Disclaimer: Anything you recognize does not belong to me ::gives readers a moment to recover from shock:: but rather to the goddess, JKR

Disclaimer: Anything you recognize does not belong to me ::gives readers a moment to recover from shock:: but rather to the goddess, JKR. This is yet another in my series of internal monologues. It was just something that I wanted to write. I hope you like it. If you do, let me know because I love the constructive reviews. Flamers beware…I am armed with marshmallows and I am not afraid of toasting them ::laughs insanely while readers shake their heads::

When Did It Change?

I ask myself the same question each night but I have yet to come up with an answer. I always thought that this sort of thing arrived with pomp and circumstance. I always thought that, when it happened, it would be like a knight in white armor charging to the gate to rescue me and proclaim his undying love for me. I did not think it would be like this, this subtle change, this friendship that became something more for me…

Years ago, I would have laughed at myself for asking this. I would have told myself that I was crazy and that I should have my head examined. Somehow, I don't think anyone could have seen this one coming. Then again, how would I know? It is not as if I indulge in that sort of conversation with anyone. I keep my heart and my feelings to myself, never letting anyone see who I…

With a sigh, I get up off my bed. I haven't been sleeping well lately. Too many dreams which leave me shaken inside. Dreams of soft lips and sweet embraces, of nights not spent alone and of bodies entwined. My dreams betray me. During the day, I am in control of myself but I lose that control at night when my dreams take flight. I suppose one could say that it is only at night that I am free, that I release myself from a prison I created myself.

Walking over to the window, I utter a spell to open it slightly. The cool midnight breeze blows in, embracing my body as a lover as it flutters through my clothing, drawing in here, billowing out there. I look up at the sky and watch the moon floating above the clouds. She is above these things, it seems. I am not and this disturbs me.

We have worked side by side for many years, trying to combat the coming evil. Many have said that we make the perfect team, that our strengths combine to make us powerful, that our differences complement each other. All this time, we have had a single focus, a single goal. I never stopped to consider the possibility that we would change.

I know that I have changed a great deal. I am no longer the idealistic student who only thinks about marks and books and other academic pursuits. Others have told me that I am somewhat attractive. Somewhat. That token compliment makes me laugh and then it makes me think. Would it make a difference to you if I were stunningly beautiful? You have become a tall, handsome young man, respected in many circles, admired and loved by many.

Including myself.

There. I have said it. Well, I guess I didn't really say it. It is not as if I just came out and said it directly. Maybe I should try.

I love you.

That doesn't sound too bad. All right, I admit that my feelings have gone from one level to another. I admit that being around you lately has been difficult, particularly when I see other girls swarming over you like bees over spilled honey. I admit that I get jealous.

Jealousy is a horrible thing. It stems from my insecurity, I suppose. I don't know what it will take for me to be able to tell you how I feel. Sometimes I envision telling you and then you running off screaming. Well, maybe not anything so dramatic as that. Would you laugh at me? Would you think I was joking? Would you look at me with those beautiful eyes of yours and have nothing but pity for this poor fallen creature?

Would you tell me you loved me too?

What would you do if I told you about my dreams? How I long to run my fingers through your hair and feel the living silk caress my fingertips like a kiss. How I yearn to feel your arms about me, holding me close to your heart. What would you do if I told you that I wish could fall asleep in your arms…I feel that I would sleep the peaceful, dreamless sleep of a young child. Or if I told you that I wanted to see your face illuminated by the early morning sunlight?

What if I told you that your friendship is no longer enough?

For the longest time, your friendship has sustained me. It has gotten me through some of the worst experiences that anyone could face. Ultimate evil. Death. All these things we have had to face over and over again. Having a friend like you was a comfort, a reassurance that someone was always looking out for me, just as I was always looking out for you. That part of me has not changed although, with our greatest battle yet ahead, I find I am more fearful for you. I do not want to know what life is without you in it. We all face a common destiny and I am certain that we will succeed but I fear the cost will be more than I can bear.

The worst of it is, that you do not know…not yet.

I am cold now. I close the window and return to my lonely bed. How I wish you were here with me, to warm me and coddle me and tell me that everything will be all right. I will believe you, though the world should collapse around us, I will believe you.

Pulling back the blanket on my bed, I scuttle into my bed and draw the blanket tight around me. I am still so cold. Will nothing warm me? Reaching under my pillow, I pull out a picture of you. You are standing on the quidditch pitch, your cloak is billowing in the wind and you are waving at me. Smiling despite myself, I wave back. I must be crazy.

There is a knock at my door. Who would be coming here at this hour? I quickly return the picture to its hiding place and rush to the door, opening it recklessly. It takes everything I have not to gasp but my eyes widen in surprise.

You.

It's you. You're here.

How?

Why?

"Why are you here?" I hear myself speak the words. I am trembling. He must think I am so weak.

"I could not sleep," he answers in a quiet voice.

So many questions…I am too scared to ask any of them. I simply look at him; afraid that what I am feeling is showing plainly in my eyes. Or maybe I am afraid that it is not.

I try to read his expression. He is nervous himself, standing there awkwardly. I wait for him to say something…anything

With a shy smile, he pulls out his wand and quietly whispers a spell. A bouquet of fragrant lilies appears in his other hand. There is a slight blush on his cheeks as he hands them to me. Or maybe it is the reflection from the flowers. I take them and smile.

"They are beautiful," I hold the bouquet close, close my eyes and inhale the heady scent. I hear a fluttering and, opening my eyes, I see my bouquet transform itself into many sparkling fairy lights which scatter throughout my room, transforming it into something…magical.

I turn to look back at him and am startled to see that he has come closer to me. He still has that shy smile on his face.

"They are not as beautiful as you," he says as he reaches over that short distance between us to caress my cheek.

I don't know what to say. I am scared that I am going to cry.

"You are so beautiful," he whispers as his other hand circles my waist and draws me against himself, "I am a fool not to have noticed it before."

I nod and he smiles.

This is heaven.

I lift my arms and place them around his neck. We are only inches apart. I can feel his hurried breath warming my face.

"I don't want to lose you," he says in a soft voice.

"You won't," I answer quietly.

"I was scared to tell you how I really felt."

"Me too."

"I'm not scared anymore. Are you?"

"No."

With a warm smile and eyes that shine with love, he closes that short distance between us with a kiss, warm as a summer's breeze and full of promise. I close my eyes and, as we stand there, I feel a sense of completeness steal over me…

Sometime later, I lie in his arms. He looks at me with such warmth and love as he gently strokes my cheek and holds me close. The moonlight shines through my window, illuminating his fiery hair. I am in a sense of wonderment as I realize that he is mine just as I have always been his. A short while ago, I was dreaming but now I bask in this wondrous new reality.

When did it change? When did my best friend become my soulmate, my kindred spirit, my lover? That does not matter any longer. All that matters is that it did.