A/N: this just kind of came to me, so, yeah. obviously this is my excuse for anything that happens in book seven...hee. read, review, and enjoy, fellow sailors of the HMS Harmony!!

Something Beautiful

I gazed unseeingly at my melting sundae outside of Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor, reflecting on what had been, what was, and what I wasn't sure ever really existed. What had been—that was the easy part. Only an entire war of good versus evil, for God's sake. Only watching my best friend, Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Lived, The Chosen One, The Hero of the Wizarding World, The Man-Who-Cast-Down-He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (or any other one of his ridiculous titles) defeat the darkest wizard of this era. Only suffering, step by step, alongside him and Ron as we hunted down the Horcruxes and slowly but surely chipped away at Voldemort's spirit until nothing remained but ashes and smoke. Only six years of Hogwarts schooling behind that, having adventures and doing loads of homework and somewhere amongst all of that, I think we all managed to live, once or twice.

And now I pushed my ice cream around sluggishly with my spoon, trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it truly was all over. All those adventures were nothing more than memories for me and stories eagerly swallowed for everyone else. Come September nineteenth I would be nineteen years old (my golden birthday, I mused absently), and that seemed far too young—to have done what I had done—and yet far too old. I pushed a stray curl from my vision; so that was what had been. And what was…Ron was what was. I glanced up, seeing that he was wholly preoccupied with his sundae. Ron. My boyfriend. No matter how many times I repeated those words in succession in my head, they never sounded quite right. Never quite natural.

Ronald Whatever-His-Middle-Name Weasley, boyfriend to Hermione Jane Granger.

I nearly frowned as I watched him lick his spoon clean with too much relish. What was his middle name, anyway? Did he even have one? He caught me watching him, and he grinned that evil little grin of his. The one that always made me incredibly uncomfortable and could quite possibly be described as lecherous. I knew that he wasn't happy at all with the fact that I had demanded that things be taken slow; so slow, in fact, that I had only just kissed him last week. That almost made me frown even more than not knowing his middle name. I sure like him a lot, but I can't lie and say he's a good kisser. In fact, he's appalling at it. All sloppy and wet and…I shuddered inwardly. All I could hope was that he wasn't going to press for a good long snog anytime soon. I think I'd die. Or drown. One of the two.

I shouldn't be this ungrateful, really. I mean, I don't get noticed by a lot of men—okay, make that almost no men. Okay, make that two: Viktor and Ron. And Viktor was just a friend. And Ron had been just a friend. But he was funny and I think somewhere under all his idiocy and thickness, he really was a kind, sympathetic, understanding kind of guy. He made me laugh in the dark times, and I guess that was what made me finally agree to go out with him. After all this hell, I desperately needed a good laugh. And besides—back to his issue with taking it slow—he had probably expected me to jump on the matrimony bandwagon (or something close to it) like everyone else had before, during, and after the war. But me, married? To Ron Weasley? It didn't take any imagination to know who would be wearing the pants in that relationship. I'm rather partial to being bossy, but I think if I had to decide things for that boy every single day for the rest of my life beyond, "Yes, Ron, you really should do your homework," I would scream.

Ron suddenly looked past me and waved energetically, his spoon still clenched in his now-flailing fist. "Oi! Harry! Ginny! Over here!"

Speaking of the "what I wasn't sure ever really existed"…

I swiveled in my chair and caught sight of Harry and Ginny strolling hand and hand over to us, both smiling broadly. It still surprised me sometimes to see them together. It had always been Ginny's fangirl dream, but I had never thought that Harry would look twice at her. Apparently I had been wrong…for once. I found myself grinning in return as Harry's eyes fell on me and I felt like something clicked deep inside me. I somehow belonged in this awkward world when he was around, like he was the one stationary thing I could hold onto. I won't go so far as to presume anything between us—anything being you-know-what—but there was something there all the same that I just couldn't define. For all my book-diving, I was at a total loss of adjectives when it came to Harry and me, to us. We were an us, by some definition or another, but that went with the list of things I couldn't quite explain.

Harry and Ginny seated themselves at the table with Ron and me, and Ron started to discuss something with his sister before engaging Harry in conversation. I'll admit that I wasn't listening at all to their banter; not only because it was most likely about Quidditch and blah blah blah, but also because I was too busy trying to figure Harry out. Figure out what he did to me exactly. Why when Harry hugged me I always felt safe and when Ron hugged me I always wondered why his elbows were so pointy and shoulders so bony. Why holding Harry's hand lent strength and comfort and holding Ron's hand made me wish his palms didn't sweat so much. Why Harry's eyes made me want to melt and Ron's made me want to squirm…

I did frown this time. Why was I with Ron, anyway? Oh, yes. Because no one else would have me. Way to settle, I chided myself. Whatever infatuation I had felt for that boy had sadly passed some time ago, although I suppose that's what infatuation does. Fleeting and all that.

I saw Harry settle back in his chair, bowing out of the current conversation, and as I glanced over at him, hazel eyes met emerald green, and as if I were experiencing an epiphany, I saw it. There it was: somewhere in the empty air between his eyes and mine, that elusive understanding hovered, finally caught, and connected us more surely than anything else possibly could. More than a linking of gazes. A linking of…something that I realized had no name and needed no name, something that had always been there and simply never recognized. And whatever it was, it was beautiful. Unattainable, perhaps, but all the same, it was something…something…

Something beautiful.