Slowly, the sky turned a deep red. The sun was setting. The last of daylight was reflected in the lake. It was a strange picture in front of him, showing how he felt at this moment. Confused, and unsure, like never before. Somehow, he knew he should expect these sorts of feeling, but this time, it was different. This time, it was not about death, or about Voldemort, or his dreadful past. He almost wished it would be that easy -- to feel angry like in his fifth year, or to feel lonely like ten years of his life.
He had felt a choking wave of sadness for the past few months, though, because his godfather had died so suddenly. Frustrated, Harry ran a hand through his hair. He needed this extra time. Oh, how much he needed this now – to be able so far away from the castle, but still to be near.
If he looked back, what changed, he couldn’t say. It was just there, just more than before. It probably it wasn’t what he thought. But he knew it was it, because he had never felt like that before. It was a new warm feeling that surrounded him, and it was stronger than ever. This hole in his soul, this emptiness was no longer there, just because of this feeling. It couldn’t be not now, not after he knew that he has to face Voldemort and could not survive in the end. Without caring, Harry sat on the grass by the lake. The red sky changed slowly into a dark purple. Only months ago he had hated going there to study, but now it was his favourite place. There he could sit and watch, pretending that he was doing his work. But in reality, he had been studying not his work, but rather the well-known movements and this image right in front of him.
At first he had studied her hands, which were small but strong. Hands, which could work hard and had the strength to hold her quill and books, but could still be soft and careful in touching things. She had long fingers with short nails. At her palms he could see her heart line. For the first time it had interested him. It wasn’t anymore ridiculous for him, not if it was about her. Now as he sat here he wondered why he never thought about her hands in all this years. In all this years her hands had been there to help him. Had he never thanked her or asked why? Harry was just too used to it.
Then his thoughts when to her head. First, her hair -- though it wasn’t shiny and straight -- he did like it because it was uniquely hers. Her hair was bushy and brown, and the sun always highlighted faint strands of blond.
There was much more life in her. “Glowing…” he muttered, under his breath. She glowed every time they had the time to go outside. Then he went on and studied her mouth. This was rather difficult to do, because he had to fix his stare on her face.
It wouldn’t surprise him if she already knew that something wasn’t right. Since weeks before, he had begun to act different and he knew that it was obvious -- probably everyone knew. Harry was her friend he probably shouldn’t stare at her like that, but he couldn’t help it. It was like magnetic, and not only magic. Even if he looked randomly, his gaze always fell upon her. As if she was his human Snitch. Only he wanted this Snitch much more than any other one before.
Once, he had heard that in French it was called ‘bouche’, which sounded a lot better than simply ‘mouth’. She had lips that were full in just the right way. If she was satisfied with her work, a smile rose to her lips, which made him wish that he could see it more on her face. It was cute how she bit on her lower lip, if he and Ron did something against the rules. There was so much of her in this expression, that for a moment, he was lost. So lost that he wouldn’t understand it, even if Snape danced around in clown’s costume, with McGonagall at his side.
Harry knew he couldn’t act like this any longer, so he began to avoid her. He avoided her so he didn’t need to speak with her. Never before was he that afraid to speak with someone. How could he explain that he suddenly thought she was more than just his friend? He couldn’t explain it. Not with his words. When they studied together, it was a blissful time for him. Harry wasn’t, anymore, this boy with this damned scar. He was no longer the one who had lost so much. He was no more the Boy Who Lived. He was only a simple sixteen-year-old boy who felt as if he were home, as if he were saved. Who could stare at a girl and fall for her, ever so slowly.
But he wasn’t a normal boy. That’s why he sat here and thought of how he could possibly escape from all of this. Only months before, he didn’t want to be human anymore, and now he wished he could be, just a little bit more. Today was the day that he started this. The day he would start to avoid Hermione. No longer would he study with her, and especially not her as the subject. He had found a free corner in the library to study in, far away from her. The strangest thing was happening -- she was more present in his mind than ever before. Even as he tried to avoid her, she was in his mind more than she had ever been.
He could imagine how she sat at her place and did what she always did. One hand would be on the page of a book, and the other holding her quill, pausing before she wrote down some words. Her hair would be brushing against her shoulders lightly, and she would pause to push it away from her face.
He sighed heavily as he saw the first stars of the night in the sky. Still, there was a thin red line at the bottom of the horizon, where the sun had just been. Without any warning, he felt the presence of someone else by his side. He turned his head to see who it was, and to his surprise, he saw brown eyes staring back at him.
Brown eyes, which at this light of dusk, had the strangest of gleams. Harry had been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t recognised her. The whole time she was there, watching him. Hermione didn’t sit far away -- she was close. If he reached out his right arm, he could touch her shoulder. With her legs against her chest, and her head on her knees, she looked straight into his eyes. Not once did she break the stare.
He wanted to turn away, but he couldn’t. He just couldn’t break this stare. Like the Snitch did fly in front of his nose to be caught, he couldn’t turn away from this. Hermione didn’t look away either. But why was she here? Why was she looking at him like that? He couldn’t remember when she had ever looked like that for so long at him. As if she was a different Hermione. A Hermione, who didn’t know everything, but rather was someone who was as clueless as him. A Hermione, who wasn’t rational any more, but was emotional. He blinked hard at this thought, because he wasn’t used to being with her when she was like this. He wanted to know her like this. Learn to know this new part of her.
Suddenly, he was aware that he was much closer to her than before. He was the one who moved closer to her, he knew, but how? Like in a dream, he had moved. His shoulder touched hers. Though it was getting cold out, for him it was warm, in a wonderful way. Their faces were inches away, and Harry could feel her breath on his cheek.
“More...” he barely heard her whisper.
“What?” He didn’t understand her what she meant.
She said it again, this time louder than before. “Just more.”
Unaware off his own movements, his right hand was touching her soft cheek. It was smooth like silk and warm. Harry didn’t know what was happening to him, but wished it would never end. There were no worries anymore. He was free at this moment. Nothing existed, just these brown eyes, which were still staring into his. He wondered how he could have missed this. She was always right in front of him, and he still hadn’t seen her like this before now. By now, he saw Hermione and the knowing smile upon her lips. As If she had known it the whole time, and had just been waiting until he woke up -- woke up from his own little world, where he had searched for this.
For the first time, he wanted to be closer to her, as close as possible. She lifted her head to his, and suddenly, her arms weren’t on her knees anymore. He didn’t know how she got her arms away so quickly that one of her hands was on his own cheek. Half of that what had happen in these past few minutes was still like a dream. As if he hadn’t been there really, but knew that he was actually there. Harry was so caught up in her eyes that he hadn’t realised that she moved closer to him. It was amusing. There had been a time were nothing could happen without him seeing it. But now it was different. He felt different. She did this to him.
Before he knew it, he was closing the space still between them. His lips were pressed against hers, and his eyes were shut. If he died at this very moment, he knew he’d die with a smile on his lips.
Not many could find this sort of love and friendship even once in a lifetime, but he had searched and found it. Harry was just more with Hermione on his side.
I would like to thank my amazing beta reader Autumn. I really love what you did to this story.
This is a reposted vision of this story. There are a few changes in formatting so it let it appear bit better as it was before.
A rare one-shot story of mine and I hope you like this one. There will be no sequel to this one. Just tell what you think critic is always welcomed so shot away.