-Disclaimer-

I am not JK Rowling nor do I claim to be the author of the ever-famous Harry Potter series. I am just a story that depicts how Harry will begin to see Hermione in a different light and have feelings for her instead of Ginny, who suddenly has bounced in between Harry and Hermione.

Characters – Those you see in the book series are not mine.

Plot – 100 mine truly!

Unrequited

By Heahrune

Chapter 1: Don't Speak

You and me
We used to be together
Every day together, always…

I really feel
I'm losing my best friend…
I can't believe
This could be the end…

It looks as though you're letting go
And if it's real,
Well I don't want to know…

Don't speak
I know just what you're saying
So please stop explaining
Don't tell me 'cause it hurts
Don't speak
I know what you're thinking

I don't need your reasons
Don't tell me 'cause it hurts…

(Don't Speak No Doubt)

"I'm sorry, Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, but she's still in a very critical condition. I'm afraid there's a possibility of dying," said the nurse from St. Mungo's.

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley seemed to have tears in their eyes, but Harry, whose pride overcame his unease, managed a "Thank you, please do contact us if she is well," before returning his gaze to the poorly red-headed girl.

During the last battle, Harry had somehow, by himself, defeated Voldemort but no one asked him about it. If they did he would tense up and say that it was none of their business. He had said that even to Ron, although no doubt Hermione would ask the same question when she got up. And speaking of Hermione…

"Ron, I'm going to check up on Hermione. You stay here and watch Ginny." Ron only grunted a sign of approval. "Tell her I'll be along in a minute, Harry," he replied.

With that in mind, Harry set off to ask the Healer where Hermione's room was…

Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø Ø

"Harry," Hermione managed to say brightly as he came inside the room. "I thought you'd never come!"

Harry laughed. Hermione was returning to her high spirits. "And how are you?" Harry asked her, smiling, because she did. At this point, anything Hermione could do was contagious, seing that she was much, much better compared to her poorly state when she entered St. Mungo's, and she herself knew that, which was one of the reasons why she was returning to her normal self. She was at that time as poorly as Ginny was, perhaps even worse, because when she and Harry where trying to get past Voldemort's supporters without any back-up from Ron, Ginny, Luna and Neville (they were all assailed by some random hexes by newly recruited Death Eaters), they had to depend on each other to prevent themselves from getting hurt, until a slight breach on Harry's part forced Hermione to make quicker hexes, and made her let down her shield. Of course she was attacked by a rather powerful curse, so it was surprising the way she seemed to recover very quickly.

"Very well," she said in response to his question, smiling. "My body has an elastic vitality."

My body, Harry heard her voice echoing in his mind. Although Harry knew she had always been blithe and supple, he could remember a time when Hermione was frail and weak. Back then in First Year, as the troll attacked Hermione and Harry and Ron saved her, and then in Second Year, after seeing the basilisk through a mirror, once again in Fifth Year, when there was that curse. And finally in their Seventh Year, when they finally went after Voldemort, and managed to vanquish him. He remembered Hermione falling limply to the ground, and all those words which passed through his mind:

It would be my fault if she died.

It was just as lucky that Ron, Ginny, Luna and Neville came in for Harry because he was speechless and, as Luna put it, 'almost out of his mind after that'. It was a sheer miracle he had been sane enough to be able to face Voldemort, let alone defeat him. Ron told him to get to Voldemort; they all would protect Hermione. He was told later that Ginny, being as powerful a witch as she always was, had managed to have Hermione be in a force-field she created, before half a dozen supporters tried to kill her, knowing that she was his ex-girlfriend and that many of the supporters thought if she was dead, Harry would lose it. It was lucky that Ginny had put herself in her own force field before they put the Crucio curse on her. Although she was affected by a heavy doses of Crucio from all the Voldemort supporters, she luckily did not die or go insane. She just went limp like Hermione.

"A penny for your thoughts," Hermione smiled and said to him, knowing very well his mind was wandering, and she had that look that she almost always had before the final battle – the look where she knew what he was thinking.

"You'd be paying for too much," Harry replied.

"What about me? I could use a bit of money. I'm short of galleons," Ron said, entering the room.

"Ron, you are a selfish wart, and no one cares about your thoughts during this moment."

"Hermione, that phrase 'insensitive wart' has been said by both you and Ginny for years. Can't girls come up with another insulting phrase? How about –"

"If that means reducing herself to your level, Ron," Harry slyly interrupted this conversation, before Hermione could open her mouth in a retort, "I doubt that it means yes." Hermione smiled smugly.

"What do you mean reducing yourselves to my level? Here I am, taller than you both, and certainly healthier that you both," Ron replied.

Before Hermione could open her mouth, Harry turned to her and said, "He does have a point."

Hermione sighed in defeat. "So how did I get here? Where's Ginny, Neville and Luna?"

Both Ron and Harry hesitated. This was enough for Hermione to know that both had bad news, although she wasn't exactly sure what.

"Okay, okay, don't tell me! I'm sure it's bad news."

Harry was sure he looked relieved. There was an awkward silence, before a "Ron darling! Oh Merlin, thank goodness you are safe!" by Mrs. Weasley had forced Ron to immediately leave the room. And then it was another and more awkward silence, before Hermione spoke.

"She's in a very bad condition, isn't she?"

"Yeah."

"Harry, I know you cared for her."

"So?"

"Won't you talk about it?"

"No."

"Can I ask why?"

"No."

"Then what can we talk about?"

"You."

Hermione gave a tinkly laugh, just like a bell's, high in pitch and rhythmic. "I'm sure I'm not so interesting."

"You are."

"Oh well," Hermione said, blushing a bit, before another awkward silence casted a shadow upon their conversation. Harry felt he wanted to say something to Hermione, something really important, but he couldn't, because he had forgotten the words to it somehow. It was like he had buried something in his heart, which he needed to give to her, but he didn't know where in his heart it was. He suspected Hermione felt about the same way as he did.

And again Hermione broke the silence.

"Harry, I have a question to ask you."

Surprised that Hermione thought him clever enough to ask him a question, he replied, "Ask away."

Hermione seemed to turn a shade of rose pink and tilted her head slightly to to the left. That was certainly becoming for her. She looked really pretty that way, almost beautiful, but then again, although her features were nicely-proportioned and she turned out to look quite okay, Harry suspected she would never be more than that.

"It's for a friend."

"Okay, well, ask it."

"I have this friend," she burst out suddenly without pausing for breath. "She also has two boys as her best friends, and she has feelings for one of them. However, they all expect her to like the other guy, just because they fight a lot, and the guy she likes has a crush on the other guy's sister. She really likes him. She was always intrigued by him when she was younger, and they always worked well together. And now she likes him a lot. What should she do?"

"Err – tell him?"

"Harry, would you really do that?"

"No, I'm not gay and I'm not a girl."

Hermione shot him an annoyed look. "That's not what I meant."

Harry smiled. "I was only joking."

A sigh passed through her lips. "What would you do otherwise?"

"Where's all this leading to anyway?" Harry said instead.

Hermione lowered her eyes, until her line of sight found her hands. Realisation hit him, and he now understood what Hermione meant when she asked all those seemingly unconnected questions.

"Oh Hermione – I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Hermione gave a quick, assuring smile which was not so reassuring. Harry could have sworn her eyes were watery. "It's not as if you could reciprocate these feelings. In fact I never expected you to."

This time there was a silence which was not only awkward, but it seemed to separate them lightyears away. Harry felt too uncomfortable with the situation. Hermione was a pivotal figure in his life, but how could he love her, when he never thought of her more than a friend. There was the Yule Ball in his fourth year where he had fostered some mild infatuation, but that was before he knew it was Hermione. Intelligent, witty, stubborn, bookworm-ish Hermione. He had never thought of her in any other way, ever. She was always there for him, but just as friends, he supposed. He never thought that question would be asked of him: Did he have feelings for Hermione? No, he decided. He never did, and anyway, his own ex-girlfriend was in the hospital, clinging on to dear life, perhaps for him? No, he couldn't hurt Ginny by having feelings for Hermione – his conscience would smote him, and anyway, wouldn't Ron get angry at him? He could never say no to Hermione, neither. She had helped mould him, with her strength she saved him, and no way could he hurt a benefactress, especially one so patient with him (albeit stubborn at times) like Hermione. Then another thought came to him – he was not ready for any type of relationship, especially not with his best friend at the moment. But that feeling: It was like he had buried something in his heart, which he needed to give to her, but he didn't know where in his heart it was. He suspected Hermione felt about the same way as he did. – No, he told himself. This isn't the time.

"Hermione, really – I –" He tried to get his words together at that moment. Somehow it failed to form words.

This time Harry knew, although she didn't seem too distressed by what happened, she was terribly heartbroken. "Don't say it, Harry," she said, as an almost invisible tear trickled down her cheek. "Don't speak."

-Sue's Not-So Philosophic Reflections-

I know how depressing the story seems at this moment. I could kill myself for coming up with such a dreary beginning! Poor Hermione! How she is suffering! But don't worry, she'll soon be happy by the end of the chapter. So what do you guys think? Is the story okay? Do read and review!