A BIG thank you to bentheslayer for the beta. Any mistakes left are mine.

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by JK Rowling. I'm just borrowing them.

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Author's Note:

- This is the last chapter of my story. It originally started out as a one shot and turned into the longest one shot ever, so I broke it up into chapters.

- I may write a few one shots of missing scenes from it in the future.

- The quote at the end of the story belongs to M. Scott Peck.

- A BIG thank you to everyone who reviewed! This is the first story I have ever written and I was so scared to post it because I wasn't sure it was any good. I'm usually more of a drawer than a writer.

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Chapter 8

STOP OR SHE DIES!

Bellatrix was supporting Hermione, who seemed to be unconscious, and was holding her short silver knife to Hermione`s throat.

Drop your wands, she whispered. Drop them, or we'll see exactly how filthy her blood is!

I said drop them! she screeched, pressing the blade into Hermiones throat: Harry saw beads of blood appear there…

"Harry! Harry wake up!"

Harry opened his eyes to find two tear-filled brown eyes inches from his own. He sat bolt upright, nearly knocking heads with Hermione as she pulled him into a fierce hug.

"It's okay Harry, it was just a nightmare, it's okay," she whispered soothingly, rubbing his back as he rested his head on her shoulder. "Shh, it's okay, you're safe… just relax," she continued to whisper as his breathing slowly started to return to normal.

"I hate these dreams," he said, still holding onto Hermione as if she was his lifeline. "They're so real."

"I know," Hermione said as she began to stroke his damp hair. "I have dreams like that too."

"You do?" he asked, pulling back suddenly in surprise and looking at her.

"Yeah I do, but I'm getting fewer of them now… now that I know you're safe."

"Your nightmares are about me?" he was shocked that her nightmarescentred around him. He hadn't even considered the possibility that Hermione was having them too. "My nightmares lately are nearly always about you too."

"There's no need to worry about me Harry, I'm okay," she said, giving him a watery smile.

"Of course I worry... you always worry about me," he said softly.

"Likely I always will worry about you," Hermione replied, reaching out and moving a stray bit of hair off his forehead. "That's what friends are for."

"You're more than just a friend to me," Harry said quietly. His heart clenched and a lump formed in his throat as he realised what he had said.

Hermione sat looking at him open mouthed, looking like she wasn't quite sure if she'd heard him right. Gathering together all the Gryffindor courage he possessed he took her hand in his, pulled her up from the bed and lead her over to his wardrobe.

"Where… where are we going?" she asked, her voice sounding strained.

He let go of her hand and pulled two sets of robes out of the wardrobe and handed one to her.

"You'll see," he said giving her a nervous smile, his legs feeling so wobbly that he wasn't sure how they were supporting him. "Put that on."

Putting on his own robe, he made his way back over to his bed and lifted two blankets and his wand, before making his way back to Hermione and taking her hand again, linking his fingers with hers. He led her out of the room and down the dark hallway and up the stairs, feeling her eyes on him the whole time. When they reached the top floor Harry felt Hermione`s grip tighten. Giving her hand a reassuring squeeze, he led her into one of the bedrooms at the bottom of the hallway. The room was dark with peeling walls and smelt of damp; moth-eaten velvet curtains hung on the filthy windows. As they walked across the room thick dust rose from the old floorboards. They made their way over to a door in the corner that looked like it used to have glass panels in it but had been fixed very badly with small pieces of wood nailed roughly onto the frame.

Harry opened the door and led Hermione through it, out onto a roof garden. He heard her gasp as he led her over to a blanket that lay on the ground beside a tree that was covered in fairy lights. Sitting down and taking Hermione with him, he was pleased to feel that the cushioning charm he had placed on the blanket earlier was still working. Turning towards Hermione, he smiled when he saw her looking around the garden with a look of awe on her face.

"I take it you like my garden," he said, letting go of her hand and throwing the blankets he had brought with him over their legs.

"It's beautiful," she said, looking around at the plants and trees and little fairy lights that lit up the garden in the moonlight. The smell of lavender hung in the air from the bushes beside where the blanket lay. "Did you do all this?"

" I was looking for a bedroom for Kreacher I came across the room and thought the door was just a cupboard until I opened it. Bit of a shock, the Blacks keeping a garden. I'd never been to this floor of the house when we stayed here before. It was a bit of a mess but I've been working on it since I found it," he said, moving so that he was now lying on his back looking up at the starry sky.

"It's so pretty," she said, lying down beside him.

"I've been coming out here every night to look at the stars," Harry said, reaching over to take her hand again.

"It's so peaceful." She moved closer to him and pulled the blankets further up around them with her free hand.

They lay in silence for a little while looking at the stars before Harry spoke.

"Hermione… about what I said earlier… about you being… being more than just a friend to me," he said nervously. "I do like you… as more than a friend," He didn't dare look at her.

"Do you really mean that?" she asked, in a voice no louder than a whisper.

"I do… but I'm scared."

Chancing a look at her he found her staring at him, her eyes wide and full of what looked to Harry like fear.

"Would you be less scared if I told you that I… I feel the same way about you?" she asked, the last few words coming out all in a rush.

"It would," he said, letting out the breath he hadn't even realised he'd been holding. "I think I've been feeling this way for longer than I realised," He propped his head up on his shaky hand and looked down at her.

Letting go of his other hand she reached up and tentatively moved a few strands of hair off his forehead. He closed his eyes at her touch, before opening them again and bringing his own hand down and sliding it into her soft chestnut curls. She sighed contently.

"Hermione do you think… that we could give this a try? I've been thinking about it a lot and I can't live the rest of my life wondering what might have been. If you don't want to I'll understand… but I need you in my life either way. I don't want to ruin what we have… I love what we have, and if all you can give me is friendship I'll understand… but I needed to tell you… to take a chance," he said, swallowing hard due to the huge lump that had formed in his throat.

"I want to try this," she said smiling softly up at him, her cheeks flushed. "I've been waiting, hoping, that you'd see me this way someday. I've liked you for a long time Harry."

A feeling of relief washed over him, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. She did feel the same way about him. Gathering together what was left of his Gryffindor courage, he looked down into her pretty brown eyes as he felt himself drifting closer to her, unable to stop himself, until finally he touched his lips tentatively to hers. Her arms drew up around his neck as she pressed her mouth against his in return. Through the ringing in his ears he heard a soft sigh escape her. Drawing back a little, his heart in his throat, his lips tingling, he opened his eyes and studied the dreamy expression on her freckled face.

"What was that?" she asked, her eyes still closed.

"I think I just kissed you," Harry said, a lop-sided grin forming on his face.

"I think I just kissed you back," she said, opening her eyes, looking dazed, grinning now too. "And I was right."

"Right about what?"

"In fifth year when I said you weren't a bad kisser," she said as her eyes flickered down to his lips again.

"Know it all," he said playfully, reaching down and brushing a curl away from her face. Green eyes met brown once more as they held each other's gaze, before he leaned down and kissed her again.

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"The truth is that our finest moments are more likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."

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The End.