Disclaimer: You already know it. I don't own the characters or the world. In fact, I don't own anything that you might recognize. Trust me, if I did own it all, I'd be lounging on one of the beaches of Hawaii with Johnny Depp as my personal servant. Heh, but one can dream . . .

Summary: It's just an angsty bit of romance that I felt compelled to write for Valentine's Day. Note the title; it is a bit sad at parts, but it has the kind of ending that we all love . . . sort of. One-Shot.

Small Snippet to Torture Reader until Reader Reads (and Reviews .:Hint:. .:Hint:.): His lips descended upon hers. Oh Merlin, such warmth, need, desperation . . . love. The world fell away, and all she knew was him. Smooth, soft lips, teeth, tongues . . . he was everywhere, touching everywhere.


Such Bitter-Sweet Bliss

The common-room fire was roaring away as it usually did. It didn't know that today was supposed to be special. No, it was just the same as ever. And for Hermione, Valentine's Day was just like every other day. Not one guy came up to her and declared his undying love for her. Not a single guy even so much as glanced at her. It was her seventh year, and she hadn't even received a card for Merlin's sake! No, they were all too busy panting over the more "popular" girls of the school like love-sick fools. Even Ron had sent out a few cards with his name signed at the bottom. Yes, it was only another day in another year, just like all the others.

The fire was still roaring, heat spreading from it in waves, but to Hermione, everything was cold. Her hands were hovering above the dancing flames in hopes that they might retain some of their warmth but to no avail. She couldn't feel their heat. She was cold . . . cold and alone. It was just another day.

Was she ugly? Was that why not a single guy paid her any mind? It wasn't as if guys hadn't noticed her in the past. There had been Victor, and Neville had hinted a few times that he fancied her. She even suspected that Ron had harbored feelings for her at one point. And then Harry had . . . but he . . . Well, that wasn't important anymore. So what was wrong with her now? No, nothing . . . Nothing was wrong with her; it was just another day.

Alone . . . She was all by herself, and she didn't know why. Everyone was at Hogsmeade sharing a butterbeer with his or her honey or playing out in the snow. And where was she? She was stuck inside, sitting by the fire, trying to get warm: Alone.

Ron had finally worked up the nerve to ask Luna on a date, and Hermione hadn't seen a single sign of Harry all day. So the result . . . ? She was stuck all by herself. It was at this point when she wished she had become closer friends with some of the girls in her dorm. Of course, she loved Harry and Ron to death, but in cases like this, only another girl could understand what it felt like to be a girl alone on Valentine's Day. Yes, just another day.

Well, she was sick of Valentine's Day being just another day! She wanted to have her special someone hold her and tell her how much he loved her, how much she meant to him. Why couldn't she have her special day? Why was she alone? Didn't she deserve to be happy? Where was her knight-in-shining-armor?

She gave a frustrated sigh, and pounded her fists on the floor. "Why!" she asked, glaring at the fire before her. "It's not fair!"

"Hermione?"

She spun around quickly, not having realized someone had been watching her. To her slight surprise, she saw Harry looking at her, a worried expression across his face.

"Are you okay?" he asked, walking closer to sit down beside her.

She blushed, embarrassed at having been caught talking to herself. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"

"I don't know. That's why I asked. You just seemed a little upset," he answered quietly. His eyes were watching her as he waited silently for her to speak. The flames in the hearth were reflected in his glasses, dancing madly, entrancing her.

She was falling into his gaze, her head spinning slightly. "I-I was — I'm ok, really. I was just feeling alone, I guess." Oh Merlin, he had beautiful eyes! She couldn't stop staring into them. It felt like he was seeing every part of her, seeing into her very soul. She almost felt naked with him staring at her so intently, but she didn't care. This was Harry, and she trusted him with everything she had. If he could see into her soul, see every part of her being, she didn't care.

"Why were you feeling alone?" he wondered aloud, continuing to stare at her.

"Because it's Valentine's Day!" she cried in exasperation. "And I'm the only girl in Gryffindor Tower (and probably the whole school) that is sitting inside all alone. I'm not out in Hogsmeade with some guy or having a snowball fight with my friends. I'm just . . . here." She sighed, "I didn't even get a Valentine's Day card, not one!"

He didn't say anything for a while, just continued to stare at her. The fire light was playing on his face, illuminating parts while darkening others. He looked like he had just woken up, his hair even messier than usual. If he had just woken up, that would explain why she hadn't seen him earlier that day. She vaguely wondered what time he had fallen asleep, noticing the bags under his eyes; apparently his nightmares hadn't gotten any better.

His low voice reverberating around the room brought her out of her musings. "Does Valentine's Day really mean that much to you?" he asked.

Hermione bit her lip, thinking over his question. "Well, no. I guess the reason why I'm so upset is because today is a really big reminder that I'm all alone. I don't have my love to snuggle up with and to tell me how much he cares about me. I try to ignore the loneliness, but today is just one day out of the year that I can't." Her voice retained a bit of bitterness as she spoke.

"Do you really think you're all alone?" he whispered, leaning in closer to her so she could hear his words.

"I — aren't I?" she stuttered. Oh, he was much too close, much too close, indeed. She could feel his breath on her face, feel his gaze still fixed onto her. Those eyes . . . Those eyes should be made illegal! She was getting lost all over again. He was so close . . . much too close. . . . She closed her eyes, waiting for the moment that every fiber of her body knew was coming. . . . But the moment never came. She heard him stand up quickly, and her eyes flew open. What had happened? Why hadn't he . . . ? She felt her heart sink, painful emotions and memories washing over her. Of course, he wasn't going to kiss her; he had made that clear the last time they had come this close. They were just best friends. They could be nothing more. He wouldn't let them become anything more. . . . Suddenly, she felt the need to cry, hide in her room for the rest of the day and cry.

She stood up and turned to leave, fighting against the onslaught of tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. She took one step toward the stairs leading to the dorms, not even bothering to look at Harry, but before she could continue, he grabbed her arm gently to stop her progress.

"Harry, please . . . I —"

"Shh." He walked up behind her, grabbing her other arm with his free hand. His body was pressing against her back. "Hermione, how can you possibly feel like you are all alone?" he whispered into her ear, a touch of hurt laced into his voice. His breath tickled her skin, sending shivers down her spine. She sucked in a deep breath, trying to control herself.

"Because, I am," she was barely able to answer, closing her eyes and wishing he would let her go; she didn't want to cry in front of him.

He slowly turned her around, placing a hand on her cheek, rubbing his thumb over her skin in soft caresses. "So then what am I? Am I nobody?" he asked, his voice shaking slightly.

She shook her head, "No, you're just my best friend. That's all." A single tear ran down her cheek. "That's all that you'll let us be, best friends, nothing more."

Another tear . . . and another . . .

Why couldn't he just let her go? Let her go to her room so she could cry . . . so that when they met again the next day, they could pretend that nothing had happened and that everything was okay.

She could feel his breath on her face again, his thumb tracing over her lips. "Hermione, please look at me." She shook her head no, refusing to let him control her like she had let him do so many times before. She wasn't going to let him get to her anymore than he already had. "Please," he begged, tilting her head up a little.

Her resolve was seeping through her hands only to vanish within mere seconds. She could never say no to him for long. Her watery eyes opened to see his boring right into her. His face was cast in shadows, but his gorgeous emerald eyes stood out as if they were glowing.

More tears fell . . .

"Hermione, you know why things have to be this way. You know why we can't be together," his voice was hoarse and broke a few times.

"NO! I don't!" she yelled. Her fists pounded on his chest, but it was a feeble attempt. "I don't know why you keep pushing me away! I don't know why you won't let us be happy together!" she cried and buried her head in the crook of his neck. "I don't know. I don't . . ."

His arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer. She could hear him trying to keep his breathing under control. "You know that if I could be with you, I would, right?" He pulled her away from him enough to see her face and look into her eyes. She didn't respond; she couldn't. "Hermione, you know I would if I could, don't you?" he begged for her to answer him.

"No."

His eyes showed so much hurt and pain, so much longing, but it was nothing to how she was feeling inside. She wanted to crawl into a hole and die just to numb the pain and make it go away.

"Hermione, you have to understand! I would do anything to change how things are. But I can't. I'm not someone you can fall in love with! There's no guaranty of a future with me!" His voice was full of such anguish.

"I don't care. I don't care! I'm already in love with you," she said barely above a whisper.

"No." He closed his eyes, acting as if his worst fear had been realized, as if she were already gone from the world.

"I'm already in love with you. . . . I'm already —"

"STOP!"

Another tear fell . . . but this one wasn't hers. . . .

They both dropped to their knees, still wrapped up in each other's arms.

"Hermione, I would do anything for you." He was trembling all over. "I would die for you. And if he ever found that out . . . He would use you to get to me. He would take you away from me. Because, I can't live without you. I have no future if you're not in it. No future —"

"Shh." She was stroking his cheek, wiping his tears away, though, it was pointless; new ones kept forming.

"I love you." He said it so softly, she wondered if she had imagined it. "I love you . . . I love you . . . I love you so much." He kept repeating the words.

She couldn't take it any more; she began peppering his face with small kisses. His cheeks, his forehead, his nose, chin, neck . . . every place and any place she could reach until . . .

His hands flew to her face, holding it in place, as his lips descended upon hers. Oh Merlin, such warmth, need, desperation . . . love. The world fell away, and all she knew was him. Smooth, soft lips, teeth, tongues . . . he was everywhere, touching everywhere.

He tore his lips away from hers, making her protest with a heart-wrenching whimper, only to descend again to her skin, kissing down her neck. He slowly leaned her back to lie on the ground, settling himself on top of her. She could feel his tongue swirling, his teeth nipping every so often, his lips (oh, those lips) trailing kisses across her collarbone. Kissing, moving farther downward . . . He undid the top button of her shirt.

Farther . . . Torturing . . . Kissing . . . Needing . . .

Her chest was heaving with the need for air.

Oh, such pleasure . . .

She grabbed his face and brought it to meet hers again, desperate to feel his lips against hers, to feel his tongue slide against hers over and over again.

She was drowning in him, and she loved every minute of it.

Yes, Hermione loved this man. She loved every little tiny thing about him. Every flaw, every feature, everything . . . She didn't care about what the future held for the both of them. She didn't care about the danger or the pain that might come later. All she cared about was that he was hers; finally, right then on that day, on that plain, ordinary day, he was hers. And he would always be hers. No matter what happened, no matter what force there was out there to try to tear them apart, he would always be hers.

She was no longer alone, and she realized, she had never really been alone to begin with. He was there with her, he always had been. Her love, her knight-in-shining-armor, was there with her, beside her, all around her, filling her, warming her . . . and that was how things always would be.

No longer cold . . .

No longer alone . . .

Only loved . . .

Forever loved . . .


A/N: I just want to thank my wonderful beta, who kicks ass, for finding my errors. I'd also like to say, I'm sorry hon, but that's where it ends. (She got mad that I didn't go into more detail in the end, hehe. But, I wanted to keep it PG-13. Of course, if I had enough people begging for me to continue, I might. . . .)

Post A/N: All right, you talked me into it. There's another chapter, but two is all you're going to get!