Eric knew that Hermione was a stubborn person. She was nearly as stubborn as he was. He also knew that he had hurt her greatly and he was trying to make up for it by being in England, trying to speak to her to make amends. But she refused to answer his calls, or open the door to his knocks. He could just walk in, she had allowed him in the night he arrived and hadn't rescinded his invitation. But he knew that he had to build her trust with him from the bottom up, and magically appearing in her room would not do that.
He had been standing outside her door, waiting for the moment she would walk out. It had just barely hit sundown, and he had created the routine of watching and waiting for her. He kept his distance as he watched her step out of her small flat and walk down the street. When she was quite a ways away he followed behind her, making sure to keep his movement as silent as possible.
The night was cool and quiet when Hermione spoke, "I know you're behind me Eric. You might as well walk beside me."
"Should I," Eric asked as he appeared from out of the dark shadows to be by her side, "It seemed as if that was the last thing you would want."
"On the contrary," Hermione replied, a smirk lifting her lips, "I was just testing you."
"Is that what they call it? I thought it was called avoidance."
"I was testing to see if you would respect me enough to not just barge in to my home like I know you tend to do when you don't get what you want," she explained, making Eric smile proudly at her.
"You've changed quite a bit my little witch," Eric told her, his voice full of fondness and love.
Hermione snorted at his words, "I don't think you can exactly call me little anymore." Eric allowed his eyes to run over her again, and decided she was right. She had become a woman, and although she was the same height, she had slimmed down quite a bit, her baby fat moving into womanly curves. He took a deep breath and her scent caught in his nose. She smelled even more intoxicating to him then she did all of those years ago.
"You'll always be my little witch," Eric told her, his voice full of possession. Hermione wanted to say she hated it, but she had to admit that she missed the sound of his voice. It was like his voice surrounded her before seeping into her bones, warming her from the outside in.
"Where are we going," Eric finally asked, making Hermione smile. She had already called ahead to Harry and Ginny to let them know Eric would be joining them. Harry didn't sound too enthusiastic, but Ginny couldn't contain her squeals.
"I'm having dinner with my friends," Hermione began, a smirk once again gracing her face, "I don't know where you're going."
"Having dinner with your friends," Eric replied. The smile she gave him would have taken his breath away if he had any.
The smells of the Potter home were overwhelming yet welcoming to Eric as the door opened in front of them. The red head was glowing, her bulging belly sticking out past the door frame.
"Hermione," the woman cried out loudly before pulling Hermione into the house with a hug, "I'm so glad you could make it! Is this him?"
Hermione laughed before nodding, "Eric, this is Ginny Potter. Ginny, this is Eric Northman."
Eric smiled at the woman, trying to make an effort for Hermione, "It's lovely to meet you Mrs. Potter." He remembered meeting Hermione's friend years ago, the reason why she landed on his doorstep in the first place.
"It's great to finally meet you Mr. Northman," Ginny said, her smile wide and bright, "Won't you please come in?"
"I would love to," Eric replied, and just as he took a step towards the door, Harry stepped out, his face cold and full of anger.
"He's not allowed in here," the younger man's surprisingly deep voice rang out through the house. Eric could feel the barrier on the front door, and felt exasperation begin to fill him. He stared at Harry and could see the difference from when he first met him, the innocent look completely gone.
"Harry," Ginny began, sounding as exasperated as Eric felt, "I thought we had agreed to try? For Hermione?"
"Do you remember me," Harry asked, completely ignoring Ginny's words. Eric knew that some sort of confrontation would come from his return to Hermione.
"Yes I do Harry Potter," Eric told him, his voice strong. He had to prove himself to the man before him. Eric recognized the hardened look in his eyes. He had seen war, and death. Eric held a respect for Harry that he hold for many people. The list used to be very short, but since he had met Hermione the list was growing, and he didn't know how he felt about it quite yet.
"You hurt her," Harry began. Hermione opened her mouth to protest but a look from Eric stopped her.
"I know," was all Eric said in reply.
"You hurt her, and we were left to pick up the pieces. You left her, and even though she may forgive you I won't. Not until I know why. Why?" Eric understood the question. It was the same one Hermione asked when he first appeared on her doorstep.
"I have been on this Earth for a over a thousand years," Eric began, his blue eyes looking into the green eyes of Harry, "And when Hermione came to get the potion she came when I may have needed her most, even if I didn't necessarily want her there. She burrowed her way into my cold, un-beating heart and I felt as if I had a purpose again. She was my purpose, and I needed to protect her."
Eric paused as he moved his eyes over to Hermione, her warm brown eyes seeping into his soul as he continued on, "At that time Hermione needed life, and that was something I couldn't give her."
"Why now? Why not before," Harry asked.
"Death tends to put things in perspective," Eric replied, a sardonic smirk lifting his lips, "Even one as old as I, especially one as old as I, still fear death. Mostly the permanent kind."
"What happened," Ginny was the one to ask, her hand unconsciously rubbing her belly.
"Scientists had created a virus that would kill vampires. There was no cure, at least we thought there wasn't. I had contracted the disease, and after we found the cure, I realized that even though I have been around for a long time, life was still short."
"So you came to find Hermione," Ginny said for him. He nodded, his gaze never leaving Hermione's.
"She was the best thing to happen me," Eric told them, but in truth he was speaking to Hermione, "I knew I needed to make amends with her if something like that were to happen me."
"Do you love her," Harry asked, drawing Eric's gaze back to him. Harry's look wasn't as hard anymore, but Eric knew that he still had much to do to prove himself.
"With all of my soul," Eric told him, "I don't deserve her, but she's my sun. And I never thought I would see the sun again."
It was quiet as Eric's words seeped into them. Hermione felt elated. He had only said he loved her once, and even though she knew deep down he had, it was nice to actually hear him say it. It warmed her heart and she felt the sudden urge to kiss him. Actually, the urge wasn't sudden, she had been wanting to do is since she had seen him, but she forced herself not to.
"Won't you please come in Mr. Northman," Harry said, the magical barrier that Eric almost always felt disappeared and he finally stepped inside. He knew that it wasn't over for him, but he passed the first test, and for right now, that was enough for him.