So this was what it meant to fall in love.
Her next thought was that it looked like some clichés were based in fact. Certainly, Hermione hadn't planned to fall in love today. There was no note written on her schedule to make sure to fall head over heels in love with Harry in the middle of Transfiguration. Rather, if fate had asked her about it before it had happened, she would have vehemently insisted on not falling in love with either of her best friends. That was too complicated. She liked her life simple. She didn't want to worry about having to assure one another that they'd still be friends no matter what, making sure that their other best friend didn't feel abandoned, dealing with all the gossip that would arise and so many other things. She liked her life simple. This was too complicated. Falling in love with Malfoy would have been easier.
Then there was the matter of whom she had fallen for. There was no denying that Harry was a dear, sweet boy. She did care for him so much – no person with a heart couldn't help but feel sorry for him. But he wasn't the sort who she'd have chosen to give her heart to. He was too careless, for lack of a better word. He never stopped to think and plan everything out beforehand. He was much too prone to acting on instinct. To be fair, he wasn't as bad as Ron. At least Harry did seem care slightly more about his grades than Ron did. But that wasn't enough. He didn't plan for his future. He hadn't a clue what he would do after he left Hogwarts or even what to do the next time You-Know-Who came after him. Hermione didn't want that sort of life. Certainly her life was more fun because of Harry but she didn't want to constantly be worried about him and what foolish thing he would do next. Of course, she had already been doing that for a while now. Maybe that should have been her first hint that she wouldn't be able to choose whom to fall in love with.
Oh and the timing couldn't have been worse. Perhaps there weren't any good times to fall in love right now, with everything that was hanging over their heads. Perhaps it was better that she fall in love now while she could do something about it, although Hermione didn't want to consider the possibility of Harry leaving this world too soon. Perhaps there was some greater reason for it being now as opposed to later. Yet even so – in the middle of class! Hermione had thought she was more sensible than that.
Then it hit her that maybe she never had a choice. She had been annoyed with Harry and Ron for laughing like fools. She was still annoyed at them. They had failed miserably in turning their pillows into bunnies and then had started making fun of each other's failures. She had rolled her eyes, like she had done many, many times before and was about to scold them for acting like a pair of idiots when she looked at Harry, really looked at him. He was so roguishly handsome, with his eyes lighting up with glee as he launched another verbal barb at Ron. If it wasn't for that goofy grin on his face, he'd look very grown-up and if she thought about it, about how he was serious at times, she had to admit that he had grown up, that he was no longer that scared, little boy, that as unbelievable as he was then he was even more incredible now, and he meant the world to her and then—
That was it.
It felt like the ground had disappeared from underneath her feet. She felt so lost but she knew where her home was. It was with him, by him and in him. She longed to go to him. It took bit of strength she had not to get up and go to his side. She found it impossible not to look at him, not to stare. She adored how he ran his hands through his hair as he laughed. She was fascinated with the way his chest moved each time he took a breath. She was obsessed with the way the light struck his eyes, how they reflected the darkest emerald green she had ever seen back at her.
The logical part of her mind was screaming at her though it did no good. It was telling her that any minute now Harry would realize she was gaping at him, that he would know what she was feeling just by looking at her and that if she wanted to keep things simple, she had better look away. She didn't care. She couldn't pry her eyes away from him and that was fine. It was silly to be so fixated on a boy but it felt right and she was not about to stop. She didn't think she could stop. She wondered how it would feel like to kiss him and if she could taste the pumpkin juice he had for breakfast on his lips and if he would—
"Ms Granger!" Hermione jerked her attention back to the front of the room. Professor McGonagall was looking at her with the faintest hint of exasperation on her face. "Might I suggest that you change your bunny back before it completely devours your hair?" she sharply said.
Hermione looked down to see the bunny she had Transfigured was chewing on the ends of her hair. It had evidently been munching on her hair for the last several minutes. Hermione felt the heat rush to her cheeks as she pried it away from her, not daring to look at the damage it had already done. She quickly cast about, frantically trying to remember how to change it back. All she had to do was reverse the original spell but for some reason, she couldn't even remember how she had managed to change it in the first place. All she could think about was that Harry's eyes were now on her, that he was now looking at her, that maybe he was even thinking about her, that of course he was thinking about her, and she hoped that he was thinking that she was a fool. She wondered if he loved her, if he was falling in love with her even now, if his thoughts were obsessed with her like hers were obsessed with him, if he was wondering how her lips would taste and if he would—
A pair of rough hands took the bunny away from her. Hermione glanced up in time to see her professor change it back into a pillow, with a few whispered words and the swish of a wand.
"There we go." McGonagall gravely handed the pillow to Hermione, seeming oddly understanding and sympathetic. "Don't worry about it too much. It will work out all right in the end, have no doubt of that." Wordlessly, Hermione took the pillow and just marveled at her luck for not losing any points.
McGonagall turned to glare at the rest of the students. "And it appears that you are the only student to have managed this particular Transfiguration. As our time is now up, we shall continue this lesson tomorrow and I expect that some students other than Ms Granger will have bunnies in their laps then." After one last disapproving glare, she dismissed the class with a wave of her hands and everyone started packing up.
As Hermione was furiously shoving her books into her bag, intent on getting to the library where it was safe as fast as possible, Harry and Ron came over. "What was that all about, Hermione?" Harry asked.
Her eyes drifted over to him briefly but she quickly flicked her gaze elsewhere. "It was nothing," she said shortly. "And please excuse me, I'm behind on my reading." She almost ran out of the room, not bothering to look backwards to see what her best friends thought about the whole incident.
"If it was nothing, she wouldn't have been in such a rush to leave," Ron mused out loud. "That girl's hiding something from us."
"I know." It worried Harry that there was something Hermione thought that she couldn't tell them, especially as whatever it was, had affected her so much. "Do you think perhaps we should head on over to the library?"
"We have Quidditch practice, Harry. Besides, she'll tell us eventually. She always does. Just like in third year, remember?"
"I hope so. I most certainly hope so."