Harry was pacing in the empty Common Room, his rage making things rattle as he walked past. "That – that BITCH!" he screamed. "She sold us all out! And for what? I'll tell you what! It was for nothing!"

Ron had long ago gone up to the dormitory, thankful that the older students had cast Silencing Charms on the staircases after Harry first started yelling. The red-haired boy was now fast asleep dreaming of the girl he was determined to be with at all costs.

Hermione, as usual, was the only one willing to stay and help Harry work out his anger. The Room of Requirement would have been a better place for this, but Umbridge's Inquisitorial Squad was staking it out.

"Harry, please –" she tried. But he wasn't listening. So she did what was either the stupidest thing of her life, or the smartest. She launched herself into his arms mid-rant and kissed him hard. At first, Harry tried to pull away but Hermione had a hand pressed to the back of his head, and he wasn't even trying all that hard. She nipped his lip, and suddenly he started to respond.

Harry couldn't believe it. Hermione was kissing him. He received the shock of his life when she nipped him. He responded by opening his mouth and using his tongue to open her lips. Soon he found himself pressing her down onto the couch and covering her body with his own.

Hermione had never felt so good before. Harry was a fabulous kisser.

After Cho and Harry had permanently split up, she had spread rumors that he was a terrible kisser, but Hermione could now say with certainty that Cho was an idiot. Viktor was nothing compared to Harry.

As one of his hands slip into her hair, the other found her waist and caressed the curve of her body. His mouth tasted like chocolate, Honeydukes Finest Dark to be precise. His hand slid higher until it rested just below the edge of her bra.

Harry enjoyed touching Hermione's curves. He'd never noticed that she even had curves before now, but he wasn't about to tell her that. She tasted like cinnamon; he'd never tasted anything so good before.

It was only when he found himself wanting to move his hand higher that he stopped and pulled his mouth away from hers.

Her hair was spread across his right arm and the arm of the couch, it looked thoroughly mussed. Her lips were pink and swollen, and her cheeks were flushed. He was also pleased to see that she was breathing heavily, and her eyes were glazed over.

They didn't speak about what had just happened. Both of them were worried that the other would regret it, so neither mentioned it.

- - -

After his next "Remedial Potions" lesson, Harry was stunned to find himself in an empty Common Room, and once again lying on top of his female best friend snogging.

He had once again been yelling, this time it was about Snape kicking him out after the Pensieve incident, when suddenly he found his arms wrapped around Hermione's soft form.

- - -

Hermione found herself lying on top of Harry this time. He had been in a rage again about his father and Sirius behaving like bullies, the worst sort of people in his opinion. Sirius' excuse was no excuse.

Hermione knew that he needed a way to vent his anger without causing an explosion in the Common Room, which was part of the reason she kissed him the first time. The other part was simply because she wanted to.

Harry was in heaven, he had to be. Harry Potter did not have good things happen in his life…never. The fact that he was currently kissing a beautiful young woman was causing a short circuit in his brain. It was only after Hermione fell asleep using his chest as a pillow that he could begin to think again.

Naturally, all of his thoughts were about her. He remembered each scene with perfect clarity.

It was first year and Ron insulted Hermione, causing her to run off in tears. Ron had been acting like Malfoy, so why didn't Harry defend her, or run after her, or – or something.

Hermione was nagging him to study; Ron wanted to play chess. So Harry played chess. He only now remembered the way her face fell when he sat down at the chess board.

She was telling him to be careful before going after Quirrell. She was crying, and just wanted him to be safe.

It was second year. He saw her worried face when they found out he was a Parselmouth.

Ron made jokes about Hermione being a cat, and Harry hadn't defended her. Why?

Professor McGonagall told him that Hermione had been Petrified. Why hadn't he stopped her from going to the Library alone? He knew that Muggle-borns were being attacked.

Then there was the look on her face when he picked easy subjects as electives, rather than choosing what was best for him. She'd tried to tell him that he'd do better with Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. Once again, he did what Ron wanted and chose the easy way out.

Then third year… She was so tired and pale looking, and besides which, her schedule was packed. She hardly had time to breathe, yet she did all of the research to save Buckbeak (not that it helped, but still). Why didn't I notice how tired she was? She was killing herself with that schedule.

She had turned his broom in to McGonagall. Sure she went behind his back, but he was ready to forgive her the next day. After all, she just didn't want him to nearly die again. She had cried when he woke up after falling off of his Nimbus, so it was natural that she'd be worried about another broom accident. Ron held grudges though, and once again Harry chose Ron over Hermione. She had cried all the time he remembered. He and Ron were her only friends, and she risked that to keep him safe; whereas Harry wasn't willing to risk his friendship with Ron to stand up for someone who did the right thing. What kind of a person am I?

Hermione had even broken the law to save Sirius for him. What have I done to deserve that? Nothing, that's what.

In fourth year Ron abandoned him, and Hermione didn't. She didn't doubt him once. After Ron's betrayal, Harry had done everything with Hermione; he actually studied with her, and his grades went up. Yet as soon as Ron apologized, he, Harry, had abandoned her. He spent hardly any time alone with her like he had before.

For that matter, why did he never think to ask her to the Yule Ball? He didn't bother tell her that she looked beautiful, though he thought it several times. He never even asked her to dance.

This year she was always telling him to ignore Umbridge and work hard at his Occlumency lessons, but he ignored her. Hermione was only trying to protect him.

He gazed down at her face and smoothed a curl back away from her eyes. Why didn't I see it before? He brushed her cheek with a knuckle, waking her up.

"Hmm," she murmured as she stretched lazily against him like a cat.

"I don't deserve you," Harry said matter-of-factly.

Hermione opened her mouth to protest but was stopped when he placed a finger against her lips.

"All you've ever done is protect me, and I repaid you by ignoring you. I'm such a fool." Harry smiled sadly down at her. "I should've defended you when Ron was being a git, and I should have taken your side about the Firebolt." He sighed. "Yet for some reason you put up with me. I'm going to change. I choose you."

Hermione's eyes went wide. "W-what?" she asked in shock.

"I choose you." Harry smiled. "I'm going to listen to you from now on. Doing things my way has brought me nothing but trouble." He squeezed her tighter against his chest, noticing that her eyes were glistening. "I never told you how much I appreciate everything that you've done for me. You know…all the homework help, helping me with the tournament, everything, just…thank you."

"You don't have to thank me," she said.

Harry simply replied, "Yes, I do."

Hermione smiled and a tear fell down her cheek.

Harry thought for a moment. "You started kissing me to help me calm down, didn't you?"

"That was part of the reason," she answered.

"And the other part?"

Hermione's eyes went wide in alarm and she tried to pull away, but Harry wouldn't let her go.

"Hermione?" he asked in confusion as they sat up. He thought for a moment, and suddenly it hit him. Nobody had ever before…but of course, that was why he didn't recognize it. "You love me." It was a statement of fact, not a question.

Hermione nodded anyway. A few more tears slipped down her cheek.

Harry noticed this, and his heart hurt. He gently brushed away her tears with the pads of his fingers. "Don't cry," he whispered.

He paused for a moment, then said, "Hermione… What does love feel like?" in a whisper.

Hermione's eyes widened, and she looked up to gaze into his. She knew his family didn't love him, but for a fifteen year old boy to not know what love felt like was heartbreaking. "It makes you want to do anything for that person. You'd die to protect them. And when you think about… When I think about you I feel warm inside. Like my heart is glowing brighter than a Patronus. You know the magical feeling when you first saw Hogwarts from the boat?" Harry nodded. "It's like that but better, much better." She caressed his cheek with her hand, and he leaned into it, like Crookshanks would when someone pet him. "It feels like accidental magic as a child…it wells inside you and grows until there's no place for it to go but out."

"Anything else," Harry asked in a scratchy voice that showed how close to crying he was.

"Maybe, I just can't find enough words to describe it," she shrugged.

Harry looked thoughtful and nodded.

"I – I l-l-love y-you," he stumbled over the unaccustomed words.

"Are you sure?" Hermione asked, not wanting to believe it unless he was.

"Yes," he whispered.

She glowed as she smiled. "I love you too," she said.

They both leaned in and kissed gently. It was different from before, like sex versus making love, when emotions are involved it just means more.

They slowly separated and smiled at each other.

Harry summed it up in one word. "Wow."

"I quite agree," Hermione said, sighing.

"Be my girlfriend?" Harry asked.


10 Points: What role did Timothy Spall play in "Oliver Twist"?