This is unbeta'd as no one has ever read this before. Ever. I blame ShrtHappyLife. She bullied me into this. Oh, JKR owns all things HP. I wish I was her.


The In Between

He walked toward her slowly, smiling at the sight of her. Her slender figure outlined by the setting sun; the bright orange and purple blaze nothing compared to image he saw before him. He came to a stop where she sat at the edge of the vast lake and joined her on the fallen tree trunk. She reached over and gently took his hand in her smaller warm one. Harry didn't look at her, he simply squeezed her hand back softly.

It felt as if he had aged thirty years in the past forty-eight hours, the remnants of the battle still fresh in his mind. Neither one of them had time to properly mourn their losses, to collect their thoughts, or comfort their loved ones. However, both of them knew that there were things that could not be left unspoken.

She turned to him slowly, a hint of a smile on her face, her brown eyes red-rimmed but dry. He twisted a lock of her fiery red hair around his finger before tucking it behind her ear.

"I missed you," she whispered before setting her head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer, reveling in the comfort her closeness brought to him.

"I'm sorry," he murmured softly into her hair.

"Don't be," she said softly, wrapping her own arms around his neck in an effort to get closer. "I understand."

"I thought about you everyday, I want you to know that," he said while he stroked her hair.

"So did I," she smiled against his shoulder, relieved to know that while he was out there, she was on his mind. "I can't believe it's over."

"But at what cost?" He mused quietly and she sighed before looking up at him.

She touched his cheek softly and he turned to look at her, oak melting into moss, the feelings between them undeniable.

"It's not your fault," she reassured him, "we chose to do this. All of us."

"I didn't want them to die," he leaned his cheek against into her hand, closing his eyes and fighting the tears that were threatening to come.

"I know," she said, a lump forming in her own throat. It was hard to mourn the loss of a mentor, confidante, and brother - not to mention countless others all in the same day. "But we mustn't think of it like that, we can't."

"They didn't have to - " he started but she put a hand softly to his lips.

"No. But they did. And we will live a better life because of their sacrifice. Our friends will move on and be happy and our children will grow up safe and loved," she cupped his face again and he smiled.

"You're always right," he said softly and she laughed for what felt like the first time in months.

"I love you," she whispered. His eyes widened briefly before he crushed his lips to hers and hoped with his whole heart that she would understand the deeper meaning behind it. At that moment it didn't matter that they were too young, it didn't matter that a war was barely a day behind them. The only thing that mattered was that they were there.

No, they weren't happy. It would be a long time before that happened. But in that time, between mourning and acceptance, they knew that they had each other.

That alone was enough to keep them going.