A/N: Thanks to ears91 and PinkTribeChick for the wonderful reviews!

Lissie is back from vacation! She pointed out a couple of mistakes to me, so (hopefully) everything has been corrected!

Warning: OoTP SPOILERS!

Disclaimer: All of the HP characters belong to the wonderful J.K. Rowling, but she's kind enough to let me borrow them every now and then for my own entertainment...Like now, for instance.

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Chapter 7

A week later found Harry standing outside Hermione's room, fidgeting nervously. His hair was combed (well, as combed as it ever would be), and he was wearing causal, but nice Muggle clothing. As Harry took deep breaths to calm himself, he thought about who was on the other side of the door. Hermione had been really quiet since Hogsmeade; she had been withdrawn from others, keeping to herself mostly and not speaking up much during classes. She and Harry were still spending lots of time together, but she had looked upset most of the time. Harry had tried to comfort Hermione as much as she would allow him to. He whispered encouraging words and such, but she would just tell him that she was okay; always okay. He hadn't gotten an opportunity to take her to the Room of Requirement until that day. He didn't think she would've been extremely willing to go a few days ago. McGonagall had written Hermione's parents about what had happened, and Hermione had received a very long letter from her mother the following day. Harry didn't know what was in the letter, but Hermione had been very upset. He hoped she would be willing to go with him tonight. He had planned everything so carefully...

After taking another calming breath, Harry pulled the tapestry aside and pressed on the center stone. After a moment, the door to Hermione's room appeared. Harry knocked lightly and heard approaching footsteps. He smiled broadly as Hermione opened the door.

"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed. "What are you doing here?" From the looks of Hermione, she had been getting ready for bed. She was wearing loose fitting pajama pants and a t-shirt; her hair also hung in an unruly mess around her shoulders, but Harry didn't notice. All he saw was her beautiful brown eyes, slightly wide with surprise, and the looks of a genuine smile on her lips. Harry's heart swelled slightly in his chest. He took a step back and held out his hand.

"I have a surprise for you," he said.

"What are you up to?" she asked in a slightly suspicious, mostly teasing tone of voice.

"Take my hand." Hermione did, smiling up at Harry. Once she was through the door, the tapestry reappeared. Harry twirled Hermione so that her back was facing him.

"Close your eyes," he whispered. Hermione did. Harry tied a black scarf loosely around her head. "Wait here." Harry paced in front of Hermione, his step extremely calculated, and he had a look of upmost concentration on his face. What he wanted in the room was only possible if he thought about it really, really hard. Finally, the door materialized. Harry smiled and walked toward Hermione. He grasped her arm lightly and led her through the door. Harry untied the scarf and let it fall to the ground. He watched as Hermione blinked rapidly, letting her eyes readjust to the low lighting. Then her jaw dropped. Pride surged through Harry's chest at her expression. It had taken him hours to decide what he wanted the room to look like. The one that had appeared to him suddenly a week ago had been nice, but he had improved upon it. Now, the room was positively stunning. Harry's smile widened as he took in their surroundings as well. The first thing one noticed was the soft music playing in the background. Then you noticed a small table, big enough for two, sitting in the middle of the room. On it was a white table cloth, a couple of candles, two wine glasses (already filled with a non-alcoholic beverage), and silverware. Even though there were candles on the table, the lighting in the room was very dim. In fact, most of the lighting came from the ceiling of stars. Harry walked up to stand behind Hermione. He put his arm around her waist, and, when she looked at him, he pointed toward the twinkling stars.

Hermione's eyes widened even more when she saw her name written within the sea of stars. She smiled and turned her body completely toward Harry. He grinned at her before kissing her lightly on the lips. Once apart, Harry led Hermione towards the table. He pulled her seat out and pushed it back underneath her. Then, he disappeared in the darkness. Hermione looked around, slightly alarmed for a moment. Harry reappeared suddenly with two plates, one in each hand. He sat one in front of Hermione and the other in front of his own seat. It was their dinner. Harry sat down and looked at her. She was still looking around the room, an awestruck expression on her face.

"What?" he whispered.

"Harry, this room..." Hermione said, looking at a loss for words for a moment. "It's amazing."

"I hoped you'd like it."

"Like it? It's wonderful!" Harry smiled at her.

"You'd better eat before it gets cold." Hermione picked up her fork and took a bite of the delicious food.

"How long did it take you to come up with this?" she asked after swallowing.

"Oh, not that long. I knew what I wanted the room to look like, but it takes lots of concentration to get it to look like this."

"Why did you...?"

"Why did I do it? Because I wanted to spend time with you, away from others. Since we can't go to Hogsmeade, I thought you might like a nice dinner. Just the two of us." Harry narrowed his eyes at Hermione. "Do you not like it?"

"No, that's not what I meant! I just...never expected this," she said, gesturing at the room around her. "I never thought it could be this wonderful."

"You may think it's wonderful, Hermione, but in my opinion, it's nothing compared to you," Harry whispered. Hermione blushed slightly. They ate in since for a minute before talking about how fast the end of the year was approaching. They would no longer be Hogwarts students in a couple of months. Even though they would be glad when the N.E.W.T.s were over, they were saddened at the thought of leaving Hogwarts behind. Even sadder was the thought of the friends they might not ever see again. Then a thought struck Harry. If he and Hermione went their separate ways, he might not ever see her again. 'I won't let that happen...,' Harry thought.

~ "Can you believe we'll leave Hogwarts behind in a couple of days?" Hermione asked, snuggling closer in Harry's arms. They were back in the Room of Requirement. This time, they were on a tiny stretch of beach with a full moon shining brightly overhead and waves licking at their heels every so often. Harry had gotten very good at concentrating hard and making what he wanted appear in the room, no matter how impossible it seemed. Over the last couple of months, she and Harry had spent lots of time together there. Hermione never cared what was in the room, just so long as she and Harry were together.

"No, I can't," he whispered in her hair.

"You have enough N.E.W.T.s to become and Auror, and I..." Hermione stopped. Harry stiffened suddenly. Hermione didn't bring up the future much because she had no idea what she wanted to do, or what she wanted to happen to them. Harry didn't care what Hermione chose as her career, but he wanted them to be together. That much was for certain. They just hadn't discussed it. Hermione didn't know that Harry had managed to get a fairly large apartment in Diagon Alley, nor did she know that he intended to ask her to marry him. As this thought hit, Harry could feel the weight of the ring in his pocket.

"Hermione," Harry whispered. She turned slightly to face him. "I love you, with all my heart. You know that, right?" Hermione nodded.

"I love you, too, Harry." He reached up and put his hands on either side of Hermione's face.

"I can't imagine going through life without you. I want to wake up every morning and your beautiful eyes be the first thing I see. I want to fall asleep every night with you in my arms. You've been with me since the beginning, and I want us to be together to face whatever else life has in store." Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny black box. "Hermione Granger, will you marry me?" Harry opened the box. Inside, on dark green velvet, sat a simple gold band with a tiny diamond. Hermione looked from the ring to Harry's face, surprise written plainly on her face. For an instant, Harry was afraid she would say no. Then she smiled, and her eyes glistened with unshed tears. Harry's heart threatened to explode as she nodded yes. He took the ring out of the box and slid it onto her finger. It was a perfect fit.

"Oh, Harry," Hermione whispered, looking at the ring. "It's beautiful." She looked up into Harry's eyes. "I love you." She kissed him. They sat in silence together for a few minutes before Hermione looked frightened.

"What about my parents?" she shrieked.

"Oh, I almost forgot," Harry said, reaching into his pocket. "I wrote to your parents earlier this week, asking for their permission." Harry pulled out a piece of parchment and handed it to Hermione. "They'll give us their blessing under one condition. We have to stay engaged for at least a year before we get married." Hermione smiled as she scanned the letter.

"Perfect," she said before kissing him again.

~

"Oh Harry, I don't want to leave you," Hermione said, hugging Harry tightly.

"I know, love. I don't want to either, but it won't be for long. Before you know it, we'll be together again. Remember I'm coming for dinner soon?" Hermione nodded against his neck. "See? It won't be long. I promise." Hermione stepped back and looked up at her fiancé. Harry ran a finger down her nose. "Remember what I told you last night?" Hermione nodded again. "What?"

"You said that this is only the beginning," she said, tears threatening to spill.

"That's right," Harry said and kissed her. "You better hurry or you'll miss the train."

"I don't care if I miss it."

"Well, your parents will, and I don't want them angry with us just now." Hermione nodded slowly.

"Okay. I'll write to you soon," Harry said, putting his hand on her cheek.

"Promise?" Hermione asked, finally smiling a little. Harry smiled back.

"Promise." He kissed her again. "Now go on." He playfully swatted Hermione away. She turned and stepped onto the train. Harry looked at the windows, trying to spot her again. Just before the train pulled away, Hermione stuck her bushy head out of a window and waved madly to him. Harry blew her a kiss before waving back. He watched until the train disappeared, and he could no longer see his Hermione. Turning, Harry smiled to himself and whispered, "Just the beginning..."

~THE END~

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I hope this ending was satisfactory. Hopefully it appealed to all you romantic types! :) Even though this story is finished, reviews would be greatly appreciated!

BTW, Lissie deserves lots of credit for helping me out with this story. Thanks Lis!