You Belong With Me
"…You belong with me…" she sang under her breath. Eyes longingly following him about the common room, she sighed. "I love you," she whispered to him, though he couldn't hear it. I'm just practicing, the fourth year Gryffindor scolded to herself.
She knew him better than anyone else could ever claim. He had cried on her shoulder and she in turn went to him when she needed comfort and understanding. She had been there at the end of their quest during first year. He was the one that she had sought when she'd been revived at the end of second year. She'd been the one to go back in time with him during third year. He had been her best friend since she could honestly tell anyone that she had friends. Friends. Her feelings had slowly changed and grown.
In the beginning, they were comrades. Facing danger and strife, they'd fought back with what they had at their disposal. Between the times of terror and bloodshed, they talked and shared. He told her about how the Dursley's despised him. She told him about her parents who were more interested in furthering their dental practice than knowing their daughter. He told her about his dreams of having a family who loved him as much as he loved them. She told him of her dreams of having someone love her for whom she was, not what she represented.
They became best friends. Tempered in the fire of violence and terror, they came to rely on the other. He was her fount of courage. She was his inspiration. He was her humility. She was his compassion.
She didn't even realize that her feelings had evolved until that moment on the Express before term. It was odd, they'd spent the previous week or so together at the Quidditch World cup and the aftermath, yet nothing had had happened before this day. After a quick trip to the toilet, she had opened the compartment door with a clatter, causing him to look up from his book. His green locked in on her brown and time slowed. Everything was focused, refined and purified in an instant of clarity.
Her heart stopped.
I love him.
An eternity of seconds passed as they gazed at each other. Slowly, his face broke into his lopsided grin and she wanted to melt into a puddle. Returning his grin, she moved to embrace him. For the first time in their friendship, he hugged her back with as much enthusiasm as she gripped him. His clean musk filled her senses, threatening to overpower her. She was a young woman with no dating experience, but there was now an unshakable truth of her existence.
Hermione Granger was head over heels in love with Harry Potter.
They chatted about various things; music, her excitement about classes and his anticipation of the upcoming Quidditch season. Ron came back from wherever he had been, but it made no dent in their discussion. She wasn't trying to exclude their ginger haired friend, but it was Harry. Her everything.
School had started with the usual hoohaw. Fortunately, no one had tried to kill him yet. She bristled at the thought. He's mine. Pity the poor fool who threatened him now.
Oh, she'd tried to suppress the feelings that wouldn't be denied. Truly, she had, but they wouldn't stay down. Every night she dreamed of him. She was excited to be with him. She always knew where he was in a room. She knew what he was going to eat before he loaded his plate.
She began to notice things about him. He held the door for her. He let her sit before he took his seat. He noticed if she slept badly and asked if she was alright. He always insisted on carrying the books that didn't fit in her satchel.
Terrified to lose her best friend, she didn't trust her gut feelings. She'd written her mum, laid it all out for her and asked for advice. Her mum had written a two word reply.
"Oh, dear," she'd murmured when that letter had shown up in the morning post.
Then the tournament and his forced participation had happened. When he had been announced as the fourth contestant, she wanted to scream. Not again! NO!
For the first time in her life, she wanted to kill a teacher. Dumbledore was making Harry go through with this deadly farce of a competition. Blood sport is what it was.
Today, he was trying to be invisible in the common room. The bulk of the school had turned against him - again. A few fools had been given him endorsement of his 'excellent plan' and a select few had been sympathetic to his plight. Ron had proved to the entire sentient universe that he was a first class arse in his repudiation of Harry. Hermione had come this close to hexing the moron into puddle of goo.
The green eyed seeker looked at her from across the room. His expressive eyes were searching for her, searching for something in her eyes. She gave him a tentative smile, which he returned. A nod of his head and she rose to exit via the Fat Lady.
A moment after she left, he exited and did something he'd never done before. He took her hand and tugged her down the hall.
Stunned, she followed. Ever since first year, she'd held his hand, wrapped her arm in his and been very 'touchy' with him. Never had he initiated physical contact with her. Or anyone for that matter.
Could he…? A small candle of hope flickered to life in the deep recesses of her heart.
Risking a glance at him, she saw a small smile tugging on the corner of his mouth.
They stopped by a large window that overlooked the lawn as it led to the lake. The sun was setting, so they watched the light fade in a portrait of beauty that the most talented artists in history couldn't replicate.
Unconsciously, she snuggled to his side. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
She laid her head on his shoulder. He laid his head on hers.
This is how it ought to be.
With a whisper, he murmured to her.
Not paying attention, she missed his words. "Sorry? I didn't hear you."
Without looking at her, he repeated himself, "What I've been looking for has been here the whole time. I see you. Differently, I mean."
The earlier candle of hope burst into a roaring fire. "Yeah?"
She heard his gulp. "Yeah."
"Good," she whispered.
Wide eyed, he turned to her. "Really?"
Eyes glistening with tears, she smiled wetly, "Oh, yes. Really."
He smiled widely before raising his hand to her cheek. With his soft caress, she leaned into his hand. "I love you, Harry."
She opened her eyes to see a tear tracking down his cheek. His mouth worked a few times before he pulled her into his arms, mimicking her rib crushing hug.
Pulling back, she looked into his eyes and saw what she had been looking for all this time. Love. Leaning into each other, they met in the middle.
As first kisses go, it wasn't earth shaking. Their teeth clunked together, his glasses were knocked askew and they both got a mouthful of her hair.
It was fantastic.
Touching foreheads, she told him, "You belong to me, Harry."
"I do. And you belong to me."
With a face splitting smile, she agreed, "I do."
1. I own nothing.
2. Yeah, I know. Major fluff. I had to go brush my teeth after writing it. It's a little bit that boiled up when listening to the Taylor Swift song of the same name (also Love Story by the same artist). Do NOT mention timelines and song release dates or any other inanity. Thanks
3. Recommendation for the ficlet is Survivor by atruwriter. Bring a hankie.