I can't fight this feeling any longer.

And, yet, I'm still afraid to let it flow.

What started out as friendship

Has grown stronger.

I only wish I had the strength to let it show.

Harry sat down in the overstuffed armchair in the Gryffindor common room. He was tired. Past tired, he was exhausted. He had been trying for the last four days to fall asleep and he just couldn't relax his body enough to let sleep claim him. He knew that not sleeping was dangerous, physically and mentally, but just now, he really didn't care. He knew that it wasn't entirely Voldemort's fault that he couldn't fall asleep. True, he didn't have the nightmares anymore, since he'd defeated the Dark Lord three weeks ago, but he was so used to being on edge for the last year that he just couldn't relax very well.

No, the main reason he couldn't relax, couldn't sleep, was a lot closer to him than Voldemort had ever been, even with the scar-connection. His trouble lay up the other set of steps, in the girl's dormitory. She was probably sleeping, the sleep of an innocent. Never knowing how just seeing her put him on edge. Just the way she smiled, the way she laughed, the way she sometimes looked at him, as if they were sharing a funny secret; all of that just rolled him up into one big ball of nerves and overactive teenage hormones.

He was the one with a secret, though. He loved her...loved her with everything in his heart, his mind and his soul. It was the one thing that he had been able to hide from everyone, including Voldemort and Dumbledore. No one knew. He'd made sure of that. He hadn't risked having anyone know, not when Voldemort had been alive. That would have gotten her killed more quickly than anyone else. His heart clenched at the thought; he shook himself slightly to rid his mind of the painful image of her lying on the ground, motionless. It was that image that had also kept him from eating much since before the battle. It seemed that, every time he ate anything, he had to fight to keep it down. Just the thought of her dying was enough to put him off of eating completely.

He had told her, once, in 5th year, that he was falling in love with her. She had looked at him and shook her head. You can't be in love with me. Why would you want to be in love with me? He had tried to explain that he loved everything about her, but she hadn't wanted to hear. No. Harry, we are friends. Giving in to emotions will just ruin it. She had walked away from him then, leaving him to pick up the pieces of his broken heart alone. He hadn't tried to fight the emotions, but neither had he given in to them again. He'd locked them deep within himself, so that he wouldn't get hurt again. He hadn't realized that feelings like that could fester and become painful.

Harry sighed, wishing that he could, for once, shut down his brain. He thought too much. He gave a slight snort. That was, likely, a first. She'd been telling him for years that he didn't think enough, that he did things based solely on instinct. Instinct was what had gotten him through, though, had worked well enough to allow him to defeat Voldemort on that grassy knoll, just outside of Hogwarts' front door. But now, apparently, his instincts had deserted him. He didn't know what to do, and, even if he did, he didn't know how.

I tell myself that I can't hold out forever.

I say there is no reason for my fear.

'Cause I feel so secure when we're together.

You give my life direction,

You make everything so clear.

She had always been there for him, even from that first train ride to Hogwarts. He remembered,with a small smile, how Ron had been trying to change Scabbers' colouring, and she very quickly showed them that she was really good at being a witch. Harry had known next to nothing about being a wizard, and there she was, a fuzzy-haired, Muggle-born witch, fixing his horrid glasses for him. He had never told anyone, not even Ron, but he still had that pair of glasses, hidden in his trunk. He had since moved on to glasses that were nicer looking, more functional, but he kept that pair, because she had fixed them for him.

He sighed again. He knew that she would never look at him as anything other than one of her best mates. She and Ron had tried the dating thing, about a year ago, but it hadn't worked out. They kept arguing, and had realized, fairly quickly, that it wasn't going to work. Ron had told him, privately, that it had been like snogging his sister. Harry had laughed at that, letting Ron think the comment amused him. He was secretly happy that it hadn't worked. He could stop feeling guilty about feeling this way about his best mate's girl. Ron had since started dating Luna and it was a match made in...well, if not Heaven, then somewhere reserved for just the two of them, a place most likely full of Crumple Horned Snorkacks.

Harry had tried dating Ginny, but it hadn't felt right. She was just not the one for him. She had taken it rather well, surprisingly, given that family's flair for the dramatic. But, all in all, she and Seamus Finnegan made a cute couple. And they were deliriously happy.

Harry was just delirious. He needed sleep. He was almost desperate enough to take a potion to knock him out. Then again, that might not be a bad idea. No sleep for four days was starting to wreak havoc with his brain. If he didn't get sleep soon, his tongue might override what little was left of his brain and he might actually come right out and tell Hermione how he felt again. He couldn't do that. It would effectively end the friendship that they shared, and he needed that friendship, needed her beside him, almost more than he needed air.

He had no idea how long he had been sitting there, tossing things about in his head, when he heard Ron and Hermione talking as they came into the common room, on their way to the Great Hall for breakfast.

Ron saw him and crossed the room to him. "Oi, mate! You look awful! What's wrong?"

"Couldn't sleep." Harry mumbled. He tried to stand, but the room spun around him and everything went black.

And even as I wander,

I'm keeping you in sight.

You're a candle in the window,

On a cold dark winter's night.

And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might.

Hermione and Ron watched in horror as Harry pitched forward and crumpled into a heap on the common room floor. Ron leapt forward and picked Harry up, shocked, as he realized he could feel Harry's bones through his clothes. Harry had lost so much weight that Ron was able to lift him easily. "Hermione! Floo powder! Hospital wing!" He carefully held Harry in his arms, settling the black hair on his shoulder.

She ran to the hearth and waited until Ron reached her, then threw a handful of floo powder into the hearth, shouting "Hospital Wing!" They stepped into the flames and, seconds later, out into Hogwarts' medical ward.

Madame Pomfrey heard the floo activate and came out of her office. She saw Harry in Ron's arms and directed him to lay him on the nearest bed. She began running tests on him before Ron even started to pull his arms away. She muttered incantations under her breath, diagnostic spells Ron figured. He moved away to stand next to Hermione. He could hear her ragged breathing and realized she was crying. He put his arms around her and held her close. Even though they were no longer dating, they still shared a closeness that she had not allowed with any other wizard...not even Harry; she barely touched Harry anymore. As Ron thought about that, thought about why, he could feel her shaking and summoned a chair, so that she could sit to watch Madame Pomfrey work.

Hermione wiped the tears out of her eyes, but more kept coming. Harry looked awful. She felt ashamed as she realized that she didn't know when he started to look this bad. She wondered if he hadn't fully recovered from the final battle, or if there was something more wrong than any of them knew. Harry was not one to talk about emotions or feelings, and if something bothered him, he was more likely to keep it bottled up, instead of talking about it. She couldn't get rid of the feeling that this had nothing to do with the battle with Voldemort. She just knew that it was something else entirely. But, what was it? And why would he tell you, that horrid little voice inside her head said, you're the one who pushed him away. You're the one who said you didn't want what he offered you two years ago.

The doors at the end of the ward flew open and Minerva McGonagall walked in, followed closely by Severus Snape, his robes billowing around him. If anyone could figure out what was wrong with Harry, these three adults could do it. They conferred for a moment, Madame Pomfrey showing the two the results from the diagnostic tests. Snape shook his head, pointing out something in one of the tests. McGonagall nodded her head in agreement and turned to Ron and Hermione.

"Mr. Potter is extremely exhausted, both physically and mentally. He also seems, at some point, to have stopped eating. Can either of you think of a reason for him to have done this?"

Hermione put her hand to her mouth to stifle her sobs and shook her head. Ron also shook his, but opened his mouth, then closed it. "Yes, Ronald?"

He took a deep breath. "Harry's been worried about something, since before the battle. He wouldn't tell me what, but he said that it's something that he can't get out of his mind. But he has been eating. He sits next to me at the table, so I've seen him eat. Doesn't look like he enjoys it, and he doesn't eat much, but he does eat."

McGonagall looked thoughtful. "Well, he is here to stay until we have found out what is wrong. You both are welcome to stay with him, in between classes, and in the evenings." Ron and Hermione both nodded, accepting the thinly veiled order that Harry was not to be left alone.

Ron looked at Hermione, "I've got Muggle Studies first period, you've got a study. Why don't you sit with him and then I'll take over for the next's just History of Magic...don't think I'll be missing much. You can tell me about it later." Hermione nodded again, tears starting to leak out of the sides of her eyes again as she sat next to Harry on the bed.

Ron watched her take hold of Harry's hand with hers and wondered if Hermione knew how she felt about Harry. Ron knew. All the signs were there. The way her eyes followed him, the way she looked for him and was worried about him if he was even just a few minutes late.

He wasn't upset that Hermione had feelings for Harry. He honestly thought that they would have gotten together long before now. He didn't know how Harry felt, but Harry wasn't one to talk much. Brood,, no. He wished, now, that he had pressed Harry when he mentioned that he couldn't get his mind off of something. He had a feeling that, whatever that something was, it wasn't insignificant, at least not to Harry.

Harry had hidden the weight loss well, behind his robes. Ron had thought it was odd that Harry had started to wear his robes first thing in the morning, but had forgotten about it. This must have started at the time of the battle, or just before. He had had a lot on his mind before the battle, but had seemed to adjust pretty well afterward. Maybe he hadn't adjusted, though, maybe he couldn't adjust. It seemed like his entire life had been spent gearing up for that final battle, and, now that it was over, he just might be adrift, not knowing what to do with himself.

And I can't fight this feeling anymore.

I've forgotten what I started fighting for.

It's time to bring this ship into the shore,

And throw away the oars forever.

'Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore.

I've forgotten what I started fighting for.

And if I have to crawl upon the floor,

Come crashing through your door,

Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore.

Hermione had hidden how she felt about Harry for a very long time. She'd refused to get that close to him because she didn't want him to worry about her, when it came time to fight Voldemort. She could hold her own against almost any witch or wizard, but Harry had been the only one who could take down Voldemort. And he had, with almost ridiculous ease.

No one else but him. That was how it had been for her, for the longest time. Even when she had been with Ron, she knew that Harry was the one she wanted. The other half of her soul. The one who could make her feel complete. It was just that...Harry didn't feel that way about her, not anymore. She knew he didn't. He'd never acted like he wanted her to be anything other than his best mate, not since she'd refused him in 5th year. He'd seemed alright after that...not great, but alright. He seemed fine with her as his best mate; his best mate with breasts and other girlie parts, granted, but his best mate, nonetheless.

She had had to grit her teeth and smile when he had dated Ginny. She'd tried to be happy for him, but couldn't. Fortunately, that hadn't lasted long and, now, Ginny was with Seamus and was extremely happy. It didn't matter to Ginny that Seamus was missing several fingers on his left hand or that he would have a permanent limp, due to a curse thrown by Lucius Malfoy. Ginny had seen to it that Malfoy would never curse anyone ever again. It had been kind of scary to watch Ginny kill Malfoy. The blaze of magic in her blue eyes had been almost terrible to behold, when she realized that Seamus had gone down and wasn't responding. She had stood and looked at Lucius Malfoy. He had looked back at her and gone pale, paler than normal. He had looked almost shocked when he heard the killing curse come out of her mouth. He hadn't thought that any Weasley could be that brave. Draco, having witnessed the whole thing, walked up to Ginny and handed her his wand. Then he sat by Seamus, until he had woken up. The three of them were now inseparable.

Hermione wanted to know what it was that Harry couldn't stop thinking about. If it had affected his eating, it had to be pretty bad. Like Ron, Harry had a huge appetite. She usually avoided looking at Harry recently, so she couldn't say when his eating habits had changed. But Ron had noticed, and that was saying a lot. Ron had grown up over the last year, leaving the awkward, gangly youth behind somewhere on the hunt for the horcruxes.

She knew she had been slowly pushing Harry away. She felt that, if she didn't, if he got too close, he would figure out how she felt. She knew he couldn't want her like she wanted him, not after her rejection. He hadn't made any effort to get closer to her since then. He seemed to be fine with their friendship just the way it was.

Severus Snape watched the young witch gently brush Potter's hair away from his face. It was plain, even to a simpleton, that she was in love with the young wizard. Of all the witches in Harry's year, she would be the only one who could balance him. Her calm, her intelligence and her bravery were just what would be needed to bring some sort of order to the mess that was Harry Potter. He knew that Harry was not dealing with the after effects of the final battle very well. Something more than just that was going on in the younger man's head, though. Something that wouldn't appear on any test. Severus wished that he knew what it was, so that he could help Potter work his way through it.

They were not close, probably never would be. Not after the way Severus had treated him when he first came to Hogwarts. But, back then, all Severus could see was that Harry Potter looked like James Potter, but stared at him with Lily's eyes. His Lily's eyes. He now wished that he could have been a better person to Harry. But seeing Lily's eyes, looking at him with almost fear that first day had eradicated any chance of that happening. That had been a look he had never seen when Lily had been alive, and to see it in her son's eyes had been a painful experience for him. It had made him hate himself, and he had continued to pour that hatred out onto Harry.

My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you.

I've been running round in circles in my mind.

And it always seems that I'm following you, girl,

'Cause you take me to the places

That alone I'd never find.

Harry's body was finally relaxed, not in sleep, but in the darkness of unconsciousness. Even in the complete blankness, his brain refused to shut down. Horrifying images kept streaming through his over-tired mind. In his unconscious state, he couldn't ascertain whether the images were real or not, couldn't figure out what was truth and what was not. He saw Ron and Neville, lying broken on the ground; saw Ginny dragging herself, bleeding profusely, toward an obviously dead Seamus. Saw Arthur sobbing hysterically while holding Molly. Charlie Weasley, missing most of one leg and part of an arm; Bill trying to comfort Fleur, who was holding the body of her younger sister. Fred and George lying still on the ground, together even in death. Then, just when he was trying to get ahold of himself, the most horrifying image of all. Hermione, lying in a pool of her own blood, her eyes wide and unseeing. He saw himself drop to his knees and crawl to her and hold her to his chest, sobbing as his mind slowly unraveled, as he came completely unhinged.

Hermione and Severus watched as Harry's head thrashed from side to side on the pillow. His eyes opened, but he saw nothing, tears streaming down the sides of his face. Alarms went off on several of the monitoring spells and Poppy charged out of her office. She quickly checked which spells had gone off and charmed Harry into a healing sleep. As his vital statistics once again calmed to within the normal ranges, his eyes closed and he relaxed again, but the tears didn't stop.

All three of them could feel the magic surrounding Harry. It was as if, while in this state, he couldn't control it. The emotions roiling through him were palpable to everyone in the room. Jars and bottles around the room began to shatter, covering the floor and several beds with the shards. Hermione turned frightened eyes on the potions professor. He thought quickly.

"Climb into the bed with him, Miss Granger. You may be the only one who can calm him. Talk to him, touch him. Let him know you are there. He will be able to hear you."

Hermione didn't hesitate. Toeing off her shoes, she lifted the covers and slid into the space next to Harry. She wrapped her arms around him and began to whisper to him. Told him that everything was alright; that he was alright; that everyone he loved was safe. Harry relaxed further and his tears stopped...Severus had been right. Hermione continued to run her hands up and down Harry's arms and back. She knew that she had just passed a line somewhere. The line between being oblivious and finally admitting what you feel. She loved Harry, loved him with everything in her.

And even as I wander,

I'm keeping you in sight..

You're a candle in the window

On a cold, dark winter's night.

And I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might.

And I can't fight this feeling anymore.

I've forgotten what I started fighting for.

It's time to bring this ship into the shore,

And throw away the oars forever.

'Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore.

I've forgotten what I started fighting for.

And if I have to crawl upon the floor,

Come crashing through your door.

Baby, I can't fight this feeling anymore.

Harry wasn't sure what had changed, but he no longer held Hermione in his arms. He looked around frantically, trying to find her. He had to tell her. Had to make sure she knew. He was going off to kill or be killed trying. He had to tell her that he loved her, that she would always have his love, even if he didn't make it back.

The scene changed suddenly, surprising him. He was standing on the slight rise outside of Hogwarts' front doors. Voldemort stood before him, Hermione lying at his feet. Harry knew she was gone, knew that he'd never get the chance to tell her that he loved her. Harry stood very still as Voldemort raised his wand. Harry couldn't summon enough strength to raise his wand in response. Somehow, Voldemort had found his secret, the secret he'd never told anyone. She was gone. He knew he didn't want to live without her. He watched as Voldemort laughed maniacally and pointed his wand directly at Harry. Harry wasn't going to stop him. He wanted to be with Hermione, even in death. Harry took a deep breath and dropped his wand into the grass. He fell to his knees and waited for death to come. He wanted to be with Hermione again.

The alarms sounded again as his vitals dropped drastically. Hermione grabbed Harry's shoulders and shook him, hard. "Don't you dare die, Harry James Potter! Do you hear me, don't you dare die! You are not allowed to leave me! You can't leave me by myself! Please Harry, don't leave me, I love you." The last words were said in a whisper. She could feel him slipping away from her, could feel him giving up the fight to live.

His eyes opened and he took a deep gasping breath. The alarms stopped shrieking. Hermione's head was on his chest, her shoulders shaking as she sobbed. He thought he'd, it must have been in his mind. But, somehow, she wasn't dead. His heart started beating harder, she wasn't dead!

Severus watched as Harry's arms slowly came up to surround Hermione. He had been certain that Miss Granger would be the one to save him, if he could be saved. Harry had almost given up, had almost died. But, his eyes were open now, and very confused. Severus had never realized before just how powerful an emotion love was. He had known, all those years ago that he loved Lily her son was showing him just how strong love could could pull him back from the grasping hands of Death. It could keep him alive, it was worth living for.

Hermione lifted her tear streaked face to look at Harry in wonder. She saw the confusion in his eyes and reached out a shaking hand to cradle his cheek. Harry's eyes closed at the touch and he swallowed. To have Hermione touch him, to have her willingly touch him again was so good. He hadn't realized how much he enjoyed her touch, until she had stopped touching him. He rubbed his cheek into her hand, almost like a kitten.

Harry opened his eyes again and held her brown gaze with his piercing green one. Lily's eyes, thought Severus, had always been the doorway to her soul. It appeared that her son's eyes were the same. "Please tell me it wasn't a dream...please! I heard you say that you love me. Please tell me I didn't imagine it!"

Hermione sobbed once and laid her head back down on Harry's chest. "No, you didn't imagine it. I've tried so hard," her voice broke, "so hard to control it. I'm sorry." She began to cry softly.

Harry gently raised her head off of his chest. "Why would you try to control it? Why? That's all I ever wanted from you. I told you that two years ago, but" Harry's voice trailed away and he turned his head away from her. "You didn't want my love...I all but gift-wrapped it for you, and you gave it back." Severus watched as a single tear streamed down Harry's face. He could almost see Harry start to turn inward again. He would be damned if he would let either one of them bollocks this up. If love was worth living for, then it was worth helping it along a bit.

"Alright, apparently it is time for an emotional tell-all." Both sets of eyes swiveled around to look at him. "Miss Granger, do you love Mr. Potter?" Hermione nodded slowly. "Mr. Potter, do you love Miss Granger?"

Harry's answer was longer in coming. Severus could see him arguing with himself about it, about whether or not to reveal his feelings to someone who had trampled all over them two years ago. Severus looked into Harry's eyes and was surprised by the amount of fear he could see in them. This was the amazing young wizard who, three weeks ago, had defeated the most evil wizard the world had ever seen. This young man had broken more rules at Hogwarts than even his father had, and he was afraid of being rejected by Hermione Granger. This was that other thing that wouldn't show up on any diagnostic test. This was what had caused the weight loss and the inability to sleep. He wondered if Hermione realized that her rejection of him two years ago had started Harry on a very slow and deadly landslide into what was now, most likely, a suicidal depression for Harry. Judging from the expression on her face, that thought was now occurring to her.

"Oh Merlin, Harry! Did I do this to you? Did I? I never meant...I didn't couldn't afford to be distracted! I didn't want you to worry about me, if we had to fight anyone. What if you were distracted by trying to protect me when you fought Voldemort? I couldn't allow that to happen!" She was almost hysterical at the thought of her rejection being the cause of what had almost happened today. "If I lost you because you were trying to protect me, I wouldn't want to live, Harry. Life wouldn't have meaning for me anymore." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "I love you too much to have allowed myself to become a dangerous distraction for you."

Instead of vocalizing any answer, Harry put his hands on her shoulders and gently pulled her toward him. Very gently, his lips touched hers. Slowly, Harry deepened the kiss, showing her his feelings, letting her feel his love surround her. Severus, who had looked away at the first touch of lips, felt himself become almost embarrassed about the length and thoroughness of that kiss, but, who was he to interrupt something as precious as love?

Harry slowly ended the kiss and looked Hermione in the eye. His green eyes held her brown ones captive. "Listen very closely to me...don't judge, don't get mad, not until I'm done, alright?" At her nod, he drew a deep breath. "I think that I've loved you since the first day we met, on the train to Hogwarts. It's only gotten stronger over the years. It was hell for me when you dated Ron. You don't know how relieved I was when you two ended it and remained friends. I dated Ginny because it seemed like it was expected of me, just like everything else I've ever done. Until now, I've never done anything for me, it's all been for everyone else. Dumbldore, McGonagall, Ron, Molly," Severus frowned when he realized that Harry was right. "The only thing I've ever done for me was when I told you how I felt about you. Your reaction only served to further the feelings that what I wanted didn't matter." Hermione opened her mouth. "No, you promised you'd listen. My childhood sucked. There's no other words for sucked. Then I came here. I met Ron and I met you. I think that's when I started to think that maybe, just once, I'd get to have something for me, y'know, something that wouldn't be taken away from me. Then I found Sirius, and Merlin, was I happy...for a very short period of time. Then he was taken away from me...right after you took my heart away. Needless to say, I was a mess for a while. I blamed myself for Sirius' death...and I blamed myself for not being what you wanted."

Harry closed his eyes and concentrated on breathing for a moment. He opened his eyes and continued. "Then, in sixth year, everything went to hell in a hand basket. People started dying and I couldn't stop it. I blamed myself for that. I noticed that you really didn't touch me anymore, not even the simple things like messing up my hair. I blamed myself because I wasn't what you wanted or needed. Looking back, I guess that we weren't supposed to be near each other that much last year. I had to concentrate on trying to figure out how to kill Voldemort. But that didn't make it hurt any less."

Severus frowned even harder, his eyebrows almost becoming one across his forehead. He hadn't thought about that, hadn't thought that Harry would blame himself for things that were beyond his control. He wondered if Albus had realized this. In a flash of insight, he realized that Albus had known and had done nothing to calm Harry's doubts and fears. Had done nothing to stop Harry from blaming himself for things he couldn't control. In that moment, Severus truly hated Albus Dumbledore, hated what he had unnecessarily put Harry through.

"Then, this year, with the hunt for the horcruxes, I just concentrated on staying alive and keeping you and Ron alive as well. I wouldn't have been able to succeed if you two hadn't been with me. Finally, I killed the bastard. I thought, for some strange reason, that my life would get just got worse. I kept having nightmares and waking dreams about everyone being dead. The worst ones were when I would see you dead...lying on the ground, in a pool of your own blood. Those nightmares started before the final battle. I couldn't eat, I didn't sleep much, because of the nightmares. I'm still in shock that I was able to kill Voldemort. I think, at that point, I hadn't slept for 2 days or eaten anything of any substance. Chocolate's great, but it doesn't have much in the way of nutritional value."

Hermione started to cry again. Harry gently kissed the tears from her eyes. "I don't remember getting here. But I do remember the nightmares I've had here. The last one made it so hard for me to want to wake up. I dreamt that Voldemort was standing on that hill just outside of the front doors and you were on the ground at his feet. I knew you were dead...I just knew it. I had been keeping my feelings for you a secret and he had found out about it. He had killed you before I could tell you how I felt. I gave up. I let him kill me, in that dream. I didn't want to go on without you. I figured, if I let him kill me, maybe I would get to see you behind the veil."

Hermione gasped. Harry looked at her. "What?"

"Harry, your vitals dropped so low, right before you woke up, I thought you were going to die. That's when I told you that I love you. I could feel you giving up, you were going to let yourself die. I begged you not to leave me alone."

He smiled slightly. "I heard you. I thought it was just those feelings that I'd locked away. Thought that they were just telling me what I wanted to hear." Harry bowed his head. "If you hadn't, I probably wouldn't have woken up. I didn't want to live, not after what I'd seen in that nightmare. I just knew that, without you in my life, even on the edges of my life, I wouldn't want...wouldn't be able to go on." He looked up at Hermione, his eyes so very serious, but full of love.

"I love you, Hermione Granger. I love you with everything that's in me, with everything I have. Please don't turn me away again. I don't...I don't think that I would be able to survive that."

Hermione launched herself at Harry, wrapping her arms around his neck, sobbing loudly. His arms curled around her waist as he pulled her closer to him. His lips found hers and he proceeded to show her just how much he loved her.

Severus heard the door open and quiet footsteps crept up behind him. He turned to see Ron standing behind him, his eyes locked on the scene before them. A smile was beginning to form on his lips. He reached behind him to pull Luna Lovegood to his side. He put an arm around her waist and rested his cheek on the top of her blonde head. She leaned up to whisper, "See? I told you that Harry would make her see sense. She just needed to see that he still loves her, just as much as she loves him. And he needed to see that she loves him."

Ron's eyes met Severus', and then widened slightly. Severus put a hand to his face and found wetness. He had been crying, and hadn't even realized it. He didn't bother to wipe the tears away, he saw no reason to. Love was a beautiful thing. He turned to leave, but Ron's hand stopped him.

"Thank you."

"For what?" Severus was confused and he just wanted to leave now, before he broke down completely.

"For helping them, for doing something I wasn't able to. I don't know what you did, but it worked."

Severus nodded. "If you'll excuse me...I have a date with some pictures of the woman I love." At the look of shock in Ron's eyes, he paused, "I would appreciate it if you didn't tell Harry that I still love his mother. I think it would 'creep him out', as you people say." Ron nodded and let him go.

Harry slowly pulled his lips from Hermione's. "I can't fight this feeling anymore, I don't want to fight it. I'm hoping that you don't want to fight it either. I love you, Hermione. I love you now, I loved you then, and I will love you forever."

Hermione's smile was radiant. "I can't fight it anymore either Harry. And, like you, I don't want to fight it anymore. I love you, Harry James Potter, with everything in me, heart, mind, body and soul."