Chapter One | Chapter Two
Title: Memory's Past (3/?)
Disclaimer: I don't own them. & If you sue me, all you'll get is $5 and some lint.
Harry made a point of visiting Hermione's bookstore at least two times a week. There was always a roaring fire and big squashy chairs for any customers that wished to read. Although he liked to read, while he was there he rarely got any reading done. He had taken to just sitting there, pretending to read, when really what he was doing was watching Hermione. Like a stalker. No, no---you just want to see her... Hermione had changed since Hogwarts. Her hair was tamer, but it was still thick and wavy. She had gained weight, but now she was filled out in all the right places and looked great. Time had made her even more beautiufl.
"Harry James Potter! You've been in here every day this week. You don't like books! So why are you still here?"
He chuckled. Actually chuckled. How infuriating.
"Hermione, how do you know I don't like to read? People change. It's been eleven years since Hogwarts. I've changed. Didn't you notice the bookshelf full of books in my room?"
She hadn't. "Of course I did! But that doesn't mean you actually read them. Loads of people buy books for...for show, or whatever. To give the appearance that they read."
"Hermione, you probably know better than anyone that when one's lonely, books can help to fill that hole. I like reading. Is that really so hard for you to wrap your mind around?"
"In school you never---"
"Yes, I still don't. I read, but not nonfiction like you. I didn't in school....but back then I had quidditch and homework and the DA and worring about Voldemort. I took it up around when I started auror training."
Okay. That made sense. Maybe. But he'd been reading the same book all week. And he wasn't even halfway through it. "Fine. You like reading. But you have been reading the same damn book all week. And...and, it's upside down!" Harry hurry up and flipped the book over.
"I---it's not upside down," he stammered weakly.
"Oh, Harry," she sighed, "What have you really been doing here all week?" she walked over and sat in the armchair next to him. Reaching over to squeeze his hand, "I won't get mad, I swear. Am I in danger? Wanted by the ministry? Blast, I knew I shouldn't have blown up that building the other day...what was I thinking!"
"Haha, you're funny," he said dryly, "Nothing so dramatic..." he suddenly stoop up and sprinted toward the door. "I guess I'll be going---"
"Oh, no you don't! Impedimenta" she yelled, freezing Harry in his tracks. "You're going to tell me what's going on, Harry James Potter!"
Glaring at her, "You can't make me," he taunted. Ohhh, he's such a child...he makes me so mad... "Yes, you are. Right. Now." The jinx was wearing off and Harry was shwoing signs of fleeing again. "Harry, seriously. Just tell me."
He finally relented and mumbled, "wanendtimwioupeyoudonthingker".
"What's that? Harry, don't mumble."
"Gah! I---ah, I said 'I wanted to spend more time around you and I hope you don't think I'm a stalker.' There, happy? I'll be going now. Don't worry, I won't bother you again." Finally, the curse had worn off and Harry shot out the door.
Hermione groaned and started after him. "Harry! HARRY, wait! I don't care! Just wait, dammit!" but he had already rounded the corner and apparated. A group of old witches had stopped their conversation and were staring at her, mouths agape. "What? What are you looking at?" Hermione snapped, and then stormed back into her store.
Ugh. He was such an idiot. Him and his half-brained ideas. They always blew up in his face, so why bother even trying? He opened the door he was standing outside of. Oh, look. The Three Broomsticks. Harry walked over to a corner table feeling he needed seclusion at the moment. As he sat down, e conjured a cap and placed it roughly on his head, attemping to hide his face in shadow. (those damn fangirls were everywhere...)
"Ah, Mr. Potter, the usual?" asked Madam Rosmerta. Harry hadn't noticed that she'd walked over to his table. Over the years, the two had become close. She often listened to his rants while he got drunk. He was a depressing drunk, so Harry often had problems to complain about to Rosmerta. She always listened quietly, nodding in all the appropriate places and offering advice and support.
"Better make it firewhiskey, Rose," he sighed and glowered at the table. Rosmerta returned a few moments later with a large mug of firewhiskey. "Sheryl, I'm taking five. You takeover," she yelled to the young girl that she employed. Rosmerta pulled out the chair across from Harry and sat down.
"It's her again, isn't it?" She was, of course, referring to Hermione. Hermione was frequently the subject of Harry's woes. Harry didn't remember half of what he'd told her in the past, for he'd been too pissed to recall. But it was always her. It started directly out of Hogwarts. He didn't want to hurt their already fragmented (and getting worse by the day) friendship. And then it turned to rage and jealousy over Hermione's husband. Eventually that turned into plain old pining and desire. In the past week, however, it'd been just...indecisivness. Should he tell Hermione that he'd been secretly in love with her since he was seventeen? Or just continue to pine and be miserable? Of course, the former was the more appealing option but... he was a coward. What happened to the old Gryffindor courage? It's all used up, from Voldemort and Death Eaters and all the other bad guys... No, no. Bravery was something that sticks---it's an enduring quality! You still have it, you do!
He groaned. "Of course it's her. I told her...well, not everything. Hardly anything, actually. But now, I'm sure she thinks I'm a stalker and never wants to see me again," he took a swig of whiskey and moaned. "I'm so stupid."
"Of course you are, dear. That's what make you, you. But you need to pull yourself together. From what you've told me about Hermione...well, you two have been through enough for her not to hate you or think you're a stalker. She's a smart girl, she knows you're a good intentioned guy. You were her best friend for seven years, after all. So...just don't give up hope, Harry," she gently brushed her hand on his cheek and stood up. "It'll all work out. You'll see."