All The Dark And Every Color
It took several hours to pull the CCTV footage at Hermione’s insistence, but Harry had been placed in a holding cell until they could verify her statement. They released Harry and Hermione in the early hours of the morning assured that they’d get likely similar statements from the men all in the hospital with various injuries and had an officer drive them home. He remained quiet beside her, and she wasn’t sure what to say. She was sure that she gave the officer directions to their home and answered his questions when Harry couldn’t, but the substance of those answers was lost on her.
When they arrived home, they sat in the car in silence for a solid minute half-listening to the officer and mostly dreading truly being alone to talk before Hermione got out of the car. Harry followed suit. The officer drove off as Hermione popped the trunk to their car and grabbed a rag towel out of the trunk to wrap Harry’s bleeding hands until she could treat them properly. He lifted the towel wordlessly from her hands and wrapped them tightly like boxing gloves. She stepped back and watched for any dizziness as they walked into the house, but he was perfectly coordinated, and a lot calmer than she was pretending to be even as the cloth around his knuckles began to turn red and she realized that the cut through his shirt was still bleeding.
He sat on the couch as she went to get the first aid kit and the first thing she realized trying to treat him was that their plates hadn’t been moved from the table, and Harry wouldn’t look at her. His eyes were hard, glinting emeralds, glaring at his hands. She had never noticed how much softer his glasses made his eyes seem. They had always been so soft when looking at her. When they were alone and pushing each other toward oblivion, his eyes were so full of raw power that she had never expected of her almost shy Harry who hadn’t thought she’d agree to date him after nearly three years of being friends.
She sat on the floor and reached for his hands, but he flinched away from her touch. She waited three breaths before trying again and getting the same response.
“Should I… leave this here for you?” She ventured, “What about your back?”
He remained quiet for a moment. The room felt almost oppressive with his silence, but she kept her mouth closed and waited. If she had just been patient none of this would have happened.
He wouldn’t have had to do whatever happened.
What if he was afraid?
What if he thought she was looking for trouble?
What if they broke up because of this?
Even if they weren’t dating she wanted Harry in her life, couldn’t imagine it without him in some capacity given how close they were and had become even before dating.
“You’re not going to ask?”
His voice startled her out of her spiraling thoughts, “You may have saved my life if not my sanity last night, Harry. I don’t think I have anything to say but thank you.”
He glanced at her, swallowed, and offered her the hand that had soaked through the towel completely.
“Please? I’m… rubbish at bandaging anything.”
How do you know that?
She didn’t ask but cleaned his knuckles and blew on them to try and take away the sting before rubbing them with ointment and bandaging them. Looking at his hands closely, she realized that he didn’t have calluses on his fingertips, the way she would expect of a guitarist, but on his knuckles that had been torn open during the fight. She’d noticed them and couldn’t remember ever having asked about them before.
She had always just assumed he used a pick or taped his fingers.
She treated his other hand just as carefully and got his shirt off to treat his back. It wasn’t deep enough for anything more than a large bandage thankfully. When she was satisfied, she closed the box and silence filled the space between them again.
“Let’s go to–“
“My Uncle Vernon died.”
Hermione lowered her gaze thoughtfully. She’d heard of Vernon in passing, Petunia, his aunt, Petunia, and his cousin, Dudley. She heard about them in relation to the trust fund that his godfather Sirius presided over since his parents’ murder and how hard a fight it had been to wrestle Harry into his custody when he was already sixteen years old due to whatever connections Vernon and Petunia had in the legal system.
“She called me,” Harry said, “My aunt did and asked me to help with the funeral.”
Hermione bit the inside of her cheek to keep quiet as his hand flexed in hers.
“I told her to go to hell.”
Hermione sighed in relief, “Hallelujah.”
He snorted, “You sound like Sirius.”
“I’m sure Sirius had a lot more to say.”
“He did, but he didn’t say it. I could tell it was killing him to hold his peace at lunch with me.”
“How…” She shook her head, “What can I do?”
“I trust you, Hermione, more than anyone. I just didn’t want you to have to see me like that.”
He swallowed and looked at her, “Come with me?”
Harry stood up, and slowly, they walked up the stairs to the loft Harry had turned into his music room as she liked to call it. He hesitated at the door, and she squeezed his hand.
“If you aren’t ready, if you’re never ready that’s okay. I was being unreasonable and pushy. You’ve been so–“
He kissed her, swallowing all of her doubts as he made her breathless.
He pulled back with a wry smile.
“Patient? We’ve known each other for near enough to forever. If either of us has been patient, it’s you.” Harry swallowed, “I just… wished this had come as more than a reaction to Vernon… He doesn’t– They don’t deserve any part of my current life or my future.”
Hermione’s heart trembled hearing those words. She’d begged him to come to sessions with her because she was afraid she’d bolt. How could she have known he was benefitting so much from them?
With a deep breath, he opened the door and led her inside.
She expected recording equipment, a guitar or something, but the room was practically spare save for the punching bag mounted to the ceiling, the yoga mat on the other side, the speakers mounted on the walls, and the small shower set up in the corner. She noticed the soundproofing everywhere except the door.
He closed the door behind her and seemed to wait for her to look around, but she looked at him.
He sighed, “Sorry, if this is a disappointment to the hot musician boyfriend vibe I gave off.”
“Quickly turning into a hot, cage fighter vibe.”
He flushed and drew his hand through his hair, “Care for a tour?”
“I’d love to, ” she said.
He walked her around the small space arm in arm.
“Remus gave me this punching bag after I blacked out at school,” Harry said, gesturing to the bag. “He and Sirius spent hours in the basement teaching me how to box and talking to me.”
Harry sighed and explained that he had been bullied all throughout his childhood in school because he was a foster kid in his aunt’s house. Dudley, his cousin, was the main instigator at school. He was in a year above and his friends tormented Harry nearly every day growing up.
No matter who came home with a black eye it was Harry’s fault and his caseworker was a friend of Vernon’s.
“He was content to look the other way because of the inheritance my aunt vied for on my behalf…Luckily, my parents were smart enough to already have a will in place.”
When Sirius had finally gotten a chance to see Harry, finally gotten the chance to open a custody case, Harry had already gone through years of abuse that had turned him at once hyper-cautious and furious.
“I put someone through a window in school, but I couldn’t remember why. Sirius put me in counseling, the judge let me off as self-defense, and I’ve had a room like this ever since.”
Hermione squeezed his hand as he sat down on the floor.
“The guitar you hear is from a random yoga playlist. It helps if it’s not too bad.”
“I would have never guessed you have anger issues.”
“My psychiatrist thinks it’s more like PTSD,” he said, “She tells me all the time that I don’t seem like an angry person.”
He didn’t, but Hermione supposed that was a marker of his self-control and his reaction to being hurt by the people who were supposed to take care of him.
She sat down beside him and smiled, “So…this is your room?”
He smiled, “Yeah… What do you think?”
“That you’re still my Harry.”
He flushed and ducked his head.
“And it makes sense why you’re so fit. How much do you train?”
“Take me to your gym, hm?”
He grimaced, “Not sure about that.”
“You think I can’t handle it?”
“I think you’ll find something better there.”
Hermione laughed, “Sorry, babe. You’re stuck with me… who else is going to beat up would be muggers for me in the middle of the night and earn enough that we have room for all of my books?”
Harry seemed stunned for a moment and part of her wondered if the joke hit too close to home before he burst into warm laughter and leaped at her tickling her viciously so she screamed and writhed around in his hold.
“I see what you care about! All this has been about a home for your books!”
“You know you’ll always be my third love!”
“A cat and books beat me, do they? It could have at least been you!”
She shrieked, her eyes burning with tears, and her stomach aching from laughter as he tugged her close and pouted.
“Outdone by a cat.”
She giggled, “Maybe you’ll get pushed to number four… if things keep on the way they have been.”
Harry smiled, “I’d be okay with that. More than okay.”
“I demand at least the number four slot.”
Harry kissed her cheek, “At the lowest.”
“Can we stay here for a little while?” Hermione asked, “At least until you’re ready.”
“Yeah,” he said after a moment, his voice thick. “Sounds good.”
He kissed her head and hummed a song that she vaguely recognized.
Tell me that you love me, oh, let me drive your car
We can sit to morning light, just countin’ every star
“I’d rather sleep in our rather comfortable bed,” Hermione said, and Harry laughed loud, free, and happier than she was sure she’d ever heard.
She loved it and loved more she could be that for him.