Her face was wet. A drop hit her cheek and she opened her eyes wearily. Looking up into the gray mass of clouds she forgot where she was for a moment. She sat up. Then it all came flooding back to her. The fighting, the cursing, the hexing—she brought her hand to the back of her head. Her muscles were tense and her clothes were damp which made her wonder how long she had been lying there.
Next to her Ron looked as if he were sleeping peacefully, but the bloody gash on his head implied otherwise.
"Ron?" Her voice cracked. She nudged him again. "Ron? Ron come on. Get up. I think we didn't lose." He opened one eye and then the other.
"Hermione? Hermione you're okay." He sat up and gave her an enthusiastic hug. She smiled and hugged back tightly. "Come on." He stood up and offered her a hand. Her knees cracked and she felt a shooting pain in her leg. "You okay?" Ron asked as she put most of her weight on him.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. We have to find him." Ron nodded curtly and they began to head to the hill.
He looked so peaceful. Resting between the headstones of his parents lay The-Boy-Who-Lived. The two friends stood there staring emotionlessly at the scene before them. He was ghastly pale and deathly still. Hermione dropped to his side, touching his arm gently. He felt cold and clammy.
"Harry?" She shook him slightly. "Harry." She brushed aside the hair sticking to his forehead. Ron looked back at the form of Voldemort. He shuddered as he looked at the snake-like nose and the pallid complexion. Harry went up against that. Ron's eyes shifted out towards what remained of the cemetery. A bunch of blasted headstones and Deatheaters and Order members alike were strewn about the field. It was impossible to separate the living from the dead. He wondered if his family was alright. He wondered if Luna was okay.
The Hogwarts infirmary smelled of the most complicated healing potions. Hospital workers from St. Mungos had been called in to help transport the order members and Death Eaters back to the hospital. The more urgent cases were transported straight to Hogwarts where a staff of medical workers was waiting. Hermione and Ron refused to leave Harry's side and apart from being brusquely pushed aside by the medical workers, Ron and Hermione were allowed to stay, much to their surprise.
The first few days were the hardest. Order members who had desperately clung to "critical condition" had dropped off.
Harry was still not awake. The whole wizarding world was waiting on hinged breath for their hero to awake. He was their savior, their Chosen One. Journalists from every wizarding paper were camped outside the infirmary, waiting to see if their hero had awoken. Inside his friends waited just as impatiently.
"How is he?" Ron asked Headmistress McGonagall after she had talked with Madame Pomfrey. She shook her head perplexed as more of Harry's friends gathered around her to hear the news.
"He's been through a lot. There's a lot of magical damage done to his body. We'd be able to heal it much quicker if…" she paused, searching for the right words.
"If what?" Hermione asked looking up from her seat next to Harry.
"Harry's body is almost completely depleted of magic."
"How is that possible?" Neville asked pushing past some older wizards.
"Mr. Potter, from what accounts have led me to believe, created a very powerful magical charge."
"Charge?" Ginny asked quietly.
"Well almost every wizard can accidentally create a magical charge. Usually the charge results from a very intense emotion."
"But those charges are usually only enough to break a glass." Lupin cut in.
"Exactly, but it seems in this case Mr. Potter was able to create a visible charge of white magic. That's what ended that battle." Hermione remembered the oddly warm feeling that engulfed her right before everything had gone black.
"Will he get his magic back?" Neville asked.
"He will, in time. I've never seen magic sources so depleted not to mention…" McGonagall faded again.
"Not to mention what?" Ron asked wearily. Hermione suddenly noticed how much older Ron seemed. How much taller and more serious he looked in the light of the infirmary.
"Harry was hit with the killing curse." There was a tense silence in the room for a moment until it was broken by Hermione.
"But he's still alive."
"From what you and Ron have told me it sounds as though Harry's magic was released at the exact moment the killing curse was thrown, thereby countering the curse and protecting him."
"So is that what killed Voldemort?" Lupin asked.
"Yes, I believe it was a great deal of love which caused the magical charge to release from Harry."
"So love did defeat Voldemort." Ginny whispered. Hermione looked down at Harry and put her hand on his arm.
"Will he wake up?"
With the passing days Ron and Hermione felt more and more helpless. They would take turns sitting with Harry, talking to him sometimes or simply waiting for a miracle. She was so close to losing him, and there were so many things left to be said, left to be done, left to be known. She almost lost him. Almost.
Hermione and Ron were talking softly in the corner of Harry's room when he began to stir. They ran over to his side just as Harry's eyes began to open.
"Harry? Harry!" Hermione called out, tears already clinging to her eyes. Suddenly, his brilliant green eyes opened.
"Hermione, Ron, are you okay?" They laughed slightly.
"We're fine mate, we aren't the ones who defeated Voldemort." Ron joked.
"Is he really gone?" his voice was hoarse from disuse. Hermione grabbed his hand tightly as she nodded. He smiled and squeezed back. "And the Order, are they okay?" Hermione and Ron exchanged apprehensive looks.
"Mr. Potter! So good to have you back among the land of the living. You two, leave Mr. Potter; I have a lot of tests to do." Harry's grip instinctively tightened on Hermione.
"Madame Pomfrey I want them to stay." But she was already trying to usher them to the door.
"No, no, no, there is absolutely no room for them." Hermione's hand was slipping through his.
"But I need to talk to them!" Madame Pomfrey shooed them towards the door. "I need to talk to them." Ron was already out the door and Hermione followed close behind.
"Harry, we'll see you as soon as you can. You need to get better right now though." Hermione closed the door behind her. Outside on the grounds of Hogwarts he heard a faint sound. It was a sort of rumble.
"Do you hear that?" Madame Pomfrey made a small sound of acknowledgement. "Do you know what it is?"
"Yes, they're cheering for you Mr. Potter. Their hero, has awoken."
After a couple hours of testing and endless questions of "does this hurt?" Harry was finally able to see his two best friends for exactly half an hour.
The two came in completely excited to see their friend. Hermione went over and gave him a very careful but very enthusiastic hug. His two friends settled in on either side of him. "Alright, so how bad is it?" The two met eyes across the bed and shifted uncomfortably. "Come on guys, I deserve to know. Just tell me now." They looked at each other sickeningly as if deciding who would speak first.
"Harry, just to start, everyone is really proud of you. You saved us all. None of this was your fault." Hermione started gently.
"Hagrid." Immediately his eyes stung with tears.
"Hagrid?" The two friends nodded solemnly. "Who else?"
"Harry, you're still recovering…"
"Percy and Charlie." Harry bit back tears. "Ron?" he looked over to his best mate who was looking down at his feet. The three sat in silence—one of the first awkward silences they had had in years.
"I'm gonna go check on my mum. Get better mate." Ron hurried out of the room and Hermione watched the door long after he had left. She absentmindedly drew circles on the back of his hand as he stared out the window.
"Tell me there was no one else." She took a shaky breath.
"Tonks still hasn't woken up. They don't know what hit her." Harry squeezed his eyes shut for a moment before closing his hand into a fist around the bed cover.
"But you and Ron, you're okay? Physically?" Hermione smiled.
"A couple of broken bones, a few minor curse effects, nothing we didn't deal with in fifth year. How do you feel?" Secretly he had been lying to Madame Pomfrey, telling her he was fine in hopes of getting out of there sooner.
"I'm doing okay." Hermione gave him a stern look. "I feel like I got hit with the killing curse and got all my magic knocked out of me." Hermione gave a small laugh.
"Well technically you released your magic. That's what killed Voldemort. Did you know what you were doing?"
"Honestly, I just started thinking about all the people that depended on me and all the people out there fighting to help me. My parents, Sirius, Dumbledore, the Weasleys, the Order, Ron and you—of course, and that just kind of got me really worked up. I thought about every randomly good memory I had. The next thing I know, I'm waking up here."
"And that's all you remember?"
"The last thing I remember was I was thinking about you." She shifted under his intense emerald gaze.
"Alright, time's up. I gave you thirty-two minutes." Hermione snapped herself out of her deep concentration.
"Oh please Madame Pomfrey just one more minute!" Harry smiled, he had never heard Hermione go against a teacher.
"I gave you two extra minutes already. Mr. Potter needs his rest."
"Please, I promise just a minute. Forty-five seconds! You won't even have to get me! And Harry will be asleep when you come in."
"Forty seconds, and I'm counting Miss Granger." Harry smirked as Madame Pomfrey left.
"Just can't get enough of me?" He asked in his most charming voice. Hermione smiled and leaned in close to him.
"What can I say, you're a regular Cassanova."
"But seriously, why fight Madame Pomfrey for, well now an extra twenty seconds?" Hermione smiled impishly.
"So I could do this." She closed the remaining centimeters between them and brushed her lips against his. He immediately responded by lifting his head up just slightly to lean into the kiss. He brushed his tongue against her lips, but she quickly pulled away. He made a sound of displeasure. "Sleep well, Harry." She brushed his hair lightly away from his forehead and kissed his scar. She turned to the door.
"One more." He whined, but she shook her head.
"If I'm not out of here in five seconds I'll be cleaning bedpans until I'm forty." And with that she slipped out of the room. Harry smiled lightly for a moment, before the crushing guilt and sorrow nestled into his chest. He hoped the Weasleys were okay.
That night Hermione laid awake in bed thinking. She had spent the last year hunting down Horcruxes. She had spent the last seven years fighting against Voldemort, but even with him gone, he haunted her. It was dangerous to think of the "what ifs". Harry was alright, he had saved the wizarding world, they were alright, yet as the celebrations still persisted throughout most of the wizarding world, Hermione Granger laid awake crying. She cried out of pain, out of loss, out of exhaustion, and out of happiness.
Percy, poor clueless Percy. Painfully oblivious in his pomposity. Wrongfully trusting until the end. Charlie, ruggedly independent Charlie, she had only met him once, at the wedding, but he was charming and so vivacious, so happy. Now, he was nothing but a memory. And Hagrid! He was too good to die at the hands of a death eater. He was too loyal to back down. He was one of Harry's only friends, only believers regardless of tabloids and hearsay. She was actually going to miss his rock cakes, his horribly mangled hair, his illegal creatures, his hopelessly unorganized lessons, and his bone crushing hugs. She thought of a little hut with no grounds keeper, no longer could she look out her window on cold days and see the billowing smoke from a roaring fire in his fireplace. Who would care for Fang? She was suffocating in her tiny room with no windows. She had to get out.
Down the hall, a left, up two flights of stairs, a right, and one more flight of stairs. She could feel the cool wind as she stepped out onto the north tower—the astronomy tower. Everything was bathed in a pale blue light from the moon. She shivered against the cold as she silently scolded herself for not taking astronomy before. It was so beautiful. From this high up the forbidden forest looked hardly intimidating. The lake looked placid, and the moon reflected off of its glassy surface.
"Ten points from Gryffindor for breaking school curfew." She nearly jumped out of her skin as she turned around to see none other than Harry Potter.
"Don't scare me like that!" she clutched her heart, willing it to slow down.
"What are you doing up here so late?" He asked taking a few steps towards her.
"I needed, I needed somewhere to think." He paused and looked down at his shoes.
"Thinking about him?"
"Thinking about them." He nodded slowly as he walked past her and placed his hands on the cold stones of the edge. He looked out over the lake.
"I used to come up here a lot." Although his back was to her, she cocked an inquisitive eyebrow. "Back in fifth year I started to come. I soon learned there were astronomy classes on Tuesday and Thursday. I'd come here after a grueling run-in with Umbridge or a particularly crappy day. In sixth year I'd come up here and think about how unfair life was. How some people live while others die. How cruel fate is. I'd wonder what more I had to live through just to die at his hands. I wondered if I was making the right choices, the few I had to make for myself. I wondered if I should tell you guys about the Horcruxes, about the prophecy, about the nightmares."
Hermione walked a few steps to stand next to him against the stone rail. He smiled and laughed slightly. "Sometimes I'd walk in on couples snogging. They never knew I did because of the cloak, but it was awkward all the same. I never took Ginny up here though. I always thought of this as my place. It was too important for some snog with my girlfriend."
Hermione looked out across the grounds of Hogwarts. She felt Harry place his hand over hers, entwining their fingers.
"However, amongst all the death and chaos, I didn't come here tonight to wallow."
"Why did you come here?"
"To find you."
"How did you know where I was?"
"I just know you that well." She looked at him skeptically. "And the Marauder's Map helped."
"You shouldn't be out of the infirmary." She looked down at their hands admiring how well they fit.
"It was a matter of emergency." He moved his free hand up to tangle in her hair as his gaze pierced her.
"And what emergency would that be?" she whispered as her voice caught in her throat.
"I made a promise to myself, before I left to fight him. A promise I fully intend to keep." He said as he kissed her nose and her forehead softly. She closed her eyes, enjoying the light contact.
"And what promise would that be?" she asked as he brushed his lips against her cheek.
"To tell you something." He pulled away slightly and stared intensely at her. Her breath hitched. "I love you." She stared at him for a moment. He loved her. He loved her. He loved her. Her heart started beating so fast she was sure he could feel it.
"I love you too, Harry." He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. He smiled the brightest smile she had ever seen out of him. He leant in and kissed her. His lips pushed softly against hers sending shivers and electricity soaring through her. He loved her. His arm snaked around her waist to pull her up against him tightly as her hands tangled in his hair.
"I love you." He murmured against her lips. "I love you." She nodded against his lips.
"I love you." They pulled apart breathlessly. Their foreheads were pressed together.
"You're the first person I've ever said I loved, Hermione." The thought brought tears to her eyes. "And you'll be the last." They kissed again languidly, taking the time to taste each other. She felt her back pressed against the cold stones of the half wall. He pressed into her and electricity surged through her. They remained tangled in each other for a good while. Exchanging endearments and raining kisses upon each other until they finally broke apart.
"I thought you didn't want to snog your girlfriend up here."
"Hermione," he took her face in both his hands. "you're so much more than a girlfriend, you're my best friend." She smiled as she nuzzled his hand slightly.
"I love you Harry James Potter."
"I love you Hermione Jane Granger." He brushed his lips against hers once more.
"Now we go to bed."
"Mmm, you should be getting back to the infirmary." She said placing her hands on his chest.
"I said nothing about the infirmary." He smiled wickedly at her.
"Harry James, you need your rest."
"But Tonks left too!"
"Yes, Lupin took her out on a walk an hour before I went to find you."
"You still need to go back and get your rest." He smiled as he shook his head slowly from side to side and kissed her.
"You are insufferable."
"You love me." He said charmingly as he brushed his lips against hers once more, making her knees buckle.
"I do." She grabbed his hand and started to lead him to the stairs.
"I don't want to go back to the infirmary!" he whined.
"Who said anything about the infirmary?" he smiled. Merlin, how he loved her … more than anything.
A/N: Well, there you have it. Hope you've enjoyed it. I'm planning on writing some more. Shorter stuff though. So keep an eye open for that. This is your last chance to tell me what you think, you know you wanna….