Promise To Try

Author: Debbie
Rating: G
Summary: In the final moments before going off to face Voldemort, Harry knows he should tell Hermione how he feels. But how can he? (Songfic)
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. "Promise To Try" is by Madonna
Distribution: Ask first, please.
Author's Note: *Gasp*! I wrote a het fic! And a sappy/angsty songfic at that. The things you do to appease the Evil Plot Bunnies.... Many thanks to go Liss for her assurances and to Slightlights for live beta-reading.
Feedback: Yes please. Even short notes mean a lot to me. I accept constructive as well as positive remarks.

They stood on the windswept hill behind the Shrieking Shack, looking silently at one another.  They knew what came next: Harry would leave to face Voldemort, once and for all.

Little girl don't you forget her face
Laughing away your tears
When she was the one who felt all the pain

He watched her, standing there just a few feet from him.  She smiled in response to his gaze, her expression brightening as it often did when she looked at him.  How many times had she cheered or distracted him with a smile or some obscure factual tidbit, even in the depths of his own pain?  When he had been hexed, attacked, injured, or merely depressed, she had always been there for him, making sure he was never alone.  She had calmed him, soothed him, and made sure he knew all that he could possibly learn to defend himself.  Then there were the hours she'd spent in the library looking up the most complicated curses and countercurses, restorative and protective potions, and other things he would need for this final confrontation.  It was all she had done for the Triwizard Tournament's Third Task and more.  So much more.

Little girl never forget her eyes
Keep them alive inside
I promise to try -- it's not the same

And now it was time for him to go.  She knew she couldn't go along, much as she wanted to.  It washis fight; something he was uniquely suited for, perhaps even born to do despite his distaste for predestination.  All she could do was drill him in everything she'd discovered.  It was more than he could have hoped for, even though he knew she wished she could have done more.  

As he studied her face, his gaze came to rest on her eyes.  He knew any time he might feel alone on this final confrontation, he need only picture those eyes in his mind, and she would be with him again.  Those clear brown eyes had glared at him, laughed at him, worried about him.  Tonight, they were trying to tell him something else.  But he couldn't… he couldn't….

Keep your head held high -- ride like the wind
Never look behind, life isn't fair
That's what you said, so I try not to care

He tore his eyes away from hers and looked to the north as he fastened his cloak.  North.  That's where he was going; to Voldemort's last known location.  So much for Albania, he thought.  Right when I could use a trip to warmer climes, you go north.  So unfair. Then he smiled, wryly.  What in his life had been fair?  His parents had died when he was a baby, he had been raised by people who hated him, he'd faced unwanted fame and life-and-death struggles for most of his school years, and had lost his entire surrogate family, including his best friend, before he was seventeen.  And now, at merely eighteen, he was going off on his own, leaving behind someone whom he …  well, the only person who mattered to him anymore.  He was trying very hard not to dwell on that, to just focus on the battle to come.

Little girl don't run away so fast
I think you forgot to kiss -- kiss her goodbye

But when she abruptly turned away, her breath hitching, something twisted inside of him.

"Hermione, wait," he called, terrified she would just walk away and her back would be the last thing he saw.

She turned back to look at him, her brown eyes filled with tears, though she was clearly fighting to keep them from falling.  Despite his own best efforts to keep his emotions at bay, Harry felt his own throat knot up as the reality of the situation suddenly hit him.  He was going.  Alone.  To face possible -- even probable -- death.  He had never had time to think about it before.  All his previous confrontations with Voldemort had been thrust upon him without warning, and his fight-or-flight response had taken over.  This time it was deliberate.  Premeditated.  And yet, what was somehow the more terrifying at this moment was the idea of leaving Hermione behind.

Will she see me cry when I stumble and fall
Does she hear my voice in the night when I call
Wipe away all your tears, it's gonna be all right

He brought a hand to her face, tracing his fingers over her jaw, her nose, her lips.  A tear escaped its prison and he thumbed it away before brushing over her eyelashes, her eyebrows - anything he could touch.  He wanted to imprint her face on his mind, on his touch, even though he knew he would carry it with him always.

"It'll be fine, Hermione," he told her.  She would be, anyway; he wished he could be as sure about his own prospects.  But she nodded slightly in response.  Whatever the reality, apparently they were both doing their best to present a hopeful front.  It was all they could do.

I fought to be so strong, I guess you knew
I was afraid you'd go away, too

Emotions Harry had fought down for so long clamored within him.  After the death of the entire Weasley clan the summer before his Seventh Year, he had clamped down on all his feelings.  He couldn't take any more loss.  Oh, he had cried on Hermione's shoulder at the family's funeral, but he had distanced himself from getting close to anyone after that.  He knew there had steadily been hints of 'something more' between him and this brown-haired girl for some time now, but he had steadfastly ignored them.  And she had never pushed the issue.  But now - now it didn't feel like enough.  What if it was the last time they had together?  And at the same time, if it was their last moment together, how could he make any sort of gesture he couldn't promise to follow up on?

Little girl you've got to forget the past
And learn to forgive me
I promise to try -- but it feels like a lie

"Hermione, I-"  He didn't know what to say.  Every possibility he thought of seemed wrong somehow.

She took his hand in her own.  "It's all right, Harry.  I know."

He didn't question her.  She had always been good at knowing his thoughts, sometimes better than he did.  Even here, where his own emotions were caught up in a tangle, he knew she understood what he felt.

Pulling her into an embrace, he wrapped his arms snugly around her, cocooning her in the folds of his cloak.  Her heart beat against his, her warmth chased away the chill of the unknown.  "If I get back--" he murmured against her hair.

"When," she interrupted.  "When you get back."

He refused to promise something he couldn't be sure of.  Not to her.  Instead, he went on doggedly. "--We … I … will try to do better."  It was all he could offer.

Don't let memory play games with your mind
She's a faded smile frozen in time
I'm still hanging on -- but I'm doing it wrong
Can't kiss her goodbye -- but I promise to try

She hugged him even more tightly in response, then stepped back.  He gave her one more searching look, using his eyes to remember everything, tell her everything.  Then, squaring his shoulders, he pulled his cloak's hood up over his perpetually messy hair, checked for his wand, and picked up his broom.

"Thank you," he whispered.  And with a pop, he was gone.

"I love you too, Harry," she whispered to the empty spot where he'd stood.  And then she began to cry.


Main Authors Offsite Recs
DC Slash Harry Potter Ros. Hetero Ros. Slash Ros. Other