Disclaimer: Not mine, y'all know the drill.

A/N: Hey, this is just a random little thing I got the urge to write. Based off of Shinigami29's "I Miss You" ficlet. It's a CSI fic, but definitely one of my favourite pieces on here out of just about everything I've read! So the credit for parts of this ficlet go to her, although most is mine. Enjoy!

It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing

She was here.

Again.

Ten oh seven at night.

Like clockwork.

The first time she had come, he had been surprised. Surprised that it was him she came to, and not Harry or Ron, or even Ginny.

The second, third, fourth times, he knew it was because it was him and not Harry or Ron, or even Ginny. He was far enough from the situation that he wouldn't condemn or judge her. He also was close enough to her, that he would provide the comfort she so desperately sought.

This was visit number thirty seven. It had been nearly a month since he had seen her last, and he had hoped and dreaded at the same time that it was the last. That she had finally given up on "him" just like he should give up on her. He knew he should, but he couldn't turn her away. He never did.

Percy knew that it wasn't healthy for him to care so much for one person who was so helplessly in love with another. He also knew that he should be angry that she kept using him. She was controlling his life, and she was scarcely even in it. However, he knew that each time she came, he would let her, for he foolishly kept hoping something would change. But it didn't.

He remembered back when they had simply been friends. Hermione had come to the burrow for the typical Sunday family dinner, joyously waving an offer to teach arithmancy at Hogwarts. Of course she was joyous; she was going to be teaching what had been her favourite subject at school.

At least, that's the reason everyone assumed.

He knew the old saying though. "Don't make an ass out of u and me and assume…" He found that out on the very first visit.

OooOooOooO Flashback OooOooOooO

"Hermione, what's wrong?" he asked, concerned, opening the door wider to admit her.

"He doesn't feel the same," she cried, as he led her to his couch.

"Who, Mione?" he ran a hand comfortingly over her back.

"Severus," was the one word she gasped out, and he had to fight back shock.

"What happened?"

"We've become friends, of sorts, and I thought there was mutual attraction," she let out a bitter laugh. "And because today was the weekend, he invited me to join him in Hogsmede. We had drinks, and then we went to his quarters, and well…you know. When he finished, he climbed out of bed and said he had papers to grade, but he would see me in the great hall."

"That bastard!" Percy said angrily.

"No, he's not!" Hermione was quick to jump to his defense, even with the events that transpired earlier. "I shouldn't have expected anything else. But I can't help that I do care about him. That I have for some time now. That's why I was so happy to go back."

"Oh Mione, I'm sorry," he said, feeling quite helpless.

He got and made their first mugs of hot cocoa then. Mum had always done that, saying it was comforting. When he came back, she had magicked candles around the room, and turned the television on. Some Cary Grant and Grace Kelly film was playing quietly, and she seemed enthralled as he handed her the mug. He suspected, accurately, that she was trying to forget. And so began their tradition.

OooOooOooO End Flashback OooOooOooO

He had fallen for her that very first night. Now, he was in love with her so much that it hurt. Like that song by that country singer Ginny liked. "It only hurts when I'm breathing. My heart only breaks when it's beating. My dreams only die when I'm dreaming. So I hold my breath…to forget." He knew though, that she was in love with "him". He had found that out on visit number twenty three.

OooOooOooO Flashback OooOooOooO

He opened the door to see her hand poised to knock. He could predict, down to the second nearly, when she would come. Her patrolling duties ended at ten o'clock. It took her precisely two minutes to retrieve "his" cloak from her rooms, four minutes to exit Hogwarts grounds, and one minute to apparate out front of his apartment.

Her visits varied, sometimes as frequent as every night, sometimes only once or twice a week. It all depended on her actions. She continued to go see Snape, to talk to him, play a game of chess, discuss classes. Pretending that she was only interested in friendship and physical companionship. Nothing more. She was trying to fool herself, and each time she did, she only ended up upset. And came to him for comfort.

This time was no different. He set up the hot cocoa while she set up the movie and candles. Near the end of the film though, he thought she was sleep and broke one of their unspoken rules. To not speak unless she initiated it.

"I love you," he whispered softly, believing her to be asleep as she usually was near the end of the film.

"I love him," she whispered just as softly.

His heart broke at those three words. He knew she didn't feel that way about him, but he couldn't help but continue to break his heart by hoping. Just like she couldn't help but continue to try and fool herself about Snape. A force of habit. And habits are hard to break.

OooOooOooO End Flashback OooOooOooO

"Hermione," he said simply.

"Percy," she trembled, looking very weak and small. She didn't ask, but he knew what she wanted. The same thing as always.

"You said last time was the last time."

"I know," she didn't look at him.

"Then why are you here?"

"Because I know you can make me forget."

He moved aside a moment later, unable to send her away, and she came in without another word. He knew why she was there, so what was the point of words? She went to the couch and turned on the television which was already set up for when she came. He did his part, and made up the hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows covering the top before joining her. Like they had done each time, she leaned against him, her head resting on his shoulder as the old black and white romance film began to play on the small screen. The sandalwood rose candles burned in various spots around the room, the scent and dim light calming and soothing to her, along with the hot cocoa. And just like each time before, she cuddled up against him, listening to the sound of the voices on screen.

OooOooOooO Flashback OooOooOooO

Visit number thirty six. She came in and went to the couch. Out of habit, he wrapped his arm around her as she curled up against him. This time though, his hand absentmindedly moved to stroke her hair.

"What are you doing?" She pulled back and looked at him with an adorable half smile.

"Sorry, I'll stop," he pulled his hand back.

"No, it felt nice," she leaned back against him. "It just surprised me is all."

He took that as a sign of acceptance that he could continue. So he did. Soon though, the soft petting turned to caresses, the caresses turned to skin upon skin contact, and the contact led to needy and passionate kisses. They moved to the bedroom. He surrendered to his feelings, while she surrendered to her fantasies. Each desperately needing the intimacy and physical comfort, each trying to fill a void in their hearts.

"I still love you," he whispered against her hair as they lay in each others arms when they were finished.

"I still love him," she didn't look at him.

OooOooOooO End Flashback OooOooOooO

"I can't do this any more Mione," he said aloud, his voice barely above a whisper, knowing she wouldn't be asleep, even though the credits had long since ended and the candles were small stubs, fighting to stay aglow.

"I know," she said, just as quietly.

"Living like this is killing you, and it's killing me to see you like this," he continued to whisper, although his words grew heated. "You said it was the last time."

"But what if I don't want it to be?" She turned to him, and he could see a hint of desperation flicker in her eyes.

"It has to be."

She didn't react at first to the quiet finality that was laced through those four potent words. Looking in her eyes, he could almost see the life seep out of them before she stood up and went to his door.

"Good bye Percy," she breathed, tears slowly tracing a path down her cheeks.

"Good bye," he automatically responded, and felt hot tears unwillingly fill his eyes.

She stepped forward and took his hands in her small ones. Hesitantly, she slid her hands up his arms, and around his neck as she stood on tip-toe. He moved his arms to tighten around her waist as he lifted her off the floor. Eyes closed, their lips met, and he could taste the salt of their tears on her lips. It was short, bittersweet, and ultimately tasted of good bye.

"I will always love you," he whispered, letting go and opening the door, giving her one last chance.

"And I will always love him," she whispered, and with a last look, walked out the door, out of his life, and hopefully, out of his heart for good.

Fin

A/N: That's the end. Short, bittersweet, and currently fitting my mood right now. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed it, for all that it's so sad. Review if you like, and let me know.