DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN HARRY POTTER
I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I rubbed some dirt off of Ron's nose before I had to begin saying goodbye.
"Honestly, I think you got it." He grumbled while gently pushing me away from his face.
Harry chuckled from behind me causing me to gasp and whirl around before unthinkingly throwing my arms around him. He stiffened slightly before slowly drawing me closer to him in a hug. My eyes widened from over his shoulder when I realized what I had just done and hesitantly, I pulled out of his warm and secure embrace.
Things were awkward between Harry and me as we had been straddling the line between friends and something more since we were both 21 and we were now 23. Neither one of us had made a move yet as most of our other thoughts were preoccupied with the upcoming war with Voldemort. Most of the Aurors were already packed up and apparating away to Transylvania where the training camps for other volunteers were placed.
"Don't cry, we'll be back before you know it." Harry said and wiped a tear off my nose.
I nodded my head and bit my lip before looking back up into his green depths to see him fighting an internal war as his eyes darkened and lightened off and on while staring straight into me.
"We better be off mate." Ron's voice came in from the distance.
I turned around to look at him before giving him a brave smile and drawing him in for a large hug.
"Don't worry." He said softly before pulling back and uncharacteristically dropping a kiss onto my temple.
"You two are about to go off and fight Voldemort, don't tell me not to worry." I bit out.
I would have been joining the two of them and fighting at their side as per usual but Dumbledore had specifically asked me to stay behind and help watch over Hogwarts. He smiled and rubbed my arms before picking up his one bag and nodding to Harry and with a POP disappeared from my sight. My chin quivered when I saw this but had to suck it in to appear strong in front of him.
I turned around and stared up at the boy who I grew to love as man, looking at him with desperate eyes as he returned the look.
"Don't look at me like that." He said huskily before bringing me closer into his chest.
I shook my head and felt my tears dampen his robes while I squeezed him tighter with my arms.
"I don't want this to be the last time I see you two." I said with a shaky voice.
He made soothing sounds next to my ear before saying quietly,
"It won't, I promise."
I shut my eyes tighter and all too soon felt his arms loosen around me so he could say,
"I have to go, once I apparata towards the designated area I've got to catch the train that takes us into the camps."
"You mean you're not just apparating straight to Transylvania?" I asked confused.
"No, they've got up stronger barriers than Hogwarts over there." He confessed and ran a shaky hand through his messy black hair.
Choking down a sob, I nodded my head and looked away as more and more people were disappearing with a POP. He bent down and picked up his bag and I could feel my entire body shaking with sadness while it felt like things were spinning around me to fast for me to stop them.
"We'll owl you as soon as we can." He said and I pulled him in for another hug while whispering into his ear,
"Be safe, please."
He pulled away and dropped a lingering kiss onto my forehead, filled with pain, sadness, and yet hope before pulling away. Letting my heart take the lead for a snap of a second, I grabbed his arm before he could disapperate and pulled him roughly into a kiss. I could tell he was monumentally surprised but he slowly relaxed and began to move his mouth against mine until he was the one dominating the kiss. I smiled against his mouth when I felt him drop his bag to the ground but soon the sensations of his mouth against mine were the only things on my mind.
I moaned when sensations were abuzz in my body and I could feel myself pushing further into him until we both were unclear as to where we were at. The sadness came when we had to pull apart for air but he kissed me chastely while smiling at me.
"I agree." He said with a slight nod of his head.
I laughed, feeling some of the tension leave my body before pulling him into a shorter but equal passionate kiss, leaving us both gasping for breath and wanting in need.
"I have to go." He whispered against my lips, letting me feel his warm breath wash over me in waves.
I nodded my head and forced myself to take a step back so he could once again pick up his bag. He smiled at me and let his hand run down my cheek before disappearing as well, leaving me falling to the ground in a crumpled and dazed heap.
TWO YEARS LATER
I stood at the front of the excited crowd, nervously wringing my hands together, awaiting for the arrival of the heroes. Word had been spread that Voldemort had finally been defeated and it seemed to soften the blow when the list of the peoples lost was always sent out. I felt guilty at once when I read the list carefully and was able to see the names of many of my friends not on it…especially Ron and Harry.
Two years had passed and although the numbers of owls I had received dwindled as the days passed, I chalked it up to the war and chaos on their end. There hadn't been a day that went by when I wasn't thinking about Harry and the mind-blowing kiss we shared that day.
My mind cleared when I heard shouts and cheers throughout causing me to look up and smile when I saw people appearing with a POP all around us. I watched as wizards and witches alike ran to embrace family or loved ones with such intensity it was almost sad.
"Hermione!" A familiar voice yelled.
I looked up and laughed happily when I saw a mop of red hair running towards me. I threw my arms around Ron's broad shoulders and let him sweep me off my feet and twirl me around in a bear hug.
"It's so good to see you!" I yelled over the noise as he set me down on my feet.
I took the time to examine him and realized that he had grown a bigger build, his stance was almost defense like, but his eyes…they held something more mature then when I had last seen him. Breaking out of my daze I finally asked,
I became concerned when his eyes flickered away from mine and to a spot off to my left. Following his line of vision, I felt my heart fall to my knees when I saw Harry Potter and Cho Chang walking towards us with their hands clasped. I looked up to Ron in confusion but saw the look in his eyes containing something close to…pity.
"Are they…?" I began but couldn't finish the sentence as it hurt me too much to even think it.
He nodded his head and bit his lip before pulling me out of the way and said in a softer tone,
"Hermione, you need to know something."
I looked up once more in desperation and felt my whole world come crashing down around me when he said in a clear and firm voice,
"They're engaged to be married next week."
It felt as it the air had been sucked out of my lungs and all I could do was stare at him with wide eyes, feeling tears slowly form behind my lids.
"I'm sorry." He whispered and touched my shoulder before I heard another familiar voice shout,
I turned around slowly only to feel myself whisked up in a pair of strong male arms while the familiar scent of him wafted my senses. I clung to him, trembling, wanting to shove him away and pull him closer at the same time.
"I can't believe it's been two years." He exclaimed before setting me back on the ground.
I stared at him with hollow and bewildered eyes while I let my eyes run over his form. He too had become more muscular but his hair had remained the same, his eyes held a darker and mature look at well, but right above his left eyebrow was a scar he had no doubt received during battle.
"Me neither." I finally whispered, not wanting to cause a scene.
"Are you alright?" He asked concerned.
I wasn't able to answer as a slim arm wrapped around Harry's middle and the beautiful face of Cho Chang propped on his shoulder from behind him. I watched with a clenching gut as he turned his head to the side with a smirk and pulled her out in front of him before stating,
"I've got some news to tell you."
Cho smiled pleasantly at me as Harry's words shot through me like a bullet…
"I've asked Cho to marry me."
To this day I don't know how I was able to put a brave smile on my face and to not fall down at their feet, a sobbing wreck.
"It's next week, I want you to be there. Cho's parents want it to be a traditional marriage so it's going to be at a local church. Will you come?"
I couldn't comprehend how he was able to ask me these questions when the last time I had seen him, we were kissing each other senseless.
"Of course." I stuttered with wide eyes while trying to keep the smile on my face.
He grinned and pulled me in for a tight hug before releasing me and kissing me on my cheek. This wasn't how it was supposed to work out! He was supposed to come back, wrap me tightly in his arms, declare his undying love for me, and then ask me to marry him. That's how it always went in the books…
The day of the wedding approached with frightening speed and I found myself standing outside the door to Harry and Ron's room as they changed into their tuxes.
"I can't believe you're the first one to be married off." I heard Ron say causing me to close my eyes in pain.
I hadn't confronted Harry about anything that had happened and instead continued on pretending to be the good friend while each day I saw the two of them wrapped around each other caused another piece of me to break off.
"Don't worry mate, you'll get there soon enough." Harry chuckled and I could feel myself yearn to hear him laugh like he had with me once more.
The days leading up to this moment had been spent sitting still in a chair, torturing myself with images of Harry on bended knee, staring lovingly up at Cho with hopefulness. Each time it caused me to go into hysterics until I was left choking for breath.
Finally sucking up the courage, I knocked lightly on their door and heard Harry's voice ring out,
I entered and felt my breath being sucked away again at how stunningly handsome Harry looked in his tux. As I walked towards the two of them, I couldn't help but think that this was how it was supposed to be…me walking towards him at the end of the aisle.
"You look beautiful Hermione." Harry said and continued to straighten his bow.
"You two don't look so bad yourselves." I said lightly, trying to keep the tears from coming through.
We heard someone call five minutes from the door and with one look at Ron, he took his cue and left the two of us alone, shutting the door quietly behind himself.
"Nervous?" I asked him, walking towards the window and staring outside at the greenery.
"A little bit." He admitted and came up beside me, propping his arm up against the brick wall.
After a few seconds he finally said in a soft voice,
"I missed you Hermione."
My heart skipped a little as the comment was so personal as he had seemed somewhat aloof since his return. The little bitterness I had spoke up and I heard myself commenting,
"Obviously not too much."
I felt him turn to look at me but I didn't return the stare and instead continued looking outside.
"I know that…we…uhm…sort of…" He began uncomfortably causing me to snap,
"Bloody hell Harry, you defeated Voldemort, why are you so nervous about talking about the kiss we shared?"
He seemed shocked causing me to look at him and see surprise written all over his features.
"You cursed." He stated simply.
I rolled my eyes and walked away from the window, keeping my back to him before stating,
"I thought when you came back…things between you and I would, come together."
I heard him shuffle nervously but before he could reply I shook my head and cut in with,
"It's okay, you don't need to say anything. I see how happy she makes you and I'm glad that she was there for you during those two dreadful years."
He sighed and walked up behind me, causing me to freeze up when I was able to feel his form slightly behind me.
"It just…happened." He finally stated.
I gave off a disbelieving tone and whirled around with angry eyes spitting out,
"I'm so sure."
I watched him become frustrated as he ran his hands angrily through his hair and asked,
"What do you want me to say?"
"Why? Why couldn't you of just waited for me? I waited two years for you not to mention the years beforehand!"
He took a slight step back and let his hands fall to his sides before replying softly,
"I'm sorry, I didn't want to hurt you but…I fell in love with her."
"And what was I? Chopped liver?"
Anger took over his eyes and for a brief second I felt fear when he stalked towards me and grabbed my arms but it vanished when he stated in a familiar husky voice,
"I never stopped loving you that day Hermione."
"Past tense." I noted.
He sighed and released my arms before explaining,
"How I loved you is completely separate from how I love Cho, but I do, I love her."
I nodded my head and the room was thick with silence before I said softly,
"I never stopped loving you."
I looked up and saw him suck in a breath before turning and looking back out the window.
I closed my eyes and turned around towards the door before stating,
"I can't be here."
I heard him whirl around and he demanded angrily,
"Why the hell not?"
I bowed my head and spoke in a low voice,
"I'm not going to stand by and watch as the man I love marries another woman, you can't ask me to do that."
He didn't reply for a few moments and I could hear my heart breaking when he wasn't protesting, realizing he had just chosen. I turned around and looked directly in his eyes, seeing that he had truly moved on and it stung more heavily than the though of his marriage.
"You better get going, you've got a wedding to get to." I spoke, feeling the tears rolling down my cheeks as the lump in my throat grew larger.
He closed his eyes in sadness and ran his hands over his face asking,
"Will we see you at the reception?"
I smiled sadly and shook my head before whispering,
"You're going to be late."
He bit his lip and walked forward before brushing a kiss across my cheek, causing the ache in my heart to greaten when I realized it was an almost good-bye kiss.
"I'll save you a dance anyways." He whispered as he walked by me slowly towards the door.
The scene of him leaving me standing as a crying mess was too much of a de ja vu but I pushed passed it and called out his name quickly. He turned around and I could see the sadness and tears formed in his eyes before I spoke quietly with such emotion it rang through the room,
I saw something in him give way before he nodded his head and walked out of the door and towards the aisle that would lead his wife to him. I closed my eyes sharply, listening to the fading footsteps of the man I loved, walking towards another woman.
Maybe it was gluttony for punishment or maybe I was just a sadistic masochist, but I couldn't find myself walking away from the tree I was leaning against, watching the people all billowing out from the church, throwing rice in the air as pictures snapped wildly and laughter filled the area.
I sobbed as I watched Harry carrying Cho down the steps, each of them wearing smiles on their faces as they looked at one another lovingly. I whipped my head away as he bent her downwards and kissed her with such intense passion I could see Ginny Weasley blushing even from my spot.
I watched the newly wedded couple get into the limo while the people waved them goodbye as the black car took off down the street. I finally forced myself to push off the tree and turn away slowly from the scene, realizing he wasn't going to come back for me before I began the lonely walk down the street…
So much for my happily ever after…