To Dream of Then

Harry rested against the edge of the tent, his wand limp in his hand as he kept watch. Hermione slept soundly in the tent. The night was black as pitch and the little light his wand provided did little to comfort his nerves. The darkness around him he could deal with, but the darkness that was sure to wrap its knotty little fingers around Ginny ever succeeded to send shivers down his spine.

He found himself thinking of her often. When the occasion permitted, he would slip the map free from his pocket, whisper the necessary words, and pass the hours by, merely watching her dot.

For just brief moments, in between the rustling of the leaves and the howls of the wind, Harry closed his eyes. In an instant he would see her again. He could feel her, but never touch her. The smell of her hair was intoxicating. It was still fresh on his memory, even now.

He reflected on a few of their more intimate moments. Each was simple, yet beautiful. Harry smiled as he remembered a day at the shore of the Black Lake. It had been perfect; a calm breeze had caressed the surface of the lake. They mostly held one another, sharing everything words could convey, discovering everything they could not.

They'd taken things slowly, for the most part. There were certainly those moments where passion conquered, but both knew their boundaries.

Memories of their relationship flooded every corner of his consciousness. When this war is over, Harry though to himself, I'll see her again. He pondered for a moment. Did he truly love Ginny, or was she merely the subject of his lusts? His mind focused on the matter for what seemed like several hours, teetering one way, then the other.

He was pulled from his musings as a sound came from inside the tent. Hermione was awake, and clothing herself more adequately to keep watch. He could see her silhouette pull on a shirt and then a coat.

"Okay," said Hermione groggily, pushing aside the door of the tent with her hand. Sleepiness covered her eyes as she stood beside him, tapping his shoulder. Harry looked at her sympathetically. "It's my watch, now." She grabbed for the wand, but Harry pulled it away from her reach. She frowned.

"You need to get some sleep, Harry," Hermione grumbled, rubbing her eyes. Harry looked at her. She was a beautiful witch; time had done her very well. Her body had matured into the perfect temptation for any wizard. She was gorgeous from the way her silky brown hair framed her face to the way her curves teased so gracefully, but she was not Ginny.

Hermione was his friend. He loved her, true, but it was a different love he felt. Sure, he was attracted to her, but he was not in love with her. Ginny had claimed his heart.

She sat beside him.

"The map, again?" Hermione said softly as she rested her head on his shoulder. "What could you possibly be looking for?" she mumbled. Her eyelids were getting heavy again and after a short while, she was asleep, nestled against him. He held her closely; she was his friend, nothing more, yet, for now, she was the closest thing he had to Ginny.

He yearned for the chance to see her again, to know that she was alive and safe. He would continue to watch over her, observing her little dot on the map, as if it were evidence of her continuing life. Soon, he hoped, he would get that chance. He would tell her he loved her. He would hug her and never let go. He would kiss her until the sun stopped shining.

Until that time, however, all he could do was to dream of then. It was all he had.

Author's Note: I've had this idea for quite some time. In some ways, it's like a companion piece to He's Watching Over Me. I hope you enjoyed. Please review.