Too Late

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter!

Harry's P.O.V.

My stomach churned. Oh please, don't tell me I'm going back down there again.

Sitting on the very top of the stairs, I looked down at her and frowned for the umpteenth time. I've been going back down there to the common room for three times now giving rather silly excuses like dropping my quill, forgetting my book, or just checking if Hedwig decided to go through the common room window again. I don't know why but I can't seem to part myself from the common room. From her. For the very first time in our friendship, I couldn't leave her. I couldn't leave her out of my sight now that…now that she already told us.

Neville, who clearly doesn't know, had told me before my second return to the common room that there's nothing to be worried about. She is, after all, perfectly safe in the Gryffindor common room as long as Dumbledore's protection spell remains unbroken. I sighed. But I wasn't thinking about Voldemort. I'm pretty sure Voldemort can never go in the Gryffindor tower. There was something else I was rather worried about.

I watched her turn another page of her book. I admit I was surprised to see her reading a story book rather than a school book. Well, I never really was curious about what she was reading before. I bent down closer and read the cover of her book; A Walk to Remember. A muggle book. No wonder it was so small. From what I heard, the book she's reading is a love story. I think it was about a girl who died of leukemia or something at the end. I shrugged at myself. I never really was interested about that kind of stuff.

A love story…

She has already fallen in love for three times now. Well, maybe not exactly real love. After all, I too dated three people and I never really fell in love with any of them. Cho Chang, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley. I once thought I had really fallen in love with Ginny, my best friend's younger sister. Thoughts of Ginny had followed me everywhere last year. Even her flowery scent became my favorite smell (I smelled it during my first Potions class with Professor Slughorn). Oh, and I also broke up with her for the cause that Voldemort might use her to get to me. A sigh escaped from my mouth. I guess, we would sometimes think that our heart is telling us she's the one. But, little do we know, it was only our mind deceiving us. I did love Ginny. But only as a friend.

Propping my head up on my hand, my eyes shifted to her hand which was caressing the back of her pet. I don't really know if she had really fallen in love with one of those boys. Well, I remember hearing her the day she and Ron broke up earlier this year. She had tried so calmly to tell that she wasn't really feeling "true love" for him. I could still hear Ron yelling back at her. I could still remember seeing her eyes slowly fill up with tears. I could still feel her long bushy brown hair against my hands which I had stroked to calm her down. And I also remember the sudden wave of relief.

I never really understood why but…I couldn't help but actually get jealous of her and Ron when they got together. I probably felt it because they spend more time together rather than with me. Or maybe because I don't have a girlfriend. Perhaps there's another reason…or not. That sudden wave of relief was trying to tell me something but I couldn't seem to guess what. I wish I know. I haven't understood my feelings until now.

Those frequent churning of my stomach…the constant jumping of my heart…those rather annoying tingling nerves…those constant twinges in my heart…that sudden wave of relief… The only thing I could think of was that…but could it be possible? I mean, she is my best friend. Just that, right? There's nothing more than that…she's just like…uh…just like a sister to me…right? Am I right, Harry?

Hermione Granger's just a friend.

"A friend who had always been there for me." I muttered to myself as I stood up, deciding to go down there once more. "And now it's my turn to be there for her."

I turned my frown into a soft smile when I reached the foot of the stairs. She looked up from her book with an expression that told me she had been expecting me to return.

"I knew you would come back." She said knowingly. "What is it this time?"

"I couldn't sleep." Well, at least my reason now is almost true. I bet I will not be able to sleep knowing what was about to happen to her. "And what about you? What are you still doing here? It's almost midnight."

She shrugged, "I just don't feel like sleeping now. And, besides, I want to finish this book tonight." She returned to her book without another word.

"Don't worry, I'm not here to bother you." I told her as I slumped on the armchair across from hers. I looked at the cover of her book and added in my mind, 'I'm here because I'm worried about you.'

I couldn't help but notice that she looks extra special tonight. I can't exactly find a reason why I think she looks so pretty tonight, though. She did seem paler and thinner compared to last year. But shouldn't that make her ugly?

"I don't think you're ugly."

I grinned in my head as I remembered the exact words I told her on our fifth year at Hogwarts. Well it was true. Before, I never thought of her as ugly or, truth be told, beautiful. Not until this year, though. Something changed in her that made her look spectacular. Something that I couldn't put his finger to...Maybe it's time to change my glasses. Nah! That's obviously not the problem.

She lifted her hand and coughed.

I frowned. "Hermione—." I tried to stand up but she stopped me by raising her hand.

"I'm okay, Harry." She told me as she wiped her mouth with her white handkerchief. She looked at it for a second before hastily stuffing it back into her pocket. I looked at it strangely.

"Are you sure?" I asked, not really believing her.

She nodded and went back to her book.

As the seconds flew by, I seemed to be getting more worried. And, in every moment, she began to look even sicker than before. A part of me wanted to go to bed so that I may not see her like this…I don't want to see her suffer. But I have to stay here. Even though she doesn't say it, I know she needs me here now. And I need her too.

She coughed once more and instantaneously covered her mouth with her handkerchief. I winced in my seat. "Hermione, maybe we should take you to Madame Pomf—."

"No." She snapped, "Haven't I already told you that even in the wizarding world they don't have a cure for my illness?"

"Yes but she has something to cease your coughing at least for a few hours." I stood up. She pushed me back.

"I'm—okay—Harry—really!" But her coughing wouldn't stop.

My heart began to beat faster in worry.

She dropped her book on the floor and began coughing so hard that she was now curled up on her seat. Her face reflected all the pain that she was feeling. I jumped to my feet. That was it. Whether she likes it or not, I'll take her to the Hospital Wing. I stood beside her and was about to carry her when I saw a hint of blood on her pure white handkerchief.

My heart jumped to my throat.

"Hermione!" I dug my hands under her and began to carry her but she grabbed the edge of the couch with one of her bloody hands.

"Put me down, Harry!" She yelled, "I don't want to go to the Hospital Wing!" She coughed once more. "Just lay me down on the couch, please! It…it's over…"

With my eyes wide open, I obeyed and laid her down on the couch even though half of me was trying to get her out of the common room. I knelt beside her.

I looked down at her and I could see tears running down her eyes as she finally pulled away her handkerchief from her blood-stained mouth. Suddenly, I could fill tears filling up my eyes too. "Hermione…" I croaked.

She took a hard gulp and tried to lift up her hand to me. I caught it and held it to my chest. "There's something you ought to know, Harry…" Her voice was weak and quivering as more tears flowed down from her dark brown eyes...her beautiful dark brown eyes that were now filled with pain.

I could feel my lower lip tremble at the sight of her. Without really meaning to, I closed my eyes and bowed my head. I tried to suppress my tears. Thoughts of her raced through my head and a voice came to my ears. 'You love her…' Thinking it was only my mind and that I was only saying that because she's about to leave, I searched for my heart's voice and listened to it. 'You love her…' It told me. I wanted to punch it. It was too late to tell me now!

She coughed yet again and I held her hand tighter. I slowly placed her hand over my heart so that she may feel it. So that she may hang on even for just a few more minutes. "Hermione…"

"Hermione I…" A tear escaped from my eye. "I love you…"

I wasn't sure if she heard me. My voice was so quiet and she had just begun to cough again. I made my voice louder.

"I love you, Hermione…" I tried my best to not let my voice tremble but I couldn't. "I really love you and I don't want you to leave me." Finally letting myself cry, I pulled her up into my arms. "Hermione!"

She sobbed on my shoulder as she circled her trembling arms around my neck. "I love you too, Harry…" She said in between sobs. "More than anyone else!"

"Then don't leave me!" I begged her, "Not for a few more days!"

But she shook her head…

She had another set of coughs and she recoiled against me. I rubbed her back and held her tighter. I wish this could all just be a bad dream. Please let me wake up!

Hermione pulled back a little until our faces were only a few centimeters away. At first my eyes fell on her bloodstained mouth and then at her eyes. Throughout all the years that we spent together, I had usually seen fear and sorrow in her eyes. Sometimes even for the smallest reasons. But I've never seen her eyes as sad as it was now. I could feel my heart fall as I looked deeper into them.

"Harry…" Her voice was getting weaker. "I will never leave you…"

I shook my head slightly. I know where this is going. No…

"I will always be with you, Harry…" She closed her eyes. She placed a soft kiss on me before leaving.

My eyes were wide open. I looked down at her in silent astonishment for a while as I convinced myself that she was gone. But…no…she can't be! I shook her rather harshly, "Hermione!"

No answer.

I shook her once more, "Hermione!"

Still nothing.


I pulled her body tight against me and yelled out in agony. I felt my whole world close in on me as I cried into her neck. She was gone… Hermione… I believe no words could ever describe the sorrow that I was feeling at this very moment. I groaned once more and yelled out again. This time making some of the other Gryffindors run down from their dormitories. I heard all of them gasp but I ignored them. I didn't pull away from her. I didn't want to let her go.

Ron came to me and placed a hand on my shoulder. I could feel that his hand was trembling which instantly told me that he too was crying. I thought about how he had treated Hermione whenever they bickered. I wanted to yell at him for always making her angry. But…I couldn't…we both made mistakes to her.

"Hermione…" I groaned once more as I began to run my fingers through her bushy brown hair. I had just lost the girl I love…the only girl that I will truly love… I frowned against the base of her neck. My heart had finally told me that I love her. But my heart was too late.

Way too late…

A/N: I really hope you guys liked my fanfic! I worked really hard on it! Anyway, please review. I don't mind if you criticize about my grammar and stuff. I can actually improve by hearing those. But please don't criticize my ship (H/Hr).