Chapter 9 : Lakeside Light
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'Hermione, what is so funny?' Harry asked, turning to her as they walked down the steps. He eyed her suspiciously.
'Well, think about it, Harry. All those people were, were..' she blushed furiously, still giggling. 'in love.'
'But what about Dean?' Harry asked, grinning slightly.
'Well,' Hermione said, 'I heard Lavender Brown talking about how cute he was a while back, and they did so their Potions homework together..' she answered, smiling.
'And Ginny did send me a singing Valentine during second year.' Harry said, thinking.
'But what about Seamus and Ron?' Hermione asked.
'I don't know,' Harry said, although he did have a good idea of Ron's crush.
As the two reached the Great Hall, Hermione let out a squeak of surprise. Slow dancing near the far corner of the flowered covered walls were...
'Ginny and Colin?' Harry asked, quite surprised.
Ginny looked towards them, blushing furiously.
'Are we jealous?' Hermione teased, poking Harry lightly.
Harry smiled, gazing around the dance floor. 'Dean and Lavender,' he said, poiting to a couple sitting next to the teacher's table, rubbing noses affectionately.
'Oh, Harry!' Hermione squealed, pointing towards a human figure chatting animatedly with a ghost.
Harry blinked. Seamus Finnigan, in his navy dress robes, was contrasting sharply with the pale glow of his date, Moaning Myrtle.
'Is that Myrtle?' Harry asked, yet again dumbfounded.
'Seamus got sick one morning from a Belching Brownie Fred dropped in his ice cream' Hemione told him, giggling once more. 'He must have met went into the girls' toilet.'
All around the Great Hall, teachers and students mingled. Even Snape looked like he was making somewhat merry, chatting animatedly with Dumbledore.
'I look a mess,' Hermione said disappointedly. Her old, dirty robes hung loosely about her after the nights events.
'Let's go outside, for a walk.' Harry suggested.
Holding hands, the two left the castle. Outside, they were greeted by the sweet scent of lilacs.
Purple and pink flowers were still strewn about the ground, but the sky had now cleared completely. A tuneless moonlight fell upon the two, walking through the still night.
Coming to the edge of the forest, Harry and Hermione reached the gazebo. The small gazebo looked entirely different, it's solid oak frame standing out against the surrounding grove. The dead trees and stnech of rot had moved away, purged with the evil that had been inside. Now the fresh, polished beams shone in the dim light, casting huge shadows as the two walked into the gazebo.
The two stood, gazing out over the lake. The water glinted as if a million crystals had been strewn about the lake's surface.
Hermione leaned against Harry's shoulder, breathing in the cool night breeze. She could feel him breathing deeply, drawing long, slow breaths.
Hermione placed her hand on Harry's, slowly caressing his hand with her fingers.
Harry remained silent, still staring at the water's hypnotizing surface.
'So...' Hermione said, her hand still on Harry's.
'So...' Harry replied, his eyes still on the lake.
'Harry,' Hermione said, turning to face him directly. 'I have something to tell you.'
'I want to tell you something, too.' Harry replied, looking down at Hermione.
'You first,' Hermione said.
'Well, these past few hours have been different...' Harry started, not really knowing how to say what was really on his mind.
'Yeah, they have.' Hermione agreed.
'And I was thinking, about the Valse,' Harry continued. 'and how it makes people different.'
Hermione nodded, still listening intently.
'And I've been feeling different...' Harry tried to explain, feeling frustrated at the difficulty of saying exactly how he felt.
'Yes?' Hermione asked, gazing up at him.
Harry was about to say something when he stopped, looking at Hermione's face. In the pale moonlight, her features were highlighted in soft silver, accentuating her smooth skin. Her brown eyes glowed, falling perfectly with her shimmering brown hair. Her robes were matted, and in the light, looked as if they were made of pure silk. There, leaning on the sleek gazebo rails, standing above Hermione, he realized some things couldn't be said with words.
Harry leaned down, closing his eyes and touching her lips gently with his. He placed his arm around her back, kissing her softly as the two held each other in the reflection of the dazzling lake. The two stood in silence, completely absorbed in the kiss, oblivious to everything around them. Harry felt electricity course through his body, tingling his lips all the way down to his toes. He felt completely at peace, slowing the kiss down to a gentle, affectionate rubbing.
Harry's head backed slightly, rubbing his nose with Hermione's. His lips were barely an inch from her's. 'Is that what you wanted to tell me?' he asked quietly.
Hermione nodded, her eyes still closed.
The two moved closer and kissed again as the moon hung overhead, glowing.
As they walked back to the castle, hand in hand, the bushes rustled behind them and a dark figure walked away from the castle grounds.