Disclaimer: Naturally, Harry Potter does not belong to me.

Summary: After the war ends, Harry is jealous of the rain. H/Hr

I hear your voice

It feels like rain

I've made my choice, I know

Grand Parade by Reindeer Section

Fourteen Ways of Describing Rain

The rain falls in oversized droplets; when one hits a solid surface (the ground, your clothing, your face), it splashes, bouncing off and breaking apart into smaller beads, which then succumb to gravity, heading towards the soil underneath you.

It's reassuring to know that, eventually, they all journey to the same place, never separated for eternity.

They are part of a cycle, part of life, for as long as life itself exists.

Precipitation, evaporation, condensation.

You remember it from Primary school.

The rain has always been a great comfort for you, especially back then.

But right now, in this moment, the rain cools you, wets you, but also drains you, taunts you, mocks you.

The rain nearly engulfs all of your senses; sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, but you still hear her soft footsteps, muffled by the damp grass, as she approaches you. You know immediately who it is; anyone else would have announced their presence, their footsteps would have been uneven, less sure. Even Ron and Ginny seem uncertain in your presence, not knowing how to act around you after Voldemort's defeat.

But not Hermione.

In fact, she seems, if possible, more comfortable around you these days, more at ease with life in general. A sense of calm surrounds her, making your shoulders lose the tension you seem to carry around anyone else.

You do not turn to greet her as she arrives, and she follows suit, dropping down onto the wet grass without a word, only slipping her hand into yours, and giving it a soft squeeze.

You turn your head slightly to look at her then, taking in her dripping hair, pulled into a loose ponytail, tendrils of wet locks escaping the band and falling into her face; her faraway expression, hazel eyes slightly unfocused; and her soaked clothing, jeans and a green collared shirt.

You realize then, very abruptly, that you owe Hermione a great deal, not only with your life, but very likely with your sanity as well. Your mouth opens, as if to express this thought, but you know whatever you say, after all this time, will not convey the proper meaning, so you decide against vocalization.

"I like the rain," you say instead, your eyes still on her.

She smiles slightly and turns to look at you, her eyes regaining their focus. "Me too."

You return the smile, almost reflexively. It slips off your face, though, as soon as you ask the next question, without thinking it through.

"Remember the water cycle?"

Of course, she does, and with a fond smile, "Precipitation, evaporation, condensation."

You nod. "Water always has a place, doesn't it?"

She stares at you for a moment, a slight crease in her forehead, but then her expression clears, a sigh escaping from her lips. "Oh, Harry."

You look away, knowing she understands. It had always been common knowledge that Hermione knew many things, but until that moment, you did not realize how well she knew you.

For that reason, you know the silence that follows is more for your benefitthan hers. Though you're sure she has plenty to say on the subject, she waits for you to elaborate, her gaze once again settling over the lake. Her eyes follow the pattern of splashes of raindrops against the water intently, as though trying to memorize the design.

"I don't know what I am anymore, Hermione," you confess, closing your eyes and turning your face upward.

The rain splatters on the surface, the droplets running down your eyelids, cheeks, brow, lips. You know Hermione is observing you, and it occurs to you, quite suddenly, that you could cry now, and she might not notice, with the rain camouflaging the tears. A moment later it also occurs to you that even if she did notice, she wouldn't mind.

But you don't.

"I suspect water, if it could, would feel the same way."

You don't move, or open your eyes, but your brow furrows.

"Water is always water, Harry, and it always stays in its cycle, but going through all those state changes can't be easy."

Her tone sounds light, almost teasing. You notice that specific tone appearing more often lately. You had never considered Hermione a particularly funny or carefree person before, but then again, you had never considered Hermione much at all, aside from being a loyal, intelligent friend.

But things have been changing, after the war.

"Everything goes through changes," she continues. "That's just the natural progression of life."

You swallow, and finally open your eyes to turn to look at her. The storm has turned almost violent; the wind speed increasing, whipping Hermione's hair into a wild frenzy. The sight almost makes you smile.

But you don't.

"But Hermione, I—I'm done. I've done what everyone expected of me, and now…" you trail off, feeling foolish, but then Hermione moves closer to you and gives your hand another squeeze and you forge ahead. "…Now I feel like—like no one needs me anymore."

You pause and watch Hermione's mouth open slightly, whether in shock or in an attempt you speak you cannot be sure, because you continue in a rush.

"I thought it would be nice—having no one depend on me, or expect things of me, or look to me for—whatever it was everyone looked to me for, but I just feel…useless."

Hermione's mouth opens further, and you're sure she's about to speak, but then she closes it abruptly. When she does speak, you're positive it will be a vehement protest of your words, a strong assurance of everyone's need for you, especially the Weasley's.

Instead, however, she replies simply, softly, and almost hesitantly.

"I need you."

The three words cause you to sit up straight.

The idea of a person as strong, independent, clever, talented, and all together capable as Hermione needing someone like you is almost laughable. You think at first that she must be lying, trying to make you feel better, but even through the rain, you can see the honesty in her eyes, the sincerity in her expression.

"But—why?"

She grins. It's an unusual grin, one that you've never seen Hermione wear before; she shows the upper half of her now straightened teeth, but only the left side of her mouth curls upward in a full smile, causing the grin to appear almost crooked. Her eyes shift away from yours and she lefts out a soft puff of air from her nose, a sort of unformed snort.

When she answers, her eyes come back to lock with yours and the grin fades slightly, leaving behind a quieter smile, though still with the same tilt to it.

"I've been trying to figure out how to answer that, in clear, descriptive words, for a while now, but I just can't seem to manage."

"But—" You're not sure exactly what to say, and stumble over your words before finally forming a complete sentence. "That's—wrong! It's the other way around! I need you for everything, because, well, I'm a mess! But you—you could do anything; you could be anyone, without me. You'd probably be better off—never having gone through all the rubbish I've put you through!"

She turns, and her other hand, the one not current entrapped in your tight grip, comes to rest gently on your chest, ending your rushed, nearly frantic speech.

"Harry," she begins, so softly that you're not sure how you manage to hear her over the pounding rain. "I do need you. It's like…" she bites her lip and gnaws on it for a moment before continuing. "Like plants—they need water to survive; water, air, and sunlight, but without the extra nutrients, well, they don't look like much, do they?" She pauses again, for just a short moment. "I would have lived without you, Harry, but not really lived. Do you see what I mean?"

You do, and for the first time, you want to kiss her—not in relief, or appreciation, or even happiness, but because you're pretty sure that you must love her. Love her not as a sister, or friend, but as a person who means more to you than you could have ever imagined; as a person who makes you feel as though without them, you wouldn't really live at all.

But you don't.

Instead you nod and smile, stand and help her up, give her a hug and revel in the way she fits into the crook of your shoulder, walk back to the castle hand-in-hand and let the rain pour down around you.

When you do kiss her for the first time, a week later, you do so in the rain, and she swears that as soon as your lips touch hers, lightning lights the sky.

And two years later, when you marry her, all your guests wonder why, even though they remain sheltered from the elements under a large tent, you exchange your vows, and kiss for the first time as husband and wife, out in the rain.

A/N: The title of this short one-shot comes from a piece by Hanns Eisler, (obviously)called Fourteen Ways of Describing the Rain. The piece itself was not really my inspiration for this (though it is a very beautiful piece), but instead, the rain itself was. I was sitting outside reading and it started raining—suddenly, this idea popped into my head. I quickly wrote it out, and decided to share it, though I certainly don't think it's anything particularly special, and it hasn't been beta'd. Hope you enjoyed it, at least.