Hermione pulled the heavy blanket a bit more snugly, shuddering slightly as a sudden whip of cool evening breeze infiltrated past the woolen covering and curled itself around her neck.

Of course, such drops in temperature were to be expected in mid-October evenings; indeed, the day before had been even cooler by her reckoning. The warm midsummer afternoons of a few weeks past were but a vague memory now.

But that was not to imply she preferred such days to the dry, crispy air of this particular dusk, not at all. In fact, Hermione had developed something of a penchant for spending the occasional evening outside as of late, curled up with a bundle of affection. She watched as the setting sun's rays struck the brilliantly coloured leaves around their familiar retreat at the edge of the forest, a mere stone's throw from the lake.

She looking down to the sandy-haired girl curled up with her under their shared blanket, her head resting lightly against Hermione's shoulder and arms wrapped snugly around her waist. It had originally started off, for all intents, as an affectionate hug, though one in which the giver had quietly fallen asleep and the recipient had been loath to interrupt. There was a resultant warmth from within that warded off the meandering breezes coming in off the lake, the slightly choppy waters reflecting the setting rays as though so many glittering sapphires.

Hermione very gently stroked Luna's long and dishevelled hair, marvelling at how the girl's dreamy expression sustained itself even while in slumber. Indeed, the slight smile on Luna's sleeping face made Hermione curious as to the girl's thoughts, immersed as they were in a world of dreams.

Hermione smiled to herself. She leaned close and gently kissed Luna atop the head, the cool, straw-coloured hair smelling faintly of fresh elderberries -- understandable, really, given that Luna had been wearing a veritable wreath atop her head for much of the day.

Luna shifted slightly under the kiss, her arms squeezing the Gryffindor's waist more tightly in unconscious reflex. She snuggled her nose into the blanket covering Hermione's shoulder before sighing in blissful contentment, and was still once more.

Hermione rested her cheek lightly atop Luna's head and held her close. She thought back to their first meeting over two years before, and smiled at the thought of how she might have reacted if someone had told her back then that she would one day fall hopelessly for Luna Lovegood – and yet, here she was. With Luna. This Ravenclaw who had squeezed herself into Hermione's life with all the grace of a Cornish Pixie let loose in a toy shop.

Hermione gazed at the pink and fuschia clouds up in the evening sky, turning a bright golden crimson as they settled towards the horizon. A deep red oak leaf fell across her face and down her nose, tickling all the way, before being swept off once more by the prevailing breeze, fluttering into the cattails. There was a time when such a wayward leaf might have been swatted away in irritation. But so many things had changed since then.

Hermione among them.

But then, as she thought back, she wouldn't have it any other way.

She sat there, quietly, patiently awaiting the leaf's many colourful siblings, and as her vision slowly blurred with the approaching drowsiness of slumber, the last thought that went through her mind before drifting off was something that Luna had told her earlier...

Completely out of the blue Luna's words had been, and at the time Hermione had only smiled in bemusement, not quite understanding.

She understood now, though.

Tomorrow would indeed bring a new day.