Disclaimer: No ownership whatsoever over the characters and major story line, as they belong rightfully to J.K. Rowling

Note: The themes used are from 31_days at LJ for the month of November

Perhaps Forever & Almost Always

So the story goes

-Tears cannot be forgotten as long as there is song-

The large great bell rings loud and clear, resounding through the hallways, gardens, classes and dormitories and through the towers. Sitting in the Owlery, with her arms folded atop the stone wall overlooking the scenic grounds within and beyond Hogwarts, a girl of sixteen stares ahead – her gaze unblinking and unfazed by the sudden interruption to the otherwise quiet morning. It isn't winter but the chill in the air is evident as it nips her in the nose and her cheeks flush with a pale hue of red. She breathes out a puff of air, shorter bits of her bangs lifting for a brief second before they fell back down against her forehead. A hand reaches up and pushes against her hair to tuck them behind her ears, in silent frustration or possibly annoyance. As a strand of dark lock tangles with her fingers, she pulls hard, and a memory flashes in her mind.

"You've got quite a mess of a hair." The voice said playfully. She felt the brush of fingers past her cheek, a gentle caress as they reached out and tucked the misbehaving lock of hair behind her left ear. "But I rather like it, to be honest." The words came out in sincerity, without a hint of sarcasm or tease. The fingers moved away, but not before trailing down the edge of her cheek onto her jawbone, lingering for a second before they pull back.

Hermione Granger shakes her head as if trying to shake the memory away. She bites hard at her lower lip while taking in deep breaths. A silent pain whips through her being and grips at her heart. Her breaths come out short and harsh. She looks up at the bright skies above her, hoping somehow, someone would come by and take the searing pain from her. It feels like a silent killer to her, the pain that is, quiet and haunting, striking her whenever she feels the slightest bit of happiness. Hermione wonders if happiness is a concept that has gone out of her grasp. Something she had once known but will never know of anymore. A bitter laugh escapes her at the thought.

"That sounded like a hyena that just lost its meal."

"You are awfully perceptive when it comes to my laughs."

"Because I have a favorite out of the many that escapes you." The voice answered.

"It's a little creepy with your obsession for my laughs."

The voice broke into a chuckle, "I can't help it if I'm drawn to them."

The pain rips through her again, Hermione staggers before she quickly pulls herself down onto the ground. With her back against the wall, she closes her eyes and inhales quickly. She exhales as her eyes opens. The young witch wonders why she even bothers to fight the pain. It is something inevitable and irrefutable. Sometimes, when she's feeling selfish, she wishes she had never known the cause of the pain in the first place but then only minutes would pass before she feels the guilt for having the thought. Hermione shifts her gaze upwards to the sky. The sun is starting to peek out from its hiding place, its warm glow reaching to all below it. She feels the rays bathing her and a thought scrambles itself in her mind – is she truly glad to be alive as she is now? There are those times when morbidity creeps into one's mind – provoked by some action or emotion or another. For Hermione, these gruesome deathly thoughts come by without a need to be aggravated – they came simply and easily, like a knock on the door and she opens to let it in.

She hums a tune under her breath. It's nothing fancy, nothing famous, just simple within the same notes. Hermione's not one for music and its theoretical and practical parts, but this one tune is easy to catch on. Light and gentle, short and repetitive – easy for a person as non-musically inclined as she is.

"What's the tune you are whistling to?"

"Just something I came up with in my head."

"You are odd."

"I know." And the whistling continued.

She remembers listening it often enough to catch on to it, and to catch herself humming along to it. As she did homework, scrubbed the cauldron, walked to class, searched for a book in the library – the tune accompanied her. It wasn't a distraction but a complement to her daily life. She had once woke up to the tune, laughing at herself for suddenly feeling the sun was shining brighter and the skies were much more blue and nothing was imperfect.

Hermione continues to hum the tune as she lays her head on her arms which were rested upon her drawn up knees. She wonders how it sounds like with a word or two yet she couldn't bring herself to put a single word to the tune – regardless of her excellent linguistic skill. Her lips part and she draws to a soft murmuring of the musical note 'la' for the tune. She decides she rather like it than just humming along to it. Hermione wonders if the owner of the tune would approve of it.

The Gryffindor suddenly pulls herself up as she realizes the time. Breakfast would begin soon and she's to be at the Great Hall – like she should. She ignores the tugging feeling within her heart and begins to leave the Owlery with the tune still emitting from her lips in soft sounds of 'la'. The owls stir as she walks past them. Hermione stops at Hedwig's little spot and gives the snowy owl a small smile of greeting. Hedwig hoots softly in acknowledgment. The snowy owl takes a step forward and hoots again, looking at the young witch in the eye. "Thanks, Hedwig. I'll be fine." Hermione takes a step forward, breathing in deeply as she plasters a nonchalant look on her face. She looks at a small fragment glinting under the sunshine, a piece from a mirror someone must have unintentionally broken years ago and left forgotten. The reflection looks back at her, silent and still. She lifts her lips upwards to a small curve. Deciding that it's better, Hermione keeps it as she walks out the Owlery and reminds herself to keep that smile on.

"Good morning!"

Hermione waves in response to Lavender's greeting as the latter walks into the Great Hall with Parvati. Hermione sees Ginny coming up to her and she smiles as the younger girl approaches her.

"Where's Ron and Harry? I didn't catch them in the Common Room this morning. Speaking of that, I didn't see you either. Where were you?"

"I took a morning walk. The fresh air's great in the morning." The fifth year witch replies nonchalantly. She turns her gaze to the Gryffindor table, carefully avoiding a certain spot at the long table next to it, to see Harry and Ron already eating. "There they are." She points out.

"Ron's never early to anything except for meals." Ginny mutters. Hermione laughs lightly as she makes her way to Harry's side of the table. As she sits down beside him, the green-eyed wizard gives her a smile but she notes the brief flash of concern in those green orbs. She obliges him a smile of assurance before picking up a slice of toast and concentrates on it instead.

"Morning, 'Mione." Ron greets – bits of food escaping. Ginny flinches from beside him as Neville, on his other side, laughs.

"I think it's best you don't talk with your mouth full, Ron." Neville comments as he picks a stray crumb from the sleeve of his robe.

"Sorry, mate." More bits comes flying.

"Stop talking with your mouth full." George repeats.

"So –"

"Oh, stop talking already will you?" Ginny shakes her head exasperatedly. The fourth year pulls off a speckle of what looked like eggs from her hair. Hermione is grateful for her choice to sit next to Harry instead. Harry is definitely a far neater eater than the former. In fact, place Ron next to anyone and the latter is definite to appear a neat eater in comparison.

"Say, ready for O.W.L.s?" Neville asks conversationally.

"Hermione is." Harry smiles at Hermione. The young witch shoots him a wry smile. "I heard O.W.L.s are pretty tough. Are they really?"

"Close enough." Fred shrugs. "Nothing beats N.E.W.T.S. though." Everyone, except Hermione, shudders at the mention of their seventh year exams. "It would be a miracle to live through these seven years of Hogwarts with those horrendously difficult exams."

"If You-Know-Who doesn't get to you first, that is." Everyone falls silent at Neville' words. A hand flies up, slapping his mouth as the boy realizes his words. The air within their group falls to an uncomfortable guilt of silence. Ginny exhales sharply. Neville quickly looks to Hermione with an apologetic gaze.

"If we prepare for our O.W.L.s now, I'm sure we'll pass just fine." Hermione says without looking at anyone in the eye. Harry's hand shifts to Hermione, as if in instinct, but she moves her hand to grab her goblet of juice before he could reach it. "After all, the professors will be helping us too." She continues.

"I don't think Umbridge's much of a help." Ron quickly says.

"Theories aren't going to work if we don't have those practical lessons." Harry adds. "The copying and memorizing aren't going to do us any good."

"Not like we can say anything to that." Ron answers glumly. "Umbridge's absolutely convinced that we will survive on little spells to banish little squirts of bugs."

"Cheer up." Ginny pats her brother on the shoulder. "At least it will help you banish spiders." Everyone laughs at Ron's scrunched up expression. Hermione grabs a muffin from the basket, inwardly grateful for the shift of topic. It's still hard for her to hear about it, let alone to talk about it. Sometimes she wonders if it truly shows how weak she is inside – her exterior self being a mere façade to the true weakness of her self. She can't seem admit it to herself, she doesn't want to either. The conversation at the table continues, with Lee Jordan joining in and a few others from the Quidditch team. Hermione nods at their words, listens to their comments and jokes, and for the most of it, she keeps herself silent. Most of them didn't think much of it; Hermione has never been talkative when it comes to things beyond studying, the fact places Hermione at ease each time she's among her fellow Gryffindors. Harry of course, being the next perceptive person after her, notices her silence but in understanding, he doesn't mention anything in front the others. When it's just them two, that's when the questions of concern begin. She understands his worry and she appreciates it yet she can't seem to bring herself to break through her own wall.

"Why do you hide behind that wall?"

"What wall?" Hermione asked distractedly as she spotted the book she had been looking for over the past thirty minutes sitting on the top shelf. Her hand reached up, almost aimlessly.

"The wall you have around yourself to disallow anyone from discovering your feelings." Another hand reached up next to hers and it easily grasped the thick tome she had been futilely reaching. It brought the book down to her and she accepted it with a grateful look. "A self-defense mechanism?"

"I don't know."

"Well since you don't know, don't you think you ought to just break it then?"

"It's there for a reason or another." Hermione shrugged as she opened the book and her index finger traced the books' page of contents.

"I'll help you break it." Her finger stopped in its trail and she found herself looking into those familiar eyes that had always carried a warm mirth within them. At that moment, it seemed as if those very orbs were tinkling with amused mischievousness as a glint of challenge briefly flashed within them. A skeptical look appeared on her features but the gaze wasn't the least fazed.

Hermione shuts her eyes, squeezing them tight. A hand reaches for hers with a tentative touch. The fifth year witch opens her eyes, finding herself looking into a pair of eyes that aren't the ones she's longing to look into again, but they are just as comforting and reassuring – Harry's green orbs. She gives him a small smile. He nods briefly and continues listening to Ron and Fred's squabble over Chudley Cannons. With Harry's attention away from her, her mind jogs back into its own train of thoughts. She wonders how much of the wall had been torn down before it came back up again. Somehow she feels it has been too long ago and she can't seem to remember how did she, or rather, they, broke the first stone off the wall.

"Come on, let's just go to Charms." Ron groans aloud, breaking Hermione's thoughts. "That has got to be better than listening to Fred being a prat over the Cannons."

"You're just a sore lad. Can't take a criticism or two." Fred smirks.

"Try ten." Ron rolls his eyes. "Come on, Hermione." Said witch picks up her bag and books, and along with Harry, she hurries after Ron, still carefully avoiding her gaze on a particular spot on the next table. It's a habit she's acquired ever since she first stepped into the Great Halls on the first day of her fifth year less than a week ago. Like a plague, or a curse, that one spot is to be avoided at all costs.

Classes for the day finally end when the great bell chimes a few short times, signaling freedom for the Hogwarts students as they gladly make their exit out of the classrooms, dungeons and greenhouses for some. Hermione willingly places herself among the happy crowd, in between Harry and Ron, listening to the excited chatters of the students, the shouts and laughter. Sometimes she thinks all of it would rub of on her – the theory gives her hope every now and then when she finds herself forgetting, at least for ten minutes or so, of the bitter pain within her. She walks down the hallway and into the courtyard with her best friends, her ears listening in to their conversation about the Transfiguration essay they were given just before the bell chimed. Ron had been hopeful to be let off without homework but his optimism was dashed when a minute before the bell, Professor McGonagall informed them of a three feet essay due within three days. Hermione smiles at the thought of Ron's crestfallen face at the announcement. She turns to Ron, intending to tell him that if need comes to be, she'll help him out with the essay, provided he doesn't bother her with Potions for the rest of the week – the subject's homework are getting more daunting with its additional lengths and difficulty as if an intentional doing of the Potions Master to prevent them from passing said subject, but she stops short when her ears caught a tune. Like a mechanical reflex, she whirls around with such speed that Harry and Ron almost jumps back in surprise.

"Hermione?" Ron's voice is inquisitive and baffled.

"Do you hear that?"

"Hear what?"

"That tune." Hermione answers, still looking around for the source of the tune. Ron's eyebrows knit together in confusion while Harry looks around, straining his ears to catch the mysterious tune.

As if suddenly catching on to the sound, Harry muses aloud, "Isn't that – isn't that the tune the one –" His voice falters. Hermione slowly nods. The trio turns to a group of first year girls by a corner. One of them moves aside to playfully cling onto her friend's arm and they catch sight of a pewter-made music box in one of the girls' hands. Hermione walks over to them, astound in silence. The girls look up when the trio approaches them. Seeing Harry, the Boy Who Lives, within such close proximity, naturally, giggles of shyness and delight escapes the first years. Harry smiles albeit uncomfortably.

"I'm sorry. Could I know of your music box's origins?" Hermione asks.

"My father got it for me from a music shop in France." The first year, with braided blond hair and hazel eyes, answers. "It's lovely isn't it?"

"It is. Are there any more?"

"My father says they've only got two for each music box as each pair plays a tune of their own."

"And the other one?"

The first year shrugs. "It wasn't there anymore when my father bought this one. He thought it was odd that the person bought one without the other as they are usually bought in a pair." She looks up from the music box to Hermione. Her eyes widen when she catches the look on Hermione's face. Brimming with tears threatening to fall, the fifth year Gryffindor quickly turns and hurries away.

"Hermione!" Harry quickly calls out. Instinctively, he runs after her, leaving Ron to embarrassedly apologize on behalf of Hermione's odd behavior. "Hermione!" Harry calls out again as he follows the bushy haired witch out into the grounds of Hogwarts. He finds himself amazed with the speed she probably unknowingly has. She finally stops when she reaches a willow tree. Harry sighs in relief as he quickly hurries over to her. "Are you alright?" As Hermione turns to him, red-eyed with trembling shoulders and shaky lips, he finds the answer to his question. Resignedly, Harry wordlessly pulls Hermione to him – wrapping his arms around her and holding her close. "It's okay." He murmurs.

"I haven't cried since the last day of our fourth year. But hearing that again –" her words break off into a silent sob.

"It's alright to cry."

"I thought I had forgotten how to."

-I won't forget your kind smile or your eyes hidden with sorrow-

Harry gently moves his hand, inch by inch, being careful not to wake the sleeping witch. Evening beckons and the sun gradually gives in to the night, casting a muted final glow over the grounds of Hogwarts. He sighs softly as he shifts his gaze to Hermione before looking out to the grounds beyond them. The evening wind rustles in his ears. Hermione had fallen asleep when she had finally exhausted her tears, much to Harry's surprise and relief. "Whatever happened to that smile on your face?" He quietly whispers into the evening air. Hermione suddenly stirs. Harry looks down only to see her eyes still close.

"It only works when your lips are curved upwards." Fingers playfully pulled her cheeks upwards. Hermione couldn't resist but to give in to the playful whim. "Doesn't that feel better?"

"A little." She admitted. She looked down at her favorite quill again. It was tethered and its point was broken.

"We'll get a new one." The voice promised. As she looked up to the owner of the voice, a golden brown feather quill greeted her sight. "Before we do, I reckon you could use mine. It's a fine quill, if I may so myself."

"And what about yourself?"

"I've got a spare."

"But it isn't as good as this one." She recalled seeing the quill being used often, for every homework done – its accompaniment was always that very quill. It would have to be a favorite if it was used frequently. It was well taken care of as well – sharpen and its feather unruffled and spotlessly clean. "It's your favorite, isn't it?"

"It is. That's why I want you to use it." A smile, her favorite smile, appeared.

The sharp pain jolts through Hermione again. She gasps and quickly jerks awake. Harry startles at the sudden movement. "Hermione?" Her breathing comes out labored and she quickly shakes her head as she tries to calm her breathing. The memory remains fresh in her mind, unable to be shaken off. With a slight panic, she grasps onto her school robe, close to her chest, and wills herself to inhale and exhale slowly. Harry's hand cautiously pats her in the back. "'Mione?" He prompts. She holds up a finger to signal for a minute. Understanding, Harry waits and continues patting her in hopes to help her calm down. He understands her easily, after all – he had his own temperamental mood swings, especially during the recent summer holidays. It didn't get much better but it did occur less often now. Hermione had understood him then – and even now, enduring his verbal whiplashes while quietly standing by his side to prove her allegiance and unfailing trust in him. He knows that he's to do the same now.

"I'm sorry." She offers weakly. Harry nods as he pulls his hand away. He brings himself into a more comfortable seating position.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"It would be a bother to you."

"Hermione, you've been listening to me ever since our first year – it's only fair if I listen to you when you need me to."

"You don't seem to think so when it comes to homework, or one of your adventures." Harry breaks into an abashed grin. She smiles despite herself.


"Just a fragment of a moment." Harry's lips form a thin line, slightly unsure of what to say. "It comes and goes. Like a migraine, I suppose."

"Migraines are triggered by a few causes. Is it the same for you, with this?"

Hermione shrugs. "Perhaps."

"You could try preventing it." Harry says. Seeing the curious look on Hermione's face, he continues, "Avoiding the cause of it. Just like a migraine, the causes can be avoided – can't they?"

"I have never really tried."

"You have, or rather, you are." Harry gives her a small tentative smile. "I've seen you avoiding a particular spot whenever we are in the Great Hall."

"It's a habit I've gotten myself into." Hermione picks at the grass. She brushes her fingers over them, feeling the prickly sensation under the warmth of her hand.

"Or you could face them." Hermione turns to looks at him sharply. Harry simply shrugs with a quirk of his lips. "You can't run away for long, so maybe facing it is better than avoiding it. Avoiding is a form of procrastination – didn't you say so yourself?"

Hermione rolls her eyes as Harry chuckles. "That was meant to be used in the context of studying and homework."

"Funny. I thought it works the same."

Hermione smiles again. "Thank you, Harry." She leans her head on his broad shoulder. She remembers the feeling of having another's head on her shoulder. Somehow, instead of feeling it as a bother or a heavy impediment, she had rather liked it then.

"Could I borrow your shoulder for a bit, Granger?"

"Couldn't you just use your own?" She answered without looking up as she scribbled her sentence on the parchment.

"Comical." A head fell softly on her left shoulder. The warm breathing tickled her neck for a bit and she inadvertently squirmed as a warm tingle shot from her neck to her hands. "You're awfully warm."

"Well, I am a mammal." A snort of laughter escaped. She laughed along with it. She noted the fresh smell that reached her senses. It was distinctive with an appealing nature. A mental note was made in her mind complete with a label of the unique scent.

Hermione sighs inwardly. As much as she wants to avoid, she knows it is impossible as one or another; things and people keep reminding her and triggering her memories. Feeling it's all too much to hide from, she boldly decides to face them headfirst. There's nothing else she could do as Hermione's never one for running away scared. It's a reason why she's a Gryffindor. "Harry?" He doesn't answer her but she knows he's waiting for her to continue. "Was it just as hard for you?"

"Close enough, I suppose. Everyone deals with it differently though."

"My way of dealing with it must be the worst."

"Everyone's different. You do remember I was a temperamental prat throughout the summer, don't you?" Hermione nods. "You can't say that's not any worse."

"Are you feeling better now though?"

"Not quite." Harry admits. He looks up at the sky before looking at the top of Hermione's head and back to the sky again. "Sometimes, it gets bad."

"Oh, Harry." Hermione pulls herself away and looks at her best friend in guilt. "I'm sorry, I didn't – "

"I'm getting used to it, 'Mione." He gives her his best reassuring smile. "It gets better with time. Painful, but it does get better."

"Do you think I'll ever get used to it?"

"I don't know." He answers her honestly. "I hope so." He looks at her in the eye and notes the unhappiness within her brown orbs. It stings him to see the bright glow within those very eyes faded and missing, replaced by silent grief and desolation. He earnestly hopes he could find the glow once more but he needs her to allow herself to do so too. The sun is almost completely hidden now, the skies color with hues of purple, peach, pink and blue streaks. The air feels calm around them, soothing and passive. Harry finds himself grateful for the peace around them – a moment in time where they feel the least threatened by a dark wizard. He looks over at Hermione again. "Feeling better?"

"I'm sorry. I suppose I must have had you really worried. Probably Ron too."

"He came over when you were asleep." Harry points out. "We didn't want to wake you and he was satisfied just to see you were at least alright."

"You mean he was expecting I would throw myself off a tower?"

Harry laughs. "I reckon much."

"Well, come on then. I'd hate to have him sprouting more absurd imaginations of my apparent lack of will to live." Hermione pulls herself up and Harry follows after. Together, they walk into the castle, feeling hunger nagging at them. It's been almost six hours since they both had a meal. Hermione's stomach involuntarily growls. Harry automatically turns to her in surprise before bursting into a loud guffaw. "Oh, stop it." She playfully shoves the laughing wizard in the shoulder.

"That's bloody attractive, I must say."

"That's my stomach talking. Stop laughing and come on." She reaches out and drags Harry by the sleeve of his robe.

"You are hungry almost every two hours." She exclaimed as she pulled a wrapped sandwich from her bag. Within a brief second, the sandwich was gone from her hand. She looked up to see the grinning features aimed at her. "Honestly, it's an incorrigible habit of yours."

"I'm at a growing age where constant feeding of nutrients is essential." The reply came haughtily.

"But you eat too much."

"And yet you continue to feed me anyway."

Hermione almost blushed. "That's because I hate knowing I am starving the daylights out of a certain someone. You really ought to pack your own snacks in your own bag."

"And miss out on a reason to see you every two hours or so?" Hermione couldn't hide her blush anymore as the warm feelings rose within her and colored her cheeks with a rosy flush of shy pleasure.

Hermione gives a small smile at the flash of memory. As she makes her way into the Great Hall to the Gryffindor table, she finds herself avoiding the same spot again and walking briskly to an empty seat beside Ron. The redhead nods at her in greeting, she's glad he doesn't try talking as his mouth is currently stuffed full, before passing her an empty plate. She takes it with a smile of thanks and reaches for the roast lamb. The table is merry with chatters and laughs of the students. Ginny nudges her and points out to her a Ravenclaw boy, looking about the former's age. She listens as the youngest Weasley confides in her about the Ravenclaw boy's sudden confession that afternoon.

"Do you think I should go out with him?"

"Well, if you want to I suppose."

"He's good looking, isn't he?"

"Rather much." Hermione nods without much of a thought.

Ginny smiles excitedly, looking over at the Ravenclaw table again before looking back at Hermione, "Don't tell Ron. Or Fred and George for that matter."

"I won't." Hermione promises.

"I trust you."

"I know you do." Ginny beams and returns her attention to her dinner. Hermione reaches for the mashed potatoes and wonders how trustworthy she seems to be. Apparently, bookworms make good secret keepers – at least that's the general perception she's getting with all the boy-crushes confiding Lavender, Parvati, and Ginny seems to bombard her with. She doesn't mind them. She just wonders if she is indeed trustworthy.

"Do I not have the look of a trustworthy person?" A snort answered her question. Hermione tried to glare but failed at the sight of the unwavering smirk.

"I hope you know that for a person who almost blew up the Hogwarts' kitchen with her attempt at baking chocolate brownies, your words don't hold much weight."

"It was an accident." She quickly defended. "And I managed to bake the lemon squares and chocolate fudge after that.

"Wasn't that with Winky's help?"

"Are you going to eat that blueberry muffin? If you aren't, hand it over so that I could have it for my supper later." Her hand reached out for the muffin but it went beyond her reach and into the owner's mouth. Slightly annoyed, Hermione exhaled sharply. She waited for the second bite before asking how the muffin fared.


"That's all you can say?"

"Very blueberry-muffin like."

"It's not delicious then?"

"It passes of as an edible food for a quick hunger relief."

"Insufferable." The grin appeared and she smiled despite herself.

She wonders why was it that her defenses falter when it comes to that one grin. Or that smile, the one that quirks with a full curve of the lips and has her flailing inwardly inside in silly happiness. Sometimes, those lips appeared in a half smile and she loved those just as much. Her favorite are the ones that graced the lips in a small curve, gentle and innocent-like, a display of kindness from within. She sighs softly and places her fork down next to her plate.

"I'm going to the library." She announces to no one in particular. Harry and Ron shift their attention to her with a nod but make no move to follow her. She smiles amusedly, knowing full well the one place both lads would not willingly bring themselves to – it would be said room with the endless books. Grabbing her bag with her, the fifth year witch exits the hall and climbs up the stairs. She exhales when she reaches the quiet library. The stillness of the library scares some but for Hermione, it comforts her, easily placating her troubled thoughts. She heads to the Astronomy section, the one with the least people, and places her bag on an empty table before grabbing a few books off the shelf. There isn't anything in particular she needs to study for but reading any material at all serves as an enjoyment for the young witch.

Almost two hours passes before Hermione feels her eyes falling to a close. She gently closes the book she had been reading and drops her head atop the thick tome. A silent yawn escapes her as she folds her arm together and brings her head to nestle comfortably within them.

"Tired, Granger?" She doesn't answer, too sleepy to make produce a functional thought of an answer. She felt a hand on her shoulder and a force pulling her from her folded arms that were atop her knees. It was easy to give in – the grasp on her was reassuring and warm, and it pulled her to a soft fabric and a comforting scent. As she fell onto the warmth that greeted her, the hand moved lower as its arm wrapped around her to bring her closer. Too tired to protest, when usually she would blush a storm and quickly hurry away from such display of physical closeness – especially within public grounds such as the Astronomy Tower where they were currently at, it was an easy concede. "I'll wake you up in half an hour. Good night."

"Good night." She murmured and she felt a tender kiss on her forehead – just as sleep claimed her consciousness.

Hermione jerks awake. She feels dampness on her cheek and her fingers gingerly reaches up in curiosity. As she pulls back, she realizes it's a faint trace of tears. With the back of her hand, Hermione rubs her eyes and shakes her head once. She looks up again and at the wall clock. It's almost eleven and the library is to close soon. She says a short spell and the books flies to its respective position on the shelf. Just as she picks up her bag, she looks at the window just opposite her. Her reflection stares back at her and she notes the gaze her eyes hold. Hermione brushes at her eyes again. She blinks a few times before looking at the window again. The soulless gaze disappears.

A/N: Originally written for Nanowrimo, although it has ended, there are still the themes that I've been following after. I found November's themes from the writing prompt community seem fitting for a story that goes in line with each given theme in the order hence the start of this fanfic. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it much. Thanks for reading :)