A/N: Well, the plot bunnies bit… the next chapter ov AV is done, and my beta is reading it, but she can't get it back to me until Monday!  It will be up soon though, I swear it! So this is a sad, angsty little one-shot. If stands alone, and there won't be any firther chapters or anything. Hermione's behavior will be explained at the bottom.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Durh. Don't you people know that yet? 


A boy with messy black hair sat in front of a large fireplace in a room known by many names, his even breathing and the crackles and pops of the fire the only sounds made in the otherwise silent room. At first glance, the boy seemed merely to be thinking- not unusual, with the end of the year tests coming off. It would often be shrugged off as nothing. But if you looked closer you could see past the façade… see the pain in his once bright, now dull eyes, the tear tracks down his face, the hunching of his shoulders and the worry creases across his forehead.

An owl by the wiindowsill hooted, breaking the peace of the room, and the boy looked up with a start before chuckling, the sound flat and dead. "You want to know what's wrong." It wasn't a question, and there was no answer, but for another small, comforting hoot. There was a long silence before the boy spoke again.

"I hear people talking about them,. The rest of the sixth years have a bet on how soon they'll get together. The professors remark in the hallways on how like my parents they are." A harsh sound exited his throat, barely recognizable as a laugh. "And that makes me think. Makes me wonder." He paused. "Was there anyone like me in my parent's era? Someone who sat on the sidelines, loved my mother enough to let her be with the one she loved and pray that he wou;ldn;t have to comfort her after her heart being broken?

"There probably was. There always is. The bystander- the one who wasn't fast enough, smart enough, to get the girl, who wouldn't backstab her and her love by professing his undying feelings for her. The one who's forgotten through the test of time while the story lives on. The courtier in love with the princess. The village man in love with the lady. Or the best friend.

"Could it have been Snape? Much as I hate to say it, it makes sense. Perhaps that's why he hates me so much. Perhaps I'm the offspring of the woman he loved and his worst enemy. Or maybe he just can't let go of a childish grudge. Or maybe Lupin. It was easy to see the pain in his eyes when he spoke of her death. Perhaps he thought that no one could love a werewolf, and didn't tell her until it was too late.

"Or even Sirius. Maybe that;s why it all infuriated him so much. Their deaths, I mean. His surrogate brother and the woman he loved, but could never have because my father laid claim to him first. Maybe he was like me. The best friend left on the sideline, forced to watch and smile and tell them how happy he was for them.

"I don't think thatr anyone who hadn't felt it can know. Can know what it's like, being in love with your best friend, who as it happens is in love with your other best friend, who loves her back. To know that she'll never feel the same way about you as you do about her. To know that you might have had her, if you could have swallowed your pride and told your surrogate brother your feelings for her before he told you his. Before he told you that he liked her. That he thought he was in love with her."

He sighed and looked down at his hands, as though suddenly finding them the most interesting thing in the world. "And do you know what the worst bit is? They'll probably ask me to be best man at their wedding one day. And I'll stare at her walk down the aisle in the same way that he will, and no one will notice for they'll all be watching her float towards him, the man of her dreams… and I'll have to be right there, not ten feet away from them, as they pledge their undying happiness and very lives to one another, and then I'll have to make a speech about how right they are for each other… to swallow my pride and admit a defeat in a battle no one but me knew was occuring.

"And maybe, one day, I'll tell her. Maybe I'll be about to leave the country never to return, or it'll be before my wedding day to a woman who I can never love as much as I love her, or right before I die… but we'll never speak of it again, and she'll look at me with shock and sympathy and pity, and comfort me and tell me that it's alright… because that;s what she always does."

He let out a shaky breath, and turned to look unseeing out the window. "She'll never know," he whispered. "I won't stand in their way, much as I want to. She'll be Hermione Weasley, and I won't stop it." And he turned his gaze back to the fire, not feeling Hedwig rub her head against his arm in comfort or hear the door close softly and the sound of a body slowly leaning against the wall and sinking to the floor.

"Oh Harry…" breathed a soft voice, wreathed with tears. "If only you knew…"

And Hermione Granger stood and walked away from the only man she ever loved, to the Gryffindor Common Room, where she knew her redhaired friend waited with an offer to accompany him to Hogsmeade. She walked away from all she had ever wanted and could never have, and allowed the pain in her heart to encompass her, a single sob escaping in unison with that of the boy she had left behind.

A/N: Well, tell me what you think! Hermione is all mean and walking away at the end of the chapter because for one, she doesn't want to break Ron's heart, and for another, she thinks that he can do a lot better than her, and that he'll get over her eventually. We all know that there's no chance of that happening.  Anyways, please review!