Title: In Seeing and Knowing
Author Name: Kritter
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Hermione/ Millicent
Disclaimers: They're not mine, they belong to JK Rowling who I will not equate with the status of Goddess but she is a fantastic writer.
Author's Notes: This was inspired, maybe, I haven't decided what the story will be about yet, by a line from the fic "Holding Back" by someone I'm sure.
"I have invented a thousand ways of pretending Iím someone else and this someone else is always with her. At times I didnít know what I longed for the most Ė another shell for my soul, or for Hermione to close her eyes."
Feedback: All of it should be sent to Kritter_Kaven@hotmail.com
Usually I'm perfect in spells. I must be because that's what they expect of me. My parents wouldn't do to have anything less than A's, though I strive for O's because that's much more acceptable. I also have the honor of my house to uphold, because really being a Slytherin you must get top grades, simply to prove your superiority. But that falls to Hermione doesn't it? Without even trying to she manages to get top marks in all her classes, even Potions when Snape obviously hates her. But that's not true, she tried the hardest out of all of us, which is precisely why she gets top marks.
But I suppose that this time its all right that I messed up. Surely the effects won't be permanent. Not in our world of magic and Dumbledore. He wouldn't let a student suffer a fate like that unless there was of course no treatment. But he would find one for her because she was every teacher's favorite, except for Snape who hated all students but tolerated Slytherins. He would find a cure or make one himself if he needed.
So I was not concerned in the least. Well I was very much concerned but I couldn't very well say that. Or show it either.
And it wasn't like it was actually my fault. Our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher had had the stupid idea of duelling against each other and he had broken us up into pairs. This twit didn't know a bloody thing but I didn't mind since I was teamed up with Hermione. It was a passing crush really, and the first time we'd tried to duel we had ended up fighting, which was bliss in itself, but really, this time we were civil.
If nothing more.
And the teacher hadn't learned his lesson, even after the rather horrible results of the first attempt at teaching us to duel by Professor Lockhart. This teacher was assured he knew what he was doing. But I suppose he had thought he'd hit upon something golden and was eagerly digging for it. So I was supposed to hex her and she was supposed to block. Simple enough, especially for her who was all books and studying.
And so I hexed her. It was supposed to be a simple blinding hex, simple because it was supposed to wear off. It wasn't even supposed to hit her because she was supposed to block it. But I hadn't pronounced the hex perfectly, the ending consonant being the one which controlled the longevity of the hex. And so when Hermione ended up coming towards me, having been bumped into by Neville, who of course hadn't managed to block one speck of the spell aimed at him and went stumbling back, I had squeaked out.
I don't squeak normally mind you, but I had been replaying the rather delicious events of the previous duelling lesson and the fight in particular. I had held her, felt her curves and warmth and for a minute I could pretend it hadn't been a fight. And then she was coming towards me and the look in her beautiful eyes was one of shock and the spell ended in a sqeaky elongated 'ee' which was bad.
And she couldn't block it while she was flying through the air could she. And she ended up on top of me, her breath coming in a surprised sort of gasp and everyone stopped for a moment to see if we would fight again. And I was looking up at her, even if it was anger clouding her eyes I wouldn't miss any opportunity to stare... especially if I had a reason. But what I saw was not anger, or embarrassment, not even confusion. I saw nothing. Blank eyes that blink and pupils that didn't react. And for a minute I saw confusion on Hermione's face before it seemed her brain caught up with her and she realized.
And she screamed.
Suffice it to say when I imagined Hermione screaming on top of me this was not the situation we were in. We didn't have an audience either. And the oaf of a teacher, almost a Lockhart double really, was just as confused as everyone else. Even more so I would say. And he was kneeling by the both of us, Hermione still hadn't stood up, she had just sat up which meant she was straddling me, again not the way I imagined she would be. But still I savored the contact, even if it was entirely wrong and not the way I wanted it. If I could just memorize the way her thighs felt against the sides of my stomach, if I could imagine her deep breathing wasn't from panic but ecstacy, I might have a chance at forgetting her.
What a lark huh?
But then she was being led away and I was standing up and everyone was looking at me with a mix of fear and wonder. What had I done, they all wondered. Hell, even though I knew which spell I used I wondered what I had done. And then the Gryffindors were enraged and the Hufflepuffs a moment later decided that yes, they too were angry because really they're just nice to people who're nice, which excludes all Slytherins. And Ravenclaws weren't sure if they should be happy or not because for a while they all hated Hermione because with her brains she should have rightfully been one of them but instead took the pride of their house, their top marks, and brought it the Gryffindors. But they too sided with Hermione and were angry at me.
Draco clapped me on the back in a chummy way and was laughing about the stupid look on Hermione's face. I don't think he'd noticed that she couldn't see. He asked me what spell I used but before I could answer Ron was launching toward me in a way only a Weasley could do and a fight began.
It took a good ten minutes for teachers to arrive because no one had known that Lockhart clone number one had abandoned us. And by then quite a few students were bloody. Thank god in all the mayhem no one had taken out a wand, it would have been deadly. In the fighting I had managed to escape, along with several other students who were going to look for teachers but were too entranced by the fighting to move. I ran to the Hospital Wing because my concern outweighed my awe.
I wasn't allowed in. Not at first. But then Madam Pomfrey dragged me and I was being grilled on which hex I had used. And they all gasped that I would use such a hex, and they all glared at Lockhart clone number one for being a git. And Madam Pomfrey was tending to Hermione who was sitting numbly, blinking at odd intervals as if she had to remember to blink. And she tried to look around but every which way she turned was met with inky blackness. She was sobbing to herself, not loudly like I expected her to, but quietly, as if her pain was private.
It clenched at my heart to see her tears.
No one said a word to me, they just shuffled me out of the Wing and told me it wasn't my fault. I could see Lockhart wanna be git of a teacher trying to make excuses but no one believed him at all. And I walked somberly back to the Slytherin Common room and I went to my room and closed the curtains around my bed.
It didn't matter as Blaise Zabini opened them the moment she came into the room.
" What are you doing here? Why didn't you stay and fight?"
" I had to check on..."
" Damnit, haven't you gotten over that yet?"
And of course I hadn't. Blaise knew everything about me because of all the Slytherins she was the most trustworthy. She was a friend actually. There was no one else I would trust.
Two days later and Hermione still wasn't in classes. Draco was cheering happily that finally the mudblood had learned a lesson and not come back. No one, besides probably Potter and Weasley, knew about what had happened to her. Everyone was much in the dark and because of that people avoided me. But they always avoided me because really, I was a Slytherin. And not one of the darkly attractive Slytherin's either. I knew what they said about me. I usually don't care.
But two days without seeing her was getting to me. And I knew she must be going through some sort of hell. I hadn't been punished at all for my actions, though in truth knowing what I'd done hurt more than anything else. So I went to the Hospital Wing, feigning pains in my stomach, and Madam Pomfrey was thankfully not bustling around.
Hermione was sitting at the bed that was obivously hers. It was surrounded by books that though she couldn't see she could charm the words into speaking themselves aloud. It was slower, surely, but she did get her work done. She didn't hear me walking toward her, the words from her Transfiguration book drowning out the sound of my footsteps. She didn't sense my presence when I chose a chair next to her and sat down. And I could stare at her endlessly without being laughed at.
I took the chance to. She's beautiful in a way other girls aren't. She's got this air of being non-chalant about her looks. Like she really doesn't give a damn about her hair, or her teeth, or all those things people call imperfect about her. But I know better. I know to look at the slightest of freckles she had on her face and see the beautiful patterns they draw out on her skin. Her milky skin which is unblemished by marks or scars. Her teeth are a bit large but that can be easily fixed, she just doesn't care. Her hair is lively and when she plaits it down, as she had now because its easier to manage that way, it doesn't look bushy. It looks thick and luxurious and I'd like to bury my face in it once, if I could.
But I can't so I won't even dwell. Her eyes though. I can't stand to look at them. They're open and unfocused. There's no longer that vibrant shine of eager willingness to learn. There's no angry spark in them, as is usually there when she catches my eye. There's nothing there but nothingness. And I can't stand to see that because I know I've put it there.
" I know I must look odd, but really, how long are you going to sit there?"
I stumbled on choked words for a minute. She did have sense enough to feel my presence. I was going to apologize to her for staring, but the words died on my lips. She had turned to where she supposed I was and she was smiling at me. Smiling. And her slightly overly large front teeth were there, and I could see her lips shimmer lightly where she had gloss on. And her smile didn't fade.
" Really Ron, its not necessary to come in at every possible moment."
And the smile I'd grown to match hers suddenly died out and faded. She thought I was Ron. She could sense a presence but not whose. She wasn't as attuned to me as I was to her. I didn't know what to say. 'Sorry I'm not Ron, I'm the one whose put you into this hell. Sorry.'
And sorry seemed too hollow for this. I knew she was in pain because even her smile hadn't gotten to her eyes, though for a moment I had seen a brief flicker of amusement before they went dead. They were still dark and unresponsive to anything and tinged with fear. Fear it was permanent. Because shouldn't she have been cured by then.
" Ron... what's wrong? Have they told you something?"
And still I couldn't speak. Not even the worry in her tone and the flash of fear that was so damned obvious in her eyes catapulted me into speaking. But I could see the worry, I could see as the smile died on her lips and she bit nervously at the corner of her lip and her hands were clenched as the notes she'd been writing were crumpled in her hands. And I couldn't say anything even as the seconds ticked and her breathing turned harried.
I think its called hyperventilation.
But I didn't speak. Not one word. But I moved. That damned body of mine moved without checking with my head which would have told it that such motions were suicidal and surely not in my best interests. But still I moved and my hands were at either sides of her lap, and I was leaning in and the bed was dipping so it seemed she was leaning into me, but I knew that wasn't true. But she seemed to know what was happening and quickly her perfectly pink tongue darted out to lick at her lips, and she thought I was Ron, but once, just this once, let me have a moment.
And I kissed her. It was not like I imagined it would be. Usually in those nice little fantasies I allow myself when I'm in the confines of my bed and the curtains are charmed to let out no noise, the kisses I share with my dream Hermione are quick and insistent. She knows what she wants and I know damn well what I want and we're just kissing to get to that end. But this is sweeter, this is softer and not like a Slytherin should kiss.
Slytherins are snakes and so we should slither and tongues should dart in and out not lavishing languidly in her mouth tasting the faint hint of chocolate that would explain the empty boxes of Frogs in the trash bin by her bed. Her gloss is sticky and tastes like strawberries, or cherries, I can never tell which with those artificial things.
And then I'd pulling back and she had a calm smile on her face, as if being kissed takes away the fear of permanent blindness. Or maybe, just maybe, Ron does that to her. But then she opened her eyes. And they went wide. Almost comically wide as she was shocked, both because she could see and because she could see... me. And I was obviously not Ron.
Not a strand of hair on my head is red.
And she's spluttering and moving back in the bed until her back is against the head board and she pointing and fingers are at her lips, not fondly like I wish she would do, but in disbelief. And for a minute I wish she was blind again because I could have run away and never been seen by her and remember our kiss for the rest of my life, even if it was never to be repeated. But she sees and the look in her eyes is not faint and fleeting, it is strong and unwavering.
Hate. Pure and unadulterated hate shined in those eyes. Not anger at some mostly nameless Slytherin she should hate because I am Slytherin. But defined hate for me, the one who put her in the Hospital Wing, the one who kissed her when she hadn't wanted to kiss me.
I was about to run, the better part of valor having deserted at the sight of her eyes. But I couldn't. I'd been petrified by her stare, and I was helpless to stop any onslaught she would decide to throw my way. And still no Madam Pomfrey came in to see that Hermione was cured. No one there to witness my sure to be demise.
But then her fingers lingered at her lips and she pulled them away and looked at them. In wonder. With fondness. And her smile turned not angry but knowing and actually smiling. Not the open mouthed, teeth bared smile she'd given to 'Ron' but one for me. And she was crawling forward in the bed and I was still too close to it and once she had reached the edge she straightened up on her knees and we were the same height then.
She looked into my eyes with humor and knowledge in hers.
" I see now."
And she kissed me.