but Neville told me he saw you leaving.”
She folded her arms across her chest and looked away from him.
“At first, I was going to go looking for you, but then I thought about it and… I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I’d never be able to find you, anyway.”
“So for the next two days, I just stayed at Hogwarts. I helped out Luna and the others with whatever they were doing. Then…” she hesitated, “more Death Eaters started showing up. They are taking over Hogwarts.”
“What?” Harry asked, shocked that Voldemort had made such a bold move so suddenly.
“I think You-Know-Who thought you were still there, and that’s why he went for it now. I don’t know. I heard he has a small army on the way to Hogwarts.”
Harry’s mind was racing, thinking about the students at Hogwarts, Hermione, why Voldemort would have done this now…
“Anyway,” Hermione said, getting back to her story, “when I found out, I just felt like I had to find you. So I left Hogwarts.”
This surprised him: she had left the place that had been her home for years when it was in danger to find him?
“I had no idea how I was going to do it, but when I got outside of Hogsmeade… I heard your voice…”
Harry’s eyes found her face, trying to read her expression.
“You heard my voice?” Harry asked.
“Yes,” she answered in a softer tone, reaching into one of her jacket pockets and pulling out a small silver object.
“I heard your voice coming from inside my jacket. It came out of the Deluminator.”
“What did I say?” he asked, confused but genuinely curious.
“You said…” she hesitated and Harry thought he noticed her cheeks turn a bit red. “You said my name. ‘Hermione.’ That was all.”
Harry listened with interest as she continued, glad that she didn’t seem nearly as angry or upset as she had at the beginning of her story.
“So I took out the Deluminator- it had been in my pocket from when I was at Hogwarts. It didn’t look any different than when I’d used it the day before, but I was sure I’d heard your voice, so I clicked it.”
“There weren’t any lights to collect since I was outside of Hogsmeade by then, but a ball of light just appeared out of nowhere a few feet from me. It was the strangest thing,” Hermione said, sounding puzzled herself. “The light was a shade of blue that reminded me of a Portkey. My instincts told me to follow it, so I did.”
“Then, when I got closer to the light, it sort of… went into my chest,” she said, looking unsure of how to word what had happened.
“Sorry?” Harry said, not sure if he understood.
“The light,” Hermione tried to explain more descriptively, “floated toward me, and went right through me, here,” she touched her fingertips lightly to a spot near the center of her chest.
It took Harry a few seconds to realize that where she was pointing was right near her heart.
“It was strange- it felt warm, and I just… knew what to do. I knew it would take me to you,” she said.
“I Disapparated and it brought me here. I heard voices, so I ran toward them, and I found you and the locket.”
“Wow,” was all Harry could think of to say in response. “How much did you hear?” he asked before he could stop himself.
“Enough,” she answered simply, meeting his eyes.
“And it’s a good thing I did!” Hermione said, now sounding infuriated all over again. “What were you thinking, trying to destroy it yourself? It could have killed you!”
“I think it nearly did,” Harry admitted quietly, not looking at her. “I felt all of the energy just draining from my body…”
“Thanks,” he added, his eyes glancing back to her face briefly, “you saved my life.”
She hesitated for several seconds before walking forward and hugging him tightly.
Harry’s stomach flipped, flustered by her unexpected action. Slowly, he wrapped his arms around her.
For a while, they stayed like that, silently holding one another.
Eventually, she pulled back.
“Harry, why did you leave?” she asked quietly. Her voice sounded soft and vulnerable and it tightened Harry’s chest uncomfortably.
He hesitated as he searched for a decent answer, a good enough excuse.
“Because I thought it was for the best.”
“Why didn’t you say something? Why didn’t you tell me what you were doing?” Hermione asked, her voice desperate to understand.
“I didn’t think you’d have let me go without you,” he answered honestly. Now he wasn’t so sure.
“I wouldn’t have,” she answered without hesitation.
“Then that’s why,” Harry confirmed.
“I don’t understand… Did you really think you would be better off without me?”
“For a brilliant witch, you sure do miss the obvious sometimes,” Harry said. “I just need to finish this on my own, Hermione.”
“What do you mean?” she asked, looking confused.
“I mean, you need to go back to Hogwarts and help out there. I need to go and finish finding these Horcruxes.”
He hadn’t planned on saying it, but the words were just flowing from him effortlessly, as if he had rehearsed. The scenes the locket had showed him replayed in his mind: the threats, his fears, her pleas.
“What? Don’t be ridiculous! I’m not leaving you to do this on your own! You nearly died!”
“So have you!” Harry shouted suddenly. Her numerous near-death experiences since she had been helping him came to the forefront of his thoughts.
“Is that what this is about?” she asked, her voice losing some of its edge. “I can take care of myself, Harry. I’ll be fine.”
“No, Hermione,” he said with finality, grabbing the backpack he’d taken with him before and slinging it over one shoulder. “I need to finish this on my own. I don’t need you.”
His harsh words stung and hung in the air as he walked past her toward the front of the tent. Guilt was already eating at him for speaking so harshly to her, especially when he knew it wasn’t true. He paused a foot from the entrance.
“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, regret evident in his tone.
He made to move toward the exit, but he felt her hand on his arm, stopping him. She turned him around, holding onto his arms, and met his eyes in a determined gaze.
He watched her take a short breath and step closer, feeling his heart begin to speed up in his chest. Leaning forward quickly, she closed the distance between them, pressing her lips to his.
Harry’s mind blanked as his eyes widened in surprise. He couldn’t seem to process what was happening. Before he could react, she pulled back.
Her face was a fierce shade of scarlet, and she looked jumpy and nervous.
“Don’t just leave like that, alright?” she asked in a shaky voice. “You need my help and- and I know it’s dangerous but I’d rather be with you than not.”
Harry wasn’t sure if she meant with him as in the same location or with him, given what she had just done, but decided that didn’t matter right now.
“Alright,” Harry answered, his own voice sounding anxious and different to him somehow. “I’m sorry. I just didn’t want…”
“I know,” Hermione cut in when he hesitated, “it’s alright.”
Their eyes met before they both looked away awkwardly.
“So, what’s the plan?” Harry asked, trying to redirect their focus.