Disclaimer: I still don't own anything.

Neville

I'm not stupid, despite what others may whisper in potions, I'm really not. I don't know why she choose to be with me, all I know is that when she showed up in the tower last October crying and shaking uncontrollably I had to save her.

She couldn't breathe, she just kept rocking back and forth begging for something I didn't think I could give any body, especially not her.

A reason.

It was simple really, she just needed one reason to try harder, to work more and to win this war. Just one reason that was hers and hers alone. She had plenty of shared reasons of course. Friends, family, the school, Gryffindor pride, revenge, love, but not one that she alone could treasure, could use in her moment of weakness.

She only had one of those moments and I had foolishly believed that I was the only one to see her. And lord did I see her. I feel in love with her that night, the night I learned that she wasn't as perfect as everyone thought, the night I finally felt needed.

It was just days before the final battle.

The battle.

The end.

God, it came too soon. She, Harry and Ron had all been going insane with worry, paranoid that the enemy might strike any moment. It's funny how everything begins with moments. Looking back it would have been in he-who-must-not-be-named interests to hold out a few more months because they wouldn't have been able to fight then.

It was too much for them to handle.

Alone.

Together.

Apart.

It was tearing them apart slowly, it was ripping and shredding all the patience the boys had ever had for her bossiness and it was breaking the heart she had given to them.

Her boys.

Her everything.

They were destroying her with their selfish behavior and constant arguing and yelling. They were mad at everything, at nothing, at her, at themselves and she felt her reasons fading to black.

Back to the moment.

In between her wrenched breaths she asked if it was worth it. If everything they, her and her boys, were giving up would be worth it in the end.

And that's when I did the only thing I could for the war, for the light.

I lied.

She needed to be reassured it would be okay. That's all I did, I just said, "Everything will be all right in the end Hermione, I swear it."

And then we went to hell. The battle was… indescribable. We had all thought the Headmaster would use us students in the war, to win, it was an unspoken agreement.

We were wrong.

In the end it came down to the Golden Trio, the Dream Team, it came down to three teenagers.

It's a wonder we won.

Sometimes I see her looking over her shoulder or I notice her eyes focused on something behind me and I know she can't quite believe it's over. It's been close to seven months now and there's still fear hidden in her eyes.

Not that she isn't happy, she is. She tells me this, she insists that her life hasn't been better.

That's what breaks my heart, that this is the best it's been for her.

There's so many questions I want to ask her but never do.

Does that X across your chest hurt?

What did that letter from United Witches and Wizards say?

Who did you turn to first last October?

Do you think about your father much?

Do you love me?

I'm afraid of her answers, it's so easy to just believe her smiles and rolling eyes.

She'd make a fine actress.

She wakes up screaming sometimes and yet this is the happiest time for her.

"I'm happy," she says, eyes clouded over with something I can't describe.

I can't judge her though, she grew up during a war. We all did, but with her and her boys it was different.

They were the war.

Do you regret being their friends Hermione?

Her graduation speech was beautiful, she was beautiful.

She graduated top of our class to no one's surprise and everyone's delight.

They're going to get a flat together, the Dream Team will never be separated, she wants them to be though. It's the little things that show this isn't where her heart is.

Her eyes following his every move.

"Lost chances."

Whispers in her sleep of a name that isn't mine.

The way her shoulders tense when Ron and Harry talk about the future.

The way they slouch in defeat when they grab her and hug her tight, knowing they almost lost her.

Knowing they did loose her.

We're going to leave Hogwarts, we're at the train station and I think maybe everything will work out. Then he shows up.

The person who's name she whispers.

I don't pretend to know why she choose him of all the people.

I want to hold her tighter, to pull her against me and never let her go. But she tenses and Ron, Harry and I go to speak to the Headmaster.

When I look back over she's hugging him more fiercely then she has ever hugged me.

Another moment I won't forget. The moment I let her go.

She lets him go and walks back towards us.

Toward her future.

Toward her death.

Toward her boys.

I grab their arms and begin pulling them to the train. Both of their mouths are open wide, gaping at Hermione. I continue pulling them, pushing them on to the train.

The get on still confused. I'll explain how she whispers his name, how she searches for him in every room she enters, how she relaxes when she finds him.

I'll explain how she tenses when her eyes meet ours, how she cringes when we talk of a future we didn't ask if she wanted.

I'll explain what they already know. What they're afraid to admit.

They lost her.

She's still following, about to step up into the door.

I block the entrance.

I love her.

Our eyes meet.

She deserves someone who'll ask her the questions I was too afraid to ask.

Someone to make the screams go away.

Someone who doesn't make her tense.

"Stay."

It's a whisper.

It's a shout.

It's a second chance for someone who deserves it most.

I love her, I really do.

A/N: So I bet most of you thought I'd never get around to writing this chapter. I never thought I would either, it just kind of came to me last night so I thought, what the hell, might as well put it up. Do you like? I tried making it semi-happy. I'm thinking about writing this from Harry and Ron's perspective, maybe let you all in on what happened during the final battle. Any ideas?