Title: The Collection (1/4)
Author: Amethyst J.
Author E-mail:
Category: Romance
Keywords: Hermione, Harry, collection
Rating: PG
Spoilers: For all five books...ish
Summary: Hermione has an unusual collection.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: This is the first chapter of a four part-fic. The next chapter will be up almost immediately/already is up, but there will be about a four-week wait for each of the final two chapters because I'm writing this for fanfic t00bs, an organization of writers in which one of us posts a fic every week. Since there are four of us, I post every four weeks…and I can't post –here- until after I've posted –there-. So, if you'd like to get the stories right when they come out, they're posted every Monday at our site, www. livejournal .com / users / fanfic t00bs (take out the spaces and insert an underscore between 'fanfic' and 't00bs'. sorry, ff . net won't let me post the link properly. evil.) . Mine are the ones with 'amethyst j' in the subject line.

The Collection

Hermione had never really been one to collect things, with one exception. Her one, precious collection was kept carefully tucked in a shoebox in the bottom right corner of her trunk. It was a mismatched assortment of objects that held one common denominator, but would seem to have absolutely no significance: a broken quill, an empty inkpot, a twig from a broomtail, a scrap of parchment with hastily scrawled words on it, a book that had nearly been thrown out, an old T-shirt, and other small, miscellaneous items. Anyone looking into the box would have no idea what it was – except, perhaps, for one person – the person all those little items had once belonged to.

She'd been scavenging things from Harry for years. The broken quill and empty inkpot had been the first, abandoned by their owner on a table in the common room. She knew he'd meant to throw them out but had forgotten, and knowing he'd never notice, she'd taken them. That had inspired her to begin saving everything of his that she could possibly get her hands on. At first, she'd meant for it to be a way to look back at everything she'd shared with him, to remember…but it soon became a strange obsession.

The broomtail twig had come from his old Nimbus, and the parchment had been a quick note to her sometime in fourth year. Its contents were dull and insignificant, but the sight of his handwriting made her happy, so she kept it, along with all the other letters and notes he'd sent to her in their years at Hogwarts.

The book was his copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It had become so old and worn that it was falling apart, and he'd tossed it into a trashcan at Grimmauld Place, forced to buy a new one. She'd plucked it out of the bucket once he'd gone, savoring the ownership of an object he'd had so much contact with.

That was when she realized that there was something not right in what she was feeling for Harry. It was beyond mere platonic love or infatuation. It was something deep and intense that she didn't understand and didn't want to; she only knew that it would change everything, and she feared what that would mean.

In her sixth year, she saw him come too close to death for comfort. She watched him lie in a coma for two weeks before he finally opened his eyes, and she was right by his side when he did.

He had been protecting her when it happened, from the Death Eaters who had begun staging brutal attacks against Muggle-borns, and she had understood it then. She would have done anything and everything she could have to keep him from doing so – so that she might have been the one in a coma, and he the one safe and well. She would have done anything to keep him safe.

She'd fallen in love with him.

When he woke up, she was as hysterical as she'd been first year when he'd finally awoken after his battle with Voldemort – she'd been desperate to hold him in some way, to feel him awake and alive and out of danger – but again, she held herself back, settling for grasping his hand and letting tears of relief run down her cheeks.

He wasn't so oblivious that he couldn't tell there was something different about her reaction this time, and he'd squeezed her hand in reassurance. When all of his visitors had finally left, and Ron had gone off to bed, having spent the whole day there, Hermione had stayed behind, needing to communicate something of what she was feeling to him, however inadequate it would inevitably be.

"I was so scared, Harry," she told him, staring intently at their clasped hands. "If you had never woken up, I don't know how I would have managed."

"I know what you mean," he said quietly.

She looked up at him to find him staring back at her. "Well, good…but I don't know what you mean."

"The Department of Mysteries," Harry explained. "When you were injured, I panicked…if it hadn't been for Neville, having the sense to find a pulse..." He cleared his throat, offering a small smile. "Anyway, I was terrified."

Hermione swallowed. "I didn't know."

"Well, you were unconscious, after all," Harry said. "I didn't exactly expect you to."

Hermione smiled. "Yes, well…I'm glad you told me. And I'm sorry I scared you."

"I'm sorry I scared you, too." Harry paused. "You're safe, though. That makes it well worth it."

Hermione blinked back tears. "Harry, promise me you won't go risking your life for me again."

"I can't," he said simply.

"Why?" she demanded.

"Because, Hermione…it's…it's you," he said, looking quite lost for words. "I mean…you're my best friend. I can't just stand there and let you die!"

"Well, I can't just let you die, either," she said.

"Then I reckon we have a bit of a problem, don't we?" Harry replied, smiling slightly, and in that moment, she could see in his eyes what she'd been in search of for a very long time now.

She was about to reply, but Harry cut her off. "You should probably go before Madame Pomfrey realizes you're still here. She'll have your head for it."

Hermione nodded and stood. "Get some rest, won't you?"

He nodded, and on a whim, she leaned down and brushed her lips against his scar, not daring to let them linger.

"I'll see you tomorrow."

"Good night."

As she headed for the door, she noticed, sitting on a table on the other side of the curtain hiding Harry's bed from view, the clothes he'd been wearing the night the Death Eaters had attacked – T-shirt, jeans, and sitting on the floor, socks and shoes.

She hesitated only long enough to listen to the quiet breathing of sleep – indeed, it was there – before she tiptoed over to the table and grabbed the T-shirt. He would never miss it; it was an ugly, asparagus green, and it had been torn in several places. She would have Ron bring Harry fresh clothes tomorrow and the others would be sent to the laundry. When the shirt went missing, he would just assume it had been thrown away or lost by the House-Elves.

Hermione needed it more than he did anyway. It was very important that she have something to remember this night by - the conversation, the look, what she'd learned. The shirt held some horrible memories, that was true…but it would also preserve forever the moment she'd realized that Harry loved her.

She would be patient and wait for him to tell her in his own time, and if he took too long, she would probably crack and tell him…but until that time, she would have her collection, and the memories would be enough.

To be continued

ETA's (subject to change by a week or so) -

Part 2: October 18, 2004

Part 3: November 15, 2004

Part 4: December 13, 2004