I had just found out that the Quidditch match was canceled-I had had plans to meet with Penelope later, who hadn't gone to the match either, of course. We were Prefects-we had muchbetter things to do...like er, snogging in the dungeons for example.

Anyway, I went down to our meeting place as planned. I waited a tad, and when she didn't arrive, I suspected she had stood me up. I went to her friend Clarisse Jacobs, inquiring as to why I hadn't seen her. She said curiously that she hadn't seen her at the Quidditch Pitch either and thought she might have been in the vicinity of the library.

Nervous, and frustrated, I headed back to the Gryffindor Common Room, which was abuzz with excitement and sadness. I asked a fourth year, who said sadly that a Ravenclaw Prefect and Hermione Granger were attacked. I felt a black hole in the area of my stomach and hurried towards the Hospital Wing. I saw my brother, Ron and Harry Potter sadly walking to the common room. I started running. I slid to a halt in front of the door and slowly crept into the room.

"Oh, no," I breathed as I saw her, her lovely curly hair spread out over her pillow, her doe-brown eyes glassy and staring. I touched her hand, which was cold and stiff...as if, as if...I choked back a sob. I sank weak-kneed into a nearby chair and dropped my head into my hand.

A million things ran through my head...what if she never woke up? What if something went wrong with the Mandrake Drought? What if I would never see her smiling face, nor talk to her again...Why her?

I closed my eyes, hoping for a miracle. I felt a crushing pain in my heart-worse than anything I had ever felt before. I felt as if my world was crashing around me. I never knew I felt this way.

I leant down to kiss her stiff lips, which were usually so soft and yielding, tasting of raspberries. I felt my self inevitably tearing up.

"I love you, " I whispered tenderly. 'Have I just said that?' I thought, 'Said the very thought that I have been oppressing for so long?'

"Yes," I murmured, with a faint smile playing on my lips. I do love her, from the depths of my heart and soul. I clenched her hand. I knew she hadn't heard me this time, but when she was better, I would tell her...if she got better, that is. I wanted to tell her myself, my dear Penny. I got up, brushing my fingers across her cheek.

"I won't say good-bye, Penny. I'll see you well again soon...one day." I whispered to myself before I walked out of the Infirmatory.

I took one last look back before I left. I suddenly grinned. "I'll see her again, " I said softly, suddenly certain. "Yes." This cheered me up, and I left the Hospital Wing, significantly less miserable than I'd been when I came in.



Finis