"If Harry looks at me once more I'm going to scream."
Hermione realized she was muttering under her breath, and clamped her mouth shut. Get those big sad eyes away from me! she thought clenching her jaw.
He was just so hard to fight with. With Ron it was easy. Too easy. They would bluster and snap. Sometimes shout, storm from the room, slam doors. Sometime later—minutes, hours, days—there would be touches and kisses and sheepish smiles from Ron. Gestures of peace and acts of kindness from her. If the argument had been serious enough they would make love, putting all things to rights, simply and surely.
But with Harry....
When you fought with Harry, he looked at you as though his world was falling apart. Even if he was scowling—which he often would do—there was fear behind it. You're leaving me aren't you? If he snapped and snarled, there was a bite of bitter resignation to the words. Go on then. I knew it wouldn't last!
It was so difficult to stay cross with someone you wanted to protect from pain and loneliness. To stay aloof from someone you wanted to help feel connected and safe in the world. The last five years of your life had been devoted to proving to him that he was loved. He was wanted.
But blast it to hell and buggeration she was angry dammit!
Ron was way too furious to go after Harry this time. When Hermione had asked him to speak to Harry, Ron had snorted and shot her a withering look before mumbling that Harry was a git and deserved to feel guilty. He didn't appear concerned about him at all.
Except that now Ron was standing—hip resting against the window sill—looking out of their bedroom window down to the back garden.
One hand was reaching over his shoulder, fiddling with the collar of his shirt, the other deep in his pocket. He threw his head back and huffed loudly before turning on his heel, pushing past Hermione as she stood in the doorway and trudging heavily down the stairs.
Hermione walked across the floor and took Ron's place at the window. She could see Harry sitting below her on the wooden bench near the roses they had planted together. His head was bent low and his shoulders were slumped, making him look totally dejected.
A moment after the backdoor slammed she saw Ron walk down the path and stand in front of him.
Harry kept tearing the leaves in his hand into tiny pieces, throwing each shred onto the grass around his feet. He didn't acknowledge Ron's presence, but seemed to shrink even more into himself.
For a few moments neither of them moved and then Hermione saw Ron lean forward slightly and shove Harry's shoulder.
Harry sprang up and stood inches from Ron's face as he spoke—his hands clenched in fists at his side. Then he turned and strode away from Ron until he was facing the old stone wall which meandered along the back of the property.
He stood still for a long moment before suddenly slapping both palms, hard, against the wall. Hermione flinched. That must have stung!
Harry walked back past Ron with his hands tucked into his armpits. Ron grasped for him and Harry spun around, wrenching his arm free from his mate.
Oh Harry! Ron please don't push him too hard. He is so scared of disappointing us.
Hermione chewed on her thumbnail and leant her forehead against the glass. I suppose I'm not so angry any more.
She could almost feel the rage and rejection hanging like a cloud around Harry. She watched as Ron scraped his hands through his hair and then flung them up in the air, obviously emphasising the point of whatever he was yelling. Harry was facing away from Ron, towards the house—and Hermione. One of his hands was on his hip and the fingers of the other hand were rubbing his eyes, his glasses sitting at an odd angle further up his face.
Then Ron was behind Harry, insinuating an arm around his shoulders and across his chest. The other arm appeared around his waist and pulled him in close to Ron's chest. Ron's fingers twisted themselves in the fabric of Harry's shirt. Hermione could almost hear him whispering—saying something like I'm not going anywhere, and neither are you. Harry resisted for a few seconds, straining slightly against the embrace, and then seemed to crumple as all the furious energy evaporated into relief. Ron bent down—Hermione couldn't see whether it was to kiss Harry's neck or speak in his ear. Quite possibly it was both.
They were swaying slightly and then Ron took his lower arm away from Harry's waist to stroke his dark hair back from his face, and then point directly up at the window Hermione was spying from.
She felt oddly compelled to take a step back. To pretend she hadn't watched the entire interaction. But then Harry lifted his face and she saw him notice her. And nod.
Ron beckoned to her. Come downstairs, love. She read his lips. She stood frozen for just an instant before she saw Harry say what looked like, "Please."
Hermione's feet unfroze and she flew downstairs, through the breakfast room and out to the garden. In a matter of moments she was melting into Harry's arms, feeling Ron rub her back, and hearing Harry mutter to neither in particular—
Ron's voice was gruff as he answered.
Finally finding her voice, Hermione let herself look up into Harry's big sad eyes and spoke.
"We love you."
And Hermione thought he did know. Though he'd always have to check—just to make sure. She smiled at Ron over Harry's shoulder, and he grinned back shaking his head, before leaning a cheek down on the top of Harry's head and whispering, "Wanker." Both of them knew.
They just couldn't stay cross with Harry.
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