Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc.
Harry noticed the flat was unusually quiet as he walked through the front door. From his vantage point by the coat closet, he could see that no one was sitting on the sofa in their living room. He also couldn't hear any voices coming from the kitchen.
That was a good thing, Harry reflected to himself. While Ron and Hermione were both more than adequate cooks in their own right, they were downright scary when they shared the kitchen. Harry chalked this up to the differences in their personalities. Hermione would carefully measure all the ingredients out and stick exactly to the recipe while Ron would play more with it and throw in things that were not even listed. Hermione's dishes would always come out perfectly while Ron's results were more spotty. Sometimes the food Ron cooked was absolutely horrid and they would wind up ordering out but other times the food turned out to be completely delicious.
This difference in cooking styles, however, meant that whenever his flatmates were in the kitchen together, either Hermione would be constantly bugging Ron to keep to the recipe or Ron would be telling Hermione to loosen up a little and be more creative in cooking. The outcome was often explosive, in more ways than one.
After putting his coat up in the closet, Harry walked over to the kitchen to see if one of his friends were there. It was empty. He turned to walk and see if either of them was in their respective bedrooms when the strains of an old Muggle song wafted in from the direction of their library.
As he let his ears guide his way, Harry made a silent bet with himself that it would be Hermione that he'd find in the library. He was right, of course. Hermione was busily arranging books into the shelves they had bought a couple weeks ago while listening to an old Muggle album playing on an antique record player. He leaned against the doorframe and stood there, watching the woman he had grown to love. He thought she was adorable, as she sorted through the books, wrinkling her nose at the dusty ones before using the edge of her sleeve to wipe them clean. He chuckled softly to himself when Hermione glared at an especially dirty book.
Hermione looked up at the sound of his voice and frowned at him. "Good evening, Harry," she said curtly. "How about lending me a hand here?" She nodded in the direction of several boxes of books stacked up in the front of the room.
He went and picked up one of the boxes to bring it over to Hermione. As he passed the box to Hermione, their hands slightly brushed together. Harry could feel himself turning red at her touch and swiftly turned away before she could see his reaction.
"So is there anything else I can do to help you aside from hauling boxes?" he asked after he had regained his composure.
Hermione smiled at his back. Harry was always so thoughtful and it wasn't surprising that she had fallen for him. She had tried so many times to tell him how she felt about him but she could never get the words out of her mouth. She had settled for spending as much time as possible with him, which was quite a bit of time indeed. Eager to be in his company for as long as possible, she suggested, "Why don't you stay here and help me arrange these books? I've been meaning to put everything in order since we got the new shelves in but I haven't had the time before now."
"Sure," he agreed and took a seat beside her.
They worked comfortably together for the next half hour, listening to the strains of Sinatra on the record player. Harry would carefully clean the books before handing them to Hermione, who would put them in their proper place. After each box was emptied, Harry would return back to the stack of boxes to bring over another one. They had made a fair amount of progress when the record began to skip.
Sighing, Hermione got up to stop the record player from skipping. She glanced briefly at the album before deciding to play an old favorite of hers, Fly Me to the Moon. A smiled played about her lips as she remembered the days she would spend listening to this song when she was a child.
"Wouldn't a Muggle CD player be better?" Harry looked in askance at her old record player. "Those are more reliable and you wouldn't have to worry about them skipping."
"It was my grandmother's," Hermione explained as she returned to her seat. "She used to play songs on it when she was watching me. She taught me how to waltz, you know."
"Yes." Hermione closed her eyes, thinking of those days long gone. "This song was her favorite."
"It does sound romantic," Harry gazed longingly at Hermione who looked so lovely just sitting there with her eyes closed. "With the lines about playing together amongst the stars and such with your loved one."
"It is. That's not what she liked most about the song though." Hermione opened her eyes and glanced down at her hands. "It's the idea that you don't have to say the words 'I love you' for a person to know it's true. It's the idea that you can say 'I love you' in a thousand different ways—by smiling at him every time he enters the room, by constantly trying to touch him, by trying to always be at his side."
It hit him then that Hermione had been doing all of these things. Harry tried to speak, desperately needing to know if she meant what he thought she meant, but his mouth went dry. He cleared his throat frantically but to no avail. He just could not say the words.
Hermione knew what he was thinking though and she looked up to meet his eyes. She found her voice, though he had lost his. "In other words, I love you," she told him gently.
His mind stopped working at those words. He couldn't think.
All he could do was act on the feelings he had been holding in for so long.
He took her hands in his and kissed her with all his might, telling her
without words that he loved her too.
Author's note: For some reason, I always thought that H/Hr should have a Sinatra song played at their wedding. Those songs may be old but they are still some of the most romantic out there. In any case, I would appreciate it very much if you'd let me know what you think about this fic in a review. Thanks!
Animagus Steph -- I saw your review on Fell So Deep and I do agree that Hermione would rather die than betray a confidence like that. That's why I chose that example -- because I think Hermione would rather die than admit that she fell in love with her best friend when she doesn't even know how he feels about her. There's a certain amount of pain involved in falling in love, especially during that anxious period of time when you don't know how the other person feels. Hermione just fell in love with Harry right then and there and the last thing she wants to do is to tell him that. That's why she fled and that's why she would rather die than divulge her secret. Of course, after time passes and she gets more accustomed to the idea that she is in love -- I would hazard that her feelings would change. And thank you so much for letting me know what you thought about the subject.