And it was love...

harry x hermione

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The Darkness and the Light — Chapter 14
avsno26rocks wrote in xharryhermione
Chapter title: Light
Rating/Warnings: PG-13: Violence, Mild Profanity
Word Count: 3361
Author's Notes: I suck. :/ I should've posted this eons ago!

* * *

[Chapter 14 — Light]

The moment the Caterwauling Charm set off, Hermione’s mind sprang into action, desperate to find some way to distract Yaxley. The Aurors had said they would stand at the ready the moment they could be of any use, which meant that they might have spotted Harry or had other information that she did not. However, she never got the chance, as the moment she opened her mouth to scream something — anything — to divert Yaxley’s attention, she saw Harry barrel into the scene. Before she knew it, he had Yaxley cornered with his own wand.

“Did you miss me?” Harry mocked.

Yaxley’s eyes bulged. “What are you doing here, Potter? Shouldn’t you be down there, struggling for your last breath?”

Harry laughed mirthlessly and shook his head. “You pure-blood types, you’re all the same. You never think about anyone but yourselves. A bit of forethought on your part, and maybe I would still be down there.”

Not quite understanding what Harry meant, Hermione said, “I’m not sure I understand, either.”

“Kreacher let me out.”

As Hermione’s mouth pulled into an ‘O’ of realisation, Yaxley grunted in annoyance. “No matter. A small setback.”

Knowing the extents to which she knew Yaxley was willing to go, Hermione readied to pull out her own wand in preparation for whatever was coming. However, before she could so much as wrap her hand around the hilt, another wand slid from Yaxley’s sleeve and straight into his palm. He slashed it through the air, and Hermione could only watch as the spell coursed toward her, not Harry. When it hit, the wave of pain she had been expecting did not come; instead, bands of warmth wrapped themselves around her torso. It did not even hurt, but rather felt like water from a shower, trickling down her body.

Looking down, Hermione gasped. The pale blue of her jumper was stained dark red, thin scarlet ribbons on the fabric spreading more and more as she watched. Oddly numb to the sight, she merely raised her eyes to meet Harry’s. She could see his stricken expression, which was strange to her. He appeared to be in so much more pain than she was. Wanting to tell him it was okay and that it did not hurt, she opened her mouth, but all she could manage was a muffled whimper.

Her vision was beginning to blur, which she assumed was from the blood loss. She did not know what spell it was, but it was almost kind in its relative lack of agony. It only made her want to fall asleep. Her knees grew weakened beneath her, and she felt them give out. Desperate to tell Harry to use this distraction to take out Yaxley, she coughed out his name. “Harry . . .”

Hermione heard Harry screech her name, and for him and for her daughter, she willed her legs to hold fast. It was then that she saw Yaxley taking aim once again, and within a split second that felt more like an eternity, the wand that Harry had won was already lost to him again.

“No . . .” she breathed before succumbing to her injuries and toppling to the dirt like a limp doll.

Arms wrapped around her, and she heard Harry shout, “Leave her alone! She’s done nothing to you!” Hermione was jostled rather painfully as Harry set her down on the grass, his body angled between her and their attacker.

“Yes, Potter, that’s right,” Yaxley shot back. “Leave her there, lying in the dirt like the filth she is. And yet you protect her like the righteous dolt that you are. Oh, how predictable you are.” The mockery in his voice was unequivocal.

Harry’s hand, which still held onto hers, clenched down, but through that pressure she felt she was transferring what little remained of her strength into him. As if that invisible token had been accepted and wielded, Harry said firmly, “I don’t think you have it in your power to understand something like that. All your life, you bind yourselves to snakes like Malfoy and Lestrange, and then you follow them into Voldemort’s service like some weak little lapdog.”

“You dare —”

“Oh, I know all about you. All through Hogwarts, you did Lucius Malfoy’s bidding because you were too much a coward to do anything else besides mindlessly bully younger students. And just look at you now, playing games with me like nothing’s changed.” Letting go of her hand, Harry rose to his feet to face Yaxley at eye level.

She did not know what Harry was angling for by reciting basic information from Yaxley’s Ministry profile, but she could sense the rage crackling between them. That rage did not bode well for Harry, as only one of the two was armed. Knowing that his chances of survival would triple if he just stopped talking, Hermione tugged on the cuff of Harry’s trousers in a silent plea for him to choose silence.

However, she had known he would not step down, and she was right. Ignoring her implied request, Harry wore on. “Do you remember what happened the last time a wandless Potter stood between a maniac and the person he loved more than anyone else in the world?”

Harry’s words sunk into her as soon as she heard them. He loved her. He loved her enough to stand there and let Yaxley kill him on the spot, but this time without a shield or Horcrux to hold him to existence. He loved her more than anyone. And she loved him.

And she was about to lose him, and in a manner far harsher than during their war against Voldemort, this terrified her. Hope needed a father, but Hermione could not even bear to contemplate anyone else besides Harry to do it. With that, even through the pain which had finally set in, Hermione choked, “Harry, you can’t! Please . . .”

“Hermione, it’s okay,” he said in a low voice meant for only her ears before addressing Yaxley again. “Well, are you going to answer, or are you going to run and hide for the rest of your life? Do you remember what happened?”

“Are you really that stupid, Potter? You’re willing to push your luck when you haven’t even got a wand? If I killed you right now, my work will be done, and I can just leave. I don’t even have to bother with your girlfriend — just you.” Yaxley’s next wand movement came, but it was not anything like what had been expected. Harry shot up into the air, feet first, and hung suspended about ten feet off the ground. “I could drop you, break your neck right now — toss you down the side of the hill, and no one would even know it was me. The Muggles would find you and dump you in the ground like last week’s rubbish.”

From what Hermione could see of Yaxley’s face, she knew that he was not just baiting Harry, that he was planning something similar. Something had to be done to stop it, and her greatest fortune was that Yaxley did not so much as cast her a second glance. Angling her weakened body toward where the wand Harry had taken had probably landed, Hermione started to drag herself through the grass. It was about twenty feet away, but it would be slow going. And there was no way to make sure that Yaxley would not stop her in the process and finish what he started, but she had to try.

No longer able to keep her eye on Harry, Hermione was glad that she had not yet heard the heavy thud of a body hitting the ground. Knowing that, at least for the time being, Harry was unharmed, it gave her extra strength to pull her limp weight along the ground even faster. Her sense of urgency piqued even further when Yaxley began to taunt Harry once more.

“So, what’ll it be, Potter? Kill you the old fashioned say or crudely, like Muggles do?” To demonstrate the latter, Yaxley jerked his wand and let Harry fall before capturing him in another Levitation Charm. This drew Hermione’s attention, causing her to stare fearfully at Harry, dangling in the air. She was not sure if she would have the will to battle Yaxley if something happened to Harry. It was as if he were anchoring her to the situation and to consciousness.

Harry’s response, however, was bizarre. “You don’t have the right, Yaxley. What right do you have to choose the right way for me to die?”

For a moment, Hermione could only gape at him. That did not make the slightest bit of sense. If those are supposed to be his last words, then they’re rather rubbish, she thought to herself. She made eye contact with him in askance, but he merely stared at a spot short of her position behind Yaxley. Still not on the same page, she raised her brows animatedly to show her confusion, but when Harry rolled his eyes to indicate that same position, it hit her. He meant that ‘right’ for her, not Yaxley. Quickly she redirected her course to Harry’s specifications. Of course he had been talking to her. He would have seen where the wand had fallen, and he had figured out what she was trying to do.

Yaxley, however, had apparently not gleaned the hidden message in Harry’s statement. He laughed at his prey and said, “I’ve the right to do whatever I want. You got yourself in this mess by not —” he slashed his wand horizontally, “— staying —” and repeated the action in reverse, “— dead!”

“Do it, then!” Harry fired back. “Go straight ahead and do it! Or are you the sort of coward who tosses people in boxes instead of looking them in the eye before killing them?”

Hermione took the new hint as meaning she was on the right path, but she knew for certain that the rest of it was meant purely for Yaxley. Forging onward, she fought off the wave of nausea that had slowly been escalating alongside the pain. Every movement was starting to feel like a whiplash biting into her skin, and tears pricked her eyes from the intensity. She pushed it all aside in favour of running her fingers through the grass in search of the smooth, cylindrical form of the wand.

At last, her hand brushed against the object in question. With resolve, Hermione lifted it out of the grass and pointed it toward Yaxley, only to recoil in disgust. Barely able to muffle the squeak of horror that had risen of its own accord, Hermione dropped it back into the grass, albeit much farther away from her. Though she was not completely sure, she had a suspicion that it had been a human arm or lower leg bone, the owner of which had likely occupied the hole in the ground that Yaxley had decided was better suited to Harry’s demise. The thought that he had desecrated a grave to do so only spurred Hermione’s rage and determination to bring that man to his knees, if only for the sake of this poor individual.

Much to Hermione’s relief, Yaxley was still ignoring her, instead favouring more verbal sparring with Harry. “I wonder what would happen if you just stayed upside-down, Potter.”

“You’re never going to find out, Yaxley. When I get down from here — and believe you me, I’m going to — you’ll be begging me to do the same to you.”

Hermione wanted to roll her eyes at Harry’s ridiculous claim, but she knew he was buying her more time by distracting their tormentor. However, there was only so much time before Yaxley figured out what Harry was doing, so she gritted her teeth and raked her fingers through the grass almost frantically, cursing the layer of misty fog that made her unable to look around instead of feeling about like she was blind.

Finally, Hermione felt something graze her fingers that felt like wood. She cautiously ran her fingers down its length to make sure it was not another bit of skeleton or a stray twig. To her immense relief, it was, indeed exactly what she was looking for. Gripping it, she turned her body over, pain tearing through every muscle that tugged at her wounds. But that did not matter. She did not matter. Harry did, and she could finally help him. Focusing her entire mind on one word, she aimed her wand at Harry and thought, Finite.

Immediately, the Levitation Charm ceased, and she quickly cried, “Arresto momentum!” Harry’s falling body slowed, giving him just enough time to brace for the impact as he hit the ground. This also, however, gave away her position to Yaxley, and the second Harry’s drop had been prevented, he had retrained his wand on her and shot a non-verbal spell at her, this one a blazing orange.

Her Shield Charm was cast in time, but its quickness greatly weakened the effectiveness, and part of the spell soaked through it. Hermione’s vision blurred and darkened to the point she could not see. Instinctually, she cried out, irrationally hoping that her sight would somehow be restored by doing this, but it did not.

The darkness, it made her want to sleep. She was tired. Just so tired. If she slept, then maybe the pain would go away, and when she awoke, Harry would be there and Yaxley would be gone and they could go home to Hope. And it was to these thoughts she clung as blood loss and forced blackness trumped her ability to overcome them.

“Hermione!” Harry bellowed. Glaring at Yaxley, he growled, “What did you do to her?”

Yaxley merely smirked. “That is unimportant. All you need to know is that you’re here, completely at my mercy, with no help on the way, and your dirty little cohort lying face down in the mud. You lose, Potter.”

And Harry realised that Yaxley was right. He was wandless, friendless, and completely alone, not to mention that he had no idea what that monster had done to Hermione. He wanted to run to her and wake her up, but he knew the second he moved, he would be cursed on the spot. It was not just him anymore; he could not allow himself to be killed. No matter what happened, someone had to go home to Hope. Somebody had to be there to watch her grow up, to buy her Hogwarts robes, to hug her half to death when she got her OWL results, to hand her off at her wedding. He knew how hard it had been for Teddy to grow up like that, and Harry had lived through it himself. Hope needed somebody.

A year before, he would have labelled himself a coward, but with absolutely no shame whatsoever, Harry raised his hands and said, “I don’t care. Just go. Leave us alone, and I don’t give a damn where you run. Take the money and leave us alone.”

That statement seemed to startle Yaxley. He considered Harry carefully. “What are you playing at?”

Harry wanted to shout in frustration. “Nothing! I don’t want anything from you, I don’t want to follow you, and I don’t give a toss if you ever go to prison.” He pointed his finger at Hermione. “Look at her. You already took her husband — my best friend! — and now she’s laying there in God knows what condition, and nothing matters to me but her.”

Shaking his head, Yaxley chuckled. “You see, Potter, the thing is . . .  I don’t believe you. You’re just so predictable, and there is nothing on the planet that would make me think that you could just let me walk away, especially after killing your Weasel friend.”

Fighting the rage that was unfurling in his chest, Harry said through gritted teeth, “Yes, I hate you for that, and I would dearly love to see you waste away in Azkaban for what you’ve done. But who else do I have to lose to put you there? Can you answer me that?”

Yaxley opened his mouth, but before any words came out, the heady screech of the Caterwauling Charm muted whatever he had been about to say. Not knowing if he would get another chance to do so, Harry sprinted toward Hermione’s still form while Yaxley turned to spot the intruder. In one swift, simultaneous motion, he picked up the wand that had dropped from her hand and pulled her behind him to shield her prone body from any further assault. The, with a quick swish of his wrist, Yaxley’s wand — or rather, Harry’s — sailed through the air to its proper owner.

Trading the foreign wand in his right hand for the familiar holly that had served him so well, Harry relished the sight of Yaxley taking a step backward. “I was going to let you go, but I don’t think I will do now,” he shouted over the din. His lips quirked when he saw that the newcomers who had set off the Caterwauling Charm were Aurors. He had been prepared to allow Yaxley to walk away uncontested, but seeing him hauled off to Azkaban was far more satisfying.

Steve Tanner, one of Harry’s former fellow Aurors, grabbed Yaxley roughly by the arm and said, “Crandall Yaxley, you are under arrest for crimes against Muggle-borns, conspiracy to murder, and suspected Death Eater activities. We’ve been looking for you for a long time. Awful decent of Potter here to keep you busy long enough for us to surround the place. There are a dozen Aurors surrounding the place, and there ain’t nowhere to run.”

Nodding in acknowledgment, Harry said, “Thank you, Steve. But if you could turn your head for just a moment . . .” He nearly grinned when Steve averted his eyes to the horizon in mock nonchalance. Winding back his fist, Harry drove it into Yaxley’s nose with as much force as he was capable. “That’s for Ron.” He landed a similar blow to the man’s gut, ‘That’s for Hermione,” before jerking his knee upward sharply into Yaxley’s groin. “And that . . . that’s just because.”

Casually bringing his attention back to his prisoner, Steve said airily, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in evidence. You have the right to legal representation, and if you cannot provide your own, a court-appointed advocate will be provided to you.”

“You’ve got no proof,” Yaxley growled.

Thinking back to the flat in Inverness, to the letter he had saved from both the crime scene and the owl, Harry leant in and whispered, “Your own pen will sign your life away.” Louder this time, he said, “All those Ministry memos in the evidence vaults with your name all over it say otherwise.”

Harry had had enough of this man and could not even bear to look at him. Turning away, he was drawn once again to Hermione’s side, who was being tended to by one of the Aurors on the scene. “Any idea what he hit her with?”

“Looks like a Lashing Curse. A lot of the Muggle-borns who were released from the Ministry after You-Know-Who’s downfall had scars just like these. She’ll likely have a few, as well.”

The thought sickened Harry. These events would literally follow them both around for the rest of their lives, no matter what they did to try to escape them. Lacing his fingers with Hermione’s, Harry felt the faint thrum of her pulse against his palm, all the while willing it to gain strength, to remain worthy of belonging to Hermione Granger Weasley. And there his hand stayed, even as she was Levitated and steered outside the Anti-Apparition Ward to be taken to St Mungo’s. Dawn was creeping up along the horizon, and Harry could not help but think that a lot of things were beginning with the new day, but more importantly, that faint but ever-growing light was there to chase away the darkness.

  • 1
Yay! Updated story is awesome!

  • 1

Log in

No account? Create an account