The sun gently kissed her face, and she knew the war was over.
She didn't know how she knew this, but she did. Have you ever had those sort of feeling where you knew something, and no one had to tell you? That's how Hermione felt right then. Maybe it was because of the weather. Having it rain for non-stop, ever since Harry left, the sun ought to shine once it was over. She tip toed out of bed quietly, careful not to wake Ron up, who was sleeping in the chair beside her.
She stepped out onto the balcony, breathing in the deep sunlight. The war was over. She thought carefully. Harry's coming home.
Her breath stopped. Harry. How many times had she thought about him in the past two weeks? Not just because she knew he off fighting Voldemort , though she knew that was definitely a big reason. No, it was because of what they had shared That Night. The night before he left to fight Voldemort–for good.
She was going to go find him. She knew she shouldn't–Harry was a big boy, he could look after himself. But now that she looked back on it, she was glad she did. She finally found him in the Astronomy Tower.
He was a mess. Never before had Hermione seen him like this. Not when Sirius died, or Voldemort came back, or even when Dumbledore died. His face was sullen and red–she could see where the tears had already flown down his face. His hair was longer than she had ever seen it, and messier too. The curls she never realized he had were now flaunting wildly in every direction, though they held some sort of common grace. His face was no longer clean–it was obvious that he hadn't shaved in a while, for there were whiskers everywhere. She remembered how they had felt against her own face that night–like peach fuzz.
His eyes, however, were what had shocked her. Even behind his glasses his eyes were red and puffy. Their shocking emerald color was no more–it had dulled significantly. Though what really got her was the look in his eyes. He looked so helpless. Harry was never helpless, and seeing him this way scared her. There was something else, too, in his eyes. Something Hermione couldn't explain–was it lust? She had no idea. But one thing was for sure–she wasn't going to leave him that night. At all.
And she didn't. Maybe it would have been best if she did. Maybe they wouldn't have slept with one another that evening had she left. But she couldn't tear herself from him. Not with him like he was–completely disarrayed, partially destroyed.
She hadn't even told Ron about That Night. Perhaps it was best she didn't–she knew Ron was the sort of person who could easily become insanely jealous if he knew his girlfriend slept with another guy. Even if it was best friend. Even if it was only for one night. Even if it didn't mean a thing.
"Good morning, 'Mione." Speak of the devil...
"Good morning, Ron." She said quietly, smiling gently as he wrapped his arms around her. He kissed her cheek lightly as he bathed in the morning sun. "Wow," He said, looking up at the morning sky. "The sun's up!"
"Yeah, that's why I came out here–the sun hasn't been out since–since..." She didn't finish. She couldn't bring herself to say his name in front of Ron.
"Since Harry left." Ron finished for her, tightening his arms around her, as if just by saying Harry's name he had somehow lost a bit of his girlfriend. "I wonder if this means he'll be back soon."
Hermione nodded. "I hope so. I miss him."
Ron frowned. "We all do, Hermione–we just have to have faith that Harry will be alright. He'll come home, you know he will. He promised. And Harry's never broken a promise before. He'll be back soon enough, and it'll be like he never left."
Hermione's smile faltered. She wasn't for sure how to answer that. She wasn't even for sure how to act when he came back. "I know." She said, after pausing for a few minutes. "But that doesn't mean I can't worry." Ron simply grinned.
The silence took them over once more. It was a comfortable silence, one in which neither of them wanted to end. Then again, perhaps had the silence not started, Ron would have never gathered his courage.
"Er...Hermione, listen, I need to ask you something..." He said shyly, his ears turning bright, bright red.
"Of course Ron. What is it?" Hermione said with a cheerful grin on her face.
Ron's ears turned, if possible, even redder. "Well, it's just–we've been dating for a year now Hermione. I know to most people that doesn't seem like a long time. Hell, I have a hard time realizing I'm only 17, I feel so much older." Hermione nodded understandingly. It was hard to believe they were so young–she felt older than Dumbledore when she thought about everything the trio had gone through.
"Yes, we do feel older, don't we? But that's what I'm trying to say Hermione. We are older. I know most seventeen year olds don't think like we do, but we've been through more than most seventeen year olds. After this war...I want to settle down. And I–I want..." He dropped down to one knee, a pulled out a sparkling diamond ring.
"Will you be my wife, Hermione Granger?"
Imagine, if you will, the shock that was plastered on Hermione's face. Never in a million years would she have expected this. Sure, she had always planned on settling down one of these days–but she had never expected it to be this soon, or with Ron. Flustered, Hermione was never given enough time to answer. Suddenly, the door busted open.
It was Neville Longbottom, and he only needed to say two words: "Harry's Back."