Disclaimer: Neither Harry or Hermione belong to me.   They are both creations of the brilliant JK Rowling and belong to her.  

So This Is How It Happened

So this is how it happened.  How my best friend became my lover, the love of my life.

I don't know when I changed, or more accurately, when the way I started to think about her, see her, changed.  

We had known each other for so long, 10 years now, actually.  We met when we were 11, on the train to Hogwarts.   And we've been best friends since I and our other best friend, Ron, saved her from a troll.   Well, to be completely honest, it wasn't the saving her from the troll that really cemented our friendship as being the Famous Trio; it was the fact that she, who's always been a model student, lied to our professors about it, to keep us from getting into trouble. 

After that, we three were pretty much inseparable.   We studied together, or she tried to make Ron and me study; we solved problems together; we faced dangers together.   She was always there at my Quidditch matches, and somehow, in the back of my mind, that was comforting.   I knew she never cared much about Quidditch itself (our one big difference) but she came anyway, because it was important to me and to Ron, and because she wanted to look out for me.   It made me feel safer, knowing she was there.   I trusted her to help me if I needed anything.   I depended on Ron for his friendship, his loyalty, for making me laugh.   I depended on her for, well, everything.   Friendship, yes, but for her faith in me, how she cared for my safety, how clever she was at getting us out of trouble.   She was always around, always loyal, always, well, Hermione. 

My best friend, that's what she was, for the first 6 years that we knew each other and even after that, when I started to see her differently.   I don't know when it really happened.   I can't pinpoint a day, an hour, a moment, when I looked at her and saw, not just my best friend, but the girl I knew I wanted to have with me forever.   It just happened.  

One day she was just Hermione, my best friend just as much as Ron was and is my best friend.   The next she was still Hermione, but somehow she'd become the most beautiful girl I could remember seeing.   Not beautiful in the stunning, veela-like way.   She'd be the first to deny that.   No, it was more just her air, her confidence, the intelligence in her cinnamon-brown eyes.   Her hair had gotten straighter over the years, too, and her figure developed.   But it wasn't that.   It was how I could read her emotions and her thoughts in her face and her eyes, how I knew her thoughts and I knew she could read mine.  

I admit that I didn't realize it fully then.   It took me years, even after I started seeing her differently, to know that what I felt for her was love. 

This is how it happened.  

She and Ron started going out during 6th year.   Ron started liking her in that way sometime in 4th year.   Actually, no, it was at the Yule Ball when he started to like her that way.   He told me so later.   She did look beautiful that night.   He finally got up the nerve to ask her out at the beginning of 6th year and that was that.  

I didn't mind.  I was happy for them, then.   Plus, I was too concerned with defeating Voldemort for that year and the year after that to think about any girl really seriously.   I even consciously avoided getting into a relationship because I didn't want to put anyone in danger.   I would have tried to distance myself from her and Ron too, but they wouldn't let me, so I never tried.   But they were the only ones and in the end, it was only thanks to them that I was able to defeat Voldemort.   It was their loyalty, their friendship, their willingness to give their all for me, that saved me.   After Voldemort was gone, I retreated for a while.  I needed time alone, to think and to heal and to grieve.   While I was gone, Ron and Hermione grew closer out of necessity.   After all, they were the two members of the Famous Trio left. 

When I came back was when the troubles between them escalated.   They had always bickered but now their bickering became full-blown arguments.   Not because of me really, but because Ron wanted Hermione to change, to be something other than what she was.   I had always understood, somewhere in the back of my mind, that they would never last as a couple, because Ron was just incapable of understanding her.   He needed her to be a house-witch, who stayed at home, like his mother had been.   She needed independence, to stay herself, even if she did eventually marry.   Finally, they decided to end it.  

I found out one night when Hermione came to my flat where I lived alone, crying, after their break-up.   I conjured up a cup of tea and her favorite scones and held her as she cried and told me what had happened.   She knew it was the right thing to do but it still hurt and she was afraid that their friendship was over.   I held her and comforted her, telling her not to worry, that it would be alright.   And I wondered if I could ever have a chance with her.  

My chance didn't happen that night or any night in the next 6 months.   I didn't even see her that much during those months.   She threw herself into her work, as a Researcher at the National Wizarding Institute for Charms and Transfiguration and didn't see much of anyone, except for her family.  

One evening, though, Ron owled us both and asked us to dinner.   It turned out he'd met someone, a witch named Megan, and he wanted to tell us all about her, and tell Hermione that they could still be best friends, that we could all still be the Famous Trio, as if nothing had ever happened.  

I was walking her home from that dinner.   We didn't talk, just walked.   That was one thing I loved about her.   I never had to talk to her for her to know my mood and she never minded if I didn't feel like talking, unlike most of the witches I've ever met.  

I remember it was a full moon and a clear, beautiful night.   The full moon always reminded both of us of our mutual friend, Remus Lupin, and we shared some laughs and memories of our 3rd year and hoped he was doing well.   He lived with my godfather, Sirius Black, in northern England and though we owled often, we didn't see them as often as we would have liked.  

When we got to her door, I bent to kiss her cheek as I usually did.   I don't know how it happened but somehow, instead of kissing her cheek, I kissed her lips.   And then she was in my arms and we were kissing as if we couldn't get enough of each other, which we couldn't.   And I felt that I had come home.  

We became lovers that night.   That amazing, wonderful night.   She was mine and I was hers, and all was right in our world.  

I didn't tell her I loved her though.   I knew it and I think it was sort of understood between us, but neither of us said it.   I don't exactly know why.   It somehow never felt completely right and I was insecure and unsure of her feelings and wanted to avoid the issue.  

But one night it all came out.  

We were walking home, again, from dinner, when we were attacked.  

Dark wizards still consider me, as Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived and vanquisher of all things evil, blah blah blah, to be Target #1 and getting rid of me the first step to greatness in the Dark Forces.   I had quickly learned to defend myself both physically and magically.  

This particular wizard was soon, if not exactly easily, defeated but not before he'd sent Hermione flying to land with a thud a few feet away.   I think that did it.   No one, and I mean no one was going to hurt her and get away with it while I was around.   After that, I made short work of him, leaving him unconscious and in a full body-bind, while I made sure that Hermione was ok.  

She was fine, just a little bruised, and more concerned about me than herself.   The dam inside me finally gave way and I told her.   I told her I loved her, that I needed her, that I couldn't imagine life without her after so many years of her being my best friend and then my lover, and asked her if she would marry me.  

I will never forget the sight of her as she sat on the dirty ground and smiled at me, through her tears, or what she said: "Oh, Harry, I love you too and of course I will!"   Only 11 words and they changed my life.  

I kissed her then, again and again, and knew my life was complete now.  

We announced our engagement at Ron's wedding to Megan, a month later, to the frantic excitement of the entire wizarding world who thought it the most romantic and thrilling thing they'd ever heard, that the Boy Who Lived was going to be married to his almost-equally-famous best friend, Hermione Granger.  

Ron was happy for us, although he pretended to be annoyed at our having upstaged his own wedding with our announcement.   We were the Famous Trio still, though, and we decided in a long, serious talk we had not long after, that no matter what happened, no matter that Hermione and I were going to be married, we would always be just that, best friends, the unbeatable trio.  

So that's how it happened.   That's how Hermione Granger, my best friend, my help-mate, became Hermione Granger, my lover, my fiancée, my soul-mate and the love of my life.   And how, in less than 24 hours, she's going to become my wife.  

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The next night, in a bedroom somewhere in London, a husband and wife lay in each other's arms, pleasantly tired and relaxed after their energetic activities of a few minutes before.  

The man murmured something and dropped a light kiss on his wife's bare shoulder, as they both prepared to drift off to sleep.  

"I love you, Hermione."  

"I love you, Harry." 

And both slept, complete. 

~The End~