Loneliness

Chapter 10

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. Blah blah blah. should just put a blanket disclaimer on the site for all the idiots that could possibly believe we actually own these stories or make any kind of a profit.


When Hermione peeked her head outside the Ravenclaw common room, Harry was waiting, leaning up against the wall and fiddling with his wand. He was wearing a worn pair of jeans and a scruffy, un-tucked shirt that looked way to big for him. He gave her a lopsided smile as a greeting. Hermione crept outside and slowly, gently closed the door behind her. Feeling self-conscious, she smoothed down the front of the plain blue dress she was wearing, even though it didn't really need to be done, and then stood nervously tapping her sandaled left foot on the floor.

Harry gestured to her: shh, with a finger over his lips. Hermione blushed and stopped what she was doing. He beckoned and she followed slowly, anxiously looking around. They were out after hours, when students were supposed to be locked safely up inside their dormitories. This was the first time she had ever done anything she wasn't supposed to do. It was frightening.

Hermione had no idea where Harry was taking her, and so had already prepared a little note for him. She tapped him on the shoulder, and when he turned to face her, she showed him the crumpled little piece of paper. He grinned and whispered, 'you'll see.'

Harry led the way through the silent corridors of Hogwarts. Every now and then he would stop, holding up a hand for her to do the same, and she would wait with him, wondering why they had stopped. Then he would give her a thumbs-up and they would continue their stealthy trek through the castle. She was dying to ask him why they kept stopping, but with no readily available parchment, she was rendered silent. Next time she would remember to bring something to write on, she vowed, then wondered at the fact she was already certain there would be a next time.

Finally, Harry ushered her through one final door, out onto the battlements of the castle. Hermione gasped. The view was magnificent - magnificent and terrifying. The wind howled, blowing her dress about her legs, slapping. She grabbed the nearest wall and clung on. Harry casually strolled out towards the edge, the only thing between him and a plummeting death being a tiny little brick wall. He was unafraid, his arms out at his sides, the shirt being picked up in the wind, his hair, already dishevelled, becoming a hurricane around him. He only became aware of her fear when he turned to grin at her, and saw her desperately hugging the wall, as far from the edge as possible.

'Hey, it's okay,' he said, walking back over to her, 'you don't have to cling to the wall like that.'

Hermione shook her head, a furious denial.

'You'll be fine,' Harry continued, trying to ease her fears. 'You won't fall or get blown away or anything. Trust me.' He smiled, taking a step back. 'Follow me. Come on. You can do it. Just look at my face.'

Hermione glanced over his shoulder, at the swirling abyss, and shuddered. She closed her eyes tight. Why had he brought her to this place?

'Hermione.' Harry was closer again. 'Listen to my. Ignore the wind. It's not here. It's just you and me. Look at me, not anywhere else. Come on. Open your eyes.'

Hermione cracked an eye open.

'That's it,' he said, 'now look at me. Let go of the wall.'

She did, legs trembling.

'Take a step. Just one. You can do it Hermione.'

And she did, slowly.

Harry grinned. 'Keep it up. One more step. That's it. And another. Keep going Hermione, you're going great.'

Before she knew it, Harry had taken her several steps away from the wall, not close to edge, but near enough that she felt the wind pulling at her. She tried to ignore it, like Harry said, pretending it wasn't here, it was just the two of them.

'Good Hermione,' Harry said reassuringly. 'Look, you're fine. You don't need to cling to the wall. Do you?'

Hermione shook her head, although she wasn't exactly comfortable standing out in the open. She knew it was irrational, but the fear that a sudden gust of wind would come along and blow her over the edge was all that she could think about.

'Look. This is what I wanted to show you. Look at the view Hermione. Isn't it amazing?'

Hermione made herself look. She tried her very best to ignore the wind and focus on the incredible view, and it was incredible. She couldn't deny it. The mountains, the great lake below them, the village of Hogsmeade twinkling like a thousand fairy lights. And the moon, partially hidden by the moody clouds. She couldn't fight the smile that took over her face, and suddenly the wind and the fall were forgotten.

'I come here nearly every night,' Harry said, 'just to look out at this. To remember that I wasn't always this free. My view from the locked ward of Waltham's was a grafiiti'd brick wall. But this – this is breathtaking. I just wanted to share it with you.'

Hermione turned to look at Harry. She desperately wanted to reach out and hold his hand. Instead she had to settle for a little smile, to show how touched she was that he would show her this.

'We can go back now if you want,' Harry offered.

Hermione shook her head no. She wasn't done enjoying the view, or the company.

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