A/N: This one is a sequel to 'Smile Love' by me and was inspired by 'The Lucky One' by Rebelbyrdie, which is a sequel to 'Smiles' by Rebelbyrdie. I recommend all three, the two by Rebelbyrdie because they're fantastic, the one by me because this won't make sense without it and I'm an R&R-whore. -Grin-
Warnings: Slash, AU as of OotP (Sirius is alive!!!), minor OOC, major character death
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or even the plot this time. Credit goes to J.K.R and Rebelbyrdie, respectively.
It was a well-known fact that Harry Potter could not fall in love. Sure, he was charming, witty, and handsome, but he was also a danger magnet, scarred beyond repair, and capable of making anyone feel inadequate in comparison. It would take someone with an extraordinary amount of skill, power, patience, and tolerance to be a good match for Harry. The high criterion was not conducive to an active love life. It was because of this reasoning that Hermione Granger felt fully justified in her shock as she watched her best friend fall in love.
Hermione had always been good at analyzing people. Well, she was good at analyzing things in general, but she especially prided herself on her ability to read people. She had even conquered the seemingly impossible task of being able to read the three most inscrutable men in Hogwarts. Those men being Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape, and Harry.
She knew how to tell when something was troubling Dumbledore, even though his twinkle remained vigilant through the darkest of times. She knew how to tell that Snape was in a good mood, even though he made most of the first, second, and third years cry within the span of two weeks. And she noticed immediately when, despite the improbabilities, her best friend fell in love.
They had been very discrete, Hermione could give them that. In fact, if she had been anything less Harry's surrogate sister, she probably wouldn't have caught it. But she was Harry's surrogate sister, and therefore cottoned on quite quickly.
Jokes and compliments disguised as insults, detentions that ran on a longer than was natural for what was supposed to be a time of punishment, and much sneaking out under the cover of darkness and invisibility cloak. Green eyes met black in a silent declaration of love, masquerading as loathing. She'd laughed when she'd discovered who was on the receiving end of the bouquets instrumental in any relationship. She wondered if Harry was naturally a romantic, or simply had a very odd sense of humor. Probably both.
Things weren't always cloaked in love and secrecy though. Sometimes the mask would lift and reveal to all the pain that Harry was in. Explosive fights rocked Hogwarts down to her very foundations, and seventh-year Potions class once again became hazardous to one's health. Luckily, the loose edges of the blanket would soon be tucked in, the wrinkles smoothed over, and the smiles and flowers would return.
The conservative muggle in her wanted to point out that it wasn't natural, that the difference in age and the lack of difference in gender was wrong. The student in her wanted to point out that they were teacher and student and that a relationship was improper. The sister in her could not help but point out the fact that Harry was happier than he'd been since he was a wide-eyed first year, shaky with nerves and awe while waiting to be sorted. And the maternal gene in her could not deny that Harry was finally on the mend from wounds that she had feared he would never recover from.
Hermione was a little surprised that the relationship remained a secret. For people who had survived the most brutal wizarding war in decades, the students and faculty of Hogwarts and the members of Order of the Phoenix were remarkably unobservant. Surely someone would notice that Harry rarely slept in his own bed? Surely someone would catch Harry sneaking back to his dorm early in the morning? She'd almost had a heart attack when Harry had returned from a detention to a packed common room one night, and the green cotton shirt he had been wearing previously was replaced by a slightly-too-large silk one.
She had hyperventilated.
Lavender had commented on how good the shirt looked on Harry.
Dean had asked where he could get one of his own.
It was astonishing, astounding, unanticipated, and it was true; Harry Potter had fallen in love.
Hermione recognized phrase, 'The bigger they are, the harder they fall'. Exquisitely excruciating in its blunt honesty, it left no room for misinterpretation.
Hermione recognized the saying, respected it even. But she makes mistakes, like anybody. She did not realize that Harry, fallen in love as he was, still had the longest of drop ahead of him.
Even the unsettlingly unperceptive survivors of war inhabiting Hogwarts castle could not ignore the contents of a hastily-scrawled letter from the Headmaster. The worst type of letter anyone can get.
'All members of the Order of Phoenix and faculty get down to the Hospital Wing immediately! Bring anyone with medical experience! Severus has been attacked!'
Hermione remembered the note appearing in front of a small cluster of student Order members that included herself and Harry.
She remembered Harry going white.
She remembered the way he flew in front of them, running straight from the library to the Hospital Wing.
She remembered catching him around the waist once there, holding him as he broke down.
She remembered the look on the others faces when they finally pushed aside the veil that she had torn aside months ago.
She remembered Madame Pomfrey walking out and the last traces of Harry's shroud fluttering away, just in time for Hermione and all of Hogwarts to watch as Harry fell.
A/N: Sad, innit? I'm actually not all too pleased with it, but I needed to write. Please review and tell me if my displeasure is unfounded. Or well-founded, if that's the case. Remember, review! And check out the stories that inspired me to write this fic and it's prequel!