And with the wave of a wand, it was all over. The war, Voldemort, everything. That was all Harry could think about for the hours following the defeat of the Dark Lord. So many dead, so many lives wasted to protect him. He was furious, but more with himself than anyone else. He wondered how he had managed to be worthy enough to have so many lives taken in his own name. No, he thought, I wasn’t worthy, I was never worthy.
He couldn’t help but reminisce of his time with Lupin, Tonks, Fred, and even Lavender. Their deaths seemed so huge, like a major chunk of him was missing. He looked toward Ron and Hermoine, huddled in the corner holding each other. They felt his stares and both gave him reassuring smiles, as though they could read his mind. They were scary that way.
Ginny came up behind him and hugged him from behind, a sort of comforting hug, rather than a girlfriend, lovey one. He liked her. He liked her a lot. And he knew she liked him back, but he could tell there was still a part of her that didn’t fully love him, like a piece of her heart being pulled in a different direction. Harry understood how she felt; he felt the same way.
He didn’t understand how or why, just that he couldn’t love Ginny because he loved someone else. Who else, he didn’t know. He couldn’t quite place a finger on it. All he knew was that Ginny wasn’t the one for him.
Hermoine glanced sideways toward her best friend. Her crush. The boy who seemed to love her very much. Ron was Hermoine’s dream, her passion, for the last several years. But lately, since the war and the horcrux hunting, she couldn’t figure out why, but her heart wasn’t all in it. She wanted to love Ron, but part of her was in a different place, a place where there was love for another. Who, she did not know.
She watched as Ginny embraced Harry across the room. Harry was still looking in her direction, as he was several minutes ago. She couldn’t help but wonder what he was thinking, but she also couldn’t help but notice he seemed more entranced in his thoughts than Ginny’s affection. She couldn’t help but wonder why, and she planned to talk to him later.
Ron stirred next to her, and kissed her on the cheek. Hermoine couldn’t help but notice how awkward it felt, how forced. She stayed rigid as a board while he squeezed her tight, like he’d never let go, and murmured “Hermoine, I think I love you.”
Poor torn Hermoine didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t see herself with this boy for the rest of her life. He was her best friend, the one who stood by her no matter what. The one that had also betrayed her for that slut Lavender, and left her alone and stranded while hunting horcruxes. There had to be someone out there better for her. There just had to.
Harry glanced around the Burrow again, only to see Molly Weasley setting the table for dinner.
“Harry dear, would you mind helping me?”
“Of course not, Mrs.Weasley!”
Harry jumped up and grabbed a handful of silverware off the counter and began placing them around the table. Fork, space, knife, spoon, he thought to himself. He glanced up to see Hermoine staring at him from an armchair in the living room. He offered her a smile, and she beamed back. Harry loved that smile. He’d seen it for seven years of his life, and he’d grown accustomed to it. He loved Hermoine, like a sister. Maybe. No, he thought in denial, she’s your best friend, and she’s with your other one. She’s not yours!
“Harry dear, are you alright? You stopped suddenly and went rigid,” Mrs.Weasly said with concern.
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine, just got distracted, you know, lost in my thoughts.”
Some thoughts they were. Hermoine could never fall for him, and he knew that. Or so he thought…
That night in her dreams, Hermoine was dating Harry. How magical it was! He was sweet and kind and surprised her with little gifts every now and then. He hugged and kissed her all the time and told her how pretty she was, how much she meant to him. How much he loved her. She adored every second of it.
She bolted upright in bed. NO Hermoine! He’s your best friend! But his smile. His beautiful green eyes. His hair that was always charmingly messy. She couldn’t help but think of him all morning, that smile he gave her this evening embedded into her brain. She moved through breakfast in a daze, her mind in other places.
“Hermoine, already thinking about school work, are you?” Ron asked from the seat next to her.
“Oh, yes Ronald, already nervous for my NEWTS.”
It wasn’t a total lie, as she really was nervous already, but she could never tell Ron she was fantasizing about Harry. She couldn’t tell anyone.
She and Ron were together, Harry and Ginny were together, and that was the way it was supposed to be. There would be NO messing with their perfect set up.
Harry and Hermoine both wandered aimlessly through that breakfast, unaware of the fact that their love could be, just not quite yet. Time was a precious thing, and it was needed at this moment.
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