Ch 30: Finding Peace
Following the return of the survivors of the battle to Hogwarts, news quickly spread of Voldemort's defeat. That evening, celebrations sprang up through out the wizarding world, though spirits were not as high at Hogwarts, where the injured were slowly recuperating. Though the final battle had been disastrous for Voldemort and his army, it had been quite devastating for Harry and his allies as well. Two of the dragons had been severely hurt, as well as dozens of injuries and fatalities for the merpeople, the tree sprites, and the wild elves. Several of the centaurs and unicorns had been injured, but none seriously. Nearly sixty of the Aurors from the Ministry had perished, as had Moody, Tonks, Shaklebolt and Mundungus. Eleven students from the school perished as well. Both the Weasley twins were severely injured, but were expected to make it. The other Weasleys were all injured as well, but not as badly as the twins. Luna and Neville were both injured, as was Draco, but made rapid recoveries. Hagrid, McGonagall, and Snape had all suffered severe wounds and several other members of the teaching staff had perished. Harry remained unconscious in the infirmary with Hermione hovering by his side.
The three faculty members and Harry received several visitors throughout the afternoon and evening, but Madame Pomfrey had driven everyone out by eight o'clock. Everyone, of course, but Hermione. Tossing her hands in exasperation and with a glare at the departing Dumbledore, Pomfrey gave up trying to evict the very determined looking Hermione from her seat. Sleeping in her favorite chair, Hermione awoke in the morning still holding Harry's hand. Noticing no change in his condition, Hermione thought quietly about how she could help Harry. She recalled some of Harry's last thoughts before he had fallen unconscious, they had troubled him so greatly it had seemed as if he were screaming them to her. He wondered if the guilt he doubtless felt about some of the means he had used to gain the victory over Voldemort was making his exhaustion from the spell use yesterday worse. Or was it something else?
~Harry? Harry, can you hear me?~ she thought. When she heard no response, she waited and then tried again. After half an hour of calling out to him gently, she decided to take more direct action. Gently probing his mind, she found herself again in his mental labyrinth. She called out again, looking for some hint of where she might find him. Receiving no answer, she started making her way through the labyrinth.
"Headmaster, I'm very worried about both of them," sighed Poppy. "Miss Granger has been sitting there for two days now, and neither of them have moved a muscle the entire time. I've given them both potions to heal their bodies and give them some energy. Miss Granger wasn't hurt very badly, and Mr. Potter's wounds have been healed—there's nothing wrong with either of them physically, but…"
"Sometimes the gravest wounds are found in the heart and mind," remarked Dumbledore loud enough for the faculty, Mr. and Mrs. Granger, and Arthur and Molly Weasley to hear. "Both Mr. Potter and Miss Granger have been through a number of incredibly difficult experiences, and instead of sharing their burdens with others, have relied almost solely upon each other and their individual strength. I believe they will have to help each other through this final trial alone—but knowing their strength and courage, and yes, sheer stubbornness as I do, I am certain they will find a way to come back to us. Until then, I am afraid there is little we can do to help them at this point except wait and hope. And give them all the support they will accept when they return." The eyes of the adults returned to the still forms of the motionless teenagers.
Finally reaching the center of the labyrinth, Hermione gazed up at the magnificent castle that soared upward in front of her. As she stepped forward, a roar of magical flame leaped upward from an immense moat that surrounded the castle. Peering through the flames, she could barely make out a drawbridge, drawn up tightly against the castle's outer wall.
~Harry! Let me in! It's Hermione! Please open up and let me in,~
~Go away! I don't want to talk to anyone! I don't deserve to talk to anyone!~
~Harry, I just want to help! Please let me in to help you!~
~No! Go away! I don't want your help!~ then more quietly, she heard, ~I don't deserve your help.~
~But Harry, I love you. I've come to help you!~
~NO! Go away! You can't help me now! Don't you know what I've become?!?! I'm just like him now. I've used anything and anyone to make sure that he was defeated. Do you have any idea how many lies I've used, how many people I've deceived? Do you know the terrible danger I've put my friends in? Do you know what I allowed to happen to Ginny? You saw the power I was able to wield against Voldemort. I'm just as bad as he ever was, maybe worse. Now go away and leave me alone!"
~Harry! I will not abandon you now after all you've done! Harry! Listen to me!~ Hermione waited, but there was no further response. She stepped closer to the moat and the magical fire roared upward again.
~I won't let you shut me out Harry!~
Gathering her courage, Hermione shapeshifted into her owl form and soared into the sky. The magical flames surged around her, but did not harm her. As she soared over the moat and castle wall, she landed in the outer courtyard and shifted back to her normal form. As she landed, she exhaled the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. Looking around quickly to get her bearings, she marched straight towards the large double doors outside of the largest building. Pushing gently, she realized they were barred. ~Harry! Open up and let me in!~ No response. Pointing her wand, she spoke softly, "Alohomora." Nothing happened. She tried again with a little more effort. Again nothing. She tried a third time and felt Harry's resistance, strongly at first and then give way as if his heart truly wasn't in it. The doors swung open gently.
As she walked into an enormous hall, she called out, "Harry!" Still no response. She slowly worked her way through the various rooms on the first two floors. She really hadn't expected to find him in the kitchen, the dining room, the throne room, or any of the small rooms on the second floor. On the third floor, the second door she checked opened into an enormous library that must have covered most of the third story. Shelves lined the twenty foot tall walls. A small fire burned lowly at one end of the room in a fireplace with several comfortable chairs in front of it. "Harry?" she asked again, knowing he was in one of the chairs even if he didn't answer. The silence continued. She walked to the fire and turned to one of the chairs. It was empty. She slowly turned to the other chair and froze in shock.
There was a long pause and then ~HARRY!!! What happened? What did Voldemort do to you?~
Looking back at her slowly, Harry replied in a low tone. ~Voldemort didn't do anything to me, Hermione. I did this to myself. The lies, the deceptions, the time travel, the advanced spells and the elemental power I summoned, the deaths I caused—all of it has shaped what you see before you.~
Hermione forced herself to maintain eye contact with Harry and not allow herself to look away. Instead of the handsome, young, vibrant sixteen-year old boy she had known and fallen in love with at Hogwarts, the twisted and tortured creature in front of her was nearly unrecognizable. His limbs appeared to have been twisted and stretched into grotesque angles, with barely enough skin stretched tight to cover them. His skin had dark patches covering it, looking like badly healed burn marks. His thin shoulders stooped over his sunken chest, which seemed to catch at nearly every breath. But what nearly broke Hermione's heart was when he raised his wrinkled, disfigured face to look at hers. One eye was lost beneath a mass of scar tissue, but the remaining eye, instead of a sparkling hue of emerald appeared to be a dull, lifeless greyish-green. She could sense no life nor spark at all within its murky depths.
"Oh Harry!" she cried and reached forward to give him a hug.
~NO!!! I don't want your pity. I never wanted you to see me like this. Now go and leave me alone. It's what I deserve.~ Harry laughed bitterly. ~Tonks once told me that 'There is always a price to be paid for the most powerful magics that are performed.' Only extremely powerful magic could have defeated Voldemort, and I did what I had to do. And now I'm paying the price for it. Don't get me wrong Hermione—I'm glad I did what I did. The wizarding world will be a better place with Voldemort gone. I'd do it again if I had to, just to make the world better and safer for you Hermione. My only regret is that I won't be able to enjoy that world with you Hermione. Now please go. Please just leave me alone.~ Harry's chin dropped to his chest.
Hermione's soft but strong fingers lifted his chin so that he could see her face again as the tears streamed from her eyes. ~Harry, if you think I'm just going to leave you now when you need me the most, then you never really understood how much you mean to me. Without you there beside me, I will never enjoy a world without Voldemort.~
~But I can't go back Hermione.~
~Then neither will I.~
~I'm staying here with you, Harry. Don't you get it? I love you Harry and I want to be with you, no matter what.~ She reached forward and easily lifted the quietly crying Harry in her arms and cradled him gently. ~I love you, Harry. No matter what. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing!~
~I love you too, Hermione. I love you too.~
Hermione sat down in the chair Harry had been resting in and continued to hold him close. As the tears rolled down her face, she felt his breathing ease a bit and realized that he had fallen asleep. As she gazed into the fire she cried softly to herself at the enormous price Harry was paying to make the world safe from Voldemort. He had sacrificed everything but his life. And what kind of life did he have left, trapped here within the confines of his own mind? Hermione determined that she would make sure it was as peaceful and pleasant as possible. ~Oh Harry, I would give anything to heal your mind and heart, to help you enjoy the kind of life you deserve. Anything.~ And then Hermione fell asleep too, still holding Harry close in her arms.
When Hermione awoke, she was still sitting in her chair, but Harry was gone. The fire had gone out too, and it took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dark room. Then she realized that she was no longer in the library of Harry's mental castle at all but was back in the infirmary. Quickly she looked down and found Harry's hand still clasped in her own.
~Harry! Are you there? Harry, please!~ Nothing. She leaned forward and began to cry softly on his chest. The darkness slowly faded as dawn approached and sent her first rays over the horizon. The edge of the sun appeared and chased the remaining shadows from the room.
A hand gently brushed Hermione's hair as she heard a soft voice say ~Hermione?~
~Hi there. Uhh, you're getting me all wet crying like that.~
~What! Oh! Harry! You're back!~ Hermione leaned over and gave him a huge hug. Then she turned and looked up at him and paused.
"Harry, what happened?"
With a look of horror on his face, he raised his hands to his face and felt nothing but smooth skin. Then he closed his right eye and looked around with his left eye to see if he could still see clearly. He saw Hermione looking back at him with an odd look on her face.
Then he opened both his eyes and looked down at his arms and hands. He saw his own arms, lean but strong and the callused and powerful hands of a Quidditch player. "Hermione! You healed me!"
"You managed to heal me somehow! I feel so much bet…" as Harry sat up quickly, he felt a little woozy. "Well, maybe I need a little more rest first," he grinned as he laid back down again on the bed.
"And I will make sure you get plenty of rest, Mr. Potter," clucked Madame Pomfrey as she came running out of her office. "My dear boy, you have no idea how glad I am to see you back with the living. And you too, Miss Granger." She missed the slight frown that flashed across Harry's face, but Hermione saw and reached out and squeezed his hand. Madame Pomfrey sat across from Harry and quickly began to fuss over him.
A few minutes later, both Dumbledore and McGonagall burst through the door. McGonagall was still limping slightly. Hermione looked at them and asked, "How did you know…"
McGonagall looked at her and almost laughed. "My dear girl, you probably woke the entire staff screaming like you did a few minutes ago."
Hermione blushed a deep red.
"Harry, I can't begin to tell you how worried we were about you." Looking at Hermione, Dumbledore added, "about both of you."
"How long have I been out this time, Professor?" asked Harry.
"Three days have passed since you defeated Voldemort, Harry. You are recovering much more quickly this time though."
"No, I don't think so Professor." The three adults and Hermione looked at Harry with great concern. "I mean I wouldn't even be here at all if it wasn't for Hermione. Everything I've done and gone through in the past year finally caught up with me after Voldemort's defeat…Professor! Were you able to close the demon-gate? What about the rest of Voldemort's army? Have they been found?" Harry tried to sit up, only to have Hermione push him back down on the bed easily.
"Yes, yes Harry. Everything is fine. Professors Snape, McGonagall, and I were able to close the demon-gate. The Aurors have been very busy tracking down the remnants of Voldemort's army. The Death Stalkers have been particularly busy. Most offered little resistance and there were no organized attacks after they discovered Voldemort been defeated."
"Professor, who were the Death Stalkers, the Wind Warriors, and the Beast Masters? I've never heard of them. Are they some type of specially trained wizard?" asked Hermione.
"Yes, Hermione. Aurors are trained to deal with a wide variety of problems, but usually deal primarily with Dark wizards and witches. The other three types you saw at the battle are specially trained Aurors. Death Stalkers hunt the undead. Beast Masters deal with magical beasts that become problematic. And Wind Warriors are specially trained to deal with airborne creatures."
"How did they know Voldemort had been defeated?" asked Harry.
Following his defeat, the dark mark on all of his surviving servants faded so that only the barest of outlines remained. Enough remains of the mark to still be able to identify his followers however."
Harry slapped his hand to his forehead searching for his scar. Hermione brushed his hand aside and looked. "It's still there Harry." He looked disappointed. "But you can barely see it at all. It's almost completely faded away."
"Really?!?!" He looked around quickly for a mirror and then took the one Hermione had just conjured for him. "Thanks, Hermione," and then looked at his barely noticeable scar. "Cool." Then his brow furrowed. "But I still don't understand how you healed me Hermione."
All three adults now looked at Hermione.
"I told you, I didn't do anything, Harry."
"Well, if you didn't then maybe I'll still end up like…" Harry's face froze in terror.
Hermione leaned forward and grabbed his chin gently. "Harry! Harry, stay with me. We'll get through this, I promise. You're going to be fine, I promise."
Harry looked at her and nodded.
"Perhaps if you told me what happened, I could be of some assistance," offered Dumbledore quietly.
"I don't think so, Professor. But thanks all the same."
Looking quickly at Harry, Hermione spoke, "Harry, keeping secrets is a big part of what caused, well you know. We may have had an easier time this year if we had asked for a little more help and been a little more open with people."
Harry looked at Hermione and then at Dumbledore and then made his decision. "Fine, but could you tell him Hermione. Or maybe show him with your memories. I think it would be easier that way."
"I am sure it would be easier that way, Harry, but I do not believe that would help you very much. I hate to ask it of you Harry, but I really think it would be better if you showed me yourself. I think it will help like when you told me what happened after you disappeared from the Triwizard Tournament."
Harry stared at Dumbledore for a minute, reliving briefly the pain of that memory, but also remembering how it had helped to share it with someone else. "Fine. Let me concentrate. Maybe Hermione can help, she's much better at mindspeaking with others than I am."
"As you wish, Harry."
Dumbledore, Harry, and Hermione closed their eyes briefly in concentration. Hermione quickly took Dumbledore through the labyrinth to the castle where he could review all that had happened the previous three days. Sitting in the library, Harry seemed very nervous answering Dumbledore's various questions.
Finally, Harry asked Hermione, ~What…what do I look like Hermione? And don't lie.~
Looking him straight in the eye, Hermione replied ~You look just like yourself, Harry. Your sixteen-year old self.~
~What!?!? How is that possible?!?! Yesterday, I was maimed and crippled and burnt out with magic use and nearly dead!!! How can this be?!?! I don't understand!~
~May I offer a possible explanation, Harry?~
Both Harry and Hermione turned to look at Dumbledore.
~A few weeks ago I told Hermione that there are other ways, more powerful ways than magic, that can help those we care about.~
Hermione nodded and Harry just listened.
~After the battle, neither you nor Harry had suffered very critical injuries, or at least injuries visible to the human eye. Madame Pomfrey could take care of those external wounds. But you were both wounded in your minds and in your hearts. Especially you Harry. And that is where you have been able to do the greatest amount of good, Hermione. In a way that Voldemort never understood, but that both you and Lily Potter understood instinctively, you both realized the incredible power of love. Lily was able to protect Harry's life. You were able to restore it.
I have seen the condition you were in only hours ago, Harry and I can tell you there is no power in the wizarding world that could have saved you from that fate. There is only one thing that could have healed you Harry and that is the power of love. Your heart and mind have been healed of most of the trauma it has been put through over the last year because of Hermione's deep love for you. Some of your other scars will not heal as quickly, but they will heal with time and as long as you trust in her and love her enough to let her help heal you.
Voldemort never really understood the most dangerous weapon you possessed, Harry. It wasn't your magical power, formidable as that has become. It wasn't your knowledge of magic, your reflexes, your friends and allies, or anything else. It was the love you had for your friends and the love they had for you. It was this love that gave you the strength to shoulder the burdens you assumed this past year and to push through with the study and practice you endured this year beyond most people's ability to endure. It was the love the three of you share that enabled you to cast the spell that ultimately proved Voldemort's undoing.~
Harry and Hermione just stared at Dumbledore in awe.
~But enough of an old man's ramblings. I apologize. However, before we return to the world of the living, I just want to say two more things. First Harry, do not judge yourself too harshly for what you have done to defeat Voldemort. I am not saying that the ends justify the means. However, there are certain times when the normal rules no longer apply. The world is not always clearly revealed in black or white. You did what you thought was best in the circumstances in which you found yourself. You were trying to protect all of us. We could ask no more than that. In fact, I think you will find that those who you feel you have manipulated or deceived are not as hurt as you fear, but instead are grateful for your sacrifice and will be very forgiving of any errors you may believe you have made.
Second, allow the love you and Hermione share, and the friendships you have with those around you, help you recover fully. You have carried too much responsibility and too many worries by yourself for far too long. You will find that by sharing those burdens with those around you who care for you, life will be much easier and fulfilling. I understand your fear and reluctance in accepting help and support, but let us help you. There are plenty of us who are more than willing to help shoulder your burdens, support you in your grief and sorrow, and share in your joy and happiness. Do not shut us out.
There, I have had my say. Come, let us return.~ Dumbledore held out his hands. Instead of grabbing his hands, Harry and Hermione gave him a huge hug.
Opening their eyes again, they found themselves back in the infirmary. With a look at Madame Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore announced, "I imagine you two would like some time alone to talk, so I will delay any additional visitors for another hour or so." Smiling broadly, "Beyond that, I can make no promises. Once the entire Weasley family learns of this, I fear not even I will be able to prevent Molly and her children from breaking down the doors."
Harry and Hermione grinned as the three adults turned to leave. Harry reached for Hermione's hand and they watched silently as the sun burned off the last of the dew outside the window. They just sat there quietly, enjoying the silence and each other's company.
About an hour later, Harry and Hermione turned to the door after hearing a loud commotion outside.
"Madame Pomfrey, with all due respect, I don't care if Dumbledore himself said he was to have no visitors. I am not a visitor! I am his mother! Now step aside!" roared Molly.
Harry and Hermione looked at each other and started laughing as Molly brushed by a frustrated Madame Pomfrey.
"And I'm his best friend!" bellowed Ron as he pushed his way in.
"And we're his…uhh…" started Fred.
"Bodyguards!" finished George and they charged through.
"And if Molly is his mother, that makes me his father!" added Arthur and followed his sons.
"I taught Harry everything there is to know about dragons!" chimed in Charlie shouldering his way past the door.
"And I…I…well, I'm a Weasley too, and I'm going in!" explained Bill and came in as well.
"And we're her parents, so we're coming in too!" shouted the Grangers and they entered as well.
Looking out the door, Harry caught glimpses between Weasleys entering the room of a very full hall of people waiting to see him.
"Madame Pomfrey, if you would just let everyone from Hogwarts in that wants to see me, I promise I will take a long nap this afternoon. Otherwise, I will be seeing visitors all day long."
"Very well, Mr. Potter. I don't even know why I bother!" muttered a disgruntled Madame Pomfrey as she threw up her hands in defeat. She turned to the mob outside his room and shouted, "Professors and Gryffindors, come on in. You have one hour to visit Mr. Potter. ONE HOUR! And if I catch one of you reporters trying to sneak in, I'll give you something that will keep you in your bathroom for a solid week!"
Very quickly the infirmary filled beyond capacity as the Gryffindors and professors took turns chatting briefly with Harry, thanking him for defeating Voldemort and wishing him a speedy recovery. Sadly, Harry noticed a number of sixth and seventh years missing, as well as several members of the faculty. What bothered him most was that he had not seen Ginny Weasley at all. The hour passed very quickly and as Madame Pomfrey was shooing out the visitors, a slender, pretty girl came to the door and peeked in. Harry immediately recognized Ginny and motioned her to come in. When Pomfrey looked like she would object, Harry promised it would only take ten minutes. Satisfied, she made sure everyone else had left.
Looking nervously at Harry and Hermione, Ginny stood quietly by Harry's bed. Hermione moved as if to get up, but both Harry and Ginny asked her to stay. Harry and Ginny laughed nervously, since they had said the same thing at the same time.
Ginny started to open her mouth but Harry started first. "Ginny, I am so sorry that I…"
"Harry, I am so sorry that I…"
"What?" they both said again at the same time.
"Ginny, you have nothing to apologize for. I am the one that should be apologizing. I left you under Voldemort's control, just so I could try and spring a trap on him. I left you alone, unprotected, as a spy, just to avoid discovery and I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am. You'll probably hate me forever, and I completely understand, but I am so sorry."
"Harry! What on earth are you apologizing for? I was the one spying on Voldemort and giving him information! I was the one that told him where the Black mansion was and nearly got us all killed! I wasn't strong enough to resist him again! I am so sorry I nearly got you killed!"
"But Ginny, I didn't try and help you at all…"
"You defeated Voldemort, didn't you?"
"And how on earth did you think you were going to help me then, if it wasn't by defeating Voldemort? As long as he was alive, there was always the chance that he would come back and try and possess me again. All it took was one stupid glance at that orb, and I was back under his power again! And there was nothing I could do about it! I tried so hard, Harry!"
"That wasn't your fault, Ginny. Don't blame yourself for that. I know you tried. But Voldemort was very powerful. But…but…you're not mad at me because I didn't try and help you get out from under his influence?"
"Harry, you helped me the only way you could—you made sure Voldemort died. I'm finally free of him. Forever! I can't thank you enough Harry. What was a couple of months compared to a lifetime of his control? If you had tried something to help me before and Voldemort realized that you knew he was using me as a spy, it might have taken months, even years longer for you to defeat him. And all of that time I would have been under his control. You're not mad at me because I was spying on you?"
"Of course not, Ginny!"
"Oh, I am so glad!" she exclaimed as she leaned forward and gave Harry a huge hug.
"I'm so relieved that you don't hate me, Ginny! I'm so sorry," replied Harry.
"Enough with the sorry's, Harry. I'm just glad we're still friends."
"Of course we are Ginny."
"Well, I better get going. Pomfrey looks like she's going to burst a vein or something. Hope you get feeling better soon, Harry."
"I'll go with you, Ginny," announced Hermione. "You need a decent nap, Harry. Don't worry, I'll be back later to check in on you."
Harry tried to protest, then nodded. "OK, I'll see you later then." As they left, he laid back on his bed and thought about the events of the last few days. Though he felt a huge relief that Voldemort had been defeated, he still felt bad about the way in which he had acted to gain that victory. And he was still nervous about the incredible power that seemed available to him. But his heart felt much lighter after his discussion with Ginny. He had really been afraid of talking to her again. Then he thought about what Dumbledore had said and decided he would talk with him later about additional training. He needed to learn better control over his magic. He didn't want it burning him out. He smiled as he thought of the many friends who had come to thank him and wish him well. Dumbledore was right, he did have a lot of friends willing to help him. Then he thought about Hermione and the possible future they might have together. It was with those happy thoughts in mind that he finally fell into a deep, restful sleep untroubled for the first time in his life with thoughts of the future.
Later that afternoon, Harry and Hermione sat on the grass down by the pond watching the sun set. Harry closed his eyes and breathed in the rich fragrance of grass and flowers down by the pond. He listened as the insects and birds chirped softly in the distance. He could feel the cool breeze ruffle his hair and the setting sun still warm on his face. Smiling, he opened his eyes and looked at Hermione. With a nod upwards, he turned into his dragonform and flew into the sky. A moment later he could hear the screech of an owl flying right beside him. For an hour they flew side by side, circling the castle, sometimes chasing each other around the towers and turrets and then relaxing as they glided along with the various air currents moving about Hogwarts. His senses had never seemed so alive—the whole world seemed alive! And when he turned to glance at Hermione, he realized he had never felt so happy.
~The feeling's mutual, Harry. Why don't we go back down to the pond for a bit? I'm getting a bit tired.~
~And I'm getting a bit hungry. You head on back. I'm going to grab us a quick bite to eat from the kitchens.~
~How much longer do you think your Splittin' Image will fool Madame Pomfrey?~
~Well, I'm safe as long as she doesn't try and take my temperature or give me a potion while I'm sleeping. It's a good simulation, but it's not perfect.~
~All right, see you in a minute.~
Neither had noticed the amused pair of blue eyes that had been watching them fly around the castle for the past hour. ~Ahhh. To be young again and have so many possibilities in front of you. Good luck Harry and Hermione. You have both certainly earned whatever joy you can find together.~ He turned back to his office whistling cheerfully.
Harry reappeared beside Hermione with his arms full of small pies, pastries, and several slices of cake.
~I thought you were going for a 'quick bite.'~
Grinning, Harry explained ~I was, but you know Dobby. Here, help me out with some of these.~ She took a small slice of cake.
Sitting back on the grass, munching on a sweet pie, he closed his eyes and savored again the beautiful spring afternoon. ~Could this day be any more perfect?~
Startled, Harry opened his eyes and saw Hermione move her face close to his. He looked up and smiled as their lips brushed and then kissed. Once again he felt like there were fireworks going off in his head. After a moment, he felt Hermione sit next to him and lean her head on his shoulder. He slipped his arm around her shoulder and held her close. ~You were right, Mione. Now it's a perfect day.~
~Mione?~ She thought for a minute. ~Yeah, I like the sound of that, Harry. It feels right.~
He turned sideways and gave her another kiss.
~But I like that even better.~
~Yeah, me too.~
As they just sat quietly together, enjoying the solitude and the beautiful world around them, Harry let his mind just drift. He had no idea where he was going to live this summer or what he was going to do after he graduated, but none of that mattered right now. Hermione, the person he loved with all his heart was right there beside him, enjoying this perfect day with him. He was with Mione, and that was all that really mattered.
(Author's Note) Thanks again for all of the reviews. I appreciated them. I hope you enjoyed the story.