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Chapter 5: Chapter Five
Hermione lay on her bed, her body numb with tears, for god knows how long. She sat up slowly, sniffling a bit and wondering what had happened to Harry. Guilt towered over her, knowing she had probably put him in an uncomfortable situation.
Harry appeared in his apartment and strode immediately to the bathroom, splashing his face with cold water as he attempted to collect his scattered thoughts.
Hermione saw the note out of the corner of her eye, half-heartedly getting out of bed to go see it. As she read it, her heart broke a little, and she took a shaky breath. "What now?" She mumbled to herself with a bitter laugh. "I pushed away the two people I care about the most… all in one day. Great job, Hermione."
Harry headed to his bedroom, changing out of his day clothes and in to pyjama pants and an old t-shirt. Making himself a strong cup of tea, he stood at his bench and tried to make sense of everything that had happened since he woke up.
Hermione laid in bed, the only sound to beat the deafening silence being the soft sound of some muggle song playing on the radio resting on a stack of books. "She will be loved, yes she…" crooned the male singer, paired with heavy bass and piano.
Harry let his head fall back, staring at the ceiling as his mind relentlessly assessed every possible situation. He shouldn't have left, he thought. She was clearly in distress and he left. What kind of a friend did that make him? He shook his head, ashamed of himself, and let the regret wash over him before picking up his wand and turning on the spot, disappearing with a soft 'pop'.
Hermione almost wanted to laugh and cry at this song at the same time, and she took a deep breath, not noticing the familiar pop of a certain dark haired best friend apparating into her otherwise pristine living room.
Harry materialised in the impeccable space, twisting his hands nervously as he heard the muffled sounds of the radio. Taking a hesitant step forward, he inhaled deeply and spoke up, his voice reverberating around the empty room. "Hermione?"
Hermione lifted her head a little, sitting up and keeping the blankets wrapped around her slender body. "Harry?" She said in a tiny voice, sniffling a little as she tried to see her friend's figure in the dim light.
Harry took a step forward into the light and eyed Hermione cautiously for any signs of hostility. Not immediately detecting any, he ventured forth a little more and raised his arms slightly, offering a hug.
At once, Hermione broke down into tears, dropping the blankets that were once around her body and walking into his arms.
Harry enveloped her shaking frame in his arms, making soft soothing noises in an attempt to comfort the crying girl. He was still at a loss for what had upset his friend, but he wanted to help in any way he could.
"I'm sorry..." Hermione choked out, her head buried into his shoulder. "I just... Ron..." She managed to stutter through tears, baring her soul to Harry for the first time in god knows how long.
Harry nodded, holding her more tightly as she spoke. He felt a pain in his chest at the thought that her anguish was over the loss of Ron, but he was unable in that moment to discern why, apart from the obvious, this bothered him so.
"I'm so sorry, Harry, I..." She whimpered, crumbling in his arms. "I shouldn't have... I'm pushing you away..." Hermione sniffed a bit before looking up at Harry.
"Hermione," he said seriously, fixing his emerald eyes on her brown ones. "I don't know what it is that you're blaming yourself for, but from where I stand, you haven't done anything wrong. Nothing that happened was your fault, okay?"
Hermione laughed coldly. "Of course it's my fault. I wasn't good enough to be his girlfriend, and I'm damn well not good enough to be your friend." She tore away from him, crawling back into bed and under the covers. "I don't know why you still waste your time with me."
Harry winced at her words, following her to her bed and sitting down. He didn't care what she said, or what she thought. He didn't care that Ron made the biggest mistake of his life letting her go. She was perfect in his eyes, and he wanted her to know that. "Hermione, time spent with you is never wasted." He told her quietly.
"Oh, you're just saying that because we're friends." She muttered, feeling rather sorry for herself and even more oblivious to his real feelings for the radiant, if not broken, witch.
He shook his head, laughing mirthlessly. "I'm honestly not." He sighed once, at a loss. "Tell me how I can prove it to you."
Kiss me, a little voice inside of Hermione’s head screamed, but instead she just shrugged, laughing bitterly as she wiped her eyes.
Harry moved closer to her, a foreign urge growing within him that he never anticipated. He struggled with it for a moment, utterly convinced that he was about to lose the best thing in his life, but equally convinced that he would never forgive himself if he didn't take a leap. He was a Gryffindor, after all. That was his last thought before he delicately placed his fingers under her chin and lifted, his lips meeting hers halfway.
Hermione felt like she couldn't breathe as he moved towards her. Is this happening? She thought, and she could feel fireworks as Harry's lips met hers. Funny how things happen... here, in her ratty pyjamas at near midnight, she was kissing her best friend, the one who had been there for her since she was eleven. And she couldn't be happier. As she pulled away, a small, bewildered smile graced her features. "What was that?" She asked in a small voice.
Harry ran a hand through his messy, black hair, unable to stop the grin that was spreading across his face. "That was me proving it to you."
"I... Wow." She spat out, a huge, beautiful smile spreading across her face. "Blimey." The witch was truly speechless, trying to process what had just happened.
"Yeah," Harry agreed in a breathless voice. "Wow." He didn't know what this meant for them, but he was sure that he didn't want their first kiss to also be their last.
"And you... You really meant that?" Hermione said rather weakly, a permanent grin on her face. "Is that how you feel about me?"
Harry nodded, becoming aware himself of just how much it was true as he confirmed it for her. "How... about you?"
"Yeah." She said after a moment's hesitation. "Yeah, I think I do."
He laughed softly, taking her hand in between his. "You think?"
"Hey, give me some credit. This is all happening rather fast." Hermione joked, a little bit of her old self returning. "I mean, look at me." She laughed, referring to her rumpled clothes, mascara streaked face and unruly hair. "I'm a mess!"
"Hmm," Harry pretended to ponder her words. "Yeah, you are a veritable mess. But you look cute that way, so." He shrugged.
"Oh, now you're just flattering me." Hermione blushed, smiling jokingly at the charcoal-haired boy. "But... thanks." She knew the one thing she needed was sleep, but she didn't want to go back to bed because now reality was finally better than dreams.
His grin was punctuated by a yawn and he shoved her shoulder lightly. "Budge up, I'm tired." He told her, shimmying over.
"So am I..." Hermione nodded in agreement, curling up under the covers. She yawned a little, secretly wondering where Harry would be sleeping.
Harry lay down next to Hermione, on top of the covers. Giving her a small kiss on the forehead and a bright smile, he said goodnight and turned the lights out, heading toward the door.
"Wait, Harry?" Hermione sat up a little. "Are you going to, I mean-" She shrugged a little. "Can you stay? I don't want to be alone." She sighed, feeling a little dumb.
He turned immediately, heading back and sitting on the edge of her bed. "Move over then, I'm not a pixie."
Hermione laughed, scooting over a little but keeping close to Harry… she had to admit, she enjoyed his company more than anything right now and wanted to be close to him. "Good night, Harry." she beamed.
"Night, Hermione." He replied sleepily as his eyes drifted closed and a contented smile washed over his features, his conscience descending into sleep.