When I Told Her

(A One-Shot Fic)

Summary: One night. One summer. That's all it took for Harry to realize something after all these years of friendship. (contains HBP Spoilers – one-shot fic only)

(A/N: I reviewed this story and corrected any wrong grammar and spelling that I saw while reading through it. If you see any more wrong grammars, then it's my fault since I overlooked them. Cheers:p)

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When they told me that they would be going with me wherever I go, even with the dangers that were sure to come my way, I was touched – in a way. But I didn't want them to come. Particularly her. I couldn't bear to lose her. And I wouldn't lose her because of this fate that I was in. But being the stubborn girl that she was, she wouldn't budge. Even if I yelled at her. Even if I threw tantrums (childish, I know). Even if I told her that I didn't want harm to come her way. Even if I told her that I loved her.

Yes, I loved her. I only realized it that summer when they stayed with me at Privet Drive, much to the dismay of my uncle. After my supposed break-up with Ginny, I realized that there was more to Hermione than meets the eye. I was sort of shocked even at my own self for that revelation. I even asked myself, "What was that I was feeling towards Ginny for the past year if I'm suddenly feeling this way for my best friend?"

'Mione. Hermione. Hermione Granger. Hermione Jane Granger. The only person who stood by me through every good and bad thing that came my way. She was there. Always there for me. Not even Ron. Not even Ginny. It was her. Only her. How come it took me so long to see that?

That one night, before I turned 17 was the fateful night that brought my realization. I couldn't sleep that night. In a way, I was excited because that morning, I would be leaving Privet Drive forever and never going back again. I was about to stay at my parent's place at Godric's Hollow before embarking on a journey to find all the Horcruxes that would eventually lead to the destruction of Voldemort.

Hermione resized my bedroom during their stay there. Seeing as she was of legal age already, she didn't get any notices when performing magic. Three beds were easily fitted in my room once she was done.

As I was lying on my bed staring at the ceiling, I felt someone sit on the edge of my bed by my foot. I sat up and saw her there. She gave me a small smile. I smiled back.

"Couldn't sleep as well?" I asked. She shook her head and then we both jumped at the sound of Ron, snoring at the other end of my room. (Hermione's bed is in the middle of our beds, by the way.) She giggled softly and I just smiled.

She took a glance at my bedside clock and saw that it was already close to midnight. We sat in companionable silence, content to just be with each other. Just when the clock stroke midnight, Hermione smiled, scooted over closer to me and whispered, "Happy Birthday Harry."

I smiled and turned my head slightly to face her. At that exact moment, she leaned in to kiss me on my cheek. You may say that we met in the middle and accidentally, our lips came together.

We both had our eyes wide, shocked. We both didn't move. And then, as if on instinct, I slid my hand on her waist and up to her back and didn't release her lips. I moved my mouth to truly kiss her. She stiffened for a moment but after a little bit of my coaxing, she relaxed, closed her eyes and moved with me.

At that moment, when I was kissing my best friend, I realized that I wouldn't be where I am if not for her. She was my angel. My everything. My savior. My catcher. I wouldn't able to survive all those things I did in the past without her. Every fiber of my being was alive because of her. Then something else clicked. I love her. And not just the platonic love that existed between us for so long already. I am in-love with her.

That moment, I admitted it. I loved her. I loved my best friend in a completely non-platonic way.

And I kissed her all the more with so much passion that I didn't know I had inside me all bottled up. I was even more surprised when she responded with the same fervor as I had. She hooked her arms around my neck and scooted much closer while I tightened my hold on her waist. My other hand slid to the back of her neck and felt the soft hair cascade through my fingers.

After a few minutes that lapsed, we broke apart. Both breathless and panting. I leaned my forehead on hers and looked into her eyes. I couldn't decipher for a moment what was it that I saw in her pools of chocolate brown. For a moment, I was lost and drowning in her eyes. But after a while of just looking with each other, I realized what it was that I was seeing.

It was love.

She loved me. She was returning that love I just realized for her. And I could see that she only realized that love for me as well.

"What about Ron?" I asked softly, still holding her closely to me, knowing that only that past school year, something promising was starting to brew between them.

"I don't know. I thought I love him. But now…" her voice trailed off and she broke our gaze. Then in a small voice, she asked, "What about Ginny?"

I shrugged. "I don't know as well," I whispered. "I told her that I have to do things alone now and I don't want to endanger her anymore. I'm afraid Voldemort might use her to lure me in. She understood that and agreed with me. I'm glad she did. But now…"

I placed my hand softly on her chin and compelled her to look at me. "You, 'Mione however, you stuck with me even when I told you that I don't want to endanger you and Ron. No matter how I tried to shake you off, you still clung to me like a leech," I smiled as I said that. She gave me a feeble smile.

"I thought to myself the moment Ron said that you guys would be going with me, 'I'm really lucky to have you in my life.' Because you didn't think about what would happen to you. Even when I kept telling you that I didn't want you to be in harm's way because of me. But you guys cared about me."

"I told you before Harry, before we came here. You told us once that there was a time to turn back if we wanted to. But we didn't want that. We don't want you to face Voldemort alone. We want to be there with you," she stifled a sob as she was gazing at me. "I want to be there with you…"

As I gazed into her teary eyes, I couldn't help myself but bring her face closer to me once more and feel her lips on mine. I kissed her softly, gently. A kiss full of promise. Full of love.

When we broke apart, I whispered against her lips, "I love you, Hermione."

She smiled and suddenly hugged me really tight. "Oh, Harry. I love you too. Why did I only learn about this now? Why?" she sobbed.

I didn't respond. I just hugged her and rocked her back and forth as she sobbed in the crook of my neck. When she finally relaxed and loosed her grip on me, I lay down and she snuggled closer to me, laying her head on my chest. I stroked her hair absent-mindedly until her breathing evened out.

Then as quietly as possible, I told her, "Hermione, if we don't make this journey, if I somehow snuffed it, promise me that you would go on with your life. Do what you advised Ginny before concerning me. Move on."

She nodded and replied, "But I'm not going to think of that, Harry. Because I believe that you will win this war. And we, Ron and I and even Ginny and the rest of the remaining Order members, will be there for you. At your back, at your side, fighting with you. Until you arise victorious."

I kissed her forehead at her statement. After a while, her breathing became even and deep and I saw that she was already asleep, curled up beside me. I stayed up until I could see the light of the morning. Slowly, I untangled myself from her, and then carried her to her own bed so that Ron wouldn't think of anything when he woke up. Then I lay down on my bed for a couple of hours to get some sleep.

When I woke up, I saw Hermione starting to pack already. I stood up and packed all my stuff as well for our journey. We shared a brief smile which told everything about what we felt. Ron woke up from the noise we were making. When he saw that we were already packing, he stretched and stood up.

"We're leaving already?" he asked.

"Yeah, so you better pack your things already. We'll apparate to Godric's Hollow by lunchtime," I replied. Ron nodded and started to pack.

"Shouldn't we stop by the Burrow first though before we go to Godric's Hollow?"

"The wedding's not until two weeks from now, is it?" I said.

"Oh, yeah. Yeah, let's go to your folks' place then first," said Ron.

When we were done packing, Hermione conjured breakfast for us and Ron started to wolf down his food. Hermione rolled her eyes and I laughed silently, thankful that I have my best friends with me.

By the time we're done with everything, I walked to the living room, said my good-byes to the Dursleys, went back to my room and looked at my two best friends.

"Ready?" I asked.

"As ready as we'll ever be," Hermione replied, taking my hand and smiling. She shrunk our luggage so that we could easily place them in our pockets. Then she took Ron's other hand and off we went to my parents' home.

Until now, a decade after the war wherein we rose victorious, though we lose several of our loved ones, I always looked back on that one fateful summer night before we started our journey. And marveled at how my life could have been so different had I not told her what I felt.

"Harry! Help me out with Lily and James here, will you? I swear, I'm not taking these twins to Fred and George's place anymore. They take after them!"

"Coming!" I called and chuckled to myself.

Yes, it definitely was worth it. If I had my choice, I'll do everything all over again as it was 10 years ago. When I told my best friend that I loved her.