A/N: This was started before Deathly Hallows then I forgot about it but I decided to finish it. So the Horcrux hunting doesn't match up to what really happened. Oh well. .
It was another rainy day in Hogsmeade as Harry pressed his forehead against the cool glass of his window pane. He watched all the witches and wizards scurrying about from store to store, casting water resistance spells on their clothes. He had returned from another long trip to Bulgaria where some dragon poachers were apprehended. He was worn out from the long distance apparation and was enjoying the lazy Tuesday afternoon. He was free to sulk without the prying, good-natured inquiries of his friends. Sometimes, he would get this way, quietly brooding. They he was remembering the pain and horrors of the final battle, but that didn't bother him too much anymore. No, it was for a different reason altogether that made him particularly pensive on rainy days like these.
After they had defeated Voldemort they returned to Hogwarts to finish out their final year, much to Ron's dismay. After the war ended, he and Ginny, naturally got back together, and it was just as good as it had been before, perhaps even better. He felt like himself again, he felt happy. After the trio finished school Harry went off to Auror training, Ron started Quidditch training, and Hermione took over as Charms teacher at Hogwarts. They saw each other a lot less, now that their schedules were so conflicted. While Harry enjoyed his life with his fiery redhead, Ron and Hermione had started their own relationship.
On any other day ask Harry Potter how he felt about Ginny and he would say he was over the moon in love with her. And he did love her. But it was these, particularly rainy, particularly mucky days, which made him doubt if that was enough. Rainy days always made him think of Hermione. It was as if his brain had created a memory montage of select Hermione moments. Perhaps it was always because the most prominent moments between Harry and her seemed to happen on rainy days.
"Harry, Harry you're hurt." He jerked his hand away from her angrily turning his back on her. "Harry—" he could hear the hurt in her strained voice but his insides were bubbling with anger.
"You agree with him don't you? You think this is a waste of time." He bit his tongue waiting for her answer, hoping he was wrong. The soft spatter of the rain bouncing off the window was the only audible sound. He knew she was carefully mapping out an answer, intelligently designing a truthful, yet non-threatening reply. "Don't bother Hermione, I know how you feel." He dejectedly opened his bedside table and dropped in the unharmed locket.
"Do you Harry?" he was almost startled at her shrill voice, he was sure she would have left already. "Because I'm sure that you don't. Did I expect we'd have more to go on than a couple of dead end trails and half baked ideas? Yes I did, but I knew, I knew we wouldn't have much."
"Then why did you come?" He asked bitterly, still glaring at the gleaming locket.
"The same reason why I've broken over three dozen school rules: Because you needed me to." Harry dug the heels of his hands into his eyes.
"What?" she asked slightly puzzled.
"You said 'needed'. That's past tense." He could picture her behind him, mouth slightly agape, the know-it-all being given a dose of her own medicine. "You may not need me anymore Hermione, but I still need you. I need you to believe that…" he paused, lost for words. He felt the bed sag to the newly added weight. She placed a soft hand on his shoulder that made him turn around to look at her.
"I do need you, Harry." She looked at him earnestly and for a second he felt something like fear shoot through him. It made his toes curl and his stomach clench, but it was gone in a breath. "We all need you." She said lightly.
Harry pressed his forehead to the cool glass. Right now Hermione was probably teaching some group of third years how to perform a drying charm. Ron was on his way to Romania with the rest of the Puddlemere United team. Ginny would most-likely have a late night at St. Mungos, attending to the many scraped up wizards that had slipped on puddles.
He traced the racing water drops down the pane willing his memories to stop. It would only make things worse.
He grabbed her wrist forcefully, causing her to fall backward out of her chair. He sat up in his bed.
"Oh, Hermione, I'm sorry I thought you were –" she quickly scampered to her feet waving the air dismissively.
"I shouldn't have frightened you like that." Even in the pale, blue moonlight he could tell she was blushing. He pushed the covers off of himself. She wiped her hand on her jeans. "Your forehead's sweaty."
"It is?" Then he noticed the distinct feeling of chilled sweat in the soft breeze. "How'd you know?" Again she looked awkwardly flustered.
"Well, I sort of brushed the hair off your forehead." He ruefully smiled at the thought of Hermione sitting at his beside, brushing hair off his forehead while he slept. "You were… um… restless." He immediately knew she meant he had been calling out in his sleep. He nodded understandingly. "Did Ron wake?"
"If he can sleep through his own snores…" he laughed slightly for a moment.
"It's almost time for my watch anyway." Rain pounded atop the canvas ceiling of the tent.
"Wait Harry!" she grabbed his arm and even in the dim light he could tell she wanted to ask him something. Something important, but she wouldn't dare approach the subject. It didn't matter; he already knew what she wanted to ask. He often had dreams about his two best friends being tortured or killed because of him. He knew he must call out their names once in awhile, but that didn't mean he wanted to talk about it face to face with them. "Nevermind."
She let his arm slip through her grip. He kissed her forehead lightly.
"Sleep well Hermione."
He was soaked. Soaked, cold, and bitterly exhausted. They had won, they actually had won. He was greeted by the cheering crowds of old friends, old students, and complete strangers. Everybody reached out to pat him on the back, shake his hand, or simply touch the defeater of the dark lord, but he wasn't paying any attention because off in the distance of the crowd, standing near Hagrid, stood his two best friends. He slowly made his way through the waves of celebrators towards them. They were facing him, the same exhausted smile he had mirrored back at him. There was such a commotion he could barely think.
He was enveloped in a slow, and careful group hug. He could feel a couple of bruised ribs. They stood there together, the three of them simply hugging.
"It's over." Harry finally breathed. He felt Hermione nod.
"Alright Hermione, it's not really normal for guys to hug each other for this long." Ron mumbled under his breath. They would have laughed if not for the circumstances. Hermione let go of them both. Suddenly, Harry was knocked forward by two arms snaking around him from his back. He winced slightly before a crop of red hair shifted in front of him.
"You did it Harry. You did it!" He smiled lazily and hugged Ginny loosely. Harry looked over Ginny's shoulder and his eyes traveled down to Ron and Hermione's joined hands.
"Ginny, mum's been looking everywhere for you!" Ginny broke the hug and turned a pointed look to Ron. Ron took her hand, letting go of Hermione's. "Come on, just for a few minutes." The two red heads disappeared into the ocean of people.
The cheers had become a dull roar in the background as sleep became the first order of business. He walked two steps closer to Hermione. She smiled nervously at his expression.
"Harry you were so great out there. I'm just so sorry you had to go through this –umpf!" He didn't know what made him do it, but he had snaked his arm around Hermione's back and simply kissed her. At first she had tensed up, but after a half a second, she gave in, kissing him back. It was one of those victory kisses, like when the men come home from war, but there was something more to it. Her lips were warm and welcoming. His body seemed to tingle with new-found energy. She threw her arms around his neck. Somewhere in the back of his head, he knew this would never happen again, so he had to make it good. He urgently pushed his lips against hers further, savoring the feel of them, the shape of them, the taste of them. Somehow, kissing Hermione felt good, really good.
All these thoughts happened within the three second extent of the kiss they shared. They broke apart blushing at their very public kiss, catcalls being made by the closest to the two friends, but as Harry looked around at the crowd, he saw many people kissing each other. It was a celebration. Kissing Hermione was okay. It was a celebration.
Soon Fred and George's fireworks were exploding in the air overhead. He felt her small hand slip into his.
"Let's find Ginny and Ron." She murmured over the roar of the fireworks. As he followed her through the crowd it felt like his heart was breaking. He didn't understand. He loved Ginny.
He rubbed his heart as if he could soothe the ache. That was the night he would later realize he loved Hermione, but they couldn't be together. She loved Ron, and Harry loved Ginny. Deep down, he knew Hermione loved him too. It would be in a touch on his arm, or the concerned look in her eyes whenever he talked about his job. It was the way she fussed over him when he was in St. Mungos, again.
And she knew he loved her, he hoped. It was shown by the way he would bend over backwards not to break a lunch date with her. By the way he would know how to make her feel better after a bad day. By all the touches, kisses, and words that couldn't happen.
Even though there was this unspoken thing between them, he knew nothing would ever happen. They were too faithful, too loyal to do anything about it. The last thing they would do was hurt their friends, their significant others, even if that meant hurting themselves sometimes.
His breath fogged up the window. Loving her had become so natural to him. It was fact. He knew tomorrow would be different. Tomorrow he would take Ginny to her favorite restaurant and tomorrow Ginny would become his fiancé. But tonight, his memories were filled with the smell of her, the feel of her, just her. Tonight his hands itched just to touch her again. His heart ached for one more look. Tonight he looked out the window, and wondered if somewhere out there, Hermione was looking up at the same rain clouds he was. And somehow, he knew she was.
A/N: Super short, I know. I was thinking of doing Hermione's point of view for another chapter, but I'm not sure. We'll see after the feedback, which you should definitely give. Thanks for reading.