Hope

by Polydicta

Summary:

Britain is covered by Voldemort's darkness, and only Harry and Hermione remain loyal to The Light.

Disclaimer:

All fiction is derivative and fan fiction doubly so. I make no claim to own any part of any of the following, all I have done is an attempt to put together the elements in a novel fashion, using words and ideas like Lego ™ bricks.

There is no money involved – all I do is to share what I do for my own amusement.

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Hope

.

They were beaten. The order of the phoenix was destroyed and its members slaughtered.

Voldemort's Death Eaters had crushed any resistance to his cause by weight of numbers and by sheer murderous viciousness.

The total resistance movement now numbered two. Two starving and disheartened teenagers were all that stood between the Dark Lord and absolute domination. Right at this instant, though, they could barely stand between a rock and a hard place.

"Harry … let me … rest …"

"No, 'Mione … not safe … must … hide."

The teens slogged up-hill, using every tree for support. Every step was agony. Their bodies were fuelled by fear and pain, beyond exhaustion; beyond the last glimmer of hope.

They reached the cliffs and quarries that Harry had seen from below, bare rock between the trees of Alderley Edge. Where there was rock there were places to hide, caves and clefts. He started looking. He knew that if Hermione rested, he wouldn't be able to get her back up and it would be over.

He spotted what he was looking for, a kind of cave made by fallen rock against the cliff, just large enough for them to crawl into.

He made Hermione crawl in first, following her and scuffing the dirt to hide their tracks, but with the rain that had just started to fall, that wouldn't be a problem for long.

The shelter, it turned out, led to a cave, or, Harry thought dimly, more likely a mine tunnel. Whatever, there was shelter and sufficient space to hide in. There was even water, the slow drip to one side said that here was water to drink. Even though the day outside was still bright and wet, there was no light inside, not even sufficient to see the cleft they had entered through.

"Lumos."

The wand-light showed a smooth floor and a tunnel plunging deep into the hillside. Hermione was standing, swaying. Unsure and almost asleep on her feet. Harry threw down his cloak to one side and cast a cushioning charm on it. Then, removing Hermione's cloak and pack, he cast a drying charm on her and bade her get herself comfortable. She was asleep before she was even settled.

Harry went to work, retrieving from his pack an old curtain salvaged from Grimmauld Place before it was destroyed; he managed to use sticking charms to get it to stay in place across the entrance to their hide-away. He cast silencing and imperturbable charms on it, knowing that it would be sufficient to keep them hidden for a short while. He placed a folding cauldron beneath the dripping water.

He lit one of the eternal candles he had taken from the ruins of Gryffindor Tower, and set it where it would give them light to see by when they woke. Before he settled down beside his friend, he cleaned them both using scourgify and, casting warming charms on the blankets from Hermione's pack, he snuggled up with his last and most faithful friend, covering them with the blankets, and so they slept.

.

When, at last Harry woke, he found that Hermione had rolled over and was laying with her head on his chest, arm across him, cuddling his hand, and with his arm protectively around her shoulder. He simply lay, looking into the near-darkness, imagining this to be how they would always sleep together.

He wondered where that thought had come from.

He was drifting on the edge of sleep as Hermione woke. Confused, for a moment, she lay still, keeping her breathing slow and regular. Harry's smell was in her nose, an alluring scent reminding her of forest soils, mosses and pine. And, of course, that ever-present maleness.

She lay, thinking herself never so comfortable.

"Hi, 'Mione," he murmured. "I know you're awake. Don't move if you're comfortable."

She mumbled something and snuggled closer, feeling unbelievably protected, and cursing herself for not having slept like this before.

Eventually, they needed to get up, physical needs and hunger forcing them to activity.

A hole in the floor served them as midden and the overflowing cauldron provided water for tea, heated in a smaller cauldron over a bluebell flame.

"How you feeling, 'Mione?"

"Better thanks, still aching though. You?"

"Right now I think I'd lose a fight against a feather pillow."

They laughed while Harry cooked them a sparse meal from their meagre supplies. A breakfast that was eaten in silence while they brooded on the fall of the light.

A familiar voice was directing the Death Eaters through the wards. Harry had recognised Ron's dulcet tones. The fight was short-lived and the remaining order members were quickly captured.

A smaller death eater took off her mask.

"Ginny!"

"Hello, Harry. I'm going to enjoy this after the way you broke up with me. Crucio!"

Harry's world was instantly filled with pain.

He came to, seeing Hermione in a similar state.

"Mione?"

She groaned. "I'm still here Harry."

A familiar voice spoke, weak and filled with pain.

"You did well, both of you. You should be insane by now."

The duo pushed themselves up to see the speaker.

"Aunt Min!"

McGonagall smiled weakly.

"Thank you Harry, you'll never know how much that cheers me. I'm dying. The Dark One has put a slow curse on me. You need to get away, there's no one else. They're all dead. They slaughtered the whole school but for those two. A whole generation gone, Harry, you're all that stands between Hell on Earth and salvation.

"One last transfiguration for you both. Now watch carefully …"

She concentrated, and quietly said, "Phoenicius meum!"

A massive blast of magic and a silver phoenix flew at the door of their prison, bursting the wood and stone, killing the death eaters sitting beyond, including Ron and Ginny. Harry and Hermione scrambled through the rubble, grabbing their own wands and any others they could snatch.

Outside, in the park, the phoenix once more became Minerva McGonagall.

"That is it, Harry. Leave me, my magic is exhausted. I'll be dead in a few minutes. It hurts, Harry, but I welcome the end. Ahhh!"

She let out a long, shuddering sigh and fell into a restless semi-consciousness, the pain flooding off of her in waves. Harry knew that he couldn't let his friend and teacher suffer. He pointed his wand.

"No Harry, you can't. Not that curse!"

He whispered his reply. "No, 'Mione. Another. Terminus."

Minerva McGonagall sighed and was gone.

"It's a healer spell, a very old one, 'Mione. I can cast it wandlessly on another, but it's better with a wand."

"Harry, promise that you will use it on me if I am beyond help. Please?"

Harry apparated with Hermione side-along.

"I promise, 'Mione. Now let's go and hide."

For three years they ran, hiding and escaping, and nowhere were they welcomed.

"Harry?"

"Hmm?" He looked at his companion.

"Harry, is there any hope left?"

"Not much, 'Mione. Just a fool's hope. We know that the darkness is spreading now. It has gone beyond Britain. I wonder how long before there is no good left, just the darkness and mediocrity."

"How can we destroy him?"

"I have no idea, 'Mione. One Death Eater at a time. One spell at a time. Maybe with luck."

"Where did you learn that gentle death spell, Harry? You promised to tell me, but we never had time to talk."

"From a book of veterinary magic. It just stops all the activity in the brain. It can be reversed, if you're quick, but it's a very peaceful way to go, and it has to be cast with love."

"Really? Love?"

"Yes, if you cast it without at least caring for what, or whom you cast it on, it just acts as a sleeping charm."

"Sweet. I wondered why you never used it in combat. Can you teach me?"

Harry did, and for a few minutes they were back at school, practising their magic. As Harry gently guided Hermione's hand, she suddenly realised there was an electricity there. She smiled at him and their eyes met.

Suddenly, it felt as though the world held it's breath. Amber and Emerald met and became one. He bent to her as she tilted her head up to meet his gaze. Their lips met in the gentlest grazing touch.

He settled his mouth over hers, and for the first time they kissed. Her arms snaked up and her hands tangled themselves in his messy black hair. His hands held her by the hips, and he drew her closer to him.

She felt him deepen the kiss, his tongue gently requesting entry, which was granted without hesitation.

As his tongue explored her teeth, she pulled him closer, her body now suffused by a heat that she had never felt. Her core was burning with … well, human words cannot express the intense desire she felt. She wanted to feel him around her, within her and throughout her.

He pulled her body close, feeling the fire rising through his body. What he felt for this woman was beyond love. He wanted her to be a part of him, body, soul, spirit and magic. Together and yet separate.

They simply stood, together, joined by something so outwardly simple as a kiss, and their hearts entwined inseparably, their souls merged and the very boundaries of their physical being blurred into each other, and the whole was marked by two things, absolute love and the sheer pleasure of sharing and being shared.

They felt themselves renewed physically, mentally, spiritually and magically.

At length, they separated, still their eyes were locked together, their hands still together, maintaining their touch.

"Hermione, I have known it forever, but I love you."

She giggled, "I loved you from the first time we met, Harry, and I just love you more."

No further words were needed. Harry led his lady to his bed, gently undressing her and she him. Together they lay and tenderly expressed their love in a very, very human way – with only the treasured memories of their dead to witness their union. Together they rekindled the flame of hope.