Lying unconscious on the bed before her was Harry Potter. The scarred youth had defeated Lord Voldemort only four days before. His face was covered in bruises and his right arm had been broken and was in a sling. His left leg was also in a brace. Hermione had stood beside him through all of his trials until the final duel between the Dark Lord and Harry himself.
The last Death Eater they had had to face had been Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry was fighting furiously, desperate to avenge the death of Sirius. His rage had only increased when Hermione was knocked unconscious by a spell halfway through the duel. Ron had been incapacitated by Lucius Malfoy so, when Hermione had been taken out it left Harry on his own. He had redoubled his efforts and defeated her before turning his sights on her master.
The battle had lasted for hours, the two wizards clashing repeatedly. Finally, Harry had had an opening and used the killing curse on the wizard who had used it on his parents. Once the ashes of his enemy had blown completely away he turned his attention to his fallen friends.
Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall were waiting for him when Harry arrived back at Hogwarts. Hermione's body was in his arms; Ron's was bewitched to float in front of him. Dumbledore had helped them to the Hospital Wing, barely getting Harry into a bed before the victorious youth had passed out.
Hermione and Ron had woken up the next morning to the cheers and shouts of their classmates. The two worried friends had checked on their unconscious best friend before they were dragged reluctantly from the Hospital Wing.
Now Hermione was resolutely forcing her way back into the hospital wing to see Harry. She didn't care that Madam Pomfrey said that he needed to rest if he was to wake up soon. She wasn't going to try and wake him up, she just needed to see him, assure herself that he was really okay. Dumbledore and McGonagall had backed her up and the nurse had relented.
Now, staring at his unconscious body, she would give anything to have him open his green eyes and smile his lopsided smile at her.
Despite her wishes, his eyes didn't open and he continued to breathe deeply. She sighed and pulled a chair up next to his bed. She reached down and held his left hand in hers. Her fingers idly played with the gold band that encircled his ring finger. A beam of sunlight fell through the window and reflected from the diamond that ornamented her ring finger. The light bounced off her ring and hit his eyes. She waited without breathing, praying that he would react, move, anything.
At first, nothing happened and then, slowly, his eyebrow twitched. Hermione's eyes filled with tears and a sob issued from her lips. She brought his hand to her lips and kissed it. She laid his hand back down on the bed, lying her head down beside it as she began to cry.
Harry Potter's journey back to consciousness was slow. At first he saw a flash of bright light across his closed eyelids. Then he felt gentle pressure on the back of his hand. Finally, he heard tortured crying. His eyes cracked open slowly and he looked down on the curly brown hair that he loved so much.
"Hermione," he whispered slowly.
Her head shot up and she met his eyes. His small smile vanished when he saw the tears that were running down her face.
"What is it? What's wrong? Are you okay? Is Ron okay? Dumbledore?" he asked in a rush, one hand moving across her cheek, wiping the tears away, while his eyes darted across her face looking for any sign of injury.
A tiny smile crossed her face as she grabbed his hand with her free hand. "I was worried about you. I'm fine. Ron's fine. Everything is okay."
His hand moved from cupping her cheek to the back of her neck. He pulled her quickly down to meet his lips. He began dropping kisses all over her face. She moaned as their lips met in a passionate kiss. She climbed slowly and carefully into the bed with him, making sure not to knock his broken arm as she crawled on top of him.
The kiss broke and she asked, gasping for breath, "I'm not hurting you, am I?"
He shook his head as his lips melded with hers again. This kiss didn't last as long as the other as Hermione broke it again.
"Harry, I have something to tell you," she said quickly, looking uncomfortable. His left hand went to her hip, holding her still, as she looked like she wanted to run away. His green eyes filled with worry behind his glasses as he waited for her to say something.
She looked down as she began to speak slowly, "Harry, let me start this by saying that I love you more than anything in the world and whatever you decide to do when I'm finished talking is fine with me. I'll do whatever you ask me to do," her voice was monotone and she wasn't blinking as she stared down between her knees.
Her voice was shaking slightly as she spoke, "I'm sure you remember what happened between us a week before we began fighting the Death Eaters," she said, glancing quickly up at him as she spoke. Judging by the look in his eyes he did remember and the smile on his face told her that they were good memories.
"Well," she continued softly, "We're…um…I mean…I'm going to…" her shaking, almost sobbing voice trailed off as realization of what she was trying to say dawned in his eyes.
"Hermione? Are you…we are…a baby?" he asked shakily as she began to cry silently. His hand slid from her hip up her side to wipe the tears from her cheeks. Her brown eyes stared into his green orbs without blinking as she nodded slowly before heaving a great sob and moving to get off of him. His right arm, which was healing from being broken, moved quickly to her waist, holding her where she was. He winced as pain shot up his arm but his grip didn't loosen. He wasn't going to let her run away from him.
Hermione stared resolutely at her hands, not speaking or meeting Harry's eyes. He knew that if he let her do this her way they would still be there, not speaking, this afternoon. So, he took things into his own hands. His left hand tilted her chin up slightly and his right arm gently pulled her closer. His lips met hers furiously, with a passion and feeling that surprised them both. Harry's worry over her response was instantly gone as she responded to the kiss so passionately that it surprised him.
Hermione wrapped her arms around his neck as he sat up to kiss her deeper. His tongue was exploring her mouth as they embraced. As they kissed he moved the sheets out of the way and turned the two of them so that Hermione was lying on her back on the bed and Harry was on top of her. He laid them back slowly, settling himself on top of her. Hermione broke the kiss, gasping for air. She pushed him back gently as she shifted herself on the bed.
"Harry," she gasped, "You're not mad at me?" she asked, panting.
He just looked surprised.
"Hermione, why on earth would I be mad at you? I'm going to have a baby with the woman I love more than anything. That's the best news you've ever given me," he paused, "Except for when you told me you loved me."
"I thought you would flip out," she responded, her face clearing as she leaned up to kiss him. He pulled back as something occurred to him.
"Hermione, how long have you known you were pregnant?" he asked, staring into her eyes. The look he saw dawning there was enough to answer his question.
"Hermione, please tell me you didn't," he implored her anxiously. Her gaze left his and her head tilted down. That was all the answer he needed.
"You went to fight Voldemort knowing you were pregnant?" he asked angrily. She nodded miserably, staring at the wall, his chest, anything to avoid meeting his gaze. His hand came to her chin and forced her to look at him.
"I had to," she sobbed, "I couldn't let you go by yourself. If you had died there would have been nothing here for me or the baby anyway."
The sight of her tears got to him and he sighed as he pulled her up off the mattress and held her to his chest. After a moment her arms wrapped tightly around him and she sobbed into his shoulder.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me," she chanted as she cried. He sat back and pulled her shaking body into his lap.
"Shhhh," he whispered soothingly, rocking her gently. "It's okay. I forgive you. Please don't cry."
She tried valiantly to stop sniffling as she pulled back and wiped her eyes. His green eyes were still serious but they were no longer angry.
"Have you gotten checked by Madam Pomfrey since we got back?" he questioned, looking deep into her eyes.
She nodded hurriedly; glad his anger with her had vanished.
"And…?" he asked anxiously, wiping away her tears with his fingers.
"Everything is fine. It's too early to tell whether it's a boy or a girl but the baby is fine."
He pulled her into his chest, holding her tightly. One of his hands moved down her side and slipped under her shirt to rest on her stomach. His fingers moved lightly across her belly and she shivered at the sensation his gentle fingers caused to run up her spine. She wiped her tears away with her hands as his arm held her to him.
A smile broke out on his face as the full meaning of what she had told him finally hit. He was a father. With Hermione. His sweet, beautiful, wonderful, loving Hermione. A laugh broke out of him. Hermione tilted her head up from his shoulder as he began to laugh harder. She couldn't help but smile at his excitement. His arms tightened around her and he dropped a long kiss on her upturned lips. She responded passionately and his arms tightened around her.
The sound of a throat clearing failed to separate them; they were too lost in each other to notice anything else going on. A hand pulling Harry back by the back of his pajama shirt got their attention nicely, however.
Professor McGonagall pulled the sheepish wizard off the bed and set him on his feet beside her. Her stern eyes watched as Hermione, blushing furiously, climbed off the bed. Harry was staring at his feet, his face a bright red.
"Well, I see that you've woken up, Mr. Potter," McGonagall commented dryly, glancing at the young man beside her.
"Yes, ma'am," Harry answered in the only way he could.
"And, Miss Granger, I do believe you've completed what you came in here to accomplish," she said, turning her gaze on the furiously blushing Head Girl.
Hermione could only nod in response.
"Well, Mr. Potter if you're feeling up to if, there are some people outside that would really like to see you," McGonagall said, pointing toward the doors of the Hospital wing.
With a sigh, the tired wizard nodded.
"Yeah, that's fine. Let's go."
"Harry, are you sure you're okay? We could just let a few in here. That way you don't have to face the huge crowd all at once," Hermione objected, worried about him.
"I'll be fine. We can just go out there for a few minutes and then head back to the common room. Or do I have to come back in here?" he asked Professor McGonagall.
"You're free to go back to your common room. Madam Pomfrey will come give you a final check up later tonight."
"Thank you professor."
With a sigh, Harry steeled himself and moved toward the door. Hermione remained behind him, watching his limping progress with worry in her brown eyes. When he reached the doors he stopped, turning back to Hermione.
"You coming with me?" he asked, nervousness apparent in his voice. With a smile, she ran to his left side, curling her arm through his.
His weight shifted and he leaned gratefully on her support.
"Is that okay?" he asked her quietly, not wanting to overburden her.
"Lean on me, Harry. It's okay. I won't let you fall," she assured him, her arm winding around his waist as his moved over her shoulders to support himself.
"Love you," he whispered to her as she reached to open the doors.
"I love you too," she replied as she turned the knob at his nod.
Crowds began cheering as they saw their victorious savior make his way slowly out of the hospital, leaning heavily on Hermione.
The crowds remained at a respectful distance away from the limping, injured wizard. Ron came quickly out of the crowd and took his place on Harry's other side, helping his friend walk slowly. The crowds moved to the sides as Harry, Hermione, and Ron moved to the balcony overlooking the rest of the masses of people waiting to see the three heroes.
Ginny, Neville, Seamus, Dean, and Luna pushed their way through the crowd and gathered their friends in a large group hug. They stayed huddled together for a long moment, hearing the sounds of the crowd around them.
Hermione suddenly staggered to the side as Harry's legs gave out on him. Ron struggled to keep their best friend's large frame from crushing her. Harry wasn't as tall or broad as Ron himself was but he wasn't the underfed eleven year old boy he had once been either. She moved to the side as Seamus gently pushed her back, taking up Harry's other side.
"Let's get him back to the common room," Ginny stated, taking control of the situation in a way the others wouldn't have expected a few years before. Dating the reformed Draco Malfoy had brought out parts of her personality she had never shown openly before.
She and Luna stared heading that way, leading the group while ushering people out of their way. Ron and Seamus followed close behind them, carrying the unconscious Harry between them. Dean and Hermione brought up the rear, Hermione never taking her eyes off Harry's sagging form. Dean saw her ringing her hands and, sighing, wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
"He'll be fine Hermione. He's just give out," he tried to reassure his worried classmate.
Seamus and Ron deposited their friend's body gently on the couch, where Hermione immediately dropped to her knees next to him. Ginny brought a basin of water and a cloth which Hermione immediately used to bathe Harry's sweating face.
The rest of the group seated themselves around the common room, waiting for something to happen. Ron used the fire to floo Madame Pomfrey and Neville convinced the Fat Lady to keep the portrait hole sealed against anyone that tried to come in except professors.
Ginny squeezed her friend's shoulder gently, trying to reassure her. Hermione dragged her eyes away from Harry's face slowly as she registered the feeling of someone squeezing her arm.
"He'll be okay, Mione. Ron's flooed for Madame Pomfrey. She'll fix him up."
Hermione nodded, her eyes turning back to Harry's unconscious face.
Barely five minutes passed before the portrait hole swung open to allow Madame Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall into the common room. The group all came to their feet as the witches moved immediately to the couch where Harry lay.
The mediwitch examined the sweating, unconscious youth before declaring that he was exhausted and after a few more hours of rest he would be okay. She ordered the group to make sure that he took it slow for a few days until he fully recovered.
Hermione instantly agreed to make sure it happened. After leaving instructions and a Pepper-up Potion, the two professors left, leaving the youths alone again.
As had happened all through their school careers, they gathered together, supporting each other without speaking. Everyone took up positions around the couch and the still kneeling Hermione. Ron gently pulled her up long enough for Ginny to slide a pillow under her, knowing that there was no way they were going to get her away from the couch and into a chair.
Hours passed and the group gradually began to drop off to sleep. Hermione was the last so succumb and she was only asleep for a few moments before Harry's hand twitched in hers.
His green eyes opened slowly, peering around the darkened common room. He could see the shapes of his friends lying on the furniture, waiting for his return to consciousness.
Dean and Seamus had fallen asleep in overstuffed armchairs on either side of the chessboard. Ron was lying on the other couch, which, despite being six feet long, was still too short for the very tall red head to sleep on. Luna was lying on a pile of blankets next to Ron's couch.
Harry noted with a smile that Ron's hand had flopped off the side of the couch and was being held tenderly in Luna's own while she slept.
Ginny had curled her small frame into a large chair that had been moved from in front of the fire to rest beside the couch Harry was lying on. Draco Malfoy had somehow gotten into the common room and was asleep next to Ginny's chair, his back leaning against the base of the chair. The position couldn't have been too comfortable but the blonde youth looked peaceful. Harry mentally prayed that their peace would last.
Hermione, dear, stubborn Hermione, was sitting on a pillow, her head resting against the side of the couch. Her fingers were wrapped around his hand.
He could feel the diamond on her ring pressing against his skin and he smiled. He had given her the ring and an awkward, bumbling version of a proposal the night before they had left Hogwarts to face off against Voldemort and the Death Eaters. She had tearfully accepted, knowing in her heart that it might just be the last time they would ever be together.
But, miraculously, they had both escaped the war and were now free to be together for the rest of their lives.
Harry groaned lowly as he pulled himself up, sitting with his back against the armrest. His motion woke Hermione and her head snapped up, the anxious look in her brown eyes fading when she saw that he was still okay.
"Harry, lie down. Madame Pomfrey said…" her voice trailed off as he placed his hand over her mouth. He sat up further, turning so his legs went off the edge of the couch. Hermione was looking at him with anxiety in her eyes but she offered her hands as a support as he moved to stand up. He helped her to her feet, wincing as he saw the red marks that covered her knees from sitting on them for so long.
His hand moved off of her mouth and gently took her hands. His fingers slipped the ring off her fingers. Tears filled her eyes, fear in her face. He smiled at her reassuringly.
Her tears began to drop as he slowly and painfully dropped to his knees. He hissed in pain but his hands holding hers stopped Hermione from reaching to help him. He had to do this on his own.
The noise awoke Luna, who nudged Ron as she saw what was going on. His quiet intake of breath woke Ginny. She sat up and accidentally knocked Draco in the head with her knee. His stifled exclamation woke up Dean and Seamus.
Harry didn't even give a glance to the rest of the room. They had nothing to do with this. This was about him and Hermione.
Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she stared down at him. He was pale and out of breath but determination was shining in his eyes.
"Hermione, you are my dearest friend. You have been there for me through everything. Even when what you were doing was making me angry, you were doing it to take care of me. I've loved you for years but I was always afraid to say or do anything about it. And then, as time got shorter and I knew that I could be killed any day, I just couldn't help it. I had to tell you. Even if you rejected me and I had to go to my end knowing that I had lost you, I had to risk it Hermione. And my risk paid off. You made me that happiest man alive and told me that you love me too. Now I have to take another risk," he paused, inhaling deeply as he stared into her tear filled eyes.
"Will you marry me Hermione?" his voice was wavering, his face worried and tight as he watched, waiting for a reaction. He could feel the ring in his hands, which were beginning to shake as he waited.
She was gazing at him in shock, love and surprise etched on her face. She sank to her knees in front of him. Tears dropped from his green eyes as her hand moved out of his to his cheek.
"Harry, I love you so much. Of course I'll marry you," she said shakily, smiling at him tearfully. His fingers slipped the ring back onto her finger, pulling her forward to kiss her gently.
As the kiss broke, she looked down at her left hand. The ring was shining in the dim firelight. Harry blinked in surprise as he noticed Ginny smiling gently at them, tears standing in her eyes.
Looking around the room, he realized that everyone had heard everything that had gone on. Hermione realized what he was looking at and blushed.
"Hey, everyone," she greeted their friends quietly. "Harry and I are getting married."
The announcement broke the spell of silence that had fallen over the room. Tears were shining in the eyes of all the girls in the room. Draco, Dean, Seamus and Ron were all staring at the pair, smirking.
Hermione stood up slowly, slinging Harry's arm around her shoulders while helping him back onto the couch.
As she gently pushed him back to lie on his back, he pulled her with him, tucking her body beside his on the couch.
She opened her mouth to protest and he quickly shushed her, pushing her head down gently onto his chest.
"Sleep," he murmured.
"I'll be here when you wake up," he assured her as her eyes drooped closed slowly. "I'll be here…come what may."
AN: Yes, I know the ending was corny...I couldn't think of anything else...