We call them cool Those hearts that have no scars to show The ones that never do let go And risk it the tables being turned

Harry, Hermione, and Ron sat in Grimmauld Place researching the whereabouts of Voldemort's last Horcrux. They had found and destroyed most of them, save for the one in Voldemort's body, and the one they were researching now. Hermione had even found a potion to get the one that was in Harry's body out safely.

Right now, Harry was reading old muggle news papers about the orphanage Riddle had lived at as a boy, looking for other clues as to where they went on vacation. So far he could only find that they went to the town by the sea where he had scared those two children. Ron was searching down other places Voldemort had gone to after he left Hogwarts. He was having just as much luck as Harry. Hermione was looking for the two remaining heirlooms from the Four Founders. The last two things left behind from Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. She, also, was having no luck.

Harry looked up at the scratching of her quill. She had found something worth writing down. It was a good sign, he missed the scratching of her quill. It served to calm him down from his growing agitation that they weren't finding anything. He watched as she attempted to push back a strand of stubborn hair that wouldn't stay out of her face. How he wished he could do that for her.

Stop. He told himself. Thinking like that will only make her a bigger target. I must keep her safe at all costs. I couldn't bare it if I lost her. I love her so much. After the war you can tell her everything, assuming you make it. She'd be much safer with Ron. She likes him anyway, let her have who she wants, so long as she doesn't get in any danger.

He had kept this line of thoughts guarded in his head for weeks. No, he couldn't have Voldemort getting a hold of those thoughts, no matter what. He wasn't content to do nothing about his love for her, nor was he content to let anyone but him have her, but stronger still was his non-contentedness to put her in any more danger than she already was. She was safer with Ron- if she did say yes to him- than she would be with Harry. Ron was the only one Harry could trust to care for Hermione in his place, and with Ron he knew that he could at least still be her friend.

"So what did you find?" Harry asked when Hermione stood up and started gathering her things together.

"Not much, just that Gryffindor was famous for wearing a golden wristlet that had been given to him by his love who had died of Dragon Pox shortly after they were wed. The whereabouts of said wristlet is currently in WIZ-HIST the British wizarding museum. Supposedly the only wizarding museum. I don't see how he could have made that a Horcrux but then again, it is Voldemort. He could've gotten cocky and said that the Museum would protect it enough. Although I doubt it, we still have to check to make sure."

"You're right. We have to check. We'll gather as much information about WIZ-HIST this week and then go sometime in the next two weeks when we feel we can go without being seen, discovered, or attacked." Harry agreed, gathering up his research. Ron was following suit. They were all going to bed. "Goodnight all." Harry said.

"Goodnight." Hermione replied, walking to the door.

"Wait, Hermione, can I talk to you for a sec?" Ron asked. Harry knew what was on Ron's mind, Ron having told Harry he was going to try. Harry had laughed it off and said sure so long as they didn't start going at it like rabbits every time they had a spare minute, but the laugh came out flat and instead of saying "every" he said "any", making it seem as if they weren't allowed to go at it at all. If Ron noticed he didn't say anything.

"Sure." Hermione replied, pausing in the doorway.

"I know this is bad timing, and that we're in the middle of a war but I'm sorry for all of the pain I caused you. I fancy you a lot, and I want us to spend what time together we can before anything happens." Ron said, looking down at his feet. He looked up just in time to see the look of regret on Hermione's face and to realize what she was going to say.

"Oh, no, Ronald. I love you, believe me I do, but I love you the way you love Ginny. I love you the way I would love my brother, if I actually had one to love instead of being an only child. It just wouldn't work between us. We fight too much, although I accept your apology of all the times you have hurt me. I'm sorry." Hermione said with tears in her eyes, knowing she just probably broke Ron's heart. Harry couldn't help but feel the faintest glimmer of hope. If she didn't like Ron, maybe she liked him. Stop. He told himself once again. He looked to Ron to see his reaction.

Ron looked down again and let his head sag. "Oh, well, at least now I know." He said with a shrug of one shoulder. He left the room, passing by Hermione who just stepped aside, letting him go.

Harry stood up and went to go after Ron to see what he could do for him. He got to the door when he noticed a tear running down Hermione's face. Knowing what she was thinking, he turned and wrapped Hermione in a hug and whispered into her ear, "It's better that you let him down easy, that you broke his heart now, than if you were to get with him out of guilt and then end up breaking his heart later. This way, you two will be able to keep your friendship, and he will heal, all the much quicker."

"I know but that doesn't mean I don't feel bad for hurting him." She sniffled into his shoulder. "Please go make sure he's alright. There's nothing I can do for him now. I'm going to bed." She said, turning to go to her bedroom. Harry saw the pain in her eyes. He cursed Ron for making her feel that pain, even though it was no one's fault. He wanted nothing more than to make Hermione feel better but did as she asked, knowing it was for the best.

"I'll talk to him. Don't worry, he will heal. Get some sleep." Harry said to her retreating back.

We call them fools Who have to dance within the flame Who chance the sorrow and the shame That always comes with getting burned

Harry walked into his and Ron's shared room, which was across the hall from Hermione's. That arrangement gave each other some privacy, while still keeping everyone together in case of an emergency.

Ron was sitting on his cot, with his head tilted towards the ceiling, resting against the wall. "Ron, you okay?" Harry asked. Sitting on the foot of Ron's bed.

Ron turned to look at him and said, "No. I just got rejected, big time by a woman I loved immensely and I thought loved me."

Harry saw the tears fighting to escape Ron's eyes, and he saw Ron fighting to keep them in. "Would you rather have her say yes only because she didn't want to hurt you and not because she loved you."

"No. I wanted her to love me."

"She does Ron. She loves you as much as she loves all of her family. You're like a brother to her. Isn't it better knowing, knowing exactly how she feels about you? This way you can find someone who loves you the way you want them to, not someone who only goes out with you because of pity, although Hermione wouldn't have done that." Harry said trying to console Ron, who had just sat himself on the edge of the bed but at the other end.

"I suppose it's better to know than to be waiting for something that wasn't going to happen, but that doesn't stop it from hurting."

"I know Ron, but you will get past this. It might be awkward in the morning but you will get past this." Harry said getting up and clapping Ron on the shoulder.

But you got to be tough

when consumed by desire 'Cause it's not enough

Just to stand outside the fire

Two weeks later, they had gone in and out of WIZ-HIST. It was amazingly simple to "borrow" Gryffindor's wristlet. Turns out it was a Horcrux. Voldemort was exceedingly cocky that time. They got home and went to bed, but Harry couldn't get to sleep. He couldn't figure out what was going to happen next.

Finally, Harry had fallen into a fitful sleep when he was awoken by a scream. He jumped out of bed and grabbed his wand, running into Hermione's room, which was where the screaming was coming from. He assessed the situation and realized Hermione was having a bad dream. "Hermione, Hermione wake up." Harry said lightly shaking her. Hermione's eyes flew open and her screaming stopped but she was in hysterics. He could make out his name every few words but nothing more. He sat on the bed and drew her into his lap, stroking her hair and whispering into her ear.

Soon she was only sobbing quietly into his shirt but Harry still didn't stop stroking her hair or whispering into her ear. "Everything's fine. I'm here, we're not under attack, nothing has happened. It was just a bad dream, is all. See, you're in number twelve Grimmauld Place. I'm here, and Ron is snoring in the other room, you weren't loud enough to wake him but he's here. Everyone is fine." Hermione stopped crying and sat up straight.

"I know. I'm sorry. I just had this dream. It was the final battle and you were facing off against Voldemort and a circle of fire surrounded you. I ran all around it but couldn't get in, and when it finally disappeared and the smoke cleared and Voldemort was standing there. The death eaters let out a victorious cheer and everyone lost all hope because you were on the ground dead and I collapsed screaming. I thought I was dreaming when I herd you're voice calling to me to wake up. When I found out that your voice wasn't a dream and that the fight was a dream I went into hysterics I was so glad to see you." Hermione said, climbing off his lap and walking to the bathroom. Harry followed her to the door, stopping when she shut it to use the toilet. She came out two minutes later saying, "I'm sorry I woke you up."

"I couldn't sleep. My mind was trying to figure out what is going to happen now that we have gotten all of the horcruxes." He figured a little white lie wouldn't hurt. It was half true anyway. She didn't need to know that he had only gotten to sleep five minutes before. She was always his priority when it was possible. "Do you want me to stay tonight?"

"Please?" She asked, her voice breaking at the very end.

"Of course." Harry said, climbing under the covers and pulling her into his arms. They fell asleep like that, wrapped in each others arms. They were woken up by something totally different.

"IS THIS WHY YOU WOULDN'T GO OUT WITH ME? BECAUSE YOU WERE SECRETLY SHACKING UP WITH HIM BEHIND MY BACK?"

"What's going on?" Harry asked groggily lifting his head from the pillow. Hermione was waking up too. They sat up and saw a red faced Ron standing in the doorway. "What's wrong Ron? Did they find us?"

"NO, BUT I FOUND YOU TWO! I WAKE UP THIS MORNING AND YOU'RE NOT IN BED. I GO DOWNSTAIRS TO CHECK THE KITCHEN AND INSTEAD OF FINDING YOU A SNAKE SLITHERS OUT OF THE FIREPLACE AND SPITS OUT A NOTE SAYING THAT THE BIG FIGHT IS TODAY, AT THE FIELDS BEHIND HOGSMEADE. I CALL FOR YOU RUNNING ALL OVER THE HOUSE AND I FIND YOU TWO IN HERE ASLEEP TOGETHER AND I'M WONDERING IF THIS IS WHY YOU DENYED ME HERMIONE. AND DID I MENTION THAT THE FIGHT IS TODAY? APPARENTLY HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED DISCOVERED WHAT WE WERE DOING AND THE FIGHT IS TODAY AND I'M STRESSED OUT AND THE FIGHT IS TODAY AND THIS WAS THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK! THAT'S WHATS GOING ON!"

"Ron, I was in here because if you weren't dead asleep last night you would have heard Hermione's scream from the nightmare she had- sorry Hermione- I stayed in here so that way she would know that it was a dream and not reality that she experienced when she woke up. Calm down Ron, we're ready for this. Let's get our stuff together and get everyone together."

We call them strong Those who can face this world alone Who seem to get by on their own Those who will never take the fall

And so the final battle started. Everyone was fighting everyone else. It was a mass of black and white. Voldemort's followers in black, everyone else in white. The numbers were evenly enough matched, perhaps with a handful of extra whites.

Harry made his way as fast as he dared through the battle underneath his invisibility cloak, being careful. He was taking the time to dodge errant spells and to incapacitate unsuspecting black robed attackers while he went to meet Voldemort. He knew where Voldemort was because Voldemort had made his whereabouts known five minutes into the fight. Voldemort was looking for a fight with Harry, knowing that all of his horcruxes were gone, and wanting to kill the menace that had caused it.

Harry was prepared to risk it all to defeat Voldemort, to make life safer for all the people he loved, Hermione at the forefront of the group. But it wouldn't help matters if he was killed first. That's why he was taking his time, so that he wouldn't get unexpectedly hit with one of the aforementioned errant spells. He was getting closer, his lightning bolt shaped scar acting as a homing device to the wizard that created it.

We call them weak Who are unable to resist The slightest chance love might exist And for that forsake it all

"Potter, you might want to hurry up. I have your mudblood here and I don't think she will last much longer." Voldemort's voice boomed out across the fighting grounds. Louder now than when Harry had been farther away ten minutes ago. He was getting close. That's when he heard a long, loud, high-pitched scream, that hadn't been magically magnified. He would know that scream from anywhere. It was Hermione's. Harry recognized it from when Hermione was being tortured at Malfoy Manner by Belatrix Lestrange.

It had tore him in two the first time he had to hear it, but like the first time, he quashed the feelings down within himself so that he could get his job done. Right now his job was to find Voldemort, kill him, and then help Hermione. His job was not to let his feelings get in the way and screw up.

Finally he made it to Voldemort. "There you are Potter. Took you long enough to get here. She made it here first to try to fight me but I've got her now. You're going to pay for all the anger and grief you've caused me with her death." Voldemort had his arm around an unconscious, limp Hermione, and he had his want pointed to her head.

"You don't want to do that Tom." Harry warned. Trying to distract him.

"Oh, and why not?"

"Because your soul is not stable enough to handle another cold-blooded death."

"My soul is no concern of yours Potter. You can't touch my soul."

"Au contraire, Monsieur Riddle. Not only have I touched pieces of your soul, I have also killed them. The only bit of your soul left is the mangled, abused, tiny portion that is currently residing in your pathetic excuse for a body. And it can't be stable enough to handle much more."

"Oh really. Do tell." Voldemort sneered, momentarily distracted from his goal of killing Hermione.

"Every Horcrux you have made I have killed. Including the one that you made in me, unknowingly. Hermione found the potion to get rid of it without killing me. Quite ingenious really. Now I'm working on the final piece, which shall be done with today.

"Lies. All of them, lies." Voldemort hissed, almost in parseltoung. A wall of flames sprouted up around them in his anger. The three of them were blocked off from the rest of the world from their interference and help alike. It was fifty yards in diameter but the heat from the flames restricted them down to maybe thirty yards before they started feeling uncomfortable.

It reminded Harry of the night before. He was semi-glad that Hermione was unconscious for this part. Otherwise she would take one look at the wall of flames and start freaking out he was sure, and he wouldn't be able to help her, what with being distracted by Voldemort and all.

They're so hell bent on giving,

walking a wire Convinced it's not living

If you stand outside the fire "Legilimens". For the second time of his life, Harry found the coils of a snake wrap around his body, immobilizing him as Voldemort intruded into his mind. "You can't fight me Potter, without risk of me hurting your precious mudblood. Your mind is as open to me as any book." He heard the most hated voice in the world, coming from inside his own skull.

And that's when Harry gave up. With that threat, he gave up on squishing his feelings for Hermione. It didn't matter anyway, Voldemort already had her. Harry let all the love, lust, caring, and everything else he felt for Hermione swell inside him, reaching from the very end of his toes, to the very tip of his head, and beyond like an all consuming fire. His love for Hermione was more strengthening to him than the song of the Phoenix. He allowed it to grow out of control, like the fire raging around them, and take action over his tired, worn-out body, giving him the strength he needed to continue with the fight.

Standing outside the fire Standing outside the fire Life is not tried it is merely survived If you're standing outside the fire Voldemort screamed in pain and fear, leaving Harry's body, and dropping Hermione, backing away still further for fear of the fire-like magic that he knows naught of. Harry sprung into action.

Placing himself between Hermione's limp form and Voldemort, he dueled with the strength of ten men and the fire of twenty. Voldemort's eyes grew wide with fear and anger at the new man Harry had become. He was fighting with no regard but to hurt or kill the one demon that had threatened Hermione's life.

Voldemort dug deep within himself and threw all he had at Harry, all of his anger, spite, malice, hate, hurt, and fury that had accumulated within him over the past 72 years of his life. But he was still losing ground. Harry was backing him up to the wall of flames that encircled them. Voldemort started to feel the searing heat at his back but could do nothing about it, already only twenty extremely hot feet from the flames.

There's this love that is burning Deep in my soul Constantly yearning to get out of control Wanting to fly higher and higher I can't abide standing outside the fire

If Voldemort had learned more about love, instead of writing it off as weak and beneath him, he would have known that you can only hate so much, that you can only be so angry, and that there was a point where hate stopped. He would have known that love grew, and never stopped growing. Harry allowed his love for all of his other friends to join with the fire that was his love for Hermione. The fire continued growing, pushing him on, making him stronger, and driving him farther towards his goal, which was making the world a little less evil by killing Voldemort.

Voldemort froze with fear when he realized that he was cornered with nowhere to run, when he realized he wasn't going to win, and when he realized that Harry knew of a much more powerful magic that Voldemort had never dreamed could ever be beneficial. The love radiating off of Harry's body burned Voldemort more painfully than the flames only twenty feet behind him. That instant, the instant that Voldemort froze, was the moment of his downfall. Harry seized that moment and cast the final curse. "EXPELLIARAMUS!"

The curse blasted Voldemort backwards into the fire that surrounded them. No one yet knew what was happening, being on the other side of the thick, searing hot, obscuring flames and smoke. Harry waved his wand and put the flames out with a strong "Augumenti". Slowly, as the smoke cleared, the fights stopped. People started cheering as they saw Harry alive, standing on the edge of the circle above the charred remains of the body that could only be Voldemort's.

Standing outside the fire Standing outside the fire Life is not tried it is merely survived If you're standing outside the fire

Harry ran back to the center of the circle, to where Hermione was now conscious and standing stationary, silently crying, and loudly cheering for they had won. He knew the consequences of what he was about to do next if his actions were unappreciated by anyone that felt deeply for Hermione but he didn't care. He could no longer deny his feelings for her and didn't want to. He couldn't take it if he didn't know the truth.

He ran over to her and wrapped her into a large hug and kissed her lips before he pulled back to arm length, yet still holding her and said fiercely, "I don't care what Ron does, I don't care what he thinks, I don't care what anyone thinks. I came this close to losing you and I am not going to let that happen again. I love you with every fiber of my being, with every strand of my soul, with every piece of my heart. And although I will not always be able to stand by your side every moment in the physical reality of being able to touch you, I will forever and always be by your side mentally. I love you, Hermione Jane Granger. I always have, I always will, and there will never be another woman for me but you. If you don't feel the same I will try to back off, but I need to know before I go insane." He finished, looking deep into her eyes, trying to gauge her reaction.

It seemed like her eyes hit every emotion possible within the next the three seconds while Hermione's over-analytical brain went over every scenario and what the consequences would be. She went from shock, to denial, to sadness, hate, longing, regret caring, not caring, and finally, they settled on love. A love so deep that Harry almost fainted, realizing what it must mean.

"I love you too Harry. It took me forever to figure it out, but I am undeniably, irrevocably in love with you and have been my entire wizarding life." With that Hermione closed the distance between them, amidst the cheer of all of the white, and gave him a kiss that he most assuredly would not forget for the remainder of his days.

Standing outside the fire Standing outside the fire Life is not tried it is merely survived If you're standing outside the fire