Author E-mail: AmethystJackson@hotmail.com
Category: Romance, Drama
Keywords: Harry, Hermione, collection
Rating: PG-13 (for things to come)
Spoilers: For all five books, just to be safe
Summary: Hermione has an unusual collection. In this chapter, she also has a plan.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author’s Note: Yeah…so, this chapter has nothing whatsoever to do with the collection in the first. Never mentions it, actually. But in order to get you from here to the events of chapter four, when it will become very significant again, you must know what happens in between. And it happens to be a nice, subtle, non-fluffy look at H/Hr as well – something unusual in this fandom, I’d say. So…enjoy.
Hermione had realized in her fourth year that being friends with Harry would mean that she would always be fighting beside him. She had always known that she might die at his side. Sixth year, she learned that there would be a time – the last time – when Harry would face Voldemort and kill him…or possibly be killed, and no matter what the outcome, she knew she would be there with him.
But it wasn’t until she’d understood that her friendship with Harry was destined to become something much greater that she’d known exactly what was going to happen to Harry and what part she would play in it.
When she’d spoken with him after he awoke from his coma at the end of their sixth year, she’d been struck with an idea – a brilliant, potentially life-saving idea – and the very next day, filled with determination, she’d embarked upon her mission. Naturally, she’d remained at Harry’s bed side all day, regardless of her fervor, but she had done so with a pile of books at her feet, searching frantically for the answers she needed while he slept, and mulling over the information even as she chatted with him in his waking hours.
She spent weeks attempting to decide whether she wanted to tell him about the idea or not. It could be the key – the solution to the equation presented by the prophecy – if it could be done. She had faith in the theory; she was storing all of her hopes in it. But what if she couldn’t pull if off? She would certainly be crushed. Would it be fair, then, to put Harry through the emotional turmoil of giving him hope and destroying it in the next instant?
No, it would not be fair; it would be cruel, and so she chose not to tell him, though he’d known automatically that she was up to something. It was easy to fool Ron. He’d come to the conclusion without any assistance on her part that she was getting carried away with her preparation for the NEWTs, and he’d dismissed her constant time in the library as a normal occurrence. Harry, however, was more difficult to satisfy with her usual excuses. It became nearly impossible to allay his suspicions when she began spending more time on the project than she did studying for exams…but luckily, though Harry was more perceptive than Ron at times, he was also more understanding; he only had to be snapped at once before he gave up and let her be.
By Christmas of her seventh year, she had figured it out – at least, she hoped she had – and she presented the idea to Dumbledore.
He looked at her over the rim of his glasses as she explained her plans, and then he smiled.
“I don’t think you hear this enough, Miss Granger: you are the brightest witch I’ve ever met.”
She blushed. “You think it will work, then?”
“I think, with faith, it will succeed. Even if I’m wrong, I believe you have the right idea. Now, I think it’s time to tell Harry – and I think in this case, sooner would be better than later.”
Hermione had a strange feeling that he was talking about more than her plan, but she nodded and left without question.
She would tell him right then and there, she decided. She would take him somewhere isolated and explain the plan as best as she could without giving away too many of her own feelings about it.
She found him in the common room reading yet another book on defensive magic – he’d been doing nothing else in his free time all year.
“Where have you been? Ron went off with Luna, and I was beginning to worry that you were locked up in a broom closet with a Ravenclaw as well.”
Hermione forced a smile through her nerves. “No, I had a meeting with Dumbledore, actually.”
“Head Girl business?”
“No…something more important.”
“More important than Head Girl business?” He raised an eyebrow. “Does such a thing exist?”
“Of course it does,” she said impatiently, and he frowned.
“Is something the matter?”
She sighed. “No, nothing’s wrong – but I need to talk to you about something. Can we go somewhere else? Somewhere we won’t be overheard?”
Harry nodded, shutting his book. “Of course. Room of Requirement?”
“Probably the best place for it,” she agreed.
“This thing you need to talk to me about – does it have anything to do with your meeting with Dumbledore?”
“Quite a bit, yes,” she said, taking his hand. “Come on. Let’s go before Ron gets back.”
She led him out of the common room, both oblivious to the curious and, in some cases, knowing stares of their housemates. “Ron can’t know about this?”
“He can – but it’s important that you understand before we let Ron in on it. He’s always taking things out of context – it would be impossible to explain with him around.”
Harry looked at her warily. “You’re starting to worry me, Hermione.”
She looked back at him with an apologetic half-smile as they arrived at the Room of Requirement. “I’m sorry – I’ll explain everything as soon as we’re inside.”
The Room took on the form of a miniature common room, with a soft carpet and tapestries over the walls, but instead of chairs and tables, it provided only a worn, squashy sort of couch in front of a roaring fireplace.
Once they were both seated, Hermione began.
“Remember sixth year, after the attack when you woke from your coma?” He nodded. “Well, that night, an idea came to me – a theory on how to defeat Voldemort.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
“I wanted to be sure it would work before I told you. If it turned out to be some silly, idiotic notion, I didn’t want you to be disappointed.”
“I don’t think you’ve ever had a silly, idiotic notion, Hermione.”
“Nevertheless, I didn’t want you to have too much faith in it – not concerning something this huge.”
“So that’s what you’ve been working on all this time? This theory?” he questioned.
She nodded. “The theory was that if Voldemort’s power lies in hate and evil, then the opposite of that should defeat him, or at least cancel out that power and make him vulnerable. And…there’s this philosophy called Taoism that comes from China, and it poses the idea that everything has an extreme opposite – so, if there’s dark magic, there also has to be light magic. I thought, then, that maybe…if I came up with a spell that was fueled by goodness and love, then that would be light magic, and it could hurt him. Does that make sense?”
Harry nodded slowly.
“Right, well…that’s what I’ve been doing. Researching spell creation and looking for spells of a similar nature, and I think – and Dumbledore thinks so, too – that I’ve created the spell we need.”
Harry blinked. “You’ve created a spell that will kill Voldemort?”
“Well…not exactly. The effects of a spell depend on the purpose with which the spell was created, and the purpose of this spell is to destroy a dark wizard’s power. What it will do is search out all of the power that he obtained through evil means, and it should end any spells that are still drawing off his power. For instance, if he had someone under the Imperius Curse at the time we did the spell, it would be broken. And if the spells that prevent him from dying are still drawing off his power, those would be broken, too.”
She’d expected to appear pensive or hopeful or relieved or determined – or all of the above – at that moment…but instead, he was frowning at her. “We?”
“You said we – ‘at the time we did the spell.’ But…you can’t be a part of it, Hermione.”
She probably should have expected that, in hindsight. He’d been overprotective ever since the Death Eaters’ attack. “I have to be a part of it, Harry, whether you’re okay with that or not. The spell requires two people, and I’m the only person that can do it with you.”
“It requires mutual love.”
“Mutual love?” he repeated, startled.
Hermione sighed. It would have been a lot easier to explain things if she could just tell him that she was in love with him and knew damned well that he was in love with her – but he was definitely not ready for that. If he knew all that, and there was a possibility Voldemort could know all that, he’d have her locked up in some fortress somewhere with as many protective charms as he could find around it. No, she’d have to do it the hard way if she wanted to earn his cooperation in letting her be involved.
“Yes, mutual love. We’ve been friends for over six years – and considering all that we’ve been through together, we have a stronger friendship than anyone else in the world can claim. I think it’s safe to say that we love each other at this point, and I know for a fact that I love you more than anyone else in this world does. I’m the best person to do the spell with you, and you know it.”
“…What about Ron? He could do it, couldn’t he?”
“Harry, the very fact that you’d rather let Ron go into danger with you than me is the very reason why I have to do it. If you used anyone else, it would be drastically weakened.”
Hermione waited patiently as he started into the fire for a few minutes, thinking it over. With the flickering fire reflected in his eyes, she could almost see the scattered thoughts running through his mind.
“Maybe it’s not worth the risk,” he said finally.
“Harry…I understand that you would rather take on Voldemort and all of his Death Eaters single-handedly than let anyone you love be in danger, and the last thing I want to do is worry you more, but I’m going to be right there by your side every time you go into battle, whether you like it or not.
“Remember what you said to me when I asked you not to risk your life for me again?” He was silent, staring down at his hands. “You said that you couldn’t just stand there and let me die. And I told you that I couldn’t just let you die, either – and staying behind while you went off to fight would be just that. I have to be there to protect you.
“So your choice is this. You can refuse to try my spell in a futile attempt to keep me from going into battle with you, or you can accept that I’m going to be there – spell or no spell – and give it a chance.”
Harry looked over at her and, to her surprise, laughed. “You are without a doubt the most stubborn person I know.”
“More stubborn than you,” she smirked, “and that’s saying something.”
Harry’s smile faded. “All right, then. We’ll try your spell – and if you get yourself killed, don’t think I won’t bring you back to life and kill you again. Got it?”
Hermione snorted. “As if you’d ever be able to figure out how to bring someone back to life without me.”
He smiled again, but briefly. “Seriously, Hermione – if anything happens to you – “
She nodded. “I know. And the same goes for you, Potter. After all, I could bring you back to life and kill you again.”
Harry nodded solemnly. “Yes, I’m sure you could.”
She stood and reached for his hand again. “Let’s go back to the common room, and I can explain the details some other day. It’s not as though Voldemort would attack on Christmas, after all.”
Harry blinked. “He wouldn’t? But…wouldn’t that be a good time to storm the castle? When there’s hardly anyone in it?”
“Are you kidding? When it’s this snowy? There would a lot less storming and a lot more trudging, if you ask me.”
He smiled. She loved it when he smiled. It erased the worry and fear from his face and turned him into the boy she’d known before the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament – before Voldemort had become a real threat rather than the ghost of dark times. Seeing him smile and knowing that her Harry – her strong, brave, caring Harry – was still there, despite the darkness they’d been struggling through, and would always remain there, comforted her like nothing else could and strengthened her faith in their ability to save the future.
He squeezed her hand, and she couldn’t help smiling back at him. Wordlessly, they left the Room of Requirement and with it, their new secret, and traced their footsteps back to the common room.
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