Unofficial Portkey Archive

Tidal by Aeryn



Title: Tidal

Author: Aeryn

Summary: You've become my best friend // I want to love you but I don't know if I can...

Notes: H/Hr. Oh, I think maybe I will never be over you two. Or THAT scene in Deathly Hallows 1. Inspired by this picture. Their HANDS, I tell you. Their HANDS.)


The sensation, her face muscles being pulled into this configuration - it's so alien, it takes her a moment to realize - it's a smile. She's actually smiling.

It's been so long.

And it's because of Harry. His hand locked with hers, their bodies swaying and twirling ridiculously together to music they've long since stopped trying to make out the words to. The feel of his head on her shoulder, and how solid his own feels beneath her chin. His hand on her back, maybe just a hair more firm than usual?

She's long known, on some level, how much Harry depends on her. It isn't until this moment she realizes just how she's come to depend on him, too. She tucks her head more snugly against his shoulder, takes in that warm scent of wood smoke and soap and wool and Harry, fixes on the sound of his breathing. She's spent so much of the last seven years trying to make sure that that breathing doesn't stop. She's never allowed herself the brainspace in her waking hours to contemplate what life would be like if she failed.

Her dreaming hours have been quite another matter.

Even then, she shuffles them neatly to the back of her mind long before she steps down to the common room to walk him down to breakfast. She - he - can't afford for otherwise.

The music fades - and, despite their not having really heard it, its absence seems to be an almost sucking void, the carefree energy evaporating. She starts to pull away, chances a glance into Harry's eyes.

Green pierces her, stills her parted lips. The energy has not faded from that gaze, renders them a more vibrant green than usual - or is it that she's simply never noticed?

Those eyes, just for a moment, flick down to her lips. She finds herself looking at his, too... and down.

His hand. Still open, still offering.

Her hand, hanging so close.


And why do her eyes come back to his lips?

She wonders, maybe not so abruptly, if they are as soft as they look. She's kissed Harry before. But always on the cheek, without a thought. Never a need for one.

Why was there one now?

Now, with the two of them alone - abandoned by the one she thought she loved - one gentle hand still on her. Not pushing anything, just... warm, and there. She knows then that his lips would be just as gentle, undemanding. Those lips have formed painful words, to be sure - but never born from the vindictive pleasure which spurs so many of the barbs she and Ron hurl at each other.

Ron. She starts to pull from Harry again - then stops. She crushes the voice with a ruthlessness that would take even Umbridge aback. This is the closest to happiness she's felt since Ron's departure - the very event that's caused such pain for her and Harry both. He's probably sitting snug and warm in the Burrow while she and Harry struggle to find where their next meal will come from. Does he really deserve to have such influence now?

Another memory: yet another time she let Ron cut too deeply. Harry's shoulder, again, and a warm clasped hand and "It feels like this."

No, Ron deserves no quarter here.

Harry hasn't moved, and then - there's his thumb, moving back and forth over the small of her back. Her breath hitches. It's a new sensation, but hardly an unpleasant one. She looks into Harry's eyes again, which suddenly fill her senses. They're still waiting, questioning.

Her hand slips back into his.

She leans forward and presses her lips to his.

It's a mere moment - he must not have been that surprised - before she feels his lips move in response. His hand tightens at her back, pulling her closer against him. The combined softness - she was right - of his lips and the solid lines of his body against hers... a warm, almost liquid feeling coils deep within her, tightening and rising with each sweep of their lips and brush of his hand. She clutches the front of his sweater, the other hand sliding to brush his nape. His other hand releases hers and comes to caress her throat, the hand on her back sliding under her flannel shirt to the area where her thin tee meets the waist of her jeans. The warm, callused fingers find an exposed area, and Hermione's breath hitches again; she clutches him tighter. The coil tightens further still -

He pulls away. Hermione's head actually follows his as it does so, even as the coil within her dissipates.

Is it guilt in his eyes - is he wishing she were Ginny? The thought is surprisingly painful.

Then the realization, the relief that, no... it's not guilt she sees. Awe, she thinks. And... lust? He's breathing just as heavily as she is, just as flushed as she feels.

Their arms are still around each other.


Hermione links her arms around his waist, rests her head against his chest. She closes her eyes, fixes on the sound of Harry's heart. She's rarely had the chance to feel it so closely, and a lump rises in her throat at how unbelievably beautiful it is. Even now, she knows something could happen to stop it at any moment - a lot of somethings, really, far more than most people.

And there's the crux of it all, really. Her own heart twists into a pretzel every time she thinks of something happening to him. If she were to open up that door, to maybe let herself feel for him what she's never let herself consider... what would happen to her?

Could she - could he - afford to find out?

Ron flashes through her head again, but she uneasily shoves him away. Somehow, Ron and Harry no longer comfortably share that same area in her brain.

Harry doesn't finish whatever he was going to say to her, and tightens his embrace. She feels him press a kiss to her crown. They're wrapped more snugly against each other than before, but - surprisingly pleasurable as it is - she's not so much aroused by the contact as soothed. It feels right in a way so few things have recently.

She turns in their embrace, takes his hands. His eyes widen when he sees she's leading them to her cot; she meets that gaze and, with a small smile, shakes her head almost imperceptibly. He returns the smile, and there's unmistakable relief. Not because the idea of... that... is so repulsive; on the contrary, she's pretty sure there's a blush on her face to match his own. No, she just doesn't think - and he appears to agree - their friendship is ready to crash down that many walls in one night. That kiss, she knows, is going to take up a lot of space in her dreams tonight. That's all she can allow it to; there's far too much pressing on them for her brain to be tied up any other time. But at this moment... she wonders, now that there's been one kiss, will there be more?

It's not an appalling thought. It certainly hadn't been a bad kiss, not that she's had a terrible lot to base that on. She wonders whether he learned from his time with Ginny, and inwardly recoils from the thought in something like jealousy.

She lies down on the cot, facing the side of the tent; she hears Harry set his glasses down before his weight settles in against her. One arm loops gingerly around her; she laces one hand's fingers with his. It's just for a little while, she'll have to take watch soon.


She doesn't remember falling asleep, only that it's Harry's absence - the absence of his warmth - that wakes her. She shoots up, reaching for her wand, just as Harry ducks back into the tent. His face pinkens ever so slightly as he meets her gaze. Is this how it's going to be from now on? she wonders, suddenly worried.

"I know I didn't wake you for watch," he says, and she feels some of the pressure in her chest ease. How silly of her. This is Harry. She can count on one hand - with room to spare - the times in her life she hasn't been totally at ease with him. "You'll just have to punish me later."

He must not have been wearing the locket long, to still be able to tease her - but she can still see the way the sleepless night has worn on him, with the slight sag of his shoulders and darkness under his eyes. "Accio locket." It zooms into her hand, and she slides the chain around her neck. Immediately she can feel the almost physical weight on her mood - though not as strong as she expected. She realizes Harry is still looking at her.

"You let me sleep in," she says. She gestures to the locket. "Your punishment will be to deal with my charming mood."

A ghost of a smile, so rare and precious. "I can deal with that." He nods outside. "Breakfast is ready, such as it is."


He stops mid-turn. He swallows, but otherwise shows no sign of unease.

"Thank you."

That small smile again, that pinkening of the cheeks. Has she ever noticed before now just how adorable he is?

She knows what he expected her to say. She suspects he doesn't plan to bring it up unless she does. Does he regret it? For that matter, does she?

No. She doesn't. She doesn't know what last night means. She does know that if she loves Ron as much as she thought she did, that kiss should not have weighed so pleasantly on her dreams last night.

She inwardly shakes her head, shuffling the thoughts neatly to the back of her brain as she's done so many times before. No matter what happened last night, it doesn't change that there is still much that needs to be done - and now fewer of them to do it.

Never breaking his gaze, she takes Harry's outstretched hand and follows him out into the new day.