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Reposting this (does it count as a repost if I’ve never shared it here specifically, only elsewhere?) in honor of the greatest news of my fandom life.
Harry/Hermione - And love too will ruin us
The phone rings at least once a week, but he doesn’t have the strength to answer anymore. Ginny had asked him, once, why he insisted on setting one up when owls and apparation would always be more practical, but even when he didn’t give her a straight answer she didn’t seem particularly thrown off by the whole thing. She had lived with her father for years. It only seemed natural.
The truth is there is only one other person he knows who uses a telephone and it seems like cheating, but Harry gives Hermione his number one day and says “Here, call me.” He crumples it into her fist like he’s a teenager again and trying to ask Cho Chang out on a date, all nerves and shaking because what if she says no or what if they get caught, sneaking around when they aren’t really sneaking. She’s his friend, they’re allowed to call each other.
She’s his friend.
Hermione calls him and whispers into the receiver stories about children and husbands, dinners that don’t cook themselves, and have you read The Daily Prophet, Harry? You really should, there’s a great article on the new system at Azkaban. Protests, Harry. People standing up for what they believe. Doesn’t it make you feel young again, to hear of such things? We’re still young at heart, Harry. You feel it too, right, that beating in your chest?
He listens to Hermione drown out the quiet in his study and thinks yes, I miss you too. She’s saying it in her chatter and he says it in his silence, because they can’t say it out loud when spouses and children knocking at their doors, extracting promises. To have and to hold. When Ginny kisses him he thinks of Hermione and Ron in their house and The Daily Prophet at their feet and why is Ron kissing her, that was supposed to be me, that was never me, this is me, this is my house, this is my wife, this is my Daily Prophet and we don’t share these things, not anymore.
He dreams of building a machine that lets him leap through the telephone line into her arms, but the reality is exhausting and so he stops answering the phone when it rings (“What if it’s someone important?” Ginny always asks, but he knows it could only ever be one person and it’s always important, but so is this, he wants to say, so are we). He runs away from her and he knows it’s unfair, because Hermione Granger is the only person who has never run from him and he loves her for that; he loves her for that and so much more, but he can’t, because Ron is on his telephone line now asking about Ginny and he wonders how he got this number, but doesn’t ask. There’s only one person who had this number, besides himself.
"Hermione says ‘hi’," Ron exhales in the same breath as quidditch results.
"Tell her I say it back," he responds, and it’s the closest to saying ‘I love you’ that they’ll ever get.