Once And Future
by Twinkledru J.

A light on the water, all souls pass
Hope fades into the world of night
Through shadows falling out of memory and time
Don't say we have come now to the end
The white shores are calling, you and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms, just sleeping
(Annie Lennox, "Into the West")

It was rare that the three of them were all together for sex. Different jobs and continued studies and friends the other two weren't crazy about kept their schedules hectic, and it was not unusual to come back to the small Hogsmeade flat from something or other and find the other two sleeping, sweat drying on their skin and in their hair. When that happened, the latecomer would slide into bed, sometimes with a kiss to the one nearest them, and fall asleep easily.

Dumbledore had taken Harry to some distant place during the summer holiday after their seventh year. Hermione and Ron had fought and fucked and kissed. They would go for days without speaking to each other, then one would run to the other, practically in tears, begging for forgiveness.

When Harry returned, they felt somehow ashamed of themselves, and they spent the night doing all the things they had done with each other in bed, only with him this time, to him, for him.

Dumbledore had come by the flat in the November immediately following that. There was a woman with him, who did not look like a witch but was clearly some sort of magical beaing. Harry had gone with them, and returned alone, smelling of winter and the sea.

Dumbledore had not come back again.

In the second year after Dumbledore left, Harry began to meditate more and more frequently. He had learnt it, he said, that summer, and it spooked Hermione and Ron, a little, though neither of them would admit to it. Harry's trances were nothing like normal peoples'. But, then, they would remind themselves, they of all people ought to have known that Harry wasn't a normal person.

In the third year after Dumbledore left, Harry began fasting more frequently. No, he would tell Molly, she needn't worry about them, no, they weren't short on money (money was tight, it was true, but they were not poor), it was a cleansing. It was for focusing, for purifying, for strengthening. She clucked her tongue at the bit about strengthening but, for the most part, she accepted his reasons and mostly kept her disapproving, worried gazes to herself.

In the fourth year after Dumbledore left, Harry began abstaining more and more frequently. Ron and Hermione felt some of that shame again. At last, Harry had to explain that this, too, was a method of purifying and cleansing, and that they must not feel guilty for it. In fact, he'd said, with a very, very small smile, they might consider putting a lot more effort into it to make up for the fact that he couldn't do it.

In the fifth year after Dumbledore left was the final battle.


They had heard rumors during the battle. There were rumors that Harry and Voldemort were facing off in the Forest. There were rumors that Voldemort was gone. There were rumors that Harry was dead. There were rumors that they had destroyed one another. There were rumors that they had joined forces.

There was an inhuman scream and a flash of white light, so bright that even miles away, on the bloody hills that had been Hogwarts grounds. Suddenly, all of Voldemort's forces were in panic and chaos.

Hermione and Ron had fought, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, throughout the entire thing, and both of them grabbed one anothers' hands when they felt something within, some pull that whispered of Harry.

There was another flash, less brilliant this time, and they found themselves on the rocky shore of a small, dark island.

"Harry," they immediately said, for he was there, knees pulled to his chest, clutching a wounded arm. They ran to him, tried to tend to him, and he waved them away and would not answer their questions. The longer they were there, the more wounds they noticed, and they were both able to sense some that they knew could not be seen by human eyes.

"He's gone," was all that he would say, and they could not begin to comprehend all the tragic relief in his voice and his wide green eyes. "It's over."

That was when the boat appeared.

It was small. Tiny, in fact. But it had white sails, and it glowed softly, pearly blue and white and silver, from no visible source. The woman who had been with Dumbledore was in it, and the wind, carrying the spray of the sea, was cold. She was beautiful, painfully so, in a way that was both completely unnatural and yet more natural than anything else in the world. Her dress was white and dripping, and her hair was greenish gold, with bits of seaweed hung from it. She wore a simple pearl necklace, and at her side was a silver sword.

Beside her was Dumbledore, who looked more frail and ancient than ever. He smiled at them from the boat. "Well done, Harry," he called in a creaking voice. "Have you told them?"

"No," Harry said.

"Told us what?" Ron demanded. Hermione stared at the newcomers.

"It's not over yet," he said quietly. "I'm sorry, you two, but I -- I'm going to need your help."

When he had told them, he kissed each of them and waded out into the frigid water. The woman helped him into the boat, which sailed off. Dumbledore studied his wounds as the boat vanished into the mists.


Ron died later, after he destroyed the remains -- some dropped into the deepest parts of the ocean, some burned and the ashes thrown to the winds in the arctic or the desert. The last piece, he threw into a volcano, and was killed by Draco Malfoy, whom he pulled into the fire with him.

Hermione wrote their story, and when it was written, when it had been told as fully as any tale like theirs could ever be told, she died alone on the island where Harry had left them.


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