The Way It Was
Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc.
*note: italics indicate a flashback*

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

On second thought, perhaps I should not. I have a rather important engagement to keep tomorrow, and if I start listing all the things I love about you, I doubt that I would make it there. I hope you understand, love, but I should think that you would want me to make it to our own wedding.

Still, I think I should write something. In days past, girls used to keep a hope chest. They would fill it with an assortment of things useful for a marriage. And I do mean that in the broadest terms possible.

I've never had such a thing, nor do I regret that fact. It's much more fun for us to chose those useful items together, don't you think? I know that you no longer have that shopping aversion present in most men.

The idea of putting something away for later use does intrigue me however. So I thought I'd just put a few recollections to parchment about our relationship. I don't know if you'll read them in our first year or our fiftieth year. But whenever you do, I hope you do find this to be a source of inspiration. And I do mean that in every possible way.

Would you mind if I glossed over our first few years together? They've been recorded so many times and published time and again. I must say that I agree with you that it is astonishing that people can take such interest in things. I almost regret that you two saved me from that troll—if you hadn't, I would not have to hear that tale and many others repeated to an eager audience many times over. I would not have had to heed requests to tell the story, as I have had on an almost monthly basis.

But if you didn't save me, I would have never had you. And you guessed it—once again, I do fully intend to imply every implication your mind can think of. And perhaps a few more. My imagination was always better than yours.

Feel free to try and prove me wrong on that point though.

Anyway, to get myself back on track, I think one of the most poignant memories I'll ever have is our last day at Hogwarts. We had been through so much. Against all odds, somehow we had managed to win, but at terrible cost. Perhaps I should say you managed to win, but your victory, was one for us all.

Still, the fact that everyone was now safe didn't do much to alleviate my fears that I would never see any of you again.

Hermione looked around, desperate to see any of her close friends. Absolute chaos reigned in the hallways after the final feast. Everyone was mobbing around, with hugs being thrown even amongst mere acquaintances. It didn't help that she wasn't that tall. She couldn't see over the heads of most people in the crowd. There was no way she'd be able to find anyone.

She could feel her heart pounding in her chest. She was happy about everyone being alive to see this day but at the same time, she feared that she would be left behind.

And now it was happening. They were all leaving her behind. Happily and without a thought.

Suddenly, an arm reached out and pulled her into a rough embrace.

It was Harry.

Inexplicably happy and sad at the same time, she threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. She burrowed her face into his shoulder and took in the scent of him.

Sobbing, she said, "I thought that you all had forgotten me."

He did not even pause to consider his response. "Nothing could ever make me forget you."


Have I ever told you how much I love you? I know I have. I lied. I love you more.

Somehow, you always know exactly what to say to brighten my day. You don't have to think about it—the words just come from you and suddenly, all my worries no longer seem so bad.

I love you. I would say never doubt that. But although you didn't always have such faith in me, you haven't doubted me for the longest time.

Thank you. For your love and your faith and for everything you do.

Looking back, it's hard for me to believe that it took us so long to figure out just what was between us. We both had the worst of luck when it came to dating. You never seemed able to find a girl who was interested in you. All of them wanted to get to know and date the Boy Who Lived. None of them were interested in my Harry.

It's their lost. The real you is better than any story could ever be.

I remember all of those times that one of us would seek out the other for comfort. I would say that if it wasn't for bad luck, neither of us would have any luck in love—except for the fact that I now have you. I'm so much luckier than you, love. I have you, and there's no one better, while you have to be content with me.

I believe that even though all those girls would probably not agree with me. Not a few of your longer girlfriends came to me, complaining that you wouldn't open up for them. How could a relationship survive, if you weren't willing to talk about all that had happened, was the question I was asked by so many of them.

None of them realized that though the past may have been merely a tale for them, it was and still is flesh and blood for us. And it can still hurt, those memories, even to think of them, much less to speak of them. If you ever want to talk about those times, I'll listen. But if you don't, that's fine too.

It was after both of us had relationships ending that we finally got our act together. I know that the common lore had us dead drunk and reciting to each other our list of sorrows. That's not true. We were both completely sober. We hadn't touched a single drink.

And we weren't crying on each other's shoulders. Rather, I remember us laughing. You were teasing me about all the strange quirks my last fling had possessed, while I was making fun of your incredible ability to attract the opposite sex.

"Just shut up, Harry. Just wait and see. By this time next week, you'll already have girl number . . ."

"Is the greatest genius ever to grace the halls of Hogwarts having trouble counting?"

"Shut up. And it's not my fault—there's just been too many. No one could count that high."

"Not that any of them ever lasted. And you should have more faith in me. Why not just admit the truth and say this same time tomorrow?"

"You have a large opinion of yourself, now don't you? Even your attractiveness isn't that great. Or do you already have someone lined up?"

"Can't say that I do. But I'm not doing so bad at the moment. I have the exclusive attention of the loveliest, sweetest woman of my acquaintance."


That's when everything changed. I remember being shocked, not being able to wrap my mind around the words you had said. I remember looking at you, and you looked as if you just had the most amazing epiphany. And then I saw it too.

And then we kissed.

Kissing wasn't enough. It's still not enough. We couldn't get close enough. We had to get closer and closer, getting rid of any and all barriers in the way. Our kisses all lasted a lifetime and each one gave rise to another, deeper, more passionate kiss. We couldn't stop what was happening, for we were both too wrapped up in each. And soon, we were wrapped over, under, and in each other. No matter how close we got, no matter how deep you thrust, I needed you closer still. I needed your heart and soul to breathe in unison with mine.

And they did. For one glorious moment. And they still do, all so often.

It was simply amazing. The aftermath—or should I say afterglow—is also pleasant to recall.

Hermione sighed, happily settling her head against Harry's chest. That would definitely go down as one of her favorite memories.

Hopefully as the first of many.

She felt Harry move and looked up to meet his eyes.

She had always thought the emerald of his eyes to be one of the most brilliant colors she had ever seen. But with love lighting them up—words were inappropriate to describe such a luminous shade.

He had never looked better, more alive, more like the Harry she knew and loved. She smiled at that thought. Yes, it had been love for a long time and yes, he did look good enough to eat.

And from the feel of things, it seemed as if he was having similar thoughts.

She stretched up, to capture his lips in a long, searching kiss.

"Have any thoughts that you care to discuss?" she asked when they broke apart.

"Not really." He suddenly shifted his weight and rolled over, so she was trapped under him. Grinning, he began to kiss her neck. "At least, nothing that I care to discuss until after seconds." His lips moved lower.

Hermione could feel her smile grow wider as Harry worked his way down. It was definitely going to be the first of many happy memories.


We have had an astounding tendency to make happy memories, haven't we? I'm not complaining about it at all. I just wanted to let you know that I can never get enough of you.

I can just see the smirk forming on your face when you read it. Somehow, it just makes me want you more. I think I'll have to find you when I finish writing everything down—for your own benefit of course. You can always use another good memory.

Tomorrow will be a good day. I know it. I think it will be better than that first time when we pieced everything together. I know you think it will be better than when you set your heart on the line to ask me to be forever yours.

I could have told you that you weren't risking much at all. But I doubted that would have set your fears at ease. So I didn't say a thing. You were having enough trouble as it was. I didn't think that you needed to know that I knew what you were planning to ask.

The way things were going, Harry would never get around to asking the question.

Hermione thought it was absolutely adorable how fretful and nervous Harry was. The poor boy actually thought there was a chance she would say no when the exact opposite was true.

There was no way she was ever going to let him go. If he didn't hurry and get his act together, she would propose to him wherever they were, regardless of it being in private or in public.

She smiled encouragingly at him yet again. Harry finally seemed to have enough courage to ask the question.

Much to her disappointment, she was wrong. He had enough courage to start rambling his way towards the question, but not to get to the point.

"Hermione," he started. "I don't know what you're going to think about what I have to say, just please hear me out. You know I've never been good with words. I've thought long and hard how to say everything and I just hope I can convince you. I may not be the most romantic man in the world, but I hope it will be good enough for you. I love you, you know, I just wish I could say it better. And I think you feel the same way. And what we have together is something really special . . ."


Harry was thrown completely off-track by Hermione's interruption. "Yes?" he asked.

"Of course, yes. I don't know why you thought I'd say anything else."

"Yes?" he repeated dumbly.

Hermione sighed. Reaching out, she drew his face close to his and stared straight into his eyes. "I meant what I said. Yes, I will marry you, Harry Potter."

"But I didn't even ask the question yet!"

"You were taking too long. I didn't want to see you kept in such suspense."

"But I had it all planned out. Everything I was going to say. It was going to be perfect."

"It was perfect for me. Knowing that you loved me so much to ask was perfect. Knowing that you meant every word you said and every word you planned to say was perfect."

"It was?"

"Absolutely, completely, totally perfect. So yes again, in case you didn't hear me the first few times. But if you really want to complete your speech, you can try again tonight. Hopefully, you'll be feeling more relaxed."

"Since you thought it was perfect anyway, there's no need, is there? I can think of better ways to spend an evening."


I hope you weren't too disappointed about me cutting you off. If I had let you rambled on, I doubt we would have had much of an evening left to spend together.

And yes, my love, you did think of better ways to spend that evening.

I did eventually find the speech you had planned to recite. I was straightening our room up one day, when I found a slip of parchment with your proposal on it.

It was beautiful. Absolutely breathtaking. How dare you say you have no talent with words? I've never seen a more moving declaration of love. I doubt that anyone would have said no to such a proposal.

I almost regretted interrupting you when I read those words. But then I remember what you had actually said. Might I add that you got very off track when you started rambling? Did you even remember anything that you had written down?

It was perfect anyway. Both what you actually said and what you had written. It just proves that I'm the luckiest woman alive. How many women can say that their loves had given them two perfect proposals?

And all I could give in return were two simple replies. Yes and yes. And yes a thousand times more and yes whenever you feel the need to ask.

My lines are much easier to remember, aren't they? I really shouldn't tease you for not being able to say everything that you had planned.

Especially since if I had to be the one to ask, I would not have had many words thought out in advance. You would have had to been content with a simple, "I love you. Please marry me." It's not very original at all, but every word would have been meant.

I still do mean all those words.

I think the time has come for me to put up my quill. I've reached today once again and I can't write what will happen tomorrow. I have never claimed the ability to read the future. I know that tomorrow will be perfect, although I don't know why it will be.

I'm sorry. I lied again.

It will be perfect because I have you.

Author's note: This was supposed to be a nice, short, sweet fic. *sigh* It turned out much longer than I planned, and certain main characters who will go unnamed were not being very compliant on the sweet part. They kept complaining that they'd had enough of sugar, and they now wanted a little spice.

So I'm sorry that if this is a tad different from my usual fics. I did try to keep them in line, but they wouldn't listen. As always, I would really like to know what you think. Please leave a review. Thanks.