A/N: This is a non-magic (for the most part) Harry and Hermione short story. It was meant to be a one shot, but I think it's going to be in two parts. It was just an idea that popped into my head. Tell me what you think!
Harry Potter was at the top of his class at the University of Westminster, obtaining a degree in law. He had been there for four years and it was the eve of his graduation. His friends were planning a surprise graduation party and Harry was feeling only mildly interested.
Harry had thrown himself into his studies after he left high school. Truth was he had a big falling out with an old school friend/almost girlfriend. He never recovered from it. Her name was Hermione Granger. She was the smartest, most beautiful girl in their year, at least in his eyes anyway. It took him forever to figure out that he was in love with her and when he finally did, it was too late. They exchanged words the night of their high school graduation and she disappeared after that. Harry hadn't heard from her nor seen her since then. He had become numb to it all. That's how he handled it, stay numb and it won't be a problem.
"Hey Harry! Mate, are you ready for tonight? It's going to be the best!" Ron Weasley, his best friend since high school said while patting him on the back.
Harry didn't want to seem disinterested so he put on what he hoped was an excited expression. "Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it!" He replied lamely.
"Great! Listen, I'll pick you up at seven! Oh and there might be an extra surprise at your party tonight," Ron said as he walked away with a big smile.
Harry watched him go with his interest a little bit more peaked. I wonder what the extra surprise could be. He shrugged and turned around running into someone roughly.
"Sorry about that," Harry muttered. He started to walk past the person not even paying attention to who it was. He felt an arm reach out and grab him.
"Harry Potter? Long time no see mate!" Draco Malfoy exclaimed pulling Harry into a quick hug.
"Hey! You're back from traveling abroad I see!" Harry responded brightly.
Draco was an old friend from high school. They had started out as school rivals, but eventually they found that they had more in common then uncommon and became friends instead of enemies. They had hung out together throughout all their high school years and off and on into the University years. Draco had been abroad for about a year and half studying archaeology and anthropology all over the world.
"I am back and when you're done with graduation I have loads to tell you about my trip. Right now I'm heading up to the café to talk with Ron about your party tonight. It's going to be awesome! Plus I hear there's an extra surprise, any ideas?" Draco asked elbowing him jokingly.
"Nope because then it wouldn't be a surprise. See you tonight though. We'll catch up, got it?" Harry asked with a smile.
"Of course!" Draco called as he jogged off to the café with a wave.
Harry watched him leave and felt his interest peak once again. He continued on into the parking lot and up to his Mercedes GL 450. His godfather Sirius had given him his graduation present about two years early, but he loved his SUV. He was part of a rugby team outside of school and it was perfect for transporting his equipment not to mention taking his two Siberian husky's to the park every day. When he got into his car he noticed a note taped to his steering wheel. He looked at the handwriting and instantly recognized Sirius's handwriting.
Congratulations son! We are all so proud of you.
See you tonight at your party and check out the bag.
It has a clue to your party.
Harry smiled at the note and then glanced to the passenger side of his car. The only bag there was his book bag. He glanced in the back seat and saw a plain black gift bag. He reached back for it and brought it forward. He pulled the tissue paper out and pulled out an intricate Mardi Gras mask. He perked his eyebrows up in interest. What could a Mardi Gras mask have to do with my party? Is that the theme? He glanced inside and noticed another item. It was a shiny rod that had his name engraved on it. It looked like a magic wand. What in the world? Harry looked at the two items in confusion. He shrugged his shoulders and replaced the items back in the bag.
He started the car and it quickly purred to life. "I love this car," Harry mused as he backed out of his parking space. He reversed back with ease and righted the car. He put it into drive and looked up; walking only ten feet ahead of him was the woman that had kept him numb for so long. Hermione was crossing the road quickly not looking up at anyone. Harry closed his eyes in disbelief and shook his head as if to clear the ghost of his past. He didn't want to believe that she was there. When he opened his eyes again she was no longer there. He searched the crowd for her, but couldn't see her anywhere. I must have been seeing things. It had to have been someone who just looked like her. Truth was he didn't know where she had gone after high school. He had a feeling that Ron or Draco knew, but they never told him which was just as well.
Harry shook his head one last time and headed to his godfather's for some much needed counseling.
"That settles it then," Ron said closing the notebook that was open in front of him.
"You'll pick up Harry at seven and bring him to my place. We'll make sure everyone's there and just chill out for awhile before we have the girls come in. Harry won't know what hit him," Draco said with a chuckle.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" Ron asked the other person in their party.
"Yes, it's been a long time and it's time to move on," the woman replied with a confident smile.
All three nodded at each other and said their goodbyes. That night was going to change a mutual friend's life forever.
Harry pulled into the driveway of his godfather's estate. Sirius and his partner Remus had been working a business that sold magic tricks which were quite good. Even Ron's brothers, Fred and George, had joined in on the fun and the business was booming.
Harry stepped out of his car and walked up the path to the front door. He had barely set foot on the front steps when the door opened and two large dogs came bounding out. They leapt at Harry and he cried out in joy at seeing them. They always knew when he needed a pick me up. He petted them tenderly and allowed them to lick him for a moment.
"Hedwig and Athena, down girls, give the man some breathing room," Sirius said to the playful dogs. They barked excitedly, but allowed Harry to continue to the door to embrace his godfather, although they were on his heels as usual.
"So, how was your last day of school?" Sirius asked after they separated.
"It was interesting and sad all at the same time. Ron alluded to a surprise at tonight's party and I saw Draco. He's back from his trip and I think I saw Hermione today," Harry replied watching for a hint of confirmation from his godfather's eyes. He caught a bit of something flash in his eyes, but it was gone before Harry could decipher what it meant.
"Well, from what they've told me, your party is going to be smashing. About Hermione though, are you sure it was her?" Sirius asked changing his tone to seriousness.
"I don't know. I closed my eyes to make sure I wasn't seeing things and maybe I was because when I looked up again she was already gone. It was probably just wishful thinking. She's been on my mind way more lately and I just can't shake it. I really screwed up with her Sirius," Harry responded running a hand through his hair.
"Can you believe it Harry? We are actually graduating!" Hermione cried as she threw her arms around Harry's shoulders excitedly. Harry buried his face in her hair and inhaled deeply. She smelled so beautiful. Actually, everything about her was beautiful. He couldn't remember when he realized how beautiful she was, but now he did and he couldn't stop looking at her.
She stepped back and looked at him affectionately. "Are you alright, Harry?" She asked in concern. She reached up and touched her hand to his cheek. Harry involuntarily closed his eyes. Hermione brought her hand back in confusion and Harry scolded himself for showing such an emotion.
"I'm fine Hermione. I'm just a bit overwhelmed that we are actually going to be done here. Remind me to tell you something after graduation tonight, okay?" Harry said.
"I have something to tell you later as well," She replied.
Hermione smiled at him. She looked past him and waved to a couple of her Honors Society friends. She gave Harry a tight squeeze and then ran off to talk to them. Harry felt his stomach flop as he realized he was running out of time. He had to tell her soon what his feelings were for her.
Fast forward to after graduation:
Harry threw his hat into the air and watched the smile on Hermione's face as she watched all the hats flying about from her spot on stage. She was of course Valedictorian and had spent the entire evening on stage. Harry smiled at how proud of her he was. She looked down at him as well and gave him a tearful smile.
They all gathered around the stage and on the field behind them as their family and friends made their way down to them. Harry ran into Ron and his family on the way to Hermione. They exchanged hugs and tears, at least from Mrs. Weasley anyway. He met up with Draco and had a respectable moment with his parents. Lastly he reached Sirius and Remus who urged Harry to go talk to Hermione for they both knew his feelings for her. He nodded and spotted the beautiful brunette only mere feet away. He jogged up to her and enveloped her into a huge hug, lifting her off the ground. She smiled uncomfortably at him. He set her down and looked into her troubled almond colored eyes.
"What is it Mione?" He asked. He reached up and brushed a tear that had escaped and watched as Hermione closed her eyes and more fell.
"I have to tell you something, but I want to hear your news first," Hermione replied hastily wiping her tears.
"You go first," Harry said.
Hermione nodded reluctantly and took a deep breath. "I'm going to study in America," She blurted out in one breath. Harry felt his face fall and his stomach drop. He felt his heart stop and the color from his skin drain. Hermione looked at him expectantly.
"Say something Harry," she begged reaching out to him, tears streaming down her face.
Harry stepped back and began shaking his head. He felt tears coming to his eyes and threatening to escape. "You're leaving?" Harry asked harshly.
Hermione looked a bit taken aback. "Yes, they have a wonderful medical program there and I am leaving first thing next week," she said quietly.
Harry stepped further back from her. "You're not even going to stay for the summer? What about all our plans?" Harry cried feeling his sense of control leaving him.
"What plans Harry? We don't have any plans! You knew I wanted to become a doctor and you knew I was looking into universities in America. Don't act as if this is a shock to you!" She cried glaring at him.
"I thought we could spend the summer together; our last summer as kids. I knew you've been looking into it, but I didn't think you were serious!" Harry exclaimed running his hand through his hair and fighting back his tears.
"Harry, we haven't been kids for a long time. I'm going to America, unless there is anything that you can tell me to keep me here," Hermione said.
Harry stared at her. He wanted to tell her that he loved her and that he wanted to be more than just her friend. He wanted to kiss her and hold her and never let her go. "I want you to stay for me. I can't do any of this without you," Harry said instead.
Hermione's eyes widened, but then narrowed. "You want me to stay so that you don't have to be on your own for once? You want me to hold off on my dreams just so you don't have to be alone?" She asked closing the space between them.
"No, I don't want you to put your dreams on hold and I'm not worried about being alone. I just, it's always been you and me. Ever since we were kids. I'm not ready for that to change," Harry said.
"Well, Harry, things change and there is nothing you can do about it. I'm going to America and that's final," Hermione said as she turned to walk away from him.
"Hermione, wait! I love you!" Harry called after her.
Hermione stopped and turned to look at him. Tears began falling rapidly from her eyes. "You're pathetic," she spat and she walked quickly away, never looking back.
Back to present
"If I remember correctly, she walked away from you, not the other way around," Sirius pointed out.
"Yeah, I know, but I should have gone after her. I know she thought I said I love you just because I didn't want her to leave and maybe that's true, but I knew then just as much as I know now, that I love her. She's the one I've wanted to be with since the day we met. Seeing her today or someone who looks like her just brought it all back and on the day before my graduation from university? That's a sign, it's gotta be," Harry explained.
Sirius nodded knowingly. "You could use a beer kid," He said gesturing towards the kitchen.
Harry nodded and followed him into the kitchen.