Hermione went upstairs and stood outside Harry's door; she wondered if he was awake. There was no light coming from the room, so she turned and went into her room to change for bed.
After she had put on her nightgown, she went into the bathroom and examined her appearance. She looked especially tired, with dark circles under her eyes and her bushy hair looked wilder than ever. She grabbed a brush to smooth through her waves. When she thought she looked presentable, Hermione left the bathroom to go to Harry's room.
She knocked but heard no answer. She then gingerly opened the door – the room was dark except for a glow from an outside street lamp. She looked towards the bed and was relieved to see that it was not empty. Harry was lying on his side facing the window, curled up against his pillow. Careful not to wake him, Hermione crept into the bed beside him settling into its warmth. Exhaustion filled her body and she soon fell asleep.
She was back in the Room of Love, except this time her kiss did not revive Harry. Suddenly out of nowhere, Voldemort appeared.
"Your beloved Harry is gone. Why don't you join him?" He sneered.
Before Hermione could even plead for her life, she heard him shout "Avada Kedavra!"
Hermione screamed, "Nooooo!"
Hermione woke up sweating and panting. She then felt a pair of familiar arms come around her and pull her close.
"Shhh, it's okay, it was just a bad dream."
Isn't that supposed to be my line?
"Oh Harry," she cried. "I had the most awful nightmare. I was back in that room today and I couldn't revive you and Voldemort was trying to kill me with the AK curse."
"It's all right. Voldemort's dead. He can't harm you."
Hermione pulled away a bit from Harry to look at him, she could now make out his features in the darkened room. "What? How do you know he's dead?"
"I got a visit from Remus and Tonks earlier tonight- they wanted to check on me to make sure I was okay. They told me that they found Voldemort's cloak at the Department of Mysteries. The Order is in the process of rounding up Death Eaters so they can be put on trial."
"So they never found a body?" Hermione asked, thinking about Ginny's vision.
"No." Harry replied.
"So, he could still be out there, Harry. Maybe he wants us to think he's dead, so he can catch us off guard."
"Don't you think it's possible that when you revived me, you also could've killed Voldemort?"
"How?" Hermione asked.
"The prophecy." Harry said simply. "One cannot live while the other survives. When your love brought me back to life, the power was so strong, it killed him."
"But I thought you were supposed to be the one to have that final battle with him."
"The prophecy never explicitly stated that but I guess that's what we all assumed."
Hermione was quiet for a moment as she lay back on the pillow. Was it possible that it was she who had the power to destroy such a powerful force of evil?
"But Harry, you weren't a passive participant in this." She argued. "In order for you to get rid of the horcrux, you had to have fallen in love. That was the transformative experience that saved you."
Harry nodded at her. "True. But falling in love with you was the easy part."
Upon hearing this, her eyes filled with tears. "Oh, Harry!" she cried, flinging her arms around him.
"I love you so much."
Harry returned her embrace but instead of saying I love you, too, he was quiet and Hermione wondered if she had come on a bit too strong.
"Are you all right, Harry?"
"I'm fine." He said in a choked voice. "It's just that I've never heard anyone say that to me before."
Hermione was surprised and touched by this admission. It made sense; his parents had loved him but Harry was just a baby when they were murdered. But surely others had told him before?
"You've never heard that? What about Ginny?"
"Ginny doesn't count. She never loved me, she didn't mean it." He said bitterly.
"She's really sorry, you know. Ron and I saw her at the hospital wing. She's full of remorse for what she did to you. Mrs. Weasley, too."
"Well, they ought to be."
"Harry, do you think you'll be able to forgive them some day?"
Harry shook his head. "I dunno, maybe some day…."
"Just think about it." Hermione said.
It grew quiet again. Hermione felt safe lying in Harry's arms and she felt like she was at home at last. Feeling secure, she decided to confide in him about what she had heard in the Room of Love.
"You know, I can't take all the credit for saving you."
"Hmmm? You mean Remus, Tonks and Ron helped, too?"
"No, I mean they helped me find you, but there was someone else - somebody who is no longer with us." She paused. "Harry, I'm almost certain I heard Dumbledore's voice in that room."
"Dumbledore, really?" Harry didn't sound too surprised. "What did he say?"
"He told me that I could save you, that I needed to use the power that was in my heart."
"Did he say anything else?"
"No, the voice disappeared. I was beginning to question if I had imagined it all. I was under a lot of stress at that moment, so maybe I did?"
"I don't think you imagined it, Hermione, because I saw Dumbledore."
"You did? Where?"
"When I was passed out or dead or whatever, I had a dream or it maybe it was more like a vision. I was walking in a dark tunnel and at the end of the tunnel I saw a light. There were some figures in the light. As I got closer, I recognized four of them. Two were my parents, one was Sirius and the other was Dumbledore."
Hermione nodded against his shoulder. "Go on."
My parents and Sirius told me that they missed me, but it wasn't time to join them yet. My mum told me to go back, and that someone who loved me was waiting for me. She asked me if I knew who that was. I told her it was you, Hermione." He paused. "So the next thing I knew, I felt you kissing me and I woke up."
Hermione was moved to tears again. "You know, Harry, I've heard of stories like that. Near death experiences, they're called. People who have clinically died and then revived often report seeing loved ones who have passed on."
"You think that's what happened to me?" Harry asked.
"It's possible. After today, anything is possible." Hermione replied.
"I love you, Hermione." Harry said quietly.
"I love you, too."
Hermione then shifted her position so she was facing Harry. She leaned over and kissed him softly on the mouth. What started off as chaste soon became more passionate. Hermione felt Harry's tongue part her lips and she opened her mouth to give him full access. She ran her fingers through his unruly hair as she felt his get tangled in her waves. They room grew very warm as they continued to explore each other for the next few minutes.
Suddenly, Hermione was reminded of something Ron had said downstairs.
He's a seventeen-year-old bloke with needs.
She certainly felt his need growing against her hips.
"Harry?" She said, breathlessly as he was nibbling on the sensitive skin of her neck as his right hand unbuttoned the top buttons of her nightgown.
"Hmm?" came his muffled reply.
"Can we slow down, please?" She said plaintively.
Harry's head jerked up. "What's wrong? Am I not doing this right?"
No, he's doing everything right, why in Merlin's name are you stopping him?
"You're doing fine," she assured him. "It's just, I think we should discuss our, um, expectations."
"What do you mean, expectations?" Harry asked, confusion evident in his voice.
"Our physical expectations." Hermione clarified.
Harry let go of her and flopped onto his back.
Hermione took a deep breath and stared at the ceiling. "Harry, it's just that we've been sharing a bed for a while now and I think you assumed that now that we're together, that we'd go straight to shagging."
"How do you know that's what I assumed?" Harry replied, sounding cross. "I haven't assumed anything!"
"You mean to tell me that you didn't think that we were going to have sex tonight? After all you are, as Ron put it, a seventeen-year-old bloke with needs."
"That does sound like something he would say, doesn't it? But just because that's what Ron thinks, it's not necessarily what I think."
"So you don't have needs?" Hermione said, skeptically.
"Of course I have needs, Hermione. I'm not dead!" He exclaimed.
Bad choice of words there, Potter.
"It's just that I don't want to do anything with you that you're uncomfortable with or not ready for. Hermione, in case you didn't realize, I'm new at this and I'm not really sure what I'm doing."
Hermione was surprised at this news.
"You mean, you've never, not even with Ginny and her lust potions?"
"Well, Ginny and I did some stuff, but we never, um you know. I think Mrs. Weasley might've put a chastity charm on her."
Well at least she did something right.
"Well, what about you and Ron?" He continued. "I'm assuming you satisfied some of his needs."
Hermione was half amused and half disgusted by the image. "No, Harry! I never did. That's one of the main reasons it didn't work between us, no physical chemistry." She paused. "So, I guess neither one of us really knows what we're doing."
"And how can we have expectations if neither one really knows what to expect?" Harry concurred.
"Maybe there's a book we can consult?" Hermione said, thoughtfully. Her mother had told her about the birds and the bees, but she never discussed any, um, techniques.
"As long as there are no potions or spells in it, that's a book I'd be happy to read." Harry chuckled. "I wonder if Flourish & Blotts carries such a book? Or perhaps we could visit a Muggle bookstore?"
"Harry Potter, I've never seen you so interested in books before. Am I finally rubbing off on you?" Hermione teased as she leaned into Harry for another kiss.
Bad choice of words, Granger...oh never mind.
"So, we're okay now?" Harry asked.
"We're good." Hermione yawned.
"You still must be exhausted. Why don't we sleep in tomorrow? I'll make us breakfast in bed and maybe take a trip into London, and perhaps hit some bookstores?"
"Sounds like a date to me." Hermione smiled sleepily as she felt Harry snuggle behind her.
A/N: This is where the story ends. Thanks for reading and please leave a review!